Interview: 3 Guitarist/Vocalist Joey Eppard Talks 'The Ghost You Gave to Me'

If you haven't already heard it, Woodstock, New York's 3 have just debuted a new song over at Metal Sucks called "React," which you can listen to here.

The band will release their latest album, The Ghost You Gave to Me, on October 11 via Metal Blade Records. Ghost proves to be the band's most focused record of their career, packing loads of vocal and guitar hooks into very ambitious song structures.

We recently caught up with 3 guitarist/vocalist Joey Eppard to talk about the new album, and fortunately, we even started off talking about "React"...

GUITAR WORLD: "React" is a track that really stands out on the album. What's it about?

"React" is a story, but it's also a metaphor. The girl in the song is the “dream,” the carrot, the ghost we’ve been chasing all these years making music.

“Carried a spell and I bound it well… tethered it to the bone. She came to me twice but she fell through the ice. I watched as she sank like a stone.”

Our band has been on a rollercoaster the last few years. We signed to Roadrunner and got dropped before we even got to make a record. Not the first time we’ve weathered that storm -- the same thing happened with Universal back in 1998. But what hasn’t killed us HAS made us stronger and we have our best record yet, The Ghost You Gave To Me, to prove it. So “React” is really a song of self redemption. “I’m not gonna give up this heart attack, I react!”

The lead on the song is very lyrical, did you improvise your lead for “React” or was it worked out in advance?

On this tune I was hearing mostly melodic movements. Often times I’ll sing what I’m hearing and then figure it out on guitar. In fact on the recording I am singing along with my lead guitar work in the bridge. I also do that on “Numbers.”

For the lead on "React"'s ride out, I improvised some of the lead and then refined it a bit. Bassist Daniel Grimsland also helped me shape the final melody into the last chord.

Was that typical of most of the leads on the album?

For my part, yes. The music is cinematic, its full of scene changes, so my parts were more orchestral in nature. I did cut loose with some raw lead stuff on the ride out of the albums final track, “The Barrier.”

What was your main gear for the album?

We used a combination of things. I played an ESP Eclipse with 59/JB pick ups, while Billy [Riker] played a LTD Page Hamilton and an ESP Ron Wood signature series guitar.

Most of my guitar tones were combinations of Logic 9 plug-ins. I would bus and blend different amp tones until I got exactly what I was looking for.

For the lyrical leads I typically rolled of almost all the highs on my guitar and cranked the presence on the amps. It gave me a rich creamy tone that was especially great for upper register leads. I was able to really sculpt my tones and create a strong compliment to Billy’s Marshall JVM410H. This amp has been such a magical blessing for recording guitars. It literally has twelve different preamps to choose from and they all sound amazing. We first heard Opeth using that amp and we have been using it on our recordings ever since.

We used quite a few different effects, most of them were either made or modded by Including the Memory Man delay with the same mods as the one The Edge uses in It Might Get Loud.

What kind of acoustic was used on “On With The Sun”?

I played an Ovation 1778 Elite T. My playing style has really fused with that particular instrument.

How would you best describe the direction of The Ghost You Gave to Me in comparison to 2007's The End Is Begun?

I’d say this record makes sense as a follow up to The End Is Begun. We've taken what evolved out of that record and expanded upon it. It’s a very cinematic sort of record. I’d say the compositions are more consistently ambitious this time around. This is the record we’ve always wanted to make.

How do you think reflecting on past material on Revisions ended up affecting the sound of the band today?

Making that record was something I needed to do. I think it helped me really get to the next level vocally and that carried over to the new material. It also was a record that has a strong pop element to it. Getting that off our chest really freed us to explore uncharted waters when we began to write for Ghost. This allowed us to put as much creativity into the song structure as we do everything else.

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Josh Hart

Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.