BallBuster Music Logo

XXX… RELAX, IT’S ONLY A 3 KISSES INTERVIEW

I heard the name 3 Kisses for a year or two at a local music conference that I attend. But, for one reason or another, I wasn’t able to connect with them. They were at the same music conference again last year and, as luck would have it, they were set to perform at the place where I had planned to be. This was to be my first full blown experience with what 3 Kisses had to offer and, even before they finished their first song, I was hooked…and I was kicking myself over and over again for missing this band the previous years. What can I say…they were amazing. They put on a fun, high energy show and I was lovin’ every minute of it…and the rest of the crowd was going wild as well. I got to know the band at this event and through e-mail contact afterwards. I believe they have a lot of potential and instead of doing a simple review, I decided to send vocalist/guitarist Tish Meeks a few questions in order to give you a little more information on this hot, exciting, up ‘n’ coming band.

Paul Autry: Can you introduce the band and explain how you got together?

Tish Meeks: 3 Kisses was started in January 2004 by me and my husband. We started writing our own music in the late 90’s because we could never agree on what to play when we sat down to jam together. I’m Tish Meeks and I front the band and play guitar. My husband, Tony, plays guitar, sings backing vocals and plays bass synth pedals with his feet. We had no idea at the time how crazy this would all get. Josh Tallerine joined us on drums in February 2006. We live in a small town and I found him on MySpace. We auditioned him and immediately knew he was exactly what we’d been looking for. We’ve gone through multimple line up changes over the past three years and that makes it pretty difficult to get the sound really solidified. Josh brings a lot to the band, not just as a drummer but as a songwriter and performance development. We’re also working with a bass player and it looks like he’ll be coming on board full time after the first of the year. That will take a little pressure off Tony, although the pedals will not disappear entirely.

Paul Autry: You have two releases…tell us about them and, also, how has the band grown from release to release?

Tish Meeks: We actually started recording our first release, “Wings,” in November 2003, before 3 Kisses was even established. I engineered it on a Roland VS1880 in our house with no prior engineering experience, mind you. Tony played bass on that album and we got our first drummer in January 2004. His name was Bryan Breaux and he’s a fabulous musician and a great guy. He came in and laid drum tracks for us in February. He stayed with us until May and left when we found a permanent drummer. Bryan plays in lots of bands and we wanted someone who could be committed to our project. We’re still very good friends, though. It was definitely an unconventional way to record an album. But, it worked pretty well considering. It makes me laugh now to think about it. I had no idea how utterly clueless I was about the whole prrocess. I just forged ahead anyway. By the time we recorded “It All Comes Down To Me,” I’d learned enough to know I didn’t want to engineer my own project. Our sound has evolved a lot since recording “Wings,” but, we were still searching for a real direction. We had every intention of recording the second album “right”.” However, that fell apart too when we decided to release our current rhythm section from 3 Kisses right after recording was completed. It just wasn’t a good fit and there was too much turmoil. We didn’t want to move forward with members who lacked the professionalism we demand. Josh turned up right away and he did a hell of a job coming in and laying drums over what we’d already done. We also had our engineer, John Ameland, lay new bass tracks. He’s the guy who we’re hoping to add as a permanent fixture to the band. It had been awhile since we released an album. So, I pushed this one out. In hindsight, it would have probably been best just to scrap everything after Josh came on board and start from scratch. But, then again, I never follow the rules.

Paul Autry: I believe I’ve mentioned this before. But, “It All Comes Down To Me” has kind of an indie pop/rock/garage vibe to it. However, when I saw you live, you had a more straight forward, hard rock sound. I think I even went as far as to say that you gave off a punk vibe as well because your vocal style, at times, brought Wendy O. Williams to mind. So, my question is…why the big difference between what’s on the disc and what you do in concert?

