3 Doors Down Talk Giving Back to the Military, "Time of My Life", Looking Back on "Kryptonite" and "Iron Man"
Wed, 31 Aug 2011 11:50:36
"We've always been very supportive of the military," says 3 Doors Down singer Brad Arnold. "So it seemed like a natural thing to work with Home Depot on 'Celebration of Service'."
3 Doors Down constantly keep our servicemen and women in mind. Every time their brand new album, Time of My Life, is purchased on Home Depot's web site, $1 from the sale will be donated to benefit veterans, starting September 11, 2011. Not only do you contribute to a great cause when you buy the album on Home Depot's site, you also receive 3 Doors Down's best album yet…
On Time of My Life, Arnold and Co. seize every opportunity to evolve. From invigorating, infectious upbeat anthems to heartfelt and hypnotic ballads, Time of My Life is made up of unforgettable musical moments. It's been a decade since the band's breakout debut, The Better Life, and they've gotten better with every minute on stage and in the studio.
3 Doors Down singer Brad Arnold spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about the stories at the heart of Time of My Life, working with Home Depot, sharing a kinship with Iron Man, The Better Life Foundation, and so much more in this exclusive interview.
Can you delve into "Celebration of Service" with Home Depot?
We're partnering up with Home Depot. They have a project to refurbish and rebuild a lot of different military housing and facilities for treatment for veterans. It's to help those guys get back on their feet and back to being a part of the community—which I'm sure is hard to do coming from war or even simply being deployed somewhere away from home. Over half of the homeless in America are ex-military guys. That's a sad statistic. We feel like it's everybody's job to take care of them. That's what we're trying to do today. Home Depot is doing a great thing. From 9/11 to 11/11 [Veteran's Day], they're giving one million dollars every week to different projects. Throughout the next year, they'll have put in 30 million dollars. There are also probably 80 employees out here from this store volunteering. We're proud to be out here with them.
Time of My Life preserves the identity you've always had while showing evolution.
That's really what we were going for. I've always said and believed that you should get a little bit better every time, at least in theory [Laughs]. Over the years, we've become so much closer as a band and gained a ton of experience. We wanted to take everything up a level and do something we've never done before. We've been around for a decade, but there's always room for growth. We wanted a record that sounded great but also went back to our old sound in a way. I think Time of My Life is a mixture of our old school style and new experience. The fans really like it so I couldn't be happier.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
It is! I want to write something that somebody can identify with. They don't always have to be ten feet deep, but I want to give people something to think about. I've always written lyrics about life. People can relate to that. Maybe you can say something in a song that somebody didn't know how to communicate or they were scared to say. Once they hear it in a song, it's cool. They know they're not the only person who feels like that. These songs can be so personal to me. It's always a surprise that they can mean something else to another person but still be just as personal. That's the beautiful thing about music, and it never ceases to amaze me.
What's the story behind "My Way"?
That song is about getting tired of putting up with somebody's shit [Laughs]. The key line in that song is "I could spend my whole life waiting on your words" instead of just saying, "Screw it, I'm doing it like I want to." I think that's important for everybody at some point in their life. You can be shown examples and be taught this or that. Ultimately, it's up to you to do it the way you do it. That song is one of my favorites. I enjoy that one.
Did "Believer" immediately lend itself to the stage?
Absolutely, "Believer" is such a fun song to play live. We bust into some Judas Priest "Breakin' the Law" in the middle of it. That song came about from a guitar part. When we started writing the record, Chris brought over four or five guitar parts, and he said, "Listen to this!" I started listening, and that one stuck out to me. I took me three or four days to wrap my head around it. I thought, "This is too good not to write lyrics to." It's a story song about a dude who gets invited to a house. Things get going, but he discovers she had a man already, and he's in a bind [Laughs].
You could do a song like that as well as the more heartfelt melodic ballads.
We've always been about leaving a left turn and never really making songs that you don't have somewhere to go from. We try to switch it up where some songs come out of left field like "Believer". I love the heartfelt songs too. One of the most heartfelt songs on this record is a song somebody asked me to write for them. That was "Back to Me". It's not actually about me. It's about somebody very close to me going through a time in their life and they needed to put someone behind them. When it's time to do that, you have to ultimately let the person go and get back to yourself. That's one of the more meaningful songs to me. I know what the person was going through, and I tried to put it into words. I think it was therapeutic for both of us.
On The Better Life, was your writing more personal?
It was, man. A lot of the songs on this record are based around other things. I wrote about different people and times. "Loser" was about one of my friends in high school. I wasn't calling him a loser; he looked at himself as one. Sometimes, you do have to go outside of the box to draw inspiration. For me, the hardest part of writing a song is having something to write about. Once I get a subject in my head that I want to talk about, then I can do it.
If you were to compare Time of My Life to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
I guess, in some ways, this record has the mentality of Tony Stark in Iron Man. It's got hard edged, rocking, and carefree moments, but it's also got the side that actually does care. You know what? We'll go with Iron Man 2 because he seemed like he was having the time of his life in that one.
The first single off Seventeen Days was "Let Me Go", and I wrote it about Spider-Man 2. They didn't end up using it in the movie so we kept it and use it as our single. The same goes for "It's Not My Time". We originally wrote that song for the movie, Poseidon. We wound up using that also. As an exercise, I'll sit down, watch a movie, and pretend I'm writing that song for the movie. It's usually a pretty good exercise because it gives you that starting point to begin writing from.
What does "Kryptonite" mean to you now?
I can probably identify with that song even more now. I wrote "Kryptonite" when I was 15 sitting in high school. The same question that was true then is true now. It asks, "Will you be there for me if I fall down?" At the same time, it also asks, "Will you be there for me if I'm doing good?" It's a lot easier to support someone when they're down than it is to support them when they might be doing better than you. That still rings true today. Sometimes, people will be quick to hate on you if you're doing good. That song asks a question, "Will you be there for me if I fall down? Will you be there for me if I'm doing great?" We played the University of West Virginia the other night and everyone was screaming for "Kryptonite." I had to laugh the average kid in the audience was eight when that song came out! Damn, I'm getting old [Laughs].
Would you want to collaborate more with Aaron Lewis?
Aaron is a good friend of mine, and it's always a pleasure to play with him. The year before last, he came down and played acoustic at our foundation. I'd like to do some more stuff with Aaron! I'd love to get out there and do what he does one day solo just for the fun of it. I'd have to get a guitar player though. To go out there and sing a song from your heart is so sincere.
You guys should do an acoustic tour together.
I'd love to! Aaron used to come out and sing "Loser" with me. It was always a pleasure to have him out there. He's a good dude.
Who's on your playlist right now?
The record I'm probably I'm listening to the most is a Christian band called Third Day. It's their album Revelation. Howard Benson also did that one. It's a great record. It's not preachy. They have good ideas. It's inspiring. I can be down and listen to a song on that record and it makes me feel better. I realize songs really do have a healing effect. Those songs will pick me up. They're really good.
We're putting together the Better Life Foundation's show for this year November 19th down in Tunica, MS. It's growing every year, and it's fun. We're really started to dig in and get ready for it.
Would you ever want to do another Christmas release?
I'd love to do that! I really enjoyed making the EP. I was thinking about what Christmas means to me when I wrote that. For me, I'm the youngest of seven kids so it's all about getting back with my family and feeling the love. That was fun.
Have you heard Time of My Life yet?