Some say that luck can be considered a skill, and in the entertainment industry, being in the right place at the right time with the right song is rare. This episode, Brad Arnold, the frontman for 3 Doors Down, joins in and shares how they made it big by creating their own luck. He shares the secrets of how they kept themselves grounded from begging a radio station to play their record to being the most played song in all genres for a whole decade. Brad talks about what life in the limelight was like and the transitions they had as a band to make it big up until today. Learn the meaning of music from a self-taught rock star and how it brings people together, regardless of who you are, or where you are.
Listen to the podcast here:
Brad Arnold :: The Right Song, Place and Time – The Rich Redmond Show Ep 36
This is another episode coming to you from Music City, USA. It’s the coolest city in the world. Everyone’s moving here. If you’re a musician or a creative, you want to come to Nashville, Tennessee. Jim McCarthy, my co-host/co-producer. How are you?
You know what we do on this show?
We talk about all things, motivation, music, success, inspiration and sound effects.
We talk to a lot of musicians, authors, creative thought leaders, a lot of drummers, and we’re starting to get front guys and gals, which is great because that’s all people care about. Who’s singing the song?
They like the drummers too.
I know, but we have to go back here. Let’s get in to the show because this is exciting. We have a front person. He is the frontman for an award-winning band and they’re about to celebrate twenty-year anniversary of their first record coming out.
Six studio records and 30 million albums sold. 3 Doors Down frontman, Brad Arnold. I appreciate you being here.
Thanks for having me.
I heard inklings of you living in this area. I said, “How long have you been here?” You said twelve years. How have we not connected? It’s so crazy.
This is a great place. Everybody is moving here and that’s awesome. As long as they didn’t all try to drive.
You’re down in Murfreesboro, which is 30 minutes away from town. It’s nice and more land.
You can get out. It’s getting busy down there too. Murfreesboro has grown a lot in the last few years.
It’s like a college town on steroids. I could have sworn that at some point, Chris Henderson is still in the band. He was either trying to write demos for the band to bring to the table or he was trying to write country songs. I played on a couple of demos at a studio that Peter Frampton owns. I haven’t seen him since. I have to make that point.
He’s doing way better now than he was years ago. He’s like a different person.
That’s great and you too. I remember looking at videos of you. You look longer, leaner, and happier.
I am so much happier.
Your beautiful bride is sitting 3 feet away.
She makes me happy. She’s been a major positive influence on my life. I would say that even if she wasn’t sitting right there. This is the 20th anniversary of our first record, but we’ve been a band for 25 years. I’ve been in this band since I was fifteen. I’ve been in his band substantially longer than I haven’t been.
The band started in 1996. You were playing drums and singing. I had to go to Wiki to find that out about you, and then maybe management came in or something and say, “Get us a drummer.”
We started out as a three-piece and three guys getting together jamming. We didn’t have lyrics to the stuff we were writing. We were wondering about a singer and I started singing because nobody else would. They were like, “Try it,” and I tried it. At the time, we were practicing in my original bass player’s house. His girlfriend and another girl were sitting there and they were like, “You sound good.” I’m like, “Okay.” I was so shy I could hardly sing in front of people.
You’re not shy anymore after all these years.
It depends on what I’m doing.
You’re like Phillip Collins.
He was always an inspiration.
Mississippi is hard enough to say. What’s the name of the hometown you’re from?
Are your parents still there?
That’s great. My parents celebrated 51 years of marriage.
They are in their 50s, 51, 52, something like that. I’m the youngest of seven kids and a great family.
I’m sure they’re proud of you.
They are but I’m still just their little brother.
What’s the age spread?
My oldest sister is 53.
I got two younger brothers and we’re 6 and 9 years apart, which is pretty big. When I went off to college, I never came back and they were living their lives. Now we’re all spread out all over the country. It’s sad. We used to be in Connecticut, which was great because we can get together on Sunday night, have Sunday gravy and have pasta. If you’ve ever been to an Italian dinner, it’s noisy. Everyone is shouting at each other with pasta in their mouth. It’s fun. I’m sure they’re proud of you. The original lineup was a three-piece and now, who’s in the band?
It is still me and Chris Henderson. We now have Justin Biltonen on bass. We have Greg Upchurch on drums and we have Chet Roberts on guitar. Greg has been with us the longest of the three. He came with us after Daniel Adair who now plays with Nickelback. He was our drummer for a little while. He left and went with those guys after a tour that we had all done together. It was an understandable move for him because they were all from Vancouver. They had just got rid of their other drummer. It was us, Puddle of Mudd, and Nickelback on tour together one summer and we all played musical drummers. I don’t know who Puddle of Mudd got, but we took their drummer and switched to Nickelback.
