Members: Dave Mayton, lead vocals, bass and violin; Landon Johnson, lead guitar, keyboard and vocals; Paul Cole, percussion and vocals; Tim Deal, rhythm guitar
Who we talked to: Mayton, 42
How did you guys meet/how long have you been performing together? Our group really officially formed just in February (of 2008). Three of us met through church actually, in a praise team. We had played on and off for the last five years with this group covering mostly praise tunes. Our primary goal (is) to make . . . music that would appeal to anyone.
What does the name mean? Three Nails has religious significance. It really came from something I had read online that kind of symbolized what we're about. We had written that was called "Three Nails." (It) relates to Bible verses, but also the three metaphysical nails that held Christ to the cross.
Describe your sound/style? Our style of music is primarily classic rock written in a Christian style. We cover a wide, wide variety of musical styles, anything from '60s to '80s rock, folk, pop (and) classical. Don't be surprised to hear some reggae and Creole on our CD. A lot of our fans are Christian, but probably an equal portion are those who've fallen away. (Some people listen) purely for the music, some for the message (and) some for both. It doesn't matter to us. We just want to get it into their hands. We want to do more than preach to the choir. What people have said about our music . . . is that it's Christian music for people who don't like Christian music.
When did you get into music? I started when I was 7 years old. I played classical violin for a long, long time. My grandfather was a world-class musician who traveled the world and paid for my private violin instruction for years. I started to pick up guitar in my teen years. I really just started doing vocals and writing in the last year and a half. Our most popular song is called "Lead Them Back." I was watching the news, and it was doom and gloom and gossip - anything that would deteriorate your mind. That brought a prayer to me, and those words just spilled out onto the paper when I prayed.
Where do you play in the area? We've done quite a few shows as benefit concerts. We did one last year at Codorus State Park for Changing Lives Homeless Shelter here in Hanover. We did a live broadcast for them from the WHVR-AM 1280/WYCR-FM 98.5 studios last month.
Who are your influences? The youngest band member is 35 and the oldest is 52, so there's a wide, wide mix. Who I (am influenced by includes) Pink Floyd, Neil Diamond, (The) Beach Boys, (The) Moody Blues, Creed, the Doobie Brothers, Tesla (and) Jimmy Buffett. It's a really eclectic mix. The classic influences that we've had growing up (also informs our music).
What's your biggest challenge? We don't have a label. We don't have a manager. We don't have any of that stuff that people say is essential for us to succeed. We're looking for that kind of thing. I can't tell you how many fans we probably gained in the last hour online. That's the virtual world. In a real world, locally, no one knows who we are. The Internet today is a great way for musicians to expand their fan base and get their music out there. It takes a lot of clicks. I can tell you I've got Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my right hand. Thankfully, that's just my pickin' hand. When the music is out there, pretty much whatever you put up is free. There is no income stream.
Have you guys been in the studio yet? We actually have a CD. Our CD is . . . pretty much on every online outlet there is: iTunes, Amazon (and) Rhapsody. We just signed a distribution deal that puts it in . . . FYE, Sam Goody (and) West Coast Video.
Have you guys been in the studio yet? We're resource poor, so it's basically two guys - myself and Landon Johnson - who did everything on that CD. We preformed it in a 200-year-old summerhouse that's probably no bigger than (a) shed. We had to learn how to do all that stuff ourselves. We couldn't afford to go to the studio. It's been a learning process for us, and it's turned out phenomenally well. Landon's a gifted producer.
What's coming up for you in the future? We've got a new album coming out. It's called "True North." "Three Nails" was just released in January. We had so much music (that) we had to break it up into a couple CDs. You'll find guitars galore, vintage Mellotron, organs, keyboards (and) old-school drums. We throw a little bit of fiddle and a strong, well-defined vocal to tie it all together and that's what you've got with us.
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF
On the Web
For details about Three Nails, visit www.threenailsonline.com.
To listen to the interview, visit www.flipsidepa.com.
To read more meet-the-artist interviews, visit www.flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory.