September 11, 2014 Interview – Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down
The future is impossible to predict in any walk of life, and when in rock-n-roll, the horoscope is even more blurry. For Mississippi based band 3 Doors Down, their dreams became reality with the mega success of six times platinum debut record The Better Life. Now spending the last thirteen years since as one of the most successful bands in modern rock, they continue to dominate charts, tour the world, and connect with fans on a personal level. Overcoming obstacles while still reaching for the stars, 3 Doors Down now look to explore new avenues in their career taking on a intimate acoustic tour and write a new record. Recently we sat down with lead vocalist and lyrcist Brad Arnold for a personal look into the journey 3 Doors Down has been on, their plans for the future, life on the road, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – 3 Doors Down has come a long way from when you formed eighteen years ago. With the release of The Better Life in 2000 the band really took the rock world by storm and have been going strong since, touring all over the world and selling over thirteen million records over the course of five studio records. Looking back all these years later, could you have imagined the ride you and the band have been on?
Brad Arnold – Never (laughs). If you told me we would be doing all this stuff fifteen years ago I would have laughed. I am thankful to be here. We have the best fans in the world, God has really blessed us over the years, and I am just extremely thankful for it.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, it really has blossomed for you guys. As mentioned, The Better Life really was the start of something special and the core of that success flourished with the track “Kryptonite”, which is somewhat of a modern classic now. When that track began to blow up like it did, what were you and the rest of the band feeling at the time?
Brad Arnold – I think we were all just kind of beside ourselves. We really did not know what to think (laughs). I will never forget the first time we went up to Alabama/Georgia to play a show there, we were all in a van and heard it on the radio somewhere beside our home town. I think we nearly wrecked the van we were so excited (laughs).
CrypticRock.com – It really started an amazing career that is going strong. It is one thing to attain success on a debut album as 3 Doors Down did, but you have kept that going for so long now. The core of yourself and Chris Henderson has really been the backbone of the band. Tell us a little bit about the chemistry you two possess as songwriting partners.
Brad Arnold – We have always just gotten along well, always been able to sit down to write a song and come up with great licks. Sometimes lyrics will come first, but most of the time it is music first. The riffs he writes sometimes just inspires stuff in my head and is easy to work with. You cannot always sit down and write a song, you have to just kind of give the song the opportunity to be born in a way. It has just always worked out for it. It is kind of hard to put a finger on what happens, it just happens.
CrypticRock.com – Yes it really has worked out well over the years. The road has not always been easy and the band has had their share of strife just like anyone else in life. How do you approach the obstacles the band has faced, and do you feel like you are stronger than ever before now?
Brad Arnold – The band is definitely stronger than ever right now. I think the way we overcome obstacles is we all do it together. We stick together and act as a team. We have a better team and friendship right now that has not existed in this band in a long time.
CrypticRock.com – That is an extremely positive thing to hear. The band has recently been involved in an acoustic tour titled Songs From The Basement. 3 Doors Down has always tapped into the acoustic side of their sound over the years including an acoustic EP in 2005. What inspired this full blown acoustic tour?
Brad Arnold – I guess we just played acoustic here and there, but about a year ago we played acoustic in Nashville. It went over so well, the crowd liked it, and we enjoyed it, so we said why do we not just take this on tour. It is something different, you really get a chance to go up there and perform the songs as a lot of them were written. A lot of songs over the years have been on acoustic guitars; we will rock them up and do things to them later. It is just a cool set, it gives the fans a chance to sit there and hear some stories about the songs in just a chilled out environment. It is a chance you can sit there and listen without busting up against the barricades. It is a lot of fun.
CrypticRock.com – It is very intimate and very personal. How does it feel for you to be closer to your fans in that way?
Brad Arnold – It is awesome. A lot of times you get up there and perform those songs and you kind of forget what they are about. It gives a chance, not only for them to get to absorbed in the songs, but for us to kind of revisit the meanings behind all those songs. We get to reflect and talk about how the song was written, what it is about, where it was written, or some kooky story about it. It is cool like that.
CrypticRock.com – It has to be, acoustic tours are always special in that aspect. It has been three years since Time of My Life was released. The band’s sound has grown from release to release. Many fans may be pondering what the band’s next move is with an album. Can followers expect to hear some new material from the band soon, and if so what can they look forward to hearing?
Brad Arnold – We are actually writing a record right now. We always say we are going to write on tour, but we never do. The last time we were home a couple of months ago, we had some time off for more than four days, we wrote three new songs. We actually play them live on this tour. It is really cool, a couple of the songs have a little bit of a different vibe to them. They have grown, we have some new guys in the band so there are different flavors in the writing and different movements in the song, it is pretty exciting. As soon as we get off this tour we are going to get hard and heavy in the studio. We are going to try and get a record written and recorded by Christmas so we can put it out in the spring.
CrypticRock.com – That is very exciting and will be fun to hear with all the new influences. You mentioned about being on the road a lot, that has to be wearing on you. What is it like being away from home so much?
Brad Arnold – That is the hardest part of it. I love touring, I love traveling, I love getting up on stage and playing, that is what it is all about. The hard part is leaving home, I do not get to see my wife. I see her maybe five days a month when we are on tour as we are now. It is hard on me and it is hard on her. You ride in a bus every night and you wake up every morning just like if you wake up in a car you need to get your baring a little bit, it is the same way on the bus, but it is just every night like that. It does wear on you a little bit. It will be a welcomed little break when we go home, but we have five days at home and head right back out.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds like you constantly keep busy. What are some of your musical influences?
Brad Arnold – A little bit of everything. I grew up in south Mississippi and I am the youngest of seven kids so I just kind of listened to whatever my brothers and sisters were listening to. It was everything from Boston forward. As I got a little older I liked a little bit of the heavier stuff like Megadeth and Metallica. I also like a lot of country stuff, I like George Strait and Allan Jackson. I do not know how big of an influence they are, but whenever we are writing I enjoy listening to the Beatles. They are good at breaking molds of songs, they do things unexpected. I do not know if they influence me as much, but they kind of teach you.
CrypticRock.com – That is a real nice broad range of influences. My last question for you is pertaining to movies. CrypticRock.com covers music and horror films. If you are a fan of horror films what are some of your favorite horror films?
Brad Arnold – I do watch some horror movies. My wife is probably bigger into horror movies than I am. Insidious (2011) was pretty cool. Sinister (2012) was a good movie, that was pretty crazy.
CrypticRock.com – Sinister definitely was done in more of an older style, relying more on sound effects. What is your opinion of the direction of films with all the CGI effects?
Brad Arnold – It gets a little carried away sometimes. Especially when you go back and watch some older ones and you see how they pulled it off without all of that. If it is done right it is cool. The first 300 (2007), I could watch the movie and watch it again, but the second film, what were they thinking, it was so CGI.
CrypticRock.com – Yes that was kind of a disappointment. It is like you make reference to, it is about the story. If it is a good story, it is a good movie. The same goes with music. Music can be over produced as well. What matters is the song, if the song is written well, that is all that matters.
Brad Arnold – That is absolutely right. We say that about our acoustic songs. Most of these songs were written acoustically as I said earlier, not every single song, but most songs. If you cannot boil them down and play them on acoustic guitar, you have too much going on. Effects are awesome, but if it is not a good story or a good song, all the effects in the world are not going to make it a good song.