By: Heidi Hopf
Around this time last year, I spoke with Cody James Wood about his solo career. This year he has settled into a full band with Justin Martyniuk (bass), Qly Howley (drums) and Cory Mercer (guitar/vocals). From where I stand it’s been quite the success! Three Legged Horse has not only become proficient at bringing Roots Rock and Country back to the Brantford bar scene, but also putting a driving force behind the already stellar original music of Cody James Wood.
It was this very thing that I wanted to discuss with Wood during our interview. How exactly does it work, bringing your own music to a group of talented and creative musicians? After talking with so many musicians in the past this seems as though it can be a tricky endeavour. Who has what level say in what and when. The infamous power struggle of rock and roll. Seems as though Wood is able to keep things on the even keel with his even temperament, desire for the collective and a healthy dose of humour.
What’s it like bringing your original songs to a full band?
How do I say this without sounding like a dictatorship [laughs]
I imagine it kinda is to an extent no?
To an extent, but I am open to other ideas. Like with Mercer we brought in some of his originals and some really good covers that he does like “Sweet Carolina.” And then when you bring in the solo stuff I do to a full band, it opens up the song more. It allows for more free play within it. I can do a lot more of the lead stuff, or focus more on singing than guitar, so it just makes it more fun. It’s not just mundane as sitting there with an acoustic guitar all the time. It’s a little more “showy” for lack of a better term.
But I try to make it so it’s not like that. I try to make it so it’s not like ya know, “The Cody Show.” Everyone brings their own influence to things. Like Justin brings a workingman’s perspective to the band. He’s committed, dedicated and works hard. And it shows in his playing! Qly, by nature, he was a metal drummer. I met him back in The Ford Plant days. When I was in a Prog band he was in an almost like a rival metal band. He used to end up on the same bill a lot of the time. He was playing guitar then I didn’t even know he could play drums. He comes from a very double kick heavy background, and now I have him playing country. [laughs]… Real Country [laughs].
Is it more gratifying working with a band?
I think so. I find it more fun. It’s more rewarding, not financially, but personally. It’s easier to let loose on stage when you have three other guys having fun with you. It’s easier to relax about it. It’s still a lot of work. There’s still the business end to things. That’s the thing with being a successful band you bridge that fine line. You gotta have so much business mind and so much creative camaraderie. So it’s walking a tight rope.
This is their band as well. That’s how I wanted it to be, a collective vehicle for the guys to bring in their creativity. That’s why I asked Cory to play because he’s a singer-songwriter like myself. He can bring in a lot and they fit the style. It’s a vehicle for him to have a band behind his stuff too. We haven’t done it yet but I do want to start writing with Qly and Justin as well. So far it’s been kinda here’s our songs, but I wanna change that and be more unified… more collective. It’s not a total autocracy.
Seeing a band that can work well together and enjoy doing it always translates on stage. The music sounds so much better when you can look up and see musicians smiling that telltale smile of approval at each other. It’s as though they are able to fuse together and create not just music together but one collective intimate experience that we as music fans are so privileged to be a part of. If you are looking for a band to rock your socks off and make ya sing your heart out to your new favourite song, while your girlfriend dances the night away, this is it.
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