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THREE at Howiee's

The degrees of musical separation between Medford's THREE and large international acts are small. Members of the trio — with Mike E. Hicks on drums and vocals, J.D. Berlingeri on bass and vocals and Michael Sidon on guitars and vocals — have shared stages with such bands as The Goo Goo Dolls, Eric Johnson, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Bad Company and others.

From vastly different places — Hicks is from Louisiana, Berlingeri is from New Jersey and Sidon was born in Germany and raised in Thailand — all eventually relocated to Southern Oregon.

In 2005, Sidon set out to start up a new band, having not played in nearly five years. He posted ads in local music stores seeking a drummer and began seeing a nearly identical ad from Hicks seeking a guitarist. After they met and jammed, Hicks recommended that they bring Berlingeri into the fold. The trio quickly related to each other and formed THREE.

“We jammed maybe 23 or 25 songs in a row,” Sidon says. “It's really been brilliant ever since.”

The group is working on songs and hopes to head into the studio in the next couple months to record an album. In the meantime, THREE will take the stage at 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Howiee's On Front, 16 N. Front St., Medford. There is no cover charge.

The members have extensive musical resumes that span many genres. Hicks was a part of the original reggae scene in Austin, Texas, while Berlingeri toured the world in a bluegrass band. Sidon's father was in the armed forces and would emcee for jazz clubs while the family moved around the world.

“I listened to a lot of armed forces radio, and it was about the same time The Beatles and The Rolling Stones hitting the states and getting radio play.”

Hearing The Beatles, then later Black Sabbath, was the catalyst, Sidon says.

“The Who are my biggest influence,” Sidon says. “Tommy and Quadrophenia blew me away.”

He says it was simple to figure out what direction to take THREE.

The fact is evident when THREE plays. The power that often described The Who is present in THREE's live show, which Sidon attributes entirely to his rhythm section.

“As far as my musical history goes as a band leader, it's limited compared to these guys,” Sidon says. “There's a space that you need to be able to play in as a bassist, and J.D. knows how to play in that space. Mike E. is a world-class drummer, these guys have really been a gift to me.”

The group plays mostly cover songs with some originals, but keep their own stamp on whatever they play.

“When we play covers, we play them agressively. We'll play Elvis and it doesn't sound like how Elvis played it,” says Sidon.