Tish Meeks: Yeah, we’re working on that. It’s been very frustrating because we haven’t had a lot of continuity with the live show. Going through half a dozen bass players and drummers hasn’t helped matters any, either. The good news is, while we were on tour this past summer, we spent a lot of time on the road brainstorming about our musical direction and the future development of the band. We’ve been writing like maniacs and we have plans to record a third album soon after the first of the year. We’re going to take a little more time with this one, get the right producer and really work to capture that live sound in the studio. Our genre is Texas Party Punk…that pretty much sums it up.

Paul Autry: Will you be re-recording any of the tunes from your previous releases to update the style/sound or will you leave those songs as they are?

Tish Meeks: Absolutely. At some point, we will re-record “Wandering,” “Wings,” “Undone” and “Seek Your Own Way” from “Wings” and there is already talk of re-recording “Girls’ Night” for our third CD. I’m sure we’ll revisit other songs from “It All Comes Down To Me” as well. But, we’re also writing a lot of kick ass new material and want to get it out there. The biggest problem we face now is trying to keep the song count down to a reasonable number.

Paul Autry: How does a 3 Kisses song come together?

Tish Meeks: I write 95% of the lyrics, maybe more. Tony has written some lyrics and Josh is a writer too. We usually sit down and hash out the lyrics, regardless who’s written them, until we’re happy with the flow and the message. Most of the time, the lyrics come first and then Tony and I create a melody around the lyrics. Occasionally, a song comes together all at once. It’s really never the exact same process twice. One thing we don’t do is “effort” a song. If we have some free time to sit down and write, if nothing comes to us right away, we move on to something else. You’re most creative when you are relaxed and if we find ourselves getting frustrated, it’s time for a break.

Paul Autry: What are your musical influences?

Tish Meeks: How much time do you have? We have a TON of influences. I have very eclectic tastes and Tony and Josh are pretty open minded too. Collectively, as a band, our favorite band is Bowling For Soup. We can listen to them over and over and never get tired of ’em. Tom Petty & Brian Wilson are both genius songwriters. They’re a big influence for both me and Tony. The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, a lot of the older stuff really. I don’t consider any current artists influences in the songwriting process. We really look at classic rock and take it and put our own unique spin on it. We’re not trying to sound like, look like or be anyone else. We’re all kind of goofy, dorky misfits and we like it that way. We have a lot of fun, not a lot of drama and really make the most out of life. We’re not trying to be the cool kids, we could never pull it off anyway. Guys like Andrew WK and Neal McCoy are influences when it comes to performance. I like to go to live shows and be entertained in a unique way. I own about 4000 CD’s and pretty much all of them have influenced me in some way.

Paul Autry: What are your thoughts on file sharing?

Tish Meeks: I think if people become true fans, they are going to buy your music. Even if they can get it for free, they know that in order for you to continue making the music, you’ve got to make a living. If the fans believe in you, they are going to support you. I’d rather someone be listening to my song for free than not listening at all. I don’t create music to horde it. Sure, we want to make a living like everyone else. But, the music is being made to be listened to. Doesn’t matter how great it is if no one hears it.

Paul Autry: What’s the music scene like in your area?

Tish Meeks: We live halfway between Austin and Houston. So, we’re in a great location. There are a lot of opportunities in both cities. We also play in San Antonio regularly and we’re breaking into the Dallas scene. I think a lot of any music scene is what you make of it. There are a lot of live music venues in Austin. But, there are also a lot of bands. The more work you do to promote your band, shows and the venues where you play, the more success you’re going to find. It’s all incremental, too. If you expect things to happen fast, you’re going to be disappointed. I love our scene, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. No matter where you are, there’s going to be a lot of hard work involved to create that mysterious and often elusive “buzz.”

Paul Autry: Since I know you travel a lot, do you have any interesting road stories you could share with us?

