Interview: 3 Doors Down Want to Change the World

3 Doors Down is set to release its new album, "Time of My Life," on April 12. Courtesy photo.

Platinum-selling rock band 3 Doors Down gears up for, ‘Time of My Life’; talks ‘Better Life’ charity and ‘changing the world’

When does a rock band know its “made it”?

“The first time you hear your song on the radio is always a good moment,” said Todd Harrell bass player for Escatawpa, Miss., outfit 3 Doors Down.

3 Doors Down has experienced plenty of those moments. 2000’s “Kryptonite,” is the band’s breakout hit— the one that put them on the map and got them to where they are today. But since then, the guys have scored a massive catalog of omnipresent rock songs such as “Loser,” “When I’m Gone,” “Here Without You,” “Let Me Go” and “It’s Not My Time.”

Now, the hard rock band is set to release its fifth studio album, “Time of My Life,” on April 12, and the album’s first single, “When You’re Young,” is quickly shooting up the active and mainstream rock charts. Produced by Howard Benson (P.O.D., Flyleaf, Daughtry), the disc finds 3 Doors Down with new songs, more mature and hard rockin’ than ever.

The tale of 3 Doors

Chatting with Harrell is like talking with an old friend. On the phone, he’s jovial and has a way of making a reporter feel at ease seconds into the interview. He laughs constantly and doesn’t take any question too seriously.

Of course, Harrell isn’t really so average. Most average dudes aren’t platinum-selling rock stars. Most don’t have tour buses. And most don’t have millions of screaming, adoring fans, just waiting for the next round of shows.

“We have the greatest fans on the planet,” he said. “We try to write songs people can relate to in everyday life and songs that are open for interpretation, because people can get more meaning out of those songs.

“But we’re really fortunate to have those fans, and we’re not going to change anything we’re doing, and hopefully people will keep listening.”

Chances are Harrell has nothing to worry about. 3 Doors Down’s self-titled fourth studio album came out in 2008, and while most rock bands are raising the white flag by their fourth disc, 3 Doors Down entered the charts No. 1. The album’s single, “It’s Not My Time” – a straight-ahead rock ditty written about “not giving up when it’s tough, and not quitting,” Harrell said – also hit No. 1. Chalk it up to the band’s solid, post-grunge style rock ‘n’ roll.

Harrell says the success is flattering.

“We’re blessed to do what we do, we’re happy to be here, we want to stay here a long time, and we always think we can do better,” he said. “If we’ve ‘made it,’ we’re just fortunate.”

Search for a ‘Better Life’

3 Doors Down is the kind of band that doesn’t just bask in its fortune – the guys do something to give back. Case-in-point: The group is a regular visiting U.S. troops overseas.

“It’s kind of become a mission of our band to play for the troops,” Harrell said. “After seeing what those guys give up for the country – being so far away from home – it’s the least we can do. I wish more bands would do it.

“If we can bring a little bit of home to those guys who have given up so much, we’re going to do it. It’s important to us.”

The band has also kicked off, “The Better Life Foundation” (named after its platinum-selling album): a non-profit organization to help “change the lives of children and young adults with special needs,” by providing funding for organizations and hospitals to give persons with special needs a “Better Life.”

This mission statement? “Changing the world, one life at a time.”

On the road

So for a band that’s been together a decade and counting, what’s the secret to longevity? “We were always friends before we ever played in a band together,” Harrell said. “We’re a close bunch of guys, and our families know each other since we came from a small town.

“We’re all just good friends, living a dream and having as much fun as possible.”

And what do the guys do for fun on the road?

“We go find a gym to work out at everyday,” Harrell said, laughing. “Seriously – we pull into a town, get off the bus and find a gym. Then we bust up in there and work out. It sure beats sitting at a venue all day and drinking.

“We like to have fun, but we’re definitely not a crazy bunch of guys.”

-Xtra: Want more hard rock? Check out an interview with Skillet.

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Band Profiles, Features, Interviews, Music, Rock

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