The Devil Makes Three Seek Redemption on the Road
For the past fifteen years, hard driving roots rockers The Devil Makes Three have been spreading their high-octane musical gospel to fans far and wide, blowing the roof of venues across the country with their original brand of American music. This winter, TDM3, Pete Bernhard (guitar, vocals), Lucia Turino (bass) and Cooper McBean (guitar/banjo), will be preaching at clubs throughout the South and West.
In September, TDM3 released Redemption & Ruin, a collection of twelve covers paying tribute to the music and musicians that have inspired the band. The record has two distinct sides.
“We did these songs with a theme where one side is ‘redemption,’ and one side is ‘ruin,’” Bernhard explained. “Some of the songs on the ruin side were so hard to sing. Some of them are just so hopeless and sad. I don’t know if I’ve ever really felt that bad. I’ve certainly written my share of sad or angry songs, but it was different to sing somebody else’s songs. A lot of them are on the edge of having nothing to live for.”
The band added its own touch to thoughtfully selected tunes by legends like Townes Van Zandt, Ralph Stanley and Hank Williams, Sr.
“It was really tough to figure out which songs to include,” said Pete Bernhard. “The idea behind this record was to show where we’re coming from as a band, to show our influences and all the stuff that we loved and that inspired us. Honestly, there was too much to fit onto one record.”
Produced and engineered by Dave Ferguson and recorded in Nashville at his Butcher Shoppe Recording Studio, the album features a dream lineup of guest players. Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Shawn Camp, Darrell Scott, and Emmylou Harris all make an impressive appearance.
“We wanted to have a lot of people sit in on the record for sure, and we were really excited about that,” Bernhard commented. “A lot of it had to do with the producer, but some of these musicians we’d met on the road. We’ve met a bunch of people on the road, and whenever we’d meet somebody who was just an amazing player, or who was just a hero of ours, we’d say, ‘hey, if you ever want to play with us…’”
Unlike most of his peers, Bernhard was into old-time American music as a young kid.
“For me, it started when I was about 12 or 13 years old,” he recalled. “All my friends liked metal, and I liked metal, but all my friends were really into metal. My buddies at that time period didn't really like any of the music that I liked at all. I think they thought it was really weird that I liked it, and honestly, it was pretty weird,” Bernhard laughed.
Bernhard’s older brother, a guitarist and Berklee College of Music grad, and his dad encouraged Bernhard’s youthful passion for old-school tunes.
“I think early on I had this fasciation with old blues music, and finger picking blues music was a huge inspiration to me,” Bernhard noted. “My family, especially my brother, really encouraged that and bought me a lot of music when I was really young.”
With their high-energy live show and their classic roots influences, TDM3 draw a diverse crowd.
“It’s cool,” Bernhard noted. “We’ll have everyone from 16 to 60. We definitely get some Grateful Dead fans at our shows, and then we get some punk rock fans at our shows. We really do have a diverse audience.”
Fans can expect to hear music spanning the band’s career at the upcoming shows.
“We’re taking a bunch of these tunes and playing them live, I’d say maybe half of the record,” Bernhard noted. “The rest is a mix of old and new original stuff.”
While on tour, TDM3 give their audience its money’s worth, then go home and crash.
“You know, I’m not going to say it isn’t tiring. It certainly is,” laughed Bernhard. “We’ve learned over the years what to do and what not to do in terms of being on the road. We just try to take really good care of ourselves while we’re out there and also realize it’s a long distance run. You can’t start out at the beginning running the six-minute mile. You’ve got to realize it’s going to be months, so we’ve learned a lot about how to do it. Sometimes at the end of the tour I’ll come home and just sleep.”