How did you end up with a Canadian drummer in the first place?
We’re mixing a record in Vancouver. I played on the first record and then I wrote Kryptonite. That song was written on the drums. I wrote that song when I was in high school in an algebra class. That drum leak, I wrote it on my desk. I hear drummer playing this simple leak and it’s one of those leaks that people roll all the time. It’s like, “It’s so easy to play it.”
When I go downtown, I hear all these cover bands all the time doing Aldean’s songs. The tempo was way too fast and butchering the parts. It’s like, “Do your homework. Honor the song.” That’s cool that you played on the first record. Who produced that?
Paul Ebersold produced that record. He was over in Memphis. We recorded at Ardent over there and Paul may have done Sister Hazel.
I did some recording with him at his home studio in Memphis for an up and coming act and it didn’t come up. It happens all the time. Nine out of ten acts are not going to work. You’re out there with Nickelback and doing that whole thing, and then you decided to make a switch.
We had a drummer from our hometown that played during our first records tour. He’s done good and everything, but he had a family and wasn’t committed to the life of it. I wrote the second record still on the drums and Josh Freese played on that record.
How was that experience?
He’s awesome. He just takes more than fifteen minutes to record. He’s a great guy. That was a great experience to work with him.
Have you stayed in touch with him over the years?
No, I haven’t talked to him. I’ve seen him a couple of times. One thing that was cool, Rick Parashar produced that record and Rick has passed away. Rick was a great guy. He was of some Middle Eastern descent. I’m not sure exactly where. These guys had never been to South Mississippi. Our band, you can hear me and I’m way better than I used to be. We were such rednecks. We had Rick Parashar, a Middle Eastern fellow who produced pro-GMT and done all this cool stuff. He’s a Seattle guy and Josh Freese. We had these guys in the middle of the Mississippi swamp on a pontoon boat alligator hunting. It was such an experience.
You showed him South Mississippi. Where is Southaven? When I think of Mississippi, I think of south. We’ve played there a million times.
Southaven is right below Memphis. It’s in North Mississippi.
What’s the difference between North Mississippian and culturally South Mississippi? Is there a big difference?
North Mississippi is what more people think about Mississippi, the bad parts. In South Mississippi, you got more of the good food and the artistic culture and things. It gets a little more Louisiana.
You wrote Kryptonite on the drums. Your first time in the studio, you’ve got a hit record that goes top three on the Billboard Hot 100.
They said that song was the most played song of any genre of music from 2000 to 2010.
For that decade, it was the most played song across all genres. Did you get any plaque for that or something?
That song probably spun seven times a day on my radio station.
Jim used to be in radio. He used to front and back sell that song.
It started out at my shift at night because that’s how they tested all the music. It was no time before it played in all the dayparts.
What does that do to a person? Did you handle it pretty well? You go from being a guy from South Mississippi playing in a garage surrounded by the girlfriends of the band going, “You sound so good,” then there’s a video on MTV.
I’d never been in front of a camera or anything like that. In retrospect looking back, I am thankful to my brothers and sisters that I was still a little brother. It was a lot to handle at twenty years old or just turned 21. It was cool but it was overwhelming, and then Loser came out right after that. It was number one at Rock Radio for six months. That record was a lot of work. I can remember that first record just complaining. I remember saying, “What do you mean we only sold 60,000 records this week?” I don’t say that bragging or being an ass or anything.
That was the velvet rope era of the music business. You were in it.
It was the tail end of it.
You’re out there with bands like Puddle, Nickelback, Seether, Staind, Creed, Saliva, Shinedown.
Creed was the only band we ever opened for. They took us on tour. That was our first tour.
Scott Stapp, that’s all I’ll say about that.
I think he has a national band. He’s still out there.
Scott changed a lot. He’s doing well these days.
Did he live here?
I don’t know. He had some demons there.
He’s a drummer because he does those solo shows. Some of the Alter Bridge guys have come out with some Aldean’s show.
The Alter Bridge guys are great.
I don’t remember Loser as much. I’ve got to admit.
I do. This was probably when I moved to Vegas, and a lot of our alternative station out there was playing this. Kryptonite was 2001 and then I don’t remember playing this.
Kryptonite went for a long time, and then we released Loser and it was number one. I forgot one of the rock genres. It was for six months.
I remember our buddies in the band were like, “It’s great, it’s taken off.” After that, it was Duck and Run, then it was Be Like That.
