May 15, 2018 Interview – Chris Henderson of 3 Doors Down
Over the course of the past 20 years, a lot of trends have come and gone, but a constant in Rock music has always been 3 Doors Down. Initially formed in Escatawpa, Mississippi, 3 Doors Down would quickly go from small town boys to international Rock-n-Roll stardom at the hands of their 2000 mega hit “Kryptonite.” Sending them into a whirlwind that perhaps they were not prepared for, fortunately, thanks to dedication and persistence, they have remained at the top of their game in the years that followed.
Touring the world, selling millions of records, and becoming a household name, the most important aspect of it all is the memories they share together. Set to hit the road for an outstanding summer tour with Collective Soul and Soul Asylum, there is still plenty left in the tank for 3 Doors Down as they look toward the future. Recently, co-founding Guitarist Chris Henderson took the time to chat about the band’s ride, plans for new music, performing live, plus more.
CrypticRock.com – Last we spoke with Brad back in 2016, 3 Doors Down was just about to release Us and the Night. That in mind, the band has continued to find success through dedication and hard work. For you, what has the journey been like a part of a Rock-n-Roll band?
Chris Henderson – It’s like a dream over and over again every single day. I know that sounds cliche, but that is honestly what it is. I have been able to do and see things that you could never really ever imagine – good and bad, but mostly good. I have been able to take my family along for the ride, show my kids different things and different experiences, things normal kids don’t get to see. For me, it’s really been a cool experience and I really look forward to continue to do it. I can’t wait for this new tour to kick off!
CrypticRock.com – Yes, and 3 Doors Down has done some great tours over the years. There has to be a learning curve over the 2 decades of the band, that is only natural. What would you say are some of the most important things you have learned through all the ups and downs?
Chris Henderson – To be honest with you, the first lesson I ever learned in music, read the fine print. That is another cliche, but you really have to do that, believe it or not. The next one, each time you go out and play a show, each time you play, that is like a lap around a race track. Each time you make a lap, you get a little bit more experience, become a little bit better at driving, a little more efficient at turning, a little heavier on the pedal, less on the brake – you get better at what you are doing. That takes a long time for a band to really get good and solid.
I say that because when we came out with “Kryptonite,” things happened really fast. The song became really big and it kind of got bigger than we could. The song got bigger than the band could possibly be, and we were expected to be that big. It was really hard, and we were playing with bands that had been doing it for 15-20 years already. They were growing really slow, growing at the rate they were becoming popular at. They were doing it in a more comfortable way. For us, it was a bit uncomfortable… but it was exciting!
CrypticRock.com – That makes perfect sense. One thing 3 Doors Down has been very good at is not repeating themselves album after album. You look at 2000’s The Better Life and 2002’s Away from the Sun, two very different records. That trend continues with the band with each record. How important is it to you to keep the band’s sound diverse and progressing as time goes on?
Chris Henderson – It is really hard to do because you get locked into a little box of what you have done. I am just going to say it like this, you don’t really notice you didn’t do it until after 2 years after you did. You try very hard not to write the same record over and over again, but sometimes it happens. Then you go back and listen to that record, and you think it kind of had some those elements, but you realize it really didn’t. It’s kind of tricky. You have to really be careful, because you could end up writing the same song over and over again. People don’t really like when you do that, so you have to be careful.
CrypticRock.com – That has to be a challenge, especially when you have longevity like 3 Doors Down. You guys have remained very active on the road over the years, but there was a 5 year gap between 2011’s Time of My Life and 2016’s Us and the Night. Can we expect some new 3 Doors Down material sooner than later?
Chris Henderson – I think so, yes. It is a lot easier to release music, you don’t have to wait for so many other people to be involved. Honestly, we could record a song this afternoon and have it out this evening if we tried hard enough. I think you will get some new music really fast. On this tour, you are probably going to hear one new song, one we are in the process of writing right now. Right after the tour you will start hearing some new music.
CrypticRock.com – Very cool! Speaking of touring, you guys have perhaps one of the best touring bands in Rock coming out this summer when you hit the road with Collective Soul and Soul Asylum. How excited for you this run?
Chris Henderson – I am really excited! We have played a couple of shows here and there with Collective Soul over the years, but never really have done a run with them. We have been talking about it, been friends with them a really long time, and we have been trying to put it together, but it never has come to fruition.
I have never even met Soul Asylum, they have been around a long time. I am excited to get to see them play and hear those songs. That is a band that kind of shaped who I am as a musician in a way.
CrypticRock.com – It is a great bill with no let up, start to finish. You are also playing some venues you have not played in a while, right?
Chris Henderson – We are playing some we have never played and we are playing a few we haven’t played in a while. It is really cool to get back into some of these rooms we haven’t been to in a long time. You are right, you hit the nail on the head, from the time the curtain drops, to the time the lights go down at the end of the night, it is going to be song after song that you know. If you are a fan of any one of these bands, you are going to know every single song, even the ones that aren’t singles. That is a cool evening!
CrypticRock.com – It absolutely is. Three Doors Down has toured with a diverse mix of bands through the years – Lynyrd Skynyrd, Daughtry, etc. That in mind, the band is much heavier live than on the record. Do you catch some fans by surprise when they hear and see how heavy you are live?
Chris Henderson – I think so, you can see it in their face. Really, how that happens is, we write songs, we go into the studio with producers, and they record them for radio. At the end of the day, the live show is the 5 guys on the stage. You don’t get the same guitar sounds that you get from the record, you get more of me in my garage with a new amp saying, “This is killer! I can’t wait for people to hear this guitar tone.” You get the adrenaline and energy from playing the music live, it is always cool and it’s fun for us to kick it up a notch.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, you guys really do put on a strong live show. On the other side of the spectrum, the acoustic run for the band in recent years has been a wonderful treat. Beyond allowing you a chance to breakdown the songs to the root, is it an opportunity to draw a closer connection with fans?
