3 Doors Down has been rolling with a mighty big punch this year.
On April 20, bassist and co-founder Todd Harrell was arrested on charges of vehicular manslaughter in Tennessee stemming from an accident that killed another man. Harrell is free on $100,000 bail and is going through rehab, with a trial date set for July 23. And that's put something of a weight on the group as it tours to promote 2012's "Greatest Hits" album.
"(Harrell) is just in my prayers, y'know?," says group frontman Brad Arnold, who co-founded 3 Doors Down with Harrell in Escatawpa, Miss. "That's my brother, and he always will be. There's never been a time in my life that I don't remember knowing him, and he actually sent me a text a couple days ago and it had been awhile since I talk to him. And he said he was doing really good and he wished he was here, obviously.
"There's nothing really good I can say about it. It's very unfortunate, and my heart goes out to everybody involved. All I can do is just say a prayer for him, man. Beyond that it's out of my hands, and I wish him the best."
Harrell has been replaced for the time being by Justin Biltonen, who Arnold says has been "doing great" since stepping into the band -- though it's unclear whether Biltonen will join permanently or is just filling in until Harrell's legal issues are sorted out.
"Justin played with a band called The Campaign 1984, so we knew him and we knew he could play, and, boy, he can jam," says Arnold, who's planning to record a country solo album before making 3 Doors Down's next studio set. "We knew we could get along with him 'cause he's a really cool guy. For the most part he doesn't say a lot, but he's pleasant to be around.
"And when he gets on stage he looks good and all the girls like him. They're looking up at him all googly eyed and stuff, 'cause he's a little younger than us. So that's OK, too. Really, couldn't ask for him to be doing any better, and I'm really impressed with how the band sounds now."
3 Doors Down, Daughtry and Ed Kowalczyk perform at 7 p.m. Monday, July 22, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $55 and $39.50 pavilion, $20 lawn with a $60 lawn four-pack. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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