It is one of those songs from a drumming sense, Kryptonite at least, that you got to do it right. It’s got that shuffle feel to it. I hope I did it justice when I played it in the bands that I played in.
It’s so simple but it throws you off. There’s something about it. I’m not a great drummer or anything. I just spin on those little parts.
A lot of drummers don’t play shuffles as much because it’s not on the radio as much anymore. It’s a field that is very much overlooked.
I think that’s why that song was successful. Not the drumbeat, but the fill of the song was such a big hole for it because there wasn’t another song like it. We didn’t do it on purpose. We didn’t try to get signed. We didn’t know how to get signed. We begged our local radio station for six months to play Kryptonite. They had a local homegrown show and stuff. We went on there for probably more than six months. We probably begged him for a year, and they can’t just add a song.
They can if they’re independent.
They were a BDS reporting station. They were owned by somebody else. They had us on their local show that they’d done once a month. We played a bunch of stuff for them around the area.
Finally, Kenney was like, “I’m going to add that song because people had been calling about it.” It became the most requested song they’d ever had. It was on the BDS chart and it’s like song, band, and no record label beside it. Here they came and we talked. We’ve only talked to two. We talked to Universal and Atlantic.
Did you do a big showcase for those cigar-chomping suits?
They just flew us up and we went and played a little show at CBGB. That was the last time I played the drums at the CBGB.
That was a good place to close out your drumming career.
Except that I forgot my sticks at the hotel.
What did you do? You only have one pair of sticks?
Yeah. They found me something. Mine probably had some duct tape on them.
That’s an incredible story. I kill some trees. I usually go through maybe 500 pairs of sticks a year.
How many sticks do you go through? Does a pair last more than a show or two for you?
It depends because it’s an organic material. You never know. Sometimes some are stronger than others, even with the best manufacturer.
I got to say, at the School of Rock, they could probably say you can duplicate the success of 3 Doors Down but it’s highly unlikely.
It’s highly unlikely, but the sponsor of our show, School of Rock, trains kids to play musical instruments.
You’re self-taught. Could you imagine if we had the training that happens at the School of Rock? There are two locations here in Nashville and Franklin.
There are 250 locations globally. The program is open to ages 3 to 18. They’re teaching singing, keyboards, bass, guitar, drums. The programs here are run by Angie and Kelly McCreight. They’ve had the program for about a decade. They’re awesome.
They’re cranking out amazing musicians. Let’s face it, even if you never go on to become a professional musician, how lucky we are to do this.
Just the skills that the kids learn. They learn how to play in a group. They learn how to take direction. They learn about time management, setting goals, working with others in a group. They’re going to come out with more self-esteem. They’re going to look at themselves in the mirror differently. It’s a great program to get your kids involved in. If they’re taking their piano lessons, get them to School of Rock.
If they’re taking their ballet, add School of Rock to their list of cool things that they’re doing. I have two email addresses for you. If you’re interested in getting your kids in the program. Jim, what are they?
Thank you, Angie and Kelly and School of Rock.
I’d given anything to have some training like that, because honestly in South Mississippi if he was in the band, “He’s a nerd.”
I know. I was a band nerd. I was in concert band and marching band.
The school band, that’s all we had. My first couple of years in school, I went to a bigger school and the drum teacher was a drum major. He was a good drummer. He was good.
I was thankful to him for teaching me how to hold a stick right, the correct hand. He’d get on you if you weren’t holding the sticks palms down, real straight and all that. I was like, “Why?” He always emphasized, “Because you don’t want carpal tunnel later on,” and it was true.
That was the cool stuff at that level. That was it. That’s all we have. I then moved to another school and I was better than the teacher.
You did the right thing. It was lightning in a bottle. You’re like, “Let’s go. I can hold the sticks. I can keep a groove. Kryptonite, kick it off.”
Do you still play the drums? Do you still woodshed?
A little bit. I play in my electric. It drives her crazy.
The mesh heads?
You’re playing on what, tennis rackets? Is that what they’re called?
They look almost like those.
Those are the Rolands over there. There’s an inch of dust on them. As much as I love Roland, I don’t have as much fun because they’re not as visceral. There’s something about wood on metal and plastic.
They made me way better at shot though, because I used to be bad about rim shot.
We have to have an aim. We have aim drummers like Neil Peart, one of your favorites. I don’t have to have an aim. Fast forwarding, you’ve got six studio records. You played the 2016 Trump Presidential-elect Inauguration. Jim will tell you, I don’t watch the news. I’m not a political guy. I keep my life simple. I learn about the news from the guys in my band because they’re glued to ESPN and CNN and I go, “What is happening?” “You haven’t heard about the fires in Australia?” I learn my news from them. What led this decision to do this?