Tish Meeks: Here’s a couple. We showed up at Sam Ash in Cincinnati on our tour last year and Will Adler from Lamb Of God just happened to be signing autographs in the store. He jumped up abruptly and the store rep announced that he had to get going because he was running late for sound check for their show that evening. I called out to Will and said, “Hey, man, I know you’re running late. But, we’re a Sam Ash and Jagermeister band, could we get a quick picture with you?” He stopped in his tracks, turned and casually walked back over. It was like, he suddenly had all the time in the world. We got the picture and he was just a super cool guy. My other story takes place at Otto’s Shrunken Head in NYC. We get on stage and there’s a good crowd. We played a couple of songs then Frank Wood, the talent buyer, comes running up on stage. We’re thinking, “Oh, shit…what did we do? He hates us!” Frank grabs the mic and asks the crowd if they like 3 Kisses. Everyone cheers. He asks them again. The cheers grow louder. He said, “Good…you’d better enjoy seeing them here while you have the chance because the next time they come to NYC, they’re going to be playing much bigger venues!” Tony, Josh and I all breathed a sigh of relief. We all thought we were going to be kicked off the stage and out of the club.

Paul Autry: As I’m sure you remember, the night I got to see you live, you were part of the GoGirls Music showcase. How did you get involved with them and how have they helped the band?

Tish Meeks: We’ve been involved in GoGirls for close to three years now. I saw a sticker at The Rhythm Room in Houston when we played a show thre and wondered what GoGirls was all about. I checked out the website and signed us up as elite members right away. Eventually, I wound up consulting Madalyn Sklar for some marketing advice. She was pretty impressed with what I’d already done on my own. We ended up getting selected to play the GoGirls Showcase at MMC9 and, oddly enough, had to travel all the way to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania before we ever caught up with Madalyn in person. This is funny because she lives about an hour away from us. We recognized each other instantly from our pictures and had a spontaneous brainstorming session up in our hotel room. We just hit it off instantly. Madalyn knows how hard we work and really, I think, she liked us right off the bat because she got to see us in action at a music conference. Not just performing. But, networking, taking notes, asking questions. After that, she started sending all kinds of opportunities our way. We’ve played tons of GoGirls showcases all over and I’m sure there will be many more to come. Madalyn recently presented us with the opportunity of a lifetime when she suggested we submit for a tv show. We can’t discuss the details at this time. But, 3 Kisses will be seen on national television in the near future. We owe so much of our success to Madalyn. I just can’t say enough good things about her and GoGirls Music.

Paul Autry: Since this was brought up in one of our previous conversations, let’s talk about your endorsements. Can you tell us a little about what you’ve got going on there?

Tish Meeks: First of all, endorsements are not usually very easy to get, especially in the begining. I’ve taken the time to design a special press kit along with a formal proposal that I send out to companies we’re interested in patnering with. Then, it takes a lot of follow up and building up band accomplishments so that you have something tangible to offer a company. It’s not about what they can do for you, it’s about what you can do for them. If you make it all about you, then forget it. Why would they want to give you free stuff? We promote all of our sponsors aggressively. It’s definitely a symbiotic relationship, as it should be. Our list is growing rapidly these days. Daisy Rock Guitars was our first sponsor and we’ve been with them since March of 2005. We’ve also had long term relationships with Sam Ash Music Stores and Dirtbag Clothing. We also landed the official Jagermeister sponsorship deal earlier this year and our mor recent endorsements include Paul Reed Smith guitars, Knucklehead Strings, Old Dog Products and WB Custom Guitar Pickups. Organizations such as GoGirls Music, Music Gorrilla and Texas Independent Musicians sponsor our tours. You can visit our sponsors here: daisyrockguitars.com, samashmusic.com, dirtbagclothing.com, jagermusic.com/3kisses, prsguitars.com,knuckleheadstrings.com, olddogproducts.com, wbpickups.com, gogirlsmusic.com, musicgorilla.com, texasindependentmusicians.com.

Paul Autry: It’s no secret that I’m rather fond of a drink called Red Death. But, what about you? When it’s time to party, what kind of liquid pleasure does 3 Kisses like to indulge in?

Tish Meeks: Well, of course, Jagermeister, baby!!! We earned that sponsorship. We drink enough of the stuff. Miller Lite is the 3 Kisses beer o’ choice. We have a kegerator in our garage. So, there’s always Jager and frosty mugs in the freezer and Miller Lite down below.