Chris Henderson – That is exactly what it is. When you are sitting up there playing acoustic, we can talk to each other. There is no barricades, there are no 15 guys in yellow shirts that say ‘security.’ It’s a good night – you can sit and make eye contact. There is a romance that happens between the band and the crowd in any venue and any kind of show.
In an acoustic show, it is even more so, you can feel the embrace. There are moments you can feel the pure joy of the music and you do it with other people, that is what the acoustic show is for us. I can’t wait to do it again!
CrypticRock.com – It really is a fun show. There are a lot of different aspects which are interesting such as, you have a couch on stage, it feels like a living room setting. Also, some fans have the chance to sit in that ‘living room’ on stage!
Chris Henderson – Yes, we are doing that this summer too, we are going to put a stage riser on stage. Some fans will be up there with us while we are playing a full on electric show, I don’t think we have ever done that before.
CrypticRock.com – Wow, that should be pretty intense too. You said we should expect some new music sooner than later. As a songwriter, do you have some riffs and licks you are working on?
Chris Henderson – We actually do. It’s really cool, it’s a lot more Rock-n-Roll than it has ever been. It’s fun and no holds barred. Like I said before, we are not really trying to do anything specific, we are just letting it happen. It’s really cool and refreshing.
CrypticRock.com – That is something to look forward to. As you stated, it is easier to release music when you want with the technology we have now. Let’s talk influences, it has been said you are in fact a pretty big Metal fan, and absolutely love Iron Maiden’s 1984 Powerslave record. Tell us a little bit about some of your influences?
Chris Henderson – I grew up in Mississippi. Mississippi is a hotbed for guitar players, but not a hotbed for people that can get music – especially the age I grew up in. I grew up way out in the country. We didn’t have MTV. We didn’t have print, and we didn’t a radio station that played Rock music. I was only allowed to get my hands on what I wandered across through parents, other friends, or friend’s brother and sisters’ record collection.
That is how I got my music. I was in a tight little box – I listened to what people in my county and down at the end of my road listened to only. I didn’t really get exposed to new music until later. My first guitar influences was Lynyrd Skynyrd, exclusively. That, Rush, Led Zeppelin, etc.
The thing about that Iron Maiden record, I listened to that Powerslave record over and over again for the course of about 2 years. That and the Queensrÿche’s The Warning (1984) record, they were the only two records I had. I couldn’t play, I wasn’t a good enough guitar player or even imagine the things those guys were doing, especially the Maiden guys – what they were doing was so fast, so many different time signatures, etc. I wasn’t a taught musician, I was picking it up as I went, so it took me a lot longer to get.
With Skynyrd’s things, I could think, because it went slow and melodic. If you listen to “When I’m Gone,” that first solo, a reentrance solo from the first verse into the second verse, that is kind of Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute solo. It’s really slow and melodic, nothing really too fancy, wasn’t really trying to impress anybody, just was having a good time. I was just trying to channel those guitar influences, it was really cool.
CrypticRock.com – All those influences bleed through in one way or another with the riffs and guitar tones of 3 Doors Down’s music. Last question for you, if you are a fan of Horror and Sci-Fi films, do you have any favorites?
Chris Henderson – I do, I am definitely a Horror and Sci-Fi fan. With Netflix, you can kind of sniff through those Fangoria movies – the A’s, B’s, C’s. There is a movie called Dark House (2009), and I really love it. It’s a lower budget film, but it will get you if you see it, it is one of my favorites. It only got 3 stars online, but to me it’s a 5 star movie.
7/06 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheatre
7/07 Jacksonville, FL Daily’s Place
7/10 Boca Raton, FL Mizner Park Amphitheater
7/11 Tampa, FL Al Lang Stadium
7/13 Pelham, AL Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
7/14 Biloxi, MS Mississippi Coast Coliseum
7/15 Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Presented By Huntsman
7/17 Irving, TX The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
7/18 Cedar Park, TX H-E-B Center
7/20 Oklahoma City, OK The Zoo Amphitheatre
7/21 Maryland Heights, MO Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
7/24 Chicago, IL Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
7/26 Minneapolis, MN Armory
7/27 West Bend, WI Washington County Fair
7/28 Riverside, IA Riverside Casino *
8/03 Clearfield, PA Clearfield County Fair *
8/04 Kalamazoo, MI Wings Event Center
8/07 Sterling Heights, MI Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill
8/08 Huber Heights, OH Rose Music Center At The Heights*
8/10 Gilford, NH Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
8/11 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
8/14 Brookhaven, NY The Amphitheater at Bald Hill
8/16 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun *
8/18 Niagara Falls, NY Seneca Niagara Hotel & Casino *
8/19 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa *
8/21 Baltimore, MD Pier Six Pavilion *
8/22 Greensboro, NC White Oak Amphitheatre
8/24 Nashville, TN Ascend Amphitheater
8/25 Simpsonville, SC Heritage Park Amphitheatre
9/06 Lemoore, CA Tachi Palace Casino *
9/07 Las Vegas, NV Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Report *
9/08 Funner, CA Harrah’s Resort Socal *
9/11 Denver, CO Fillmore Auditorium *
9/12 Salt Lake City, UT Utah State Fair *
9/14 Mescalero, NM Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino *
9/16 Phoenix, AZ Comerica Theatre *
9/27 Cherokee, NC Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Report **
No Soul Asylum – *
The Better Live Foundation Concert – **
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