Thursday, April 2, 2009 | 2:08 p.m.
Beyond the Sun
When childhood friends from Escatawpa, Miss., Brad Arnold, Matt Roberts and Todd Harrell burst onto the Billboard charts in 2000 with moody rock anthem “Kryptonite,” the trio at the heart of 3 Doors Down were soon playing arenas that could fit the entire population of their hometown many times over.
Nine years later, the band has had a slew of mega hits and a handful of platinum-selling records and is currently heading into Las Vegas for a show at the pool at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson on Friday in support of their self-titled fourth album released last May.
The Sun's sister publication, the Las Vegas Weekly, caught up with 3 Doors Down bassist Todd Harrell over the phone Wednesday to hear about being caught unprepared by fame, writing the band’s most definitive album and playing gospel music.
You guys did a lot of the writing for the most recent album in a farmhouse in Tennessee …
Yea, well, we kind did the writing in two places – a couple of months in Franklin, Tennessee right outside of Nashville, and I guess we got tired of the cold and went to Florida for the rest of the effort, about three more months. … This is the first time we did this. We rented a house and gutted it out and made a studio out of it. We lived in the house and we recorded down in the basement of the house. And that was the same in the place in Florida. We lived upstairs and turned the whole bottom floor into a studio. That was a lot of fun, tearing up a house.
What was it like living together during the writing process?
We’re all best friends, so it was a good time. We were always doing something, either going out or cooking out by the pool. We had a good time doing this record and kinda got back to doing things the way we like to do it. We didn’t have no pressures, no rush, no deadlines to make.
Before this album the band had taken a year-long break. Why?
We kind of needed it, man. You know, we’d been out touring for eight, nine years straight and hadn’t had no breaks. So, we kinda took a little time to go back to reality, you could say.
What did you do during that time?
I just went back home and hung out with friends and family and just did normal stuff for a while – just got back to being normal.
Do people treat you differently in your hometown of Escatawpa, Mississippi now that you’ve left and been so successful?
In the beginning it seemed like they treated us a little different and kind of were star struck, but now they’ve gotten used to the fact that we do what we do. They treat us normal. They don’t give us special treatment.
When “Kryptonite” first hit the Billboard charts in 2000 how prepared were you for fame?
Very unprepared. We were like a deer in headlights. It was just real overwhelming. Everything was happening so fast. We went from playing in nightclubs to playing in arenas almost overnight.
Brad Arnold (vocals) said in an interview that the self-titled album was really the defining moment as musicians for the band. Do you agree?
Yeah, I do. We got together and just poured our hearts into it. That’s why we named it 3 Doors Down, because it’s the best representation of where we are right now. We’re all far better musicians than we were when we stared, and we’ve all gotten better at doing what we do over the years. I think it showed on this record. I think we wrote a great record, man.
In Vegas you’re going to be playing outside at a pool. How will 3 Doors Down’s sound work with people sipping margaritas poolside?
Hey, we’ll get ‘em going, man. It’ll be a good time. We’ve played a couple things like that in the past and it’s been fun. We have fun playing anywhere we play, whether it’s by a pool or in a morgue or in a casino. We jam no matter where.
I heard you guys are going to be on a gospel album. Is that right?
I haven’t heard if that got put on there, but we did do a track a while back … an old Eric Clapton song. It turned out great. … We had never done that before but it was a good experience.
So is a gospel album next for 3 Doors Down?
That’s just not my speed. I like to rock, man.
Are you heading back into the studio soon?
We’re going to do some writing in April and then probably be back in the studio by the end of the year and try to get a new record out. We’re just concentrating right now on the summer tour and that’s what we’re going to be doing this summer, just touring....