Paul Autry: How big of a role does the internet play in spreading the word about 3 Kisses?

Tish Meeks: I market us pretty aggressively on the internet. We’re on close to 100 sites, I’d say. It gets rather involved keeping everything updated. But, the more exposure you get online, the more opportunity to build a worldwide fan base. We have hardcore fans all over. Not just the US. But, internationally. It’s extremely important to have a strong web presence. Just Google 3 Kisses and you’ll be overwhelmed with places to find us. CD Baby is also great for distribution. In the age of the disappearing CD and rise of digital downloads, it’s great to have a company who gets your music out to 50 plus digital download sites. On our official website, you can listen to clips of all our songs and then click the link at the bottom for whichever company you wish to purchase a song from. I love the internet.

Paul Autry: Let’s talk about the band members for a moment. In your opinion, what does each member bring to the table?

Tish Meeks: First and foremost, we are a team. We work very well together and everyone has a say. I’m the band leader because it’s necessary to have one. But, Tony and Josh have a lot of input. We all write together and we constantly brainstorm on how to improve our songwriting and our live show. We are a constant work in progress. 3 Kisses will never be “good enough.” We won’t ever stop working to improve. I write music and lyrics. Tony writes mostly music. But, lyrics occasionally. Josh is writing more and more lyrics all the time. Everyone brings a lot of ideas to the table.

Paul Autry: What do the members of 3 Kisses do when they’re not making music?

Tish Meeks: For the time being, Tony is the breadwinner. He is the administrator of a sospice and works 40 hours a week on top of being a rock star, husband, dad and wearing a number of other hats. Josh also has a part time job and he recently moved back in with us. That cuts all our expenses and makes it very easy to write, rehearse and discuss band business. When we’re not working, which is most of the time, we enjoy hanging out with friends, enjoying some intoxicating beverages.

Paul Autry: When you look back at all the band has done in the past, what are some of the things you’re most proud of?

Tish Meeks: I’m most proud of our persistance and dedication. We’ve made a lot of sacrifices, had a lot of obstacles to overcome and we haven’t let anything get us down. We’ve had people come right out and say “you guys suck” and we say to them “THANK YOU!” Without those people who think you suck, you’re not going to have people who love you. The worst thing in the world that can happen to a band is mediocrity. When some people love you and some people hate you, that’s when you really know you’re on to something. I’m also proud of the fact that we’re not just in this for ourselves. We love to help other musicians and when something good happens for us, we love to bring all the other bands and artists who’ve supported us along for the ride. Being humble and grateful is so important. I’ve met a lot of artists I respect and some of them are totally down to earth while others are arrogant assholes. No matter how much I may like their music, I find it very hard to continue spending my hard earned money on their CD’s and concerts when they have no appreciation for me as a fan. I don’t EVER want to be like that.

Paul Autry: Looking to the future, what would you like 3 Kisses to accomplish?

Tish Meeks: I want us to be able to pursue our passion full time. Right now, we still struggle financially and we’re still working very hard to prove ourselves, both to the fans and the industry. I’m not saying we want a major label deal, that’s still up for debate. But, we do want to be able to make a good living at this. It’s not about the fame or riches. But, about being able to do what you love without distractions and fear that you can’t make the mortgage or support your family. With the new year upon us, we will be sitting down in the next few days, establishing a marketing plan and setting goals for 2007. Right now, we’re just throwing around ideas. But, we’ll have a solid game plan in place very soon.

Paul Autry: Before we wrap this up, can you tell us something about the band that we probably don’t know?

Tish Meeks: We don’t like to brag about it. But, Josh is actually a superhero.

Paul Autry: Final comments?

Tish Meeks: Gotta give a shout out to all our supporters. There are a lot of people who have believed in 3 Kisses and supported us through the ups and downs. It may sound cheesy. But, it’s such a large thing to us…to have others who share our vision and believe. Yeah, you fall into that category too, Paul. Thank you for everything!

http://www.3kisses.com http://www.myspace.com/3kisses