We were Trump supporters. Everybody is like, “Did you meet him that day?” No, but I’ve met him years ago. It was before he’s the president or anything. He was doing The Apprentice. We were playing on Regis and Kelly one day and he was on the show. We were sitting there and he knocked on the frame of the door, “Are you busy?” He came in and he probably stood there and talked to us for 10, 15 minutes.
Was he in the dressing room?
Yeah, he was on the show that day. I was like, “Donald Trump is talking to 3 Door’s Down.” It was awesome. I had no idea back then because that was several years before that. From the time they announced it, I was like, “I bet he could win,” because when I talked to him, he was nice but very intelligent. I am so happy that he’s our president because he is exposing both sides of politics for what they are, a bunch of crap that people get so busy lining their pockets that they forget about the citizens of this country. He does it for free. He has done so much for our country. He might hurt your feelings doing it. I don’t care whose feelings he hurt. We need a businessman. The country is a business, we need a businessman running a business. That’s what he’s doing.
You did the Bush inauguration as well.
We did it but it was like one of the balls. They asked us to do it and there was a little less to it, but it was cool. We got to meet him.
You spend some time playing for the military over in Iraq.
We’ve never been to Iraq, but we’ve been to several bases in the Middle East. I would go to Iraq, but it never worked out that we could make the trip. I know you have done a bunch too. You’ll never play for a group of people that appreciate any more than that. They love for you to be there. They’re constantly like, “Thank you for being here.” I was like, “Thank you for being here.”
Me and the guys, before we joined Aldean, we were in this band called Rushlow with Tim Rushlow. He had a band called Little Texas. We did that for about 3 to 3.5 years. We went to fourteen countries for the military. We went to Iceland, Ireland, Bahrain, Dubai, South Korea, Japan. We went to a lot of places and it was so interesting because we rode in tanks. We were in tanks, had flak vest on, had the hats on, and they would be like, “Rich, your drums are over there. Don’t step there or there.” I’m like, “Why?” “They are mines?” I’m like, “I’m going to play Brown Eyed Girl and I’m jumping over mines.” Talk about an eye-opening experience and you come and you bring them that slice of Americana from home. They’re more interested in hanging out with you.
It’s interesting because I have a good relationship with Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.
I’d love to do stuff with them. I’ve reached out to him via Instagram or something. God knows how many months ago.
That’s how I reached out to you. We had Gary’s drummer in here. We got a direct line to Gary if you want to connect.
I would love to.
That was the Danny Gottlieb episode.
Danny Gottlieb is an award-winning jazz fusion drummer. He’s now been playing for the last decade with Gary Sinise playing pop music, but what a great experience to go see that. They play for a lot of injured troops and that’s an eye-opener.
I follow him and the stuff that he does is amazing. He became famous playing a soldier. He’s done a ton more stuff than that, but now he uses this time being that. I respect him a ton for doing it.
It’s a tough thing to take a stance like that these days.
The way I’ve always looked with the military, it doesn’t matter what you believe politically. Those men and women are putting their lives on the line.
In 2003, and this was early on for you, you started The Better Life Foundation. Tell us about that. What is that?
It’s a foundation that we modeled after Brett Favre’s foundation. He was out in Mississippi also and we’d been to his event a couple of times. I was like, “Why can’t we do this?” It started out to mainly benefit charities along the Mississippi, Gulf Coast, Alabama, Florida and stuff. In 2005, we had Hurricane Katrina down there. It gives us a chance to open it up and do a lot more stuff. We’ve now grown from doing it in the Southeast to doing it all around the United States. We’ve done a couple of things internationally as well. We try to keep it as clean-cut as we can. We’ve called it a dollar in and a dollar out. Being a foundation, we have to be careful about what we donate to. We can’t give it directly to an individual. That has to go to a charity, but we’re careful with the charities that we give it to because a lot of them have good intent tensions, but they wound up wasting a lot of the money.
With the red tape and the administration.
After a storm, people would throw money at stuff and that money is gone. We sit back and let church organizations get their feet underneath them and say, “We’re going to fix these people’s house.” We’ll go in and find one of those church organizations and be like, “We’ll buy the supplies.” It makes your money goes so much further and you get real stuff done with it.
What are some of those charities that you hand it directly to?
We do it different ones every year, but there are ones that we contribute to every year that are not like disaster relief. We contribute to the Mulherin Custodial Home down in South Mississippi. We contribute to the program here in middle Tennessee that MTSU does with wounded soldiers with equine therapy. They found that one of the best things for soldiers with PTSD is having them around horses. They’re not necessarily riding them but doing groundwork with them and things like that. We help fund that program down there, and different things around the Southeast in that manner. It’s like see a need and fill a need.
