Three Days Grace: 'We Let Our Fans Decide The Name Of New Album'

Three Days Grace guitarist Barry Stock tells UG about the band's new record, Ibanez and jamming in the woods.

Three Days Grace: 'We Let Our Fans Decide The Name Of New Album'
The year is 2012 and that means it's time for another Three Days Grace record. Since their debut album in 2003, the band has stayed true to their timeline for success, releasing an album every three years and touring unyieldingly in between. The band is scheduled to release "Transit of Venus", its fourth studio album on October 2nd, 2012. Three Days Grace has been a machine running on pure angst and adrenaline, churning out a string of riff-heavy hits that have placed them among the elite of modern rock and roll bands. In the studio, the band is one of the most diligent and disciplined composers since maybe The Eagles. The results are some of the most steadfast anthems of rock and roll in the new millennium. Songs like "I Hate Everything About You" and "Riot" strike a chord that still resonated to a disenfranchised generation. Despite the band's commercial success, they have managed to maintain a sense of integrity and honesty that seems almost rare in the cesspool that has become mainstream music these days. The band's guitarist Barry Stock, who has been with the band since their debut album, speaks with us to talk about the new album, the band's recipe for success, and of course everything you ever wanted to know about the gear he records with and plays on the road including his penchant for vintage Ibanez guitars. UG: You started off as a drummer. What made you want to move to the guitar? Barry Stock: Yeah I got a drum kit that someone gave me when I was like 12. We had a one stall garage at my parents' house where I would bang away on that thing. My dad didn't put up with that for very long. He didn't like the drum racket so he bought me a guitar. When I started I had a bunch of older brothers so I'd sneak into their rooms and listen to their music. So I grew up on a lot of classic rock - Pink Floyd, early Aerosmith, Zeppelin. But the first album that truly changed my life was the very first Black Sabbath album. I just remember that creepy cover, pulling the record out, putting it on and the storm came in, then those first power chords, the tri-tone, that changed my life.

"So I grew up on a lot of classic rock - Pink Floyd, early Aerosmith, Zeppelin."

What was that first guitar your dad bought you? It was a Raven Telecaster copy. I remember it well. Do you still have it? No, I really wish I did. Last time we talked, I learned that you prefer Ibanez guitars to the iconic Gibsons and Fenders. Yeah, I'm an Ibanez guy. It's funny, even when I was a teenager I played Ibanez guitars and I still do today. One of the coolest guitars I had when I was a teenager was a 1977 Ibanez. I know Ibanez doesn't like to talk about it but the seventies there was a time they call "The Lawsuit Era" which was when Ibanez was knocking off Gibson guitars and making them better than Gibson did at the time and it caused them a lot of trouble. I had a 1977 Ibanez Destroyer in Korina. And that was one guitar I got rid of that I even kept a photo of it in my wallet for all these years. I missed that guitar, man. So I said if I see one of those again I'm going to get it. And it's funny; I've been dealing with Ibanez now for years. Some of my stuff is Custom Shop. But a few years ago I went on this big vintage kick where I was scooping up all the 70's stuff that I love. I ended up finding one of those '77 Destroyers and I have that on the road with me right now. During that collecting period, I got a couple double necks (a white one and a red one), a few Flying V's, a couple different Destroyers. Do you still bring the vintage guitars on the road? Yeah, I'm about half and half right now between vintage guitars and new guitars. When I was collecting all this sh-t, I was bringing like 20 guitars with me. I've scaled that down to like 10 now that I use on the road. I do swap out guitars during the show quite a bit. I've got four vintage guitars, a couple Custom Shop Ibanez guitars, and then a few of the newer Ibanez ART models I'm using. That Custom Shop stuff is great but there's something to be said about that old wood. It really does have its own sound. You can pick up any of those old 70's guitars and the tone is just amazing. What are the specs for your Custom Shop guitars? Well some of our tunings are a whole tone down. So I wanted something a little more of a baritone feel to them. I'm a huge fan of mahogany so all the Custom Shops are made of mahogany. I keep my guitars pretty simple, less to go wrong on the road. But even the new ones I would buy off the shelf, I would change the pickups in. I really like the Jeff Beck Seymour Duncans. I use those a lot of the time. I'm not a fan of active pickups. The ARTs for example come with active pickups but I just rip them out and put in the pickups of my choice.

"I keep my guitars pretty simple, less to go wrong on the road."

