Three Days Grace
The members of Three Days Grace began bashing punk chords when they were in their teens, carving a derivative yet energetic sound that fueled their live performances. Three Days Grace was formed in Norwood, Ontario, Canada, in 1997 by Adam Gontier (vocals, guitar), Brad Walst (bass), and Neil Sanderson (drums). The group was originally called Groundswell, a five-piece that lasted from 1992 until transforming to a trio five years later. Gontier and Walst were raised in Norwood, and many of their songs were inspired by living in a place with a population of around 1,500. The bandmembers were still in high school when they had their first gig, and they performed anywhere that would accept them -- including opening for a movie. Three Days Grace eventually relocated to Toronto and were introduced to producer Gavin Brown by their old manager. The band gave Brown a private set, and he selected what he felt were the most promising tracks. The group then produced a demo for EMI Music Publishing Canada. With Brown at the helm, Three Days Grace recorded "(I Hate) Everything About You." The tune got them a publishing deal with EMI, and they soon were signed to Jive after being courted by the company's president. Brown and Three Days Grace were sent to a studio in Boston, MA, to start the group's debut album. The band completed its self-titled full-length in Woodstock, NY, at an isolated location free from big-city distractions. Heavily influenced by Kyuss and Sunny Day Real Estate, the dark, angst-ridden tales of small-town love and hate on Three Days Grace brought the group a Next Big Thing tag. Three Days Grace was released on July 22, 2003, by which time "(I Hate) Everything About You" was already hit on alternative radio stations in Canada.
Three Days Grace Spread The Love By Spreading The 'Hate'
Toronto trio continue yearlong tour; following up 'Hate' with 'Home.' When Three Days Grace singer Adam Gontier was a little boy, he used to watch his mother play piano and sing at cafes and clubs. Not only was she his role model, she was also his prime motivator.
"She used to get me up in front of a lot of people to perform'', he said. ''She'd take me to jam
nights where there was a house band. The first time I did that I was 10 years old. I got up in front of a room full of strangers and sang an Eagles song. From then on, I wanted to be a musician."
Fast-forward 15 years. Gontier is the one onstage with a guitar and a mic while his mom cheers from the audience. Three Days Grace's self-titled debut has sold more than 280,000 copies since its release six months ago, and the group has landed a radio hit with "I Hate Everything About You."
"It's cool when you see everything surface after you've spent so much time recording and writing the record," Gontier said. "You get out there, start playing and people sing the lyrics back at you. It's wild."
Once Three Days Grace were on the radio, it didn't take long for mainstream hard rock fans to embrace their churning riffs, hook-filled melodies and testosterone-fueled vocals. But success didn't happen overnight. In 1992 Gontier formed the band Groundswell in Norwood, Ontario, with bassist Brad Walst, drummer Neil Sanderson and two others. Five years later they shrunk to a trio and moved to Toronto. There they met producer Gavin Brown, who recorded their first demo for "I Hate Everything About You." It got them a deal, and Three Days Grace re-entered the studio with Brown to record their debut album.
The group hit the road a month before Three Days Grace was released and have remained there, with little time off, ever since. They're on tour with Nickelback, and when that stint wraps up at the end of February, they'll go out with someone else. It will be a year before the band's members can relax at home, but they're hardly counting the days.
"Becoming a successful band has been our goal for 10 years," Sanderson said, "so it makes you work that much harder when you realize your goals are becoming a reality. Once you get your foot in the door, you have to boot it open — you have to tour, tour, tour."
"I Hate Everything About You" still receives strong airplay, but when that begins to wane, Three Days Grace will leap back out with their next single, "Home," another song about belligerence and manipulation. "It's about taking a stand against someone who's pushing you down into a hole," Gontier said. "It's about losing hope and becoming frustrated about an oppressed situation."
Sanderson looks forward to releasing the song to radio so more fans will be familiar with it when the group plays it in concert. "You can really feel the energy when we do that song live," he said. "When you release a song on the radio, kids become extremely aware of it. With that song in particular, I think the room is gonna be intense."
Hilary Duff Screams For Three Days Grace On 'Summer' Set
Starlet on the road to more mature roles with 'Heart of Summer.' The club was crammed, Three Days Grace were rocking the stage and a blonde on the shoulders of a dude in the front row was flashing devil horns.
It was a typical rock concert except for one small detail. The blonde was pop starlet Hilary Duff.
And while the singer/actress has been listening to heavier music lately, she was actually at this show to work; her afternoon with Three Days Grace and several hundred extras was being captured for a scene in her upcoming movie "Heart of Summer".
"Basically what happens [before the concert scene] is my dad and my brother got in a big fight because my brother's fighting for me to go to this [performing arts] school because he knows that I'll do a great job there," Duff explained. "And he gets grounded ... and I had gotten tickets for his graduation present to this concert ... so we sneak out and we drive there and we go to the concert and we have a great time."