Have you gotten like a Hollywood-style walk of fame star in your hometown or a street named after you or something? I see that coming.
Not even a sign.
There isn’t a Brad Arnold Day? The key to the city or something? We’ve got to get involved.
Jimmy Buffett is from down there too. They gave him a bridge from here to that wall.
They’re so stingy. What the heck, you changed popular music.
Maybe it’s an inside joke thing where someone comes in and ask for directions and they go, “It’s three doors down.”
There’s a funny story about how you came up with the name.
It didn’t mean anything. We just made it up off an old fruit stand down in Foley, Alabama. We needed a band name. One of the businesses had moved a couple of doors down and at the time there were three of us. We’re like, “What about 3 Doors Down?”
It’s got a ring to it. Everything’s got to have a ring to it. Think about this. When it comes to band names, we overthink many things. When you’re trying to come up with it, there are many bands. You’re typing it into Google to see if the name is taken. They’re all taken or trademarked or LLC or something. You’re like, “This one is not taken, The Rolling Stones.” Think about it, The Rolling Stones, is that a great name? I don’t know. They just kept using it over and over until it got sticky.
I have a knack for coming up with good cover band name like Freezer Beef. I heard that from a guy who was selling freezer beef. I’m like, “That’s a great cover name.” Slow Children. Think of marketing. You see those signs everywhere. LMNOP.
I don’t like all three of those. What would you want to ask a rockstar? Brad Arnold is sitting 3 feet from you. What do you want to know?
We talk to a lot of rockstars and everything. I’ve been surrounded by them. What always gets me about people that come on the show is the humility that they bring. We have yet to get somebody who’s pulling the vibe card. I’m a big fan of how do you keep yourself grounded. You remember vividly where you came from.
These jobs, I didn’t hate them. I liked them. When we got signed, I was driving a forklift. Before that, I drove a bushel and mow the grass. I drove the forklift working in a machine shop. Did I want to do that my whole life? I didn’t but I didn’t hate it. I’ve done enough of those jobs that I can appreciate getting to do this. What a blessing to get to do the things that we get to do in the fashion in which we get to do them. People look up to you for doing something that you didn’t do. I thank God for it every day. I know one day I had to be gone. I kept on waiting to be gone and I’m still here.
You’re letting life happen.
Musicians could keep on playing and playing. Look at Cher. She says, “I’m retiring.” It’s been seven farewell tours. She retires in her place in Malibu looking at the Pacific Ocean going, “I should do something.” There’s nothing wrong with an honest day’s work, especially if you’re breaking a sweat. I always had a work ethic. When I was young, I shoveled snow, handed paper out, raked leaves, and this is all before the age of ten. When I moved to Nashville, I parked cars, waited tables. I was a substitute teacher. I made copies. I get my stapler. I did all that stuff. I wore khakis at work. I don’t want to wear khakis. That’s horrendous but I did. Now, they call them chinos.
Jen and I have been married for many years. She’s had horses her whole life. When we first got together, she took some time off and went on tour with me. We had horses back again. We’ve had horses up here for many years. I now have a buddy and he’s great at it. He takes care of them when we’re gone, but we’re not going like a ton.
Are you touring weekend warrior style?
We started that and we loved it. We used to go on tour for three months at a time. I liked these three days stuff.
Jim, did you like being gone for three months, living out of a suitcase? My suitcase has been packed for 24 years. I average a new suitcase every year because it wears out.
I packed five minutes before I leave. I unpack three weeks after I get back. We’ve done those horses like that. After having them up here, my buddy takes care of them for me when we’re gone. We hired our first employee. We got five horses and I and her take care of them by ourselves.
It is a full-time job. That’s good exercise. I saw you out there racing one of the horses and it always wins. That keeps you in shape.
Are you physically racing the horse? How old is it?
He was like a year at the time.
What do they call them when they’re at certain ages?
A gelding is a male that’s been cut. A yearling is a two-year-old. They’re better horses if they get cut.
How long have you been together?
We’ve been together for thirteen years, but I’ve known her since she was three. I used to go jump on her trampoline. Her first cousin is my best friend and has been since we were children.
How did you come back on each other’s lives romantically?
Her first cousin is my best friend. He and I got married about the same time and got divorced about the same time. We both lived down the road from each other down in South Mississippi because I moved back home when I got divorced. Jen was bringing her friends down to go out with Justin. He was like, “Do you want to go on a double date?” I was like, “With who?” He’s like, “Do you remember Jen when we were kids?” I was like, “Heck yeah.” We went out and that was it.
