January 14, 2016 Interview – Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down
In the 2000s Rock-n-Roll era, there have been a handful of bands which have sustained longevity as powerhouse acts. One that comes to mind is a band out of Escatawpa, Mississippi named 3 Doors Down who blasted onto the scene in the dawn of the 21st century with their debut album, The Better Life. Anchored by singles like “Loser” and, of course, “Kryptonite,” the album has since attained six times platinum status. An amazing feat for such a young band, they proved to be more than a one and done act as they followed up with four more chart-topping records in the years to follow, lastly being 2011’s Time Of My Life. Now in March of 2016, 3 Doors Down return with a long overdue and highly anticipated new record, Us and the Night. Perhaps a surprise to the less in-tune listener who has not kept up on the band’s affairs over the last few years, who may even thought 3 Doors Down was done, Lead Singer/Lyricist Brad Arnold and company are set to prove them wrong. Recently we caught up with the humble vocalist for a closer look into the past few years of 3 Doors Down, the process behind Us and the Night, the importance of family, plans for 2016, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – Last we spoke, back in 2014, 3 Doors Down was amidst an acoustic tour, and the band has kept themselves busy on the road since. How would you describe the last couple years?
Brad Arnold – The last couple of years have been pretty busy. It has been a while since we put out a record. In a previous interview I did recently, I was asked, “Where have you been?” Sometimes it seems like you have gone away because you are not playing in a city their city this week, but we have been touring. It has been a while since we put a record out, so it makes this new one exciting. We have just been playing a lot of shows, staying busy, and going out there and seeing our fans.
CrypticRock.com – Exactly, as you stated, you have kept yourselves busy and been on the road. You have done some really unique things such as the acoustic tour a couple of years ago. The band has been getting out there and letting the fans know you are still alive and well.
Brad Arnold – Absolutely, I will get online and, every now and then, read comments on YouTube. I know it’s weird, but every time I will come across a comment where they say, “Man I miss this band, I wish these guys were still around,” I think to myself, “Hey, we are here! Here I am, I did not go anywhere.” (laughs)
CrypticRock.com – (laughs) It is often interesting to read that kind of thing. The band, like any, has had bumps in the road; it comes with the territory of being in a Rock band. Yourself and Chris withheld, the lineup has seen an overhaul since 2012. You had said in the past, this current lineup is strong as friends and as a musical unit. What has been the key to uniting a new found chemistry with this group of guys?
Brad Arnold – I think we just all get along. If there is one key, I think everyone in this band right now realized just how blessed we are to be in this band. When we are amongst a group of guys, to be sitting where they are sitting, myself included, I am incredibly thankful to be sitting right where I am. If that is the case, then you can move forward as a team. We all have a common goal. We all want to get out there and be successful, play Rock-n-Roll, and have some fun. I think that all starts with realizing you are blessed to be able to do it.
CrypticRock.com – Right, keeping yourself in the perspective to know where you came from and where you are going. You have to keep yourself grounded.
Brad Arnold – That is right. On that front of keeping yourself grounded, I am incredibly thankful of my family, my wife, and for all the people that remind me, “Hey, you get to play that guy up there on stage, but you are still Brad.” My brothers and sisters have always reminded. They do not mean it in a beat you down type of way, they mean it in a whether you win or lose type of way.
CrypticRock.com – That is a good mindset to have, it makes you appreciate things for sure. As stated, 3 Doors Down has been touring, but it has been five years now since Time of My Life. You will in fact be releasing Us and the Night in March. What was the writing and recording process like for this album?
Brad Arnold – This one was kind of a long process. We did not really push it, I do not mean that in a lazy way. We just kind of stepped back, and in a way, started over. We approached this record, especially with the new guys, like a new band. Went went in there and we were all kind of unsure. Not in a bad way, but in let’s write a song kind of way. In a way, we kind of started over and had fun with it.
CrypticRock.com – Sometimes that can be intimidating, and sometimes it can be refreshing. It seems the band has a good approach to that task. You had mentioned in the past, this new mix of musicians has brought new flavors to the table, and you have sprinkled in a new track here and there in your live sets the past couple of years. With that said, do you feel like it is long overdue that 3 Doors Down put out a full-length record, and is a relief to finally have the work written, recorded, and ready for release?
