Since we last saw 3 Doors Down, two of the rock band’s members have been divorced and three suffered extensive damage to their homes in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
So why are these guys smiling?
It helps that their fourth album, a self-titled effort that came out in May, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. But more importantly, according to frontman Brad Arnold, the 11-track set reflects his band’s positive present more than the turbulence of its recent past.
“I think now we’re in kind of a brighter spot in our life,” aid Arnold, 29, who co-founded 3 Doors Down 12 years ago in Escatawpa, Miss. The group has since sold 13 million albums and, starting with 2000’s “Kryptonite,” has notched six No. 1 rock hits. It also featured a guest appearance by Bob Seger on the song “Landing in London” from 2005’s “Seventeen Days” album.
“I enjoyed writing more from that (brighter) angle now than I did from writing so much about being hopeless and not finding your way. Eventually you have to find your way or you walk in circles all your life. That’s what we wanted this (album) to reflect.”
“3 Doors Down” also comes after the longest break the group has taken during its career. During that time Arnold and bassist Todd Harrell both divorced. The homes of Harrell and guitarists Chris Henderson and Matt Roberts were all extensively damaged by Katrina. And, Arnold said, the group, which had been touring and recording non-stop since its 2000 debut, simply needed some time off.
“The first six years, we were on tour so much and played so many shows ...We were just tired, man,” Arnold explained. “I don’t think we quit or nothin’; we just had to take a little while off and go get hungry for it again.
“I bet I didn’t write a song for nine months, probably. I’ll never go that long without writing a song again. It’s really hard to get back into it.”
What Arnold did during the hiatus, however, was put his life back together.
That included a move to Nashville and a new girlfriend, which put him in a much more positive frame of mind when 3 Doors Down reconvened last in the spring of 2007 to write new songs at a rented house near Nashville — including “Citizen Soldier” for a National Guard promotional campaign — before hitting the studio with producer Johnny K.
“The kind of unique thing about us is we’ve been friends for so much longer than we’ve been a band,” Arnold noted. “Matt’s my second or third cousin; I think we played T-ball together. Todd, I’ve known him forever. So I don’t think any of us were worried about not getting back to it after some time off.”
“The band is what we do — together,” he added with a laugh. “I mean, we damn sure didn’t have anything else to do, y’know?”
3 Doors Down, Staind, Finger Eleven and Sick Puppies perform at 6:39 p.m. Wednesday (July 30) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $75 and $48.50 pavilion, $27.50 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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