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Daughtry Finds Life Beyond "American Idol"

Of the Oakland Press

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Chris Daughtry and the band that bears his name made the journey from “American Idol” to rock ’n’ roll credibility look easy.

The quintet has sold more than 6 million copies of “Daughtry,” making it the fastest-selling debut album in SoundScan history. It’s spawned six hit singles and helped the band snare three American Music Awards and four Grammy Awards nominations.

But Daughtry considers his current road trip, opening for Bon Jovi, to be as important as any of those achievements.

“You have a very well-respected band that’s been around for as long as I can remember, and they respect us as a band and take us seriously,” says Daughtry, 28, who finished fourth in “Idol’s” fifth season and turned down an offer to be Fuel’s new frontman after the show.

“When you have people like (Bon Jovi) and Nickelback and all these other bands that are in the same class, so to speak, taking you seriously for what you do, it kinda validates what we’re doing.”

And that’s definitely the case, according to Bon Jovi guitarist Ritchie Sambora.

“Chris is unbelievable,” Sambora says. “It doesn’t seem like he needs a lot of help. He’s out making a name for himself around the world and doing a real good job. We kinda made fast friends with him.”

Daughtry, a North Carolina native who formed the Daughtry band in 2006, calls his success “a little bit of a shock.” He surmises that the fans “see us as regular dudes ... just normal guys who are doing what they’ve always wanted to do, who worked hard to get where they are. And they’re not letting it go to their heads.”

To that end, he goes to great pains to make sure people understand that Daughtry is a band, not a solo act. “I think the major- ity of the people get it,” he says. “Obviously, our fans totally get it and know it’s not a one-man show, and I think everybody else is catching on.

“We’ve tried to make sure that it’s known that it’s not just me. I’ve never been a solo artist. When the band doesn’t get the credit that they deserve, it kinda bums me out a little bit. They’re working just as hard as I am, if not more, up there. I think people get it.”

Daughtry himself stirred a bit of controversy recently by commenting that “Idol” is “in a state of decline.” But he contends that he still has great respect for the show and its role in his career.

“I think it’s a great tool for people to use,” he explains. “I don’t think it’s cheesy one bit; I think it’s cheesy if you’re gonna go on there and use gimmicks and not be yourself. But if you’re gonna go on there and you’re gonna be yourself and you think you have what it takes, I think it’s a great opportunity to show that to the world.

“People see right through that stuff; the public aren’t idiots. They’re gonna recognize something real when they see it. I think that’s part of what happened with us.”

Daughtry opens for Bon Jovi at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at The Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are $49.50-$132. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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