Is Justin your bass player?
No, Justin Walker, her cousin. He’s my best friend.
You have known each other throughout your formative years, high school, middle school, all that stuff.
I’m five years older than her. She moved away from her hometown when she was eight. They were driving down. We were recording a record in Orlando at the time. I pretty much made her move down there with me.
She is so uncomfortable right now. She’s like, “Move on.”
I asked her if she wanted to be on camera. She said, “No way.” This is a factoid that would appeal to Jim because he’s a massive Rush fan. Alex Lifeson produced one of your records.
He produced some B tracks for some of our records. We’d already put the record out. We just wanted to record some B side stuff.
Let’s go down memory lane. How about Here Without You? This is the soundtrack to a lot of people’s lives. People have met to this song. They have their first kiss to this song. They’ve made their first baby to this song. Think about that stuff.
It makes me happy to think about what people have done to it.
This is a military music video, wasn’t it?
That was When I’m Gone but this one gets used for a lot of military stuff also.
What defines a great rock and roll manager? Have you had the same manager the entire time?
I don’t know. My first one was good and the one I have now is good.
There’s some stuff in the middle.
I had one for a minute, but that was a complicated situation. It was weird. It had two managers co-managing at the time and that didn’t work.
One is the big picture guy and one is the day-to-day guy.
These were two separate management companies working with us at the same time and it didn’t work. We do have a manager and then a day-to-day guy. Red Light manages us now and they do great.
In 2018, you were on this rock and roll express tour with Collective Soul, and Soul Asylum was your opener, 36 cities. That song, Runaway Train, I love it.
They still sound exactly like that.
The Collective Soul band, something tells me they’re probably great live, good collection of songs. Johnny Rab had a drumstick company for a while. I was playing their sticks for a while. He developed this instrument called the Rhythm Saw. He’s like an octopus. When you hear him play with Collective Soul, you’re hearing about 2% of his drumming ability.
Greg said that he holds the world record for the fastest single stroke.
When you rehearse, do you rehearse here in town at Soundcheck?
We own this little studio up in Hendersonville. It’s nothing fancy. We made our last record there. It’s got the decent gear and we just ran a little bit of stuff.
Are you keeping it lean now like one bus and trailer or two buses?
We will be three buses because we would need a little bit more crew and a couple of trucks. I remember back in the day, we used to run seven buses and seven semis. Back then, the equipment was bigger. Now you don’t need all that stuff. The seven buses were because everybody’s drugs didn’t get along. You can’t have a guy on heroin over here with a guy on cocaine and a drunk guy on this.
Was it that bad?
It was that bad in our band.
Why seven buses?
Four of them were band buses.
It was like Kiss. You all had your own bus, which is high overhead.
They were all Star Coaches. God knows how much we paid for those things. You then talk like, “We had no money,” because you spend it all.
Your money guys are like, “You wanted the individual buses.” You had different drug choices that would have an effect in you in different ways and they wouldn’t always co-mingle, but you got along on stage always.
I cannot tell you how night and day. I don’t know if that’s big enough difference to separate how our band used to be to how we are now. Everybody is sober and we have so much fun. Our guitar player and the bass player will have a drink, but they’re not at the point that they need to be sober. We won’t be hard pressed to ever see them drunk or something like that but Chris, Greg and I are all sober. Chris celebrated ten years. Greg should have 4.5 years and I will have four years.
Congratulations, Friends of Bill.
It’s the best thing ever.
That’s wonderful. That’s great that something like a 12 Step Program is available because it works. I’ve known a lot of people in my life that saved their life.
All of us went to Cumberland Heights here in Nashville, and that’s a great place. I had a misconception about rehab or treatment or whatever. I thought it was all doctory and, “We’re going to make you well.” It’s like going to college.
Is it 30 days?
Yeah, that’s how long we went. You sit in classes all day and lose your phone for 30 days. Get in there and focus on you. I recommend it to pretty much anybody because everybody’s addicted to something, especially people with their phones. Either phones, shopping, food or whatever. You learn that people don’t have drug problems. You learned that people have life problems and their brains are lazy. They would rather sidestep the problem and go over here and catch a bus instead of facing it head-on. I know that is a disease and people have more tendency to do that, but people overcome disease all the time. It’s teaching your brain to face your problems. Don’t be lazy and stop running over here. It’s the best thing.
