Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down Talks "When You're Young," The Better Life Foundation and More
Mon, 28 Mar 2011 06:04:03
3 Doors Down write rock music for the people.
Their latest anthem, "When You're Young," is a potent, personal, and powerful tune that touches on universal feelings, while resounding with an arena-ready hook. It's classic 3 Doors Down and the perfect prelude to the band's forthcoming new album, Time Of My Life, due out Summer 2011.
About "When You're Young," vocalist Brad Arnold says, "I think it's a song that a lot of people can identify with. There's somebody out there who needs to hear this song, and I hope they hear it."
In that sense, "When You're Young" is a lot like the band's first mega hit, "Kryptonite," but they've evolved immensely in the decade-plus since initially making their mark. "When You're Young" encapsulates everything that 3 Doors Down have excelled at over the years, while displaying evolution in terms of songwriting and delivery. With this as a setup, Time Of My Life is bound to be one of the most memorable rock records of 2011 and beyond.
3 Doors Down mainman Brad Arnold spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino in this exclusive interview about Time Of My Life, the story behind "When You're Young," and so much more.
What does "When You're Young" mean to you?
So many times, older people look at young kids and say, "Enjoy this time! It's the best time of your life," when it's really not. Being young is hard. Everything's in front of you for the first time. Those things that are in front of you seem so much bigger than they do when you're looking back on them. I'm 32 now and looking back on my teenage years and before, a lot of it doesn't seem as hard as it did then because now it's behind ne and I hardly remember it. You get the responsibilities of the world as an adult. However, when you were in high school, there was nothing bigger than that test on Friday. Now, you don't even remember what test it was [Laughs]. It's hard to be young. The song discusses that.
Is "When You're Young" indicative of Time Of My Life's direction as a whole?
That song is a little bit more like our other stuff than a lot of this record is. This record has got a few slower songs that are discussing different things. They're not so much love songs as they are about getting back to who you were before something. Man, it's got some rockers on it too! When you put on the record and "Time Of My Life" starts, you're like, "Did I put in the wrong CD?" [Laughs] It's pretty heavy and rocking. This record really goes as a ride. We focused on putting the album together and sequencing it to where it's up and down all the way through. It's an enjoyable listen from front to back. I think it's really cool. As always, we leave ourselves some left turns. There are some fly balls there.
What are some of those fly balls?
The last song of the record "Believer" is unlike any song that we've ever recorded. It's about as close to a punk rock son as I've ever been a part of, but it's really fun! It's a lighthearted song telling a story of a young man who gets picked up by this older woman. He gets back to her house and she tells him all this stuff. They get to messing around, and her husband comes in. He didn't know! It's all about this guy being in this sticky situation. Regardless of the story, when the song starts, you're like, "Awe man, this is fun!" It's cool! Another song "In Heaven" is slower, but I really think people will enjoy it because they'll be able to identify with it. The song talks about realizing that you've done wrong and getting back to where you should be. The hook of the song is, "I didn't have to die to go to heaven; I just had to go home." It's also looking back with regret about taking so long to realize those things. There are a lot of different themes on there, but it's a really fun record to listen to.
Is it important for you to tell stories in the songs?
It is! Every song doesn't have to be ten feet deep, but I like to have songs say something. I hate songs that are just words that rhyme. I always want to say something with a song because you have an opportunity. It doesn't have to be so philosophical or deep but just have some kind of message to it.
The fans definitely draw from that.
I hear from fans that they enjoy there's some meaning to the songs. We sing songs about everyday life and living that life. People enjoy listening to those songs because I try not to preach in the songs too much and just sing songs I identify with but leave it open to where other people identify with it and make it their own in their lives. I believe people enjoy listening to a song they can relate to.
What's up next for your charity, The Better Life Foundation?
We're already starting to work on The Better Life Foundation concert for this year. It's either going to be the first week in November or the last week in December. Bourget's made us another bike this year. This is the fourth "Citizen Soldier" bike they've made us. It's like the sixth bike they've made us altogether. We raffle those off. Bridget Bourget and everybody do an awesome job. The Mississippi National Guard sponsors us in the event. They do this big bike ride with us. I'm not sure who's going to play with us this year, but we'll have a great show. The Better Life Foundation has come a long way, and it's continuing to grow. This is our seventh year! We've raised about 2.7 million dollars and it goes out to different charities along the coast and southeast now. This past year, we've done the dream racer beds. It's a bed modeled after a NASCAR and it uses a lot of NASCAR parts because a fella up in North Carolina builds them out of a lot of spare NASCAR parts. It's a treatment bed that kids with cancer can get in and play video games. It's got a gaming console with a screen and a steering wheel. Those kids can get in there and play those games while they're receiving the treatments. It takes their mind off it. We donated one today to the Children's Hospital in Nashville. We're just a catalyst for it. All of that money and goodness comes from our fans. We have the best fans in the world and I'm so thankful just to be a part of that foundation.
It sounds like you're giving more than ever on this record.
I hope we are. I always want to try to do more and get closer with our fans. I want to identify with them more as well as having them identify with us more. I think that's the wonderful thing about the internet. With Facebook and Twitter, you have a direct avenue to your fans. You can say anything you want to them unfiltered by anybody else. There are so many avenues a lot of times. You have a direct line to your fans, you can say anything you want to them, and get immediate feedback from them. I think that's absolutely awesome.
What were you last listening to?
An oldie but goodie, I get down in my garage and work out every morning, I go through different stuff, but the last thing I turned off was Megadeth's Countdown To Extinction. I love that record.
Have you heard "When You're Young" yet?