Interview with Brad Arnold & Chris Henderson of 3 Doors Down
One of the most successful and popular rock bands in the last 20 years will perform an intimate concert this weekend as 3 Doors Downs brings their “Songs From the Basement Tour” to the historic Jefferson Theatre on Saturday, Aug. 30.
You might have seen them before with a full-blown massive touring rig, but this isn’t your average rock concert. The boys of Mississippi are stripping down — not literally, but musically — by giving you their best songs acoustically in very quaint, smaller theatre settings, which is something bands this popular rarely do.
The band formed in 1996 and instantly saw massive success with their very first single, “Kryptonite,” off their debut album The Better Life, which also featured “Loser,” “Duck and Run” and “Be Like That.”
Fans flocked to record stores, and the album sold more than 6 million copies, making it the 11th best selling record in 2000.
The sophomore release titled Away From The Sun picked up where The Better Life left off, selling another 4 million units thanks to the hits “The Road I’m On,” “Here Without You” and their fourth No. 1 single, “When I’m Gone.” The band filmed the video to “When I’m Gone” aboard the USS George Washington in Norfolk, Virginia, in 2003.
Before a third record hit the market, 3 Doors Down released an EP called Another 700 Miles that featured seven songs, including a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover of “That Smell.” The EP was recorded live from Chicago in 2003, and even that release was a success with more than 500,000 copies purchased.
Seventeen Days was released by Universal Records in 2005 and was their first No. 1 album on the Billboard chart. Another platinum seller, this record featured “Let Me Go,” “Behind Those Eyes” and “Landing in London.”
Also that year, Away from the Sun: Live from Houston, Texas DVD was released to give the fans something different to wet their appetites.
Their fourth project, a self-titled album that was released in 2008, caught attention outside the musical world when the song “Citizen/Soldier” was used in conjunction with the National Guard to help recruitment and used on several NASCAR vehicles driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart.
3 Doors Down’s newest material came in 2011 with Time of My Life followed by their first Greatest Hits record that featured a new single, “One Light.”
Vocalist Brad Arnold and guitarist Chris Henderson joined me for a conversation about what Southeast Texans can expect from an acoustic show and the band playing in Japan at Kadena Air Base for the American troops.
How did the acoustic show come about?
We are in between records at the moment. We did the “Greatest Hits,” toured on it. Not that it was time for new music, but time for a new 3 Doors Down, if that makes sense. People have seen our show where we shoot fire, and have the big video screens and all that good stuff, but we wanted to show people that we weren’t done and were capable of other things. We started thinking about a different type of show, and the acoustic thing really came out by accident. We did one acoustic show in Nashville, and the feedback was astounding.
That show in Nashville went off great and the feeling was mutual with everyone in the band. So we thought we should do an entire acoustic tour. We’ve had so much fun on this tour, so have the fans so much so that we had to keep adding dates.
What can fans expect from this type of show?
It’s an intimate show. We want the fans to think they are watching band practice, but of course it’s not literally practice. We set the stage up like it’s a basement with couches and other things, and fans sit on those couches on stage and watch the show. We don’t have a full set of drums, but there is percussion. Fans get to see how these songs are written. Whether the song is heavy or not, we have always believed that writing songs acoustically are best for us. You get a chance to hear how the songs sounded before they were produced with all the bells and whistles added. Plus we tell some jokes and cut up. It’s a great experience unlike any concert they have been to.
It’s not a stand up and shout at your buddy rock show. We are literally playing our songs the way they were originally written. These songs are usually written with acoustic guitars in my studio.
With so many hits, how do you pick a set list?
We play the songs everyone expects to hear. Some of the songs the fans suggest on social media and some are real old and haven’t played in years, so we have to practice, but we mix it up.
Most of your songs have become timeless classics. Why do you think those early songs have been able to have this much longevity?
It’s hard to put a finger on it, but I guess we have always wanted to write songs that people can identify with. We don’t want to write songs about being boastful, nasty stuff or even pickup trucks. I want to write songs about life, things I’ve gone through or what I’ve seen others go through. We all live different lives but different situations bring us to the same feelings within us. If you write a song that is connected to those emotions and leave it open ended, people can apply it to their own lives and relate to it in their own way. Those feelings are timeless and never go away. Quite honestly, I thought the songs were going to be big, but had no clue they would still be relevant today. I’m incredibly thankful and grateful that they have.
You guys have military ties. Chris, you were in the Navy, plus 3DD has been very supportive of our troops. Soon you will be playing in Japan for those guys. How pumped are you about the trip?
It’s a humbling experience. When you perform a concert, you get a great feeling being on stage singing in front of all your fans. When you perform in front of the troops, you feel like a little boy. They have done so much for us, and I couldn’t be more proud to get to play in front of them. We will also support and love those men and women of the armed forces.
I’m stoked. I was in the Navy for a long time, and some of the servicemen I was friends with are now working over there for different companies. I get to see these people after 20 years and get to do some military stuff. I know how important it is to bring a little bit of home over to them. They are away from friends, family and their homes, and on top of that you are stationed in another country. That’s like being on another planet, and you can get a lost feeling. It’s a big deal when performers from America go over and perform. It’s really important to us.
Tickets are $65-$35 and can purchased at the Beaumont Civic Center box office, online at ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Event information can be obtained online at discoverbeaumont.com.