We were talking about turning over new leaves, evolving and changing our brains. We’re creatures of habit. We become addicted to our phones because if I don’t feel that thing in my back pocket, I’m like, “Did I lose it?” You’re always looking, “Where did I put it? It’s in my hand.”
Vaynerchuk talks about that. He says, “You’re kidding yourself. What’s the first thing you reach for in the morning?” You’re phone.
It’s sad that one of the first things you might do is go to your favorite social platform and go like, “That’s how I get my news.” It’s not the greatest thing or is it better to get it from CNN or Fox? I don’t know.
I try to be disciplined to look at my list and my goals, check my email, and make sure I do that. This way, I feel responsible and then I go play on Facebook.
I don’t have Facebook. I have Instagram, but I took Facebook off. I swear Instagram is this close to getting too political or too opinionated.
I like your page. It’s about you, your family and your horses.
I’ll make a comment about something here. I say that about Trump and I know everybody takes that as political, but I believe in him as a leader whoever he was for because he’s not Republican or Democrat either anyway. I don’t get political that much either. Even though we do a lot of political events when people will ask us, that’s probably the most I’ve ever said about it right there because people are so quick. At the same time, I share my beliefs a little more now because it’s important. Their own decision in this world right now can be detrimental or beneficial.
Are you aware of the Iran situation?
Kara was telling me about that. I get secondhand news from all my friends.
I don’t think we lost anybody on that. We had some military people on some of those bases, but we have some pretty awesome defenses on those bases too.
It’s one of those things where it’s like, “You’re going to start a fight? Okay, game on. You saw what we did with Japan.”
We can put them where they want. That general, that was a bad guy.
That’s the thing is that in the culture, it’s all about we have the bad guy. We can get into that. That’s a whole other story.
The last studio record was Us and the Night. You wanted to spin a little bit of The Broken. Is there one coming out in the future? Are you thinking about it?
We’re going to do the 20th anniversary of The Better Life. I do want to write a record. In a perfect world, I would have it written by the time that tour is over.
You are going to celebrate the release of your first record, its twenty-year anniversary. Is that going to be a special edition or something?
It sounds good. We released it and doing a big thing of it on vinyl this time. If you’re going to sell a hard copy, that’s what people want.
Do you have tour dates?
We are going to Europe and go back and do some of those festivals that we haven’t done in a while, then a lot of stuff in the States.
You get together, wipe the dust off, pack the suitcase and then you’re off to Europe. Do you like visiting Europe like the food in Europe?
More so than I used to. It helped me grow as a person.
A lot of meat for breakfast over there.
When I started going over there, McDonald’s was the American Embassy for me. Even being young of the seven kids, my mama made me pizza a lot. I had my French fry as my vegetable. When I started going to Europe, it took some getting used to. My dad made me a big gallon bag of beef jerky so if I can’t find something to eat, I could eat beef jerky.
In the travel that I do internationally, I tell a lot of our guests that I got such a sensitive stomach. My suitcase always has RX bars, protein bars, almonds, a jerky, and different things I know are going to be okay because when you’re in Mexico City, you can’t drink the water and you’re worried about Montezuma’s revenge when you’re playing in front of a lot of people. The Quest Bars are great and those RX bars have nothing in them. I use the Larabars for a treat or a dessert. You can put them in the microwave and heat them up a little bit. They have this coconut one and a chocolate one. You’d throw them in the microwave for eight seconds. You could put some Greek yogurt on it and you could pretend you’re eating like a good tasting dessert. You still get your protein. Check out this a little bit down memory lane, The Broken. This is Greg. This is also the first record that we made with the new guys, Justin and Chet. Do you do any tracks or you keep it all live and organic?
There were a lot of tracks on that one but live. We’re using some strings. Nothing like they’re faking it because I don’t believe in it. You can’t conceivably bring an orchestra out or something like that. We don’t have a utility guy, so we play some strings.
Wasn’t that a game? Did you start on yours back in the day or were there wedges?
We started on wedges, but only for a little while because we didn’t play that many bars. We played bar for a couple of months, and then we were in arenas. By the time we got there, I’d never been on ears. It was too much for me to hear the sound coming from the center of my head. I would wear one ear and then side fills and just crank as you could.
One ear in, one ear out, then side fills.
Over time I got to where I can put them both in.
You skipped the wedding bar mitzvah stage.
We never even when we were a local band, and it all worked out good for us being from a little small town. We had two different age groups in our band. Matt and I, my original guitar player, we were the same age. Todd and Chris were the same age and they were 4 or 5 years older than us. There was nothing to do in our hometown. Except for Friday night, “3 Doors Down is going to be playing at Michael’s.” We have 300 or 400 people there every weekend. We charged $5 apiece and we got to keep going.