Sounds like another fluffy Duff movie, right? Not exactly. On the way home from the concert, her brother, played by Jason Ritter ("Freddy vs. Jason"), is killed by a drunk driver. Duff's character learns later that her brother had secretly signed her up to attend a summer session at the arts school in Los Angeles.
"She really wants to go to because she has a really great voice, but she has to kind of lie to her dad to get there and her aunt and her mom are in on it," Duff said. "But at the same time, she's like, 'I don't know if I should go because it's so soon after my brother dies.'
"She's just going through a lot of stuff and she's kinda the type of person that bottles it all in," she continued. "She has a very strict dad and he kind of wants everything his way. And her whole entire life, she's just gone along with it. ... Her brother's always been the type of person pushing to get out [of their small Arizona town]. And she's always just gone with the flow and now she wants out."
David Keith, who has played villains in dozens of movies (most recently "Daredevil"), plays Duff's father, while Rita Wilson ("Runaway Bride") plays her mom and Rebecca De Mornay ("Identity") plays her aunt. John Corbett ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding") and Oliver James ("What a Girl Wants") also co-star as a teacher at the school and Duff's love interest, respectively.
"This is my first step toward working on a more dramatic movie," said Duff, whose credits include "Cheaper by the Dozen," "Agent Cody Banks" and "The Lizzie McGuire Movie."
" 'A Cinderella Story,' which is the movie that comes out before ['Heart of Summer'], definitely has a little more edge to it," Duff explained. "[My character] deals a lot with her father dying and with not being accepted at school, but the movies are totally, totally different. It's a little more serious, it's a little more older.
"I'm not saying I totally wanna go there right now, though, you know," she added, smiling. That's because, at the moment, she was having too much fun going to a rock concert.
"It's really funny, because I have been on tour lately and people just want to touch your hand and they get so excited and I didn't know what that was like," she said. "I didn't know too much about Three Days Grace before we had started the filming, but I really love their music now. And it's funny to be on the other side, like 'Ahh,' screaming crazy, you know, being obsessed with somebody. It was a little awkward at first, but I got the hang of it."
Three Days Grace Endure Fire, Asbestos For Their Art
With its debut a hit, band looks forward to recording its next, more political album. For the past 10 summers, the members of Three Days Grace — singer and guitarist Adam Gontier, bassist Brad Walst and drummer Neil Sanderson — have gone camping in the woods near Peterborough, Ontario. There, they've sat around the campfire with guitars, told jokes, drank beer and worked on many of their songs. A few years ago, however, the flames of inspiration weren't all that ignited.
"Someone's cigarette butt set fire to the leaves and started a forest fire," Sanderson said after a recent writing session at the heralded site. "We had to put out the blaze with water coolers. We weren't in the best shape to be fighting a fire, but we ended up putting it out."
Velvet Revolver, Alter Bridge and Shinedown probably wish they could do the same to Three Days Grace's wildfire run on rock radio. "I Hate Everything About You," the first single from their self-titled debut, was a major hit, and their current single, "Just Like You," has been receiving more spins across the country of late than any of the competition, according to Radio & Records. The band is getting ready to release its third single, the alternately surging and brooding "Home."
"It's about being pushed around and neglected and feeling like even though you're in the company of other people, they're not really there at all," Sanderson explained. "A lot of it comes from our experiences growing up in a small town [Norwood, Ontario] where you get a different perspective than people from a big city. Then you get to a big city and people treat you like sh--."
A video for the track was recently shot by Dean Carr (Marilyn Manson, Godsmack). "We did it in this asbestos-filled condemned building, and my lungs haven't been the same since," Sanderson said. "The video is pretty wild. There's a creature haunting this house that we're playing in, and there are a lot of metaphoric images that relate directly back to the lyrics."
The video for "Home" will hit right before October 26, when the band's label re-releases Three Days Grace with a bonus DVD that will include the album's videos, making-the-video segments, backstage footage and concert clips shot in Brazil. But the priority for Three Days Grace heading into 2005 is to finish writing and recording their second album. The guys already have lots of ideas, which they've recorded in their traveling studio at the back of their bus, and now they're itching to put them together into fully focused songs.
"I don't think the music is going to change drastically on the next record," Sanderson said. "It will naturally evolve and hopefully we'll be ready to go in and record by February because we're only gonna write enough songs for the album. We don't write 30 songs and then keep 10. Some bands write a whole crapload of material and then pick and choose, but then you're wasting time on stuff that's not good enough to put out. Why not just work on things until they're good enough for the record?"
While the sound of the next Three Days Grace album might not differ much from that of their debut, the band will likely go to an entirely new place with the lyrics. Instead of writing about relationship frustrations and problems growing up, the band plans to pen songs about the catastrophic state of the world.
"Our songs are about what's important to us at a moment in time," explained Sanderson. "And since we did the last album, there have been a lot of global issues that have been at the forefront of our conversations. There's sort of a precedent being set now more than ever in terms of governments not representing the majority of what people are really looking for, and that's a move against democracy."