THE THREE TREMORS – Shaking The Foundations
March 1, 2019, a year ago
Twenty years ago, vocalist Rob Halford released an album entitled Resurrection under his own name, three years before he would rejoin Judas Priest. It heralded his return to metal following the critically lambasted 2wo project, thoroughly convincing the masses that the Metal God was still just that. One song on the Halford record, "The One You Love To Hate", featured a guest appearance by none other than Iron Maiden legend Bruce Dickinson, and in 2000 that union was brought to the stage at a show in London, England. Joining Halford and Dickinson for a completely over-the-top performance was Geoff Tate of Queensrÿche fame, and The Three Tremors were born.
While this one-off spawned talk (and prayers) of the trio getting together to record an album - talk that has persisted for close to two decades - it never happened, and it was a concept that neither Halford, Dickinson nor Tate seemed to have any serious interest in pursuing. In fact, the name was concocted by the fans or the media, but not the trio in question. Enter Cage frontman Sean Peck, who decided to launch his version of The Three Tremors as a tribute to the concept, and for the very simple love of metal. Teaming up with Tim "Ripper" Owens (ex-Judas Priest) and Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin (Jag Panzer), Peck set to crafting an album of pure and undiluted metal featuring a vocal onslaught worthy of The Three Tremors name and all it stands for.
BraveWords: What was the initial reaction when word got out that The Three Tremors was being made a reality, just not with Halford, Dickinson and Tate?
Sean: "It was like stepping on major hallowed ground, so I thought there would be a lot more negative feedback with regards to people saying 'You're stealing the name!' I thought from the start about how we would roll this out, and this is a tribute to that idea of those three guys getting together, kind of bringing it to life. Instead of calling it something else, the whole point was to call it The Three Tremors to say it was a great idea, this is our version of it, and maybe it motivates those guys to come back and do their version of it. There was no legal claim to the name, so we own it, but I've said this publicly, that if those guys want to put together a Three Tremors tour, they've got all the permission in the world to use the name."
BraveWords: The story goes that Sean is responsible for assembling The Three Tremors and the songs for the debut album. That said, is the material brand new, or has some of it been sitting on the shelf waiting to be given a good home?
Tim: "It was Sean, yeah. I've done the multiple singers thing before with Geoff Tate and Blaze Bayley (Wolfsbane, ex-Iron Maiden), and then in South America with Udo (Dirkschneider / U.D.O., ex-Accept), Blaze and Michael Vescera (ex-Loudness, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen), but we were performing songs from our respective catalogues. I've known Sean for a long time and we'd talked about doing something together, so when this came up he said he wanted to record an album - just put a band together, make a record - and that's what got me. That was the main goal of this. Sean spearheaded it, put it all together, and that's why we're here today."
Harry: "It was super easy to convince me to do this. I'm always open to doing things and helping people out, so I was into the idea when Sean first suggested it to me about five years ago. I've done projects where I might do lead vocals on one or two songs, so I loved the idea of doing this and being on every song."
Sean: "This is all new stuff. I wrote the melody lines and the lyrics, the guys in Cage - David Garcia, Casey Trask, Alex Pickard and Sean Elg - and myself crafted all the songs. This was written for The Three Tremors from scratch. I knew the performance of the three singers in The Three Tremors would be great, so it was important to have great songs. The music is classic heavy metal, it's what you expect from a band with this line-up. I wanted to push the limit so that people who want supreme metal vocals, this would be their go-to record. Some people have said it's too much, it's exhausting, and those people are a bunch of pussies. I was raised with the idea that there's no such thing as too much in heavy metal. Some people can't handle it but the fans of the genre are loving it."
BraveWords: How did the three of you go about deciding who sang their respective parts on each song?
Tim: "We'd get music from Sean and it would have vocals on it as the guideline, and then we'd record the vocals. I changed my voice up a little bit... I actually used different voices on the record; one voice I used a lot is my raspier falsetto, like a Metal Church kinda thing. The great thing about this record is that we all sang the whole thing. Sean went in afterwards and picked things apart, and from there we put the record together. It was a difficult task to figure things out but I think the end result is great."
Sean: "I recorded the entire album with my vocals; harmonies, overlaps, everything. They followed pretty close to that format, and I really pushed myself when I was doing my final version. Harry and Ripper would send their parts back and they were so damn good; I'd be like 'Aw fuck, the one part I thought I sounded great in, Ripper sounds better.... Harry sounds better...' Their recordings were both amazing versions of the album. They put in a lot of time and effort, they didn't half-ass it. Even though they didn't write the songs, they both included little nuances and did their own thing in places. We're actually going to release all three solo versions at some point in the future."
