The Devil Makes Three
An eclectic mix of folk, blues and rock will be making its way to the renowned Mountain Stage on May 12, courtesy of The Devil Makes Three, a Vermont-based band that cut its teeth on the stages of Santa Cruz, California before eventually trekking across the world.
“We are all originally from rural Vermont, Windham County southern Vermont to be exact,” explained Pete Bernhard, lead singer of the three-piece troupe. “That said, the spiritual home of the band is Santa Cruz, California, where we first formed and started touring. Both places are important in the formation of the group, but Santa Cruz is where we got our start and where we gained our first fans so it will always feel like home to us in a way.”
Bernhard, alongside Lucia Turino and Cooper McBean, first began performing as The Devil Makes Three (TDM3) in the early 2000s, releasing their first self-titled album in 2002.
“We have essentially grown up in this band – as people and musicians,” said Bernhard. “I would say a lot has changed over the years both personally and musically. We have learned so much not just about playing and performing, but also about how to survive life as touring musicians and even enjoy it!”
Despite the tribulations which come from a life on the road, TDM3 remain as enthusiastic about performing as ever.
“The one thing that has not changed is our love of performing and making music. That is just the same as it was when we first started the group,” Bernhard said.
TDM3 rose to fame through energetic live shows which showcased the band’s infectious blend of genres and influences. “My main influence personally was, and remains, blues music and folk,” explained Bernhard. “But we love all types of music in the group and try to get as much of a mix as possible into the sound. My biggest influence from a young age was Willie Dixon, thanks to my brother who bought me a compilation of his songs released by the great Chess Records. All of the members of our group listened to punk music as well when we were younger and that made a big impact on our band and especially our live performance.”
Lyrically, Bernhard is drawn to the writings of Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor and James Baldwin, each of whom have helped him learn to write from a place of honesty. “I would say the darkness and honesty of all of their writing is the biggest draw, but also their brevity. They can say so much with so little and I have always admired that. They were all masters and unflinchingly told the truth, different truths but with the same fearlessness. This is what I hope to do. So they were – and continue to be – a big source of inspiration.”
In late 2018 the band released their sixth full-length album, titled “Chains are Broken.” Bernhard spoke about the band’s motivation while writing this album and the inspiration for the album’s hopeful title.
“This album, more than others, was inspired by early American rock and roll and oldies. When Cooper and I were teenagers, we used to drive around the back roads in his Toyota Tercel and listen to the AM oldies station and smoke cigarettes. We loved the sound of that music. I think that came out in this album. All the musical influences that sink in eventually surface in a song or some instrumentation. We are still sorting through music that we fell in love with when we were 17 years old.”
“The title signifies breaking with the past and trying some new ideas musically, but also has to do with experiences with drug addictions and friends who have struggled with drugs and alcohol in their lives. It’s two parts: one musical departure and one chemical.”
May’s performance will mark the band’s second foray onto the famed Mountain Stage and Bernhard and company are excited to return. “I love the show and heard a few great performers live on the air in the past,” said Bernhard. “I wish there were more shows like it on the airwaves these days. It’s a great way to discover new artists.”
The Devil Makes Three will be performing on Mountain Stage on May 12 at 7 p.m. alongside David Bromberg Quintet, The Suitcase Junket, Eliza Gilkyson and Jarlath Henderson. Tickets can be purchased through Mountainstage.org or through local outlets, including Taylor Books. Mountain Stage is performed at the Culture Center Theater, located on the West Virginia State Capitol Complex at Greenbrier Street and Washington Street East in Charleston.
Find out more about The Devil Makes Three by visiting thedevilmakesthree.com/ where you can purchase merch, stream music and watch the band’s most recent music videos. You can also follow the band on social media: @thedevilmakesthreemusic on Facebook and @thedevilmakes3 on both Twitter and Instagram.
Richard Allen is a freelance writer for various publications. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.facebook.com/richardallenwrites