The subject of tribute acts is a tricky art. On the one hand, you have the inevitable; the Led Zeppelin and AC/DC tribute bands that pepper your local watering hole every other week, providing either a drinkable rendition of “Stairway To Heaven”, or a rather drunk Angus Young lookalike who’s trying way too hard.
On the other, you have the tribute acts that entice actual shivers down your spine. These rare finds are more modest, and if you do have the luck of finding them, they will never leave you. They will transport those who saw the original band back to that first concert all those years ago, or to the newer listener, provide a time traveling portal that they missed. This is how it was, echoing through the smoky dive or club.
This rare and beautiful feat, is amplified in multiples with Joy Division tribute band, 3 One G.
The Winter Haven / Gainesville based act, comprised of Aaron Branch (Ian Curtis), Danny Scott (Peter Hook), Mike Raisner (Stephen Morris) and Joshua Miller (Bernard Sumner), made their spectacular entrance in West Palm Beach during Respectable Street’s 2009 New Years Eve party, filling the closed off Clematis Street to a block and a half as the performance was that hypnotic.
3 One G don’t simply play Joy Division, they become them, embodying the essence of what made the late so historic; that mysterious aura of never knowing what may come next, while playing music from a future that still hasn’t manifested. After a near seven year hiatus, the band have emerged from the shadows to once again, awe, inspire and start unknown pleasures. As well as lose the drumstick.
It’s been about 6 years since you came to the area, it’s been about an equal amount of time since you came back to West Palm; what prompted the reunion?
Danny You know it’s something none of us were really thinking about. I went out to see Josh’s band a couple of months ago, he’s got a new band that he’s in. And we were just hanging out after the show and he just asked if we wanted to do it, it’s pretty much as simple as that.
One of the more special things about you is that you’re completely different from any other band, tribute or not, where you wholly embrace the performance, what made you start 3 One G?
Danny I was working in an electronic hybrid band for a while, and I was getting a little bit kind of bored with what I was doing with them, and just kind of at the end of our run, and I was looking for a new project to do. I had just recently met Mike and hit it off with him, and became pretty good friends with him.
I’d seen a tribute band, locally we had a Misfits tribute band in the area and I kind of had the idea Joy Division would be a great thing to have as a project to do a tribute to, and no one was really doing it. So once I started researching it, I realized there really aren’t a lot of people doing that.
How do you feel that the band’s legacy has carried on? Joy Division as an entity, would you want to see them become a household name, or do you feel that with the resurgence of the Unknown Pleasures cover and certain graphics being used, do you think it cheapens it?
Danny Mike, what do you think?
Mike Obviously, it’s great that it’s reached what it has, we have technology to thank for that. As far as like all the little mockups like t-shirts or memorabilia or whatnot, like with the Unknown Pleasures waves, it’s a little corny from time to time. I’ll still smirk every time I see it, no matter what.
And with that being said, how do you feel when Peter Hook started touring Joy Division tribute concerts?
Danny Oh, I love it.
Mike Yeah. (Chuckles).
Do you feel that New Order didn’t cover enough Joy Division songs or do you think that was better left in the past?
Danny I think the music is too good not to, and that’s what Peter Hook has really said in his more recent interviews that the music is just too good not to put out there and the fans want it, so that’s why he’s doing it. I personally love looking at the set lists when he posts them, he’s got some interesting variations, like opening with “Atmosphere” is crazy.
And your set lists are extremely accurate to the ones they would play in places like Belgium or London, would you want to explore any of the b-sides like “Komakino” or “In A Lonely Place”?
Danny Originally when we first started, I was really adamant I wanted to play “In A Lonely Place” but no one else wanted to so we kind of scrapped that, but we do some more of the obscure ones. We haven’t really delved into the b-sides as much but we have “Ice Age” and “Isolation” in there.
We try to change it up a bit up. Our set list is more about a vibe; every time we get together, we all just sit there and kind of rearrange what we think we should play. Mike will agree, we rearranged what we’re going to play in Orlando and West Palm every time we got together about 3 or 4 times.
What song would you want to play but haven’t yet?
Mike Well, let’s see…
There was a few that we had learned and had pretty tight but I don’t think that we ever did live. Tackling the b-sides is hard, not all of them obviously, but there are so many different versions of and some are so wacky that is’s hard to put back together and do any sort of justice. I’m hoping we play “Ice Age” again.
And going back to what Peter Hook is doing, what you ever think about just dedicating a concert to doing in an album in full?
Danny That would take a lot of work. We’re not even sure how long we’re going to continue doing this, I’d like to do it for a good little run and get a lot of shows knocked out. But logistically, for us to get together and put the effort in to playing full albums….
Oh, that’s going to real difficult. Right now Aaron is in Gainesville, Josh & I live in the Winter Haven area. And it’s hard to get everyone in the same place just to get practices done.
You were saying that some of you have your own side projects. Do all of you have separate bands from 3 One G?
Danny Mike does. I’m currently just kind of jamming around with people and there, but Mike’s got a project he’ll be playing in Indiana, he can tell you more about that.
Mike A few years back around the time we were staring to slow down, I learned how actual 8-bit music was made with the hardware, so I invested in a couple of GameBoys and programs for it so I’ve been playing shows and doing the whole tour ever since.
And I know you mentioned the distance was hard, but would you ever consider creating a group outside of 3 One G with the same core members of it were possible?
Danny That’d be great! We’re all different enough where we’re all similar enough to mix, and we jam well together. I’ve had people say that before, when we jammed in a room, we could start off with a riff like “A Forest” from The Cure, and turn it I to something totally different.
I think everybody’s influences are definitely unique, and workable for me, for sure.
And what are your individual favorite Joy Division tracks?
Danny Aw, dang. ….
You’re going first, Mike.
Mike Give me less than 10 seconds.
Danny I’ll go ahead and say ‘Ceremony’, it’s that timeless one. It’s such a good embodiment of where Ian was at at the end of his life, and just where they were at in the band, & I just think it’s a beautiful song.
Mike I’m gonna go ahead with ‘Disorder’, that song he always done something for me.
Complete the lyric the way it was written or you can add on something that wasn’t there before:
“I’ve got the spirit, but lose the…”
Danny (laughs) The hard bass line…
The one I can’t nail!
And for you, Mike?