Harry: "The vocals that Sean put down initially were very raw. He put the lead vocals down, he'd maybe give us some notes about a certain line with regards to singing it or changing it, I'd send Sean a few tracks with my vocals, and then we'd go back and forth if he wanted to hear more of something or a different approach until we were in agreement. We were doing that all the way down into the mixing when Sean decided he wanted to change the parts up to fill things out in certain places. And Tim, he's constantly working and has a studio in his house, so he totally wrapped up all the tracks and doubled the vocals, doubled the harmonies, put in growls, screams, yells that ended up on the cutting room floor. He knew ahead of time that would happen, but he didn't have time to go back and change things so he thought it was better to send everything all at once and give Sean stuff to work with."
BraveWords: Tim and Harry, how much input did you have in writing or arranging the songs?
Harry: "Sean was open to input from us, but I found that the songs were strong already. The lyrics were well thought out, and there was a lot of space for us to sing open, drawn out melodies. I didn't feel the need to reconstruct or deconstruct any of the songs; I just put my style of singing on the songs on top of what was already there."
Tim: "I was going to be happy with anything, but if anybody said anything about wanting to change things up, I'm going to go out on a limb and say it was me. I don't think I did that, but Sean would know for sure. I think this stuff was written with us in mind. That was the reason, to be honest, that I sang things differently. I used different voices on purpose, more like singing as different character, really, and I was fine with everything Sean did for the record."
BraveWords: You did a European tour without the benefit of having the album out, which was potential suicide, yet by all accounts it was a huge success.
Harry: "We wanted to do a tour to back the album up to prove to people that we were a band and a functioning unit, but we had things planned out differently to what actually happened. The album release was pushed back from October 2018 to February 2019. But, we went out there and gave people at these 17 shows songs they'd never heard in their life, and to get the reactions and crowds that came out... it was just amazing. We were astonished how well the show was received, as well as how well we interacted on stage. The chemistry between the three of us is really good. We just have this particular banter between the three of us where our personalities just chime together, like the Three Stooges (laughs)."
Tim: "We were out there playing all 12 songs and the album wasn't even out. We could have put together an All Star setlist - we did 'Scream Machine' and 'Burn In Hell', we did a Cage song, we did a Jag Panzer song - but we did the originals, and all three of us were on stage together almost the entire show. We had to figure out how to pull it off live, but we knew it was going to work. We all get along so well, the band is awesome, so it was great."
Sean: "I had crazy high expectations because these songs are designed for three singers, and one of the reasons we kept the band in house with the Cage guys is because it was easier to prepare for the tour. The band was already really tight by the time Ripper and Harry came to rehearsals. We did the shows and it was funny because the standard reaction was people saying they came to shows ready to shit on this thing, but they admitted to being blown away. We converted a lot of skeptics. Sure, there are the keyboard warriors ragging on it, but I don't need any validation from anyone because we did 17 shows, all 12 songs from the album, and we saw 17 crowds of metalheads loving it. And that was with only two songs online to go by. The shows exceeded my expectations."
Harry: "We got rid of so much merchandise on that tour. If we had CDs we would have sold out really quick, but since we didn't have any the fans were buying everything else (laughs)."
BraveWords: The obvious question: will there be a second album?
Tim: "I definitely think so, and we would be touring way more now if it wasn't for me. We have offers to play from all over the world, but I have this Dio hologram tour going on. Once that's done I'm guessing we'll tour with The Three Tremors as much as we can. But yeah, we definitely want to put another record out."
Sean: "This is a band, not a project. It's all about planning since we have to work around Tim's schedule, but the demand for The Three Tremors was high even before the album was released. And we have a good time together; Harry and Tim fit in great with the Cage crew, so I think that's a motivating factor for everyone."
Harry: "We're looking forward to doing another album. This is not a project where we're trying to see how well it does or hoping to make a ton of money and then get out and go our own solo ways. The album has gotten great reactions for the short amount of time that it's been out, so once people around the world start seeing the live show and feel the energy of what we're doing, we'll have to do another album because it'll be bigger than all three of us."
1 - Poughkeepsie, NY - The Loft
2 - Wilmington, DE - Bar XIII
3 - Clifton, NJ - Dingbatz
4 - New York, NY - The Gramercy Theatre
5 - Niagra Falls, NY - Evening Star Music Hall
7 - Racine, WI - Route 20
8 - Joliet, IL - The Forge
9 - Westland, MI - Token Lounge
10 - Louisville, KY - Tiger Room
11 - Pittsburgh, PA - The Crafthouse Stage and Grill