Is Michael’s the local watering hole?
It’s like a little hotel bar by the interstate that runs through the middle of our town. We’d play there every weekend.
The website is 3DoorsDown.com. Tour dates are on there. You are going to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of your first record that came out in the year 2000. Jim, what did you learn?
I’ll go back to the humility aspect. I’m admiring your ability to keep it real and keep yourself rooted and grounded.
That’s one of the things that I took away as well. You’re such a likable, approachable person. You’re very just “Aw, shucks” about it. Gratitude and humility are such a huge thing. People that stay in high-level positions in the entertainment industry usually earn it and they stay there because they’re just nice people.
We’re too blessed not to be. Everybody has days and stuff. I’m pretty terrible at interviews. I don’t do that great at them. I’m thankful to get to do what I love to do. As you say, talking about Here Without You and the things that people get to do or have done to that song, when you look through Instagram and you see people covering it. We were sitting on the couch, there were these two guys sitting in a little karaoke bar singing Here Without You. It had a tag of where it was and they were in Damascus. It gives me goosebumps to think that a song that I wrote down on a piece of paper and these two dudes sitting in the karaoke bar singing it.
Were they saying it in English?
Yeah. It shows you how far-reaching music is. It’s been a big blessing to me to see like those guys in Syria. The media wouldn’t let you know that you share anything in common with anybody in Syria. We do. We like the same music, the same food. There’s a big Coca-Cola sign behind them and all that stuff. We’re all the same. That’s something music has taught me over the years. We’re all in different lanes, but we’re all on the same road. I thank God to be able to have found a conduit to make me understand that I’m not the only person that feels the way that I do.
What are you doing for a workout? You look great.
I work out at my garage. I and Jen would go to Planet Fitness sometimes.
You’ve got some weights in your garage, and then you run with the horses.
I’ve gotten into calisthenics more. I’m trying to get to where I can do a muscle-up. I can’t yet but I’m going to get there. You do like a pull. I can get to about like right there. I can’t do the transition of it.
I feel like a guy my age would want to play the drums for the rest of my life. I’m asking for injury with a pull-up bar.
I’ve got long arms, so I’m way better at pulling than pushing. I get out there and I tried to approach it as I like to do it because I like to go to national parks and stuff. Getting up there and getting on the stair climber. I hate stair climber, but Jen gets me on it.
You’re at Yosemite and you go for a hike.
Doing this stair climber, as much as I hate to be on it, it makes those hikes a lot easier. It makes them enjoyable.
I don’t hike when I’m here. It’s more of an LA thing like, “Let’s go for a hike.” We get our iced coffee and we go on a 90-minute hike in Runyon Canyon or whatever.
We hiked in the Runyon Canyon one day, me and my old tour manager. We got up there and we were out of breath. I smoked cigarettes for 25 years. I quit a few years ago. That’s the second-best thing I did.
You made a lot of changes in the past few years. Good for you.
We were sucking air. Here comes Chuck Liddell and his girlfriend running. I’m like, “What?”
He’s like, “Pick it up. Let’s go.”
I’ll feel so bad.
Did you stop and talk to him?
I did not. I was too ashamed that I was sitting there sucking air.
You hike around the arenas and stuff like that.
I’ll run the steps at the arenas and I’ll run the loop. Sometimes I’ll get up and I’ll go teach a clinic at a drum shop or a university or whatever. If I miss my workout that day, right before doors open, I’ll run and I’ll listen to a podcast. Hopefully, people are doing the same with this show. Take us to work. Take us to workout.
What did you learn?
I learned the same thing about humility and all that stuff. It’s a pretty incredible positive takeaway. 3DoorsDown.com celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first record. See these guys on tour and look for the new record. Brad, this has been great. I appreciate you stopping by. We’ll have to do something. We almost did a crossroads together for CMT. Maybe it can still happen. We crank you in the dressing room. We have our preshow music and you’re in the mix.
Kurt told me that. I appreciate that.
Have you written Kurt yet?
I have and I enjoyed it.
Kurt has had a song called They Don’t Know. It’s in our show and there was an album named after it. It totally reminds me of a 3 Doors Down song. That influence is in there. We put a hat on that guy and we go play. It’s pretty incredible. Everyone, thank you so much. School of Rock, thanks for sponsoring our show. If you love this show and you want to send us some love, I got an email address for you. TheRichRedmondShow@Gmail.com. We’re on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, YouTube. Subscribe, share, rate and review. Tell a friend and keep coming back for the good stuff. See you next time.
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