Fireworks Magazine Online 59 - Interview with Three For All

THREE FOR ALL


Three For All will be a new name for most of the readers of Fireworks. However the trio who make up this outfit of Steve “Budgie” Werner, Anthony Fragnito and his brother Carl can between them boast time served with the likes of Ace Frehley (Kiss), Leslie West (Mountain), drum legend Carmine Appice and Tony Martin (Black Sabbath). Therefore it should come as no surprise that the authentic hard hitting blues infused rock Three For All specialise in on their debut offering ‘Live For The Music’ is something pretty special. Firework’s Steven Reid finds out more...

Right guys, let’s start with a glance backwards. “Budgie”, no one can argue with a CV which includes stints with Kiss legend Ace Frehley and Mountain mainman Leslie West...

Budgie: They were both great to work with, although two different animals as far as the live shows go. With Ace it was a super energy kick ass rock ‘n’ roll show. Playing with Leslie was more about passion for the music and the blues feel. I had a fantastic experience with both of them, but I play my heart out whether there are 10 people or 5000 at a show. I paid my dues a LONG time before I hooked up with Ace and Leslie.

Whereas Anthony and Carl, you have played with drum legend Carmine Appice and the hugely under rated ex-Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin, what are you memories of working with these guys?

Anthony: I was in the same studio as Carmine one day and a mutual friend introduced us. They were getting ready to record when he asked me if I wanted to play bass on the song. Here I am, I just met him, and I’m already recording with him! I had a blast and ended driving him home after the session that night. It was great to pick his brain about the old days on the way home.
Carl: You’re right, Tony is definitely underrated, I couldn’t agree with you more. He is a great singer and songwriter. It was a lot of fun recording with him and I think I played on six songs  Brian May of Queen played on the other tracks! Tony was looking for a Deep Purple type of sound and we made it work.

However Three For All isn’t the first time the three of you have performed together, with you being the core trio in Black Lace back in the mid-eighties, with singer Maryann Scandiffio...

Budgie: I have great memories of Black Lace. The first time I came to England was in 1985 to record ‘Get It While It’s Hot’, our second LP. We had a blast with our road crew; they were techs for the Exploited and UK Subs and some of the funniest people I've ever been around. We hung out with them in Doncaster and did a tour throughout England after the recording was done. Lots of hard core metal shows with people spitting at us and stage-diving.
Anthony: I look back on those days with great fondness because we were so young and went through everything together for the first time - the good and the bad and the ugly. As far as the band breaking up let’s just say we were promised the moon and then some, but, oh well, that’s rock ‘n’ roll. Playing in England and in Europe was a blast. We were new and from the U.S.A., felt like we had something to prove, and we did! It was great and we would love to do it again.

Which brings us to your excellent new band, how long have you guys been together as Three For All?

Anthony: We reunited about three years ago just for fun, and everything just clicked like we had never stopped playing together. I love playing with these guys.
Budgie: Then about a year and a half ago we started writing new songs which now make up our debut album ‘Live For The Music’.

Given your history together, is there an air of unfinished business about Three For All?

Budgie : I wouldn’t say unfinished business, we just realized that we still have a deep love of playing together. We have a special bond that you can’t make up or pretend is there. We’ve felt it since the Black Lace days. We can play things and go places musically with a little telepathy. We are a three piece, and it’s our third band together, hence the name “Three For All”. We ain’t doing it for the chicks and partying. NEVER did. We just wanna go out and play music with passion and feel. Blues with a hard rock feel…soul... add a little funk... and put them in a blender!
Anthony: We named the album ‘Live For The Music’ because it’s the only reason we do it - music by the people and for the people!!



Three For All play a style strongly influenced by the classic era of rock from the late sixties through to the early eighties, giving your album a wide, yet focused sound. Cream, Mountain or Hendrix spring to mind, but then there are also elements of Deep Purple, Stevie Ray Vaughn or Allman Brothers in there too...

Anthony: All the bands you named were definitely an influence, but for me also early Grand Funk Railroad and early Rush...
Budgie: Aerosmith, Van Halen, Hendrix, Grand Funk, Thin Lizzy, Robin Trower, Rory Gallagher, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple...
Carl: Plus early Kiss!

You’ve been a songwriter for many years now Anthony, but it is a new thing for you to step up to the microphone as lead singer...

Anthony: To tell you the truth I guess I got tired of writing songs and giving them to other people! I just felt like the time was right to do it for myself.

The song ‘Shine On You’ is included on our cover CD this issue. What does this song say about Three For All?

Budgie: It’s got a killer groove and Carl's guitar rhythms make you want to groove. The vocal harmonies between me and Ant are part of our sound that sometimes reminds people of Brewer and Farner of Grand Funk - two guys that really complement each other. It has a real wide appeal.
Anthony: I think it encompasses all the best elements of Three For All which is musicianship, a great groove and a song that sticks in your head!
Budgie: But then I like the title track ‘Live for the Music’. It sums up our passion and why we play. ‘Shine On You’ is a stomper! You can rock out, or you can dance to it.
Anthony: For me personally I love them all, it just depends on the mood I’m in.

You’ve really started to build up a strong live reputation, supporting the likes of Johnny Winter, how much time and effort do you guys put into that side of things?

Budgie: These days we work more on the vocals than anything else. That’s a new area for me… I am singing more than I ever have! We’d love to tour the UK and Europe in the near future. We are working on tracks for the second CD right now while we are playing gigs in the States. Always working… ya gotta live for the MUSIC! For proof just go to our website for links to our music, videos, news, and so on... http://www.threeforall.net/

Three For All may well be the guys making the music they live for happen, but behind the scenes their manager Eileen Buckley is always working hard to keep the guys busy and in the public eye.

I got on board about a year and a half ago. I had seen the guys play separately in other bands, with rock stars like Ace and Leslie but it was nothing like hearing them together. The groove, the tightness, pure music. TFA has natural chemistry, and as musicians, they are the real deal. Carl is an elite guitarist, Anthony's bass chops are impeccable and he sings like Jack Bruce in his youth. Budgie is a phenomenal drummer, one of the best Led Zeppelin drummers in the States, which he still does for fun on the side. I think his YouTube drum solo from two years ago has more views than any other local drummer in the world.
The band was able to go back and forth and flesh out songs live at shows before committing to them. Budgie is a top notch audio engineer and has his own recording studio. This gave the benefit of being able to get exactly what we wanted - to record as close to live as possible. A lot of studios will add effects and so on. ‘Live For The Music’ is quite pure.
Three For All is not just a band but also a business. It is a lot of work for all of us and it is a group effort. It is also a lot of joy when the music is this good. The way people get their music has changed, and the average fan is bombarded with too much music. I try to find a target audience that is dying to hear Three For All's kind of music and build the fan-base piece by piece. We still believe in real rock magazines like Fireworks to spread the word to people who truly care about music.
A lot of what I do is the grunt work and drudgery of the "star-maker machinery" to quote Joni Mitchell. But when I hear a demo track of a new song that Anthony, Carl and Budgie are working on, it gives me such a high! That keeps my nose to the grindstone. I try to bring to the management side the highest calibre work, something these guys deserve considering the very high quality music they are creating.


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