Interview with Jeff Stebbins of 3 Pill Morning

For the better part of five years, 3 Pill Morning has undergone major changes to their sound, members, and overall attitude towards their music. What started off as a weekend hobby has turned into a full-time commitment for this band from Minneapolis, MN. After meeting their current manager, Nashville-based producer Jon King (Augustana, Throwing Gravity, Future Leaders of the World), 3PM began taking their music much more seriously and saw the chance to do what every musician dreams of doing: make their band their career. In 2012, 3PM singed with King’s Page 2 Music and A2Z Entertainment and released their label debut, ‘Black Tie Love Affair,’ which was distributed via eOne. Since then, the group has been touring relentlessly across the country with a handful of acts, including Saving Abel, Sevendust, In This Moment, Hollywood Undead, Escape the Fate, and 12 Stones.

Keep reading below to see our chat with lead singer Jeff Stebbins. He gives us his insight into the meaning behind the group’s name and how they have evolved over the years.

What inspired the name 3 Pill Morning?

Good question. Like most bands, we had a list of terrible band names. Our guitar player (at the time) was taking like three epidrin to get up in the morning — he was a real lazy dude. We looked at him and put 3 Pill Morning together. We started to realize that everyone is medicated in some way. Whether it’s three Tylenol or three multivitamins. So the name kind of stuck and people seem to like it. It’s been really good for us.

You started the band in 2003. Have you always had a set direction that you’ve wanted to take the band in, or has it evolved over the years?

It’s really evolved. When I first started the band it was just for fun, kind of a hobby. For many years it was just that — we’d play weekend shows, But then all of a sudden we started to write some songs that we were really excited about and said, “Hey, maybe we can do more with this.” So we started touring regionally and nationally, and then we made the commitment to do this as our career. It started for many years just playing around town and now it’s what we do. It’s been a cool progression and certainly unexpected, but we’re really happy that that’s the way it’s gone.

Photo: Nick Bynum

So tell us how you met Jon King and what his role was on ‘Black Tie Love Affair.’

The first time we met him was on a small national tour. We met him in Nashville. We got the chance to play a couple of songs acoustic and he was diggin’ what we were doing, so we set up some times to record down there in Nashville. He helped us produce the first set of songs that got us the opportunity to put out ‘Black Tie Love Affair.’ It’s been a really good opportunity to work with him and he’s always believed in the band since day one. It’s been a really cool deal.

Your initial debut single, “Rain,” had a lot of radio success. Was that a real motivational boost that told you guys, “Hey, we’re really headed in the right direction here?”

Yeah. You hope people like the songs you write. You write songs that you think are great and you’re excited to play live — which we are; we love the set we’re playing. For radio stations to start picking it up, when there is a lot of competition already and everyone is trying to get that, for us to have that sort of success has been really awesome.

Where were you at the time you released that song?

When that song came out we were actually on the east coast. We were actually in Atlantic City. It was cool. Hearing it on some of the different stations while we were coming through town on tour was really cool.

Growing up, who would you say had the biggest influence on the way you approach writing and performing your music?

A couple of shows that stuck in my head as I was really young was when I got the chance to see Stone Temple Pilots. Scott Weiland is just this over-the-top frontman. Another very different one is Limp Bizkit with Fred Durst I just saw the energy these guys bring. I used to play the drums and it made me think, “You know what, I’d like to be a frontman. I’d like to give that a shot.” As I got more confident doing that and looking at guys like that that just own a crowd when they take the stage I realized that that was what I wanted to bring to a performance. From a band’s standpoint, we’ve always been into all different kinds of rock: ranging from Incubus to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, or Deftones. Boil all of that stuff together into kind of what we’re doing right now, and just taking from all of those different artists. Hopefully we mesh it together pretty well. It’s stuff we enjoy playing.

So you just finished touring with Trapt. Tell me about that.

It was a great national tour! Every night good crowds showed up and they seemed to really be into what we’re doing, so we had a phenomenal tour — we made a lot of new fans and friends and the same thing is happening here on the Hollywood Undead tour. We’re able to follow up a national tour with Trapt with another national tour with Hollywood Undead. We’ve been able to see people we met on the Trapt tour come on this tour and just keep growing that fanbase.

Photo: Nick Bynum

And is this your first time playing at Irving Plaza in New York City?

First time at Irving. We played over at the Gramercy a couple of times before, but yeah. It’s a really cool venue.

So you’re also touring all across the country. Is it great to see fans from all over the place showing up to these shows and is there a different feeling to each city you go to?

Yeah, definitely. There is. Every night you never know what to expect. You never know what the energy level is and how you’ll need to push to get people to hopefully like your band and what you’re doing. We sort of get one 30-minute shot to get a new fan or new friend every night, so you never know what to expect. The stage is different, the venue is different, so you just go after it and hope for the best. It’s been going really well so far and it’s exciting to see a new stage every night.

Is there a certain venue that stands out to you right now?

We just came from the House of Blues in Boston and it’s massive. All of the House of Blues nationwide are just ridiculously cool, and in Boston they were wicked cool. That was just awesome. The crowd was super alive and the venue is just so cool. That one really sticks right now.

Yeah, I’ve been to the House of Blues in Texas and it’s just a different experience.

It is. It is. It’s just so cool.

Last question: what are your plans after you finish this tour?

After this tour, we’re going to head out on a headlining tour. That’ll be across the Southeast and Midwest, and then I know we’ve got another national tour planned after that. The rest of the year will be tour, tour, tour, staying in the bus, and then hopefully during winter break we’ll get a chance to get into the studio, get some of the ideas that we’ve got formulating tracked down, and then start getting a new album together.

Pick up 3 Pill Morning’s latest album, Black Tie Love Affair.

For the band’s upcoming tour dates, check out their Facebook page.