How crazy do you get with your tunings? Usually it's just standard or drop tunings. We don't use any open tunings or anything like that. I have lightened up my strings a lot from the early days and I try to play with a little more finesse. I used to break strings all the time back when we first started. When we started we were running at 90, we really wanted to take over the world. We were young and full of piss and vinegar and I could break a string almost every song. These days I can't remember the last time I broke a string during a show. You guys have got a new album coming out pretty soon. How has your approach to tracking your guitars changed over the years? Well, actually this time around was different then our last few records. Our last few records were kind of what everyone has been doing lately, a lot of layering. Like you would have one guitar setup with a pair of amps and you would double track that then you would go in with another guitar and another amp and track it again and you use that process of layering to get this big thick sound. This time around I intentionally wanted to get away from that. I really wanted to go with a simpler sound. I thought our tone was good in the past, I think my current rig sounds great and I want to capture that simpleness about it. So our approach this time was just to get the sound where I wanted it and just stick with that rig the whole time. So the rig I used in the studio is the same as what I use on the road. I use Diesel VH4 amps, I'm a big fan of those. The only thing that's different in my live rig is that I use a middle cab. I use an old Marshall MP1 because they're programmable. In the studio I used a little Orange Tiny Terror amp run through 1x12 cab made by a company called Krych, which are made by a guy in London Ontario, which is up by where we're from. He's making these cabs right and they're bad ass. He uses Celestion 30s in them. The main cabs I'm using right now are some custom Krych 12x6 cabs. It's one cab with two compartments, one is a 4x12 and one is a 2x12. So, live, my Diezel will run the 4x12s and the Marshal will run the 2x12. My sound in the studio was just the Tiny Terror in place of the Marshall going through the 2x12 portion of my cabs and that was the setup I used on the entire record. That transfers well to your live sound as well. Yeah, it's all the same rig basically. Its tough to recreate the sound of three different guitars layered on top of one another. So this simplified things and it transfers very well into my live sound. I interviewed you guys back when One X came out and we talked about how you guys got a cabin out in the woods and just jammed together for a couple weeks. Yeah we generally do something similar to that. We all have short attention spans so if try to get us to write in a new city, forget about it, everybody's everywhere. For One X we did get a cabin up in the woods in Ontario and wrote a lot there and we still do that. We'll pick a spot and meet up there and all camp out for a week or two at a time and focus on writing as much as we can. The thing about this band is we can all play guitar. So we write everything together. We write a lot of our stuff acoustically together by jamming.

"There's a lot more musicianship [on new album], a lot more solos."

When is the new album coming out? October 2nd and it's called "Transit of Venus". I never like to ask what the meaning of the album title is because I think it's a generally sh--ty question. But in the case I am a little curious. It's not too deep. It's not like we wrote a concept album or anything like that. It started more from our fans. About a year ago people started to speculate about what the new album would be called in website forums and stuff like that. It's cool, we started watching what fans thought the title might be and then this whole Venus thing came up and they kept talking about it and going on about it. It turns out that this year was the transit of Venus on June 5th and it won't happen again for another 300 years or so. We thought it was cool how our fans started talking about it and we just left it in the fans' hands and called it "Transit of Venus". Is there anything else you'd like to say about the new record? Are there any surprises on there? Any didgeridoo solos? No didgeridoo solos. I will say that it is our must musical record. We're all really excited about it. There's a lot more musicianship, a lot more solos, things like that. We don't really have a lot of solos on our past records. We were very riff driven. We've got some more keyboard stuff on there but it's very well balanced. We think it's our best record yet. Interview by Justin R. Beckner Ultimate-Guitar.Com 2012

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    I like 3DG their music is awesome and the are down to earth not like some other bands around.
    I'm not trying to be rude...but, they still have fans? I mean..they were okay...but, they're pretty the epitome of douche rock.
    Metal Head420
    I thought that was Nickelback... then hinder lol... three days grace comes in third!!! They may have been more popular than hinder, but like cmon, go listen to their songs (Hinders) and its obvious they're try hard Dbags... ESPECIALLY on their second album!!
    In my opinion, they have done really with this album. I mean, those bands who experiment with their sound either fail or succeed. I think 3DG have done really well with this album, compared to the others. Then again, every band has to experiment at some point in time, otherwise they produce the same old music. Haven't got tired of 3DG, never will.
    "churning out a string of riff-heavy hits"
    The guitar riffs have always been a big part of their sound. Remember it's "riff-heavy" and not "heavy riff".
    Three Days Grace Hits and their top US Billboard charting position. "I hate everything about you" (#4), "Just Like You" (#1), "Home" (#2), Pain (#1), "Animal I have Become" (#1), "Never Too Late" (#1), "Riot" (#12), "Break" (#1), The Good Life (#1), World So Cold (#1), "Lost In You" (#1), "Chalk Outline (#8). That looks like a string of hits to me. Keep in mind that Guns & Roses by comparison only had one #1 hit single on the billboard charts in their entire career (Sweet Child of mine). Maybe try some research next time.
    riff-heavy hits? lol youre kidding, right?
    Metal Head420
    I don't think that means the riffs are heavy... I think it means the songs are all dependant/focused around the riffs (Like think of "animal i have become" and songs like that in their early career)... But then again I could be wrong, wouldn't be anything new..
    Why didnt they call it 'Farts and Diarrheas' It woulve been so epic
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    Eclectic Lizard
    Awesome dude! Oh and Three Days Grace sucks balls lolololololololololololololololololololololololololololololo lolololololololololololololololololololololololololololololo lolololololololololololololololololololololololololololololo lolololololololololololololololololololololololololololololo lolololololololololololololololololololololololololololololo lolololololololololololololololololololololololololololololo lolololololololololololololololololololo
    they are pretty douchey. but douche sells. ask nickelback. ha!
    Well, for Three Days Grace good music sales, Nickleback,everybody's a jack ass sales.
    i actually do like three days grace. they're just a little mainstream these days so its a bit of a guilty please for the punk rocker in me.
    And "metalhead420" You wanna hear some heavy shit listen to this
    Three Days Grace is GAYYYY
    Tabs E: 0-1-0-1-0-1-0-1-0-1 for anyone interested The rest is improvised hitting random strings with your penis, fairly simple technique
    This is what I HATE!!!! Bands letting fans decide on album titles and shit....Do you think Slayer,Exodus,Metallica,Megadeth really cared about what the fans thought about the music? If you are really into the music you wouldn't care about the fans and worry more about the music....and does album title really matter? I can entitle an album "My date with Rachel Ray" but have music fast as Slayer and as brutal as Black metal.....I have nothing against 3DG they just aren't my style...
    There is something seriously wrong with his technique, guitar or tech if he's breaking a string every song.