“I think that was key, we took a long time off for the first time in the career of this band,” says Chris Henderson, guitarist with seminal American rock band 3 Doors Down, talking about the new self-titled album that has garnered both commercial success and critical acclaim since its May release. “We started in October of 1999 and we didn’t quit, we didn’t stop. We’d take two weeks off now and then, and that’s it. We needed a break. People were worn out, just beat up, getting off the bus each day. We went home for close to a year.”
It took a little while for the group to get reacquainted, after which they were able to get right back into their usual writing camaraderie. “We hung around for four or five days,” relates Chris. “We just starting hanging around, drinking beer, watching TV. That’s kind of how we did it, and after we felt comfortable around each other we just did it.”
The band, which also includes singer Brad Arnold, bassist Todd Harrell, guitarist Matt Roberts, and new drummer Greg Upchurch (formerly of Puddle Of Mudd), quickly got back in their groove. “We start with a melody, or a guitar line, and what we do is just bounce things off each other,” Chris explains. “There are five guys in this band that are all capable songwriters, but we don’t do it the same way each time. Some of them come just as guitar parts, and hang around like that for six or seven months, then words will fall in to place. It’s just, ‘Get in a room and kind of bang them out’.”
The new album was actually the first time for the band working with Greg on drums, although he’d done extensive touring with the band. “It was really cool,” exclaims Chris. “It’s the first time we ever really got to record with Greg, other than a demo. So we never were really able to see what he can do in the studio. I’m telling you, this guy is a helluva drummer. And you never fight with him about anything, he just does it.”
Although this is their fourth album, it’s the first the band deemed worthy enough to carry the self-titled moniker. “We had no deadlines, so we were able to sit on top of the songs and really nurture them a little more then usual,” recalls Chris. “You still have to decide when they’re done, which is hard to do for creative people. That’s kind of what we started doing, but we had the time to get to that point on this record. We just decided to take our time, so this record is a pretty good cross section of what everybody in this band is all about. It was a hard record to make. We put our heart and soul into it”.
While the majority of the album is new material that was written when they reconvened, the first single, “It’s Not My Time,” is one that they had been playing live already. “We were playing it every show,” Chris says. “But it changed, songs always change in the studio, when the producer gets a hold of it and starts picking it apart.” Other songs are getting attention also. “I think ‘Train’ is one of my favorite ones to play,” Chris adds. “And ‘Be Myself’ because of the lyric content. Fans really dig ‘Pages.’ And ‘It’s The Only One’ was number four on ilike.com, a site for fans, and it’s not even a single. I think that will be a fan favorite too.”