Time of My Life is an exhilarating, pivotal album from a band bred to exceed expectations every time they step in to the studio. Aptly titled, 3 Doors Down’s fifth career studio effort soars on the collective ethos of a dedicated band doing what they were destined to do. And then some…
“We’re a solid, no frills rock band with deep friendships and a good understanding of what it takes to keep the fire going,” declares bassist Todd Harrell. Translation: They answer only to their fans…and each other.
Front man, Brad Arnold wouldn’t have it any other way. “Friends, road warriors, band of brothers, call us whatever you want,” says the lead vocalist and lyricist, “What makes me so proud of this album is how it seems to put a stamp on all the years, all the ups and downs we’ve been through, and cuts some new ground for us. No matter where we’re at or how we come at you, at our core is still the burning desire to give our fans the best we can give.” And it’s a pact that the core founding-brothers of this Mississippi quintet - Brad Arnold, lead guitarist Matt Roberts, bassist Todd Harrell and guitarist Chris Henderson made way back in grade school. Back when life was still a ‘pick-up’ game of fast but loyal friends nurturing just a glint of the dream that would eventually make them one of the world’s most respected and enduring rock bands. With the 3 Doors Down shingle hanging 16 years and counting, joined by firebrand drummer Greg Upchurch in 2005, 3 Doors Down remains as true to the inspiring roots forged in those breakout days back in Escatawpa, Mississippi as the day they launched.
The proof is in the multiple new signature songs overflowing on this 2011 treasure chest. Test ride the searing title track “Time Of My Life,” the full-throttled ‘band favorite,’ “Round And Round,” or the powerful ballad, “Back to Me.”. The album’s initial offering to fans and radio, “When You’re Young,” sent online followers searching for adjectives that accurately reflected that magical 3 Doors Down territory, noting the band’s colorful past and their take-no-prisoners attitude toward the future. The group is also joined this time round by world-class record producer Howard Benson (Daughtry, Theory Of A Deadman, Apocolyptica).
“It’s an album from the heart and the soul,” says Brad. “There’s a song on the album called ‘Race For The Sun,’ that kind of sums it all up for me. I wrote it about those earliest days when we’d gig in Biloxi, and we’d be walking back from a show with the sun just coming up – I couldn’t wait for the day to come so I could hear what our friends and fans had to say about last night’s show, about what we meant as a band, even then, to our fans and each other.”
Only 32 years old, Brad calculates he and most of ‘3 Doors’ have been playing music for, amazingly, nearly twenty years, and are recognized as one of rock’s pinnacle touring and recording entities for a decade-plus.
From that first explosive burst of “Kryptonite” which ignited their storied career at the top of last decade, to subsequent multi-platinum albums, and a non-stop touring regimen that finds them still notching shows around the world at a record pace, the group has also earned a hard-fought pedigree as one of Rock’s most exciting and authentic radio icons. Their impressive and steady ascension up the ladder has seen them score multiple #1 hits, snag several Billboard and other awards, and log scores of sold-out shows over a growing global terrain that is nearing forty countries.
Their most recent self-titled 2008 album, 3 Doors Down, debuted at the #1 spot on Billboard’s Top 200, as did 2005’s Seventeen Days, cementing them as one of this generation’s battle-tested Rock bands. Secure with their growing and genre-expanding song catalogue, bolstered by one of the decade’s sturdiest live Rock legacies, has not only garnered them kudos from fans and critics, but turned heads of much sought-after producers like Benson. A 3 Doors Down admirer, he stepped up to produce Time Of My Life out of sheer passion for the southern fivesome and the high-stakes day-in-day-out craftsmanship they bring to the Rock pantheon.
“We had quite an interview process with more than a few producers,” says Chris. “We knew about Howard’s reputation, his great work ethic, but the turning point for us was how thoroughly he did his homework. And how his vision for this album was so compatible with ours.”
Guitarist Matt Roberts also credits the songwriting mojo between band members as playing a large part in the group’s ability to ‘hit the ground running’. “The songs ‘Round And Round,’ and ‘On The Run,’ were among the first songs we wrote.”, says Matt. “Fresh, up-tempo songs that kind of grab you. If you listen, there is something inherent in them that nails that ‘3 Doors Down quality.’ It’s hard to get that ‘right off,’ but we knew immediately we were letting loose with some sparks that might ignite the rest of the process.”.
It’s precisely the intersecting nature of each member’s contribution that resonates the most on Time Of My Life; the relative ease with which this band, full-tilt into the middle of its second decade, methodically keeps it’s working parts in order.
Drummer Greg admits that achieving rock n’ roll longevity also requires learning some new disciplines. “I tend to crack open my first beer after the encore, now,” he laughs.
“I know a lot of bands burn out when they get to our level and workload,” says Matt. “But at the end of the day, everyone in this group recognizes we get the most out of each other when we work closely side by side as a unit. We felt that every step of the way during the making of this album, and it’s something we don’t take for granted.”
That same goodwill has spread to works outside of the band’s musical infrastructure. 3 Doors Down’s acclaimed charity, The Better Life Foundation, is currently nearing the 3 million dollar mark in donations raised for various children’s organizations along the Mississippi Coast and beyond. The band was among the first music artists to step in to aid Hurricane Katrina victims. A disaster that hit home.
“We love the hands-on stuff,” says Brad. “We consider all the great work done in the name of the foundation as an extension of our family. We have the greatest fans in the world who really care about their neighbors, and we have a great staff and team who go above and beyond what is necessary to touch the lives of kids and others who may really need a helping hand.”
Brad emphasizes that the close relationship the band has with their fans enables him to keep all connections open during the cycle of creating a new album, from the early songwriting phase thru their most rigorous live performances. “I truly look at it like we’re all in this together,” he says. “I was just telling an audience the other night – it’s easy sometimes to keep going further down a road than you are meant to. You kind of get lost, you get away from yourself.”. ‘Heaven’ is a song about just that. The good news is there’s always someone to pull you back.
Echoes Chris: “When it comes down to it, we let things happen organically. It may sound simple – but we do what we have to do.”.