Brad Arnold – I cannot tell you how much of a relief that this record is done (laughs). We talked about putting it out, sitting there talking to friends and fans, we were saying, “It is going to be done this year.” I was saying that two years ago (laughs). We did not want to do it until it was ready, now it is ready. I am so excited for people to hear this record. I hope they all like it, because I like it a lot. I think people will. It is a relief to know we did it. Of all the uncertainties, variables, and ups and downs, we did it. It turned out good. I am excited, relieved, and more excited again!
CrypticRock.com – One can imagine it has to be extremely exciting. With 3 Doors Down, each album has seen a progression, from The Better Life (2000) to Away from the Sun (2002), up until Time Of My Life (2011). Each record has been a little different. With this new group of guys, give us an idea of what fans can expect from the sound of this new record?
Brad Arnold – It is hard for me to describe because each song goes all over the place. This record is really all over the place. That has been the hardest part for me, describing exactly what it is. Except for saying, it was fun. I think, as you listen to this record, people will get it. They will get where we are coming from. It was a lot of fun to record these songs. They were fun to write, they may not be quite as introspective or deep in some ways as other songs we have written before, but it was time to reel that back a little bit. I think me, as a lyricist, I think I was getting a little too deep sometimes. Some people might read that statement and say, “Dude, your songs are not that deep.” Well for me they were, the lyrics are a reflection of what you are feeling a lot of times. This one is more about jamming and getting back in a band. We just had fun with it.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, so it sounds to be more of straight ahead Rock-n-Roll, which should be exciting for everyone to listen to. Your lyrics in the past have been pretty deep, regardless of what some others may think. You approached topics we all feel, human struggles we all face. Struggles such as being away from home and family. It is hard to be away from home and your family. What are some of the more important valuable lessons you have learned through these years of being away from home, and how do you apply that to your life now?
Brad Arnold – It has taught me to appreciate every minute I am here with my wife. I live on a farm and my wife raises horses, therefore, I work with those horses a lot. We don’t have anyone who comes out here and works with us. I go out there, clean stalls, and feed the horses in the morning. For a little while, I felt, “Man, I am sitting here cleaning this horse stall,” but, the more you do it, and the more time you are away from home for longer, it makes you appreciate coming home and cleaning the horse stall. I know it sounds dumb, but that is a valuable time of day, for just going out there and walking in the stall of those horses and giving them a hug, or walking in the room with my wife and giving her a hug. Knowing that she is there for me to hug her, kiss her, and tell her I love her. Also, to be able to tell it to her face, rather than tell her over the phone. It makes you appreciate in real life how important your time at home is and the time you get to spend with people you love.
CrypticRock.com – It is important to find that balance. Believe it or not, it has been twenty years for 3 Doors down, so you have clearly found that balance. It looks like 2016 is going to a big year for the band, with the new record and some more touring. You are playing festivals such as Carolina Rebellion, and some headlining shows as well.
Brad Arnold – We will be. I am looking forward to those festivals. We are still laying out the main structure of the tour, I think it is going to be kicked up. I am really looking forward to those festivals, those are going to be a lot of fun. I also look forward to our headlining tours, who we get to take out there with us, and getting out there to have fun. Every one is like a new chapter. Actually, every one is almost like a new book, not just a chapter. I look forward to getting out there and writing a new book.
CrypticRock.com – Great to hear. These Rock festivals you are playing are a great idea. You mentioned earlier how some fans are saying they wished 3 Doors Downs are still around. Here you will be playing with some of the newer Hard Rock bands, and people will see 3 Doors down is here too.
Brad Arnold – I will promise you one thing, when we go play those festivals, people will be reminded that we are still right here. I promise you.
CrypticRock.com – Well that will be extremely exciting for everyone to see. My last question for you is pertaining to movies. CrypticRock.com covers music and Horror films. Since we spoke last, have you seen any new Horror films that you enjoyed lately.
Brad Arnold – I remember talking about that. I watched the new Poltergeist (2015) the other night, but I did not like it as much. I mean, it was good, but we saw Poltergeist (1982) when we were kids and it scared the crap out of you. I guess I missed the old lady in the original saying, “Caorl Anne.” (laughs)