Adam Gontier of Three Days Grace
Three Days Grace crashed into the music scene with a vengeance with their self-titled debut. With fierce singles like “I Hate Everything About You” and “Just Like You” they amassed a loyal following and toured with bands like Nickelback, Hoobastank and Evanescence. A few years later they’re back with the same vengeance and a new cd. One-X will be hitting record stores on June 13th. The first single, “Animal I Have Become”, is an aggressive, in your face, unapologetic rocker that will definitely whet your appetite for this band and leave you wanting more. Exploring the darkest of places with the boldest of sound and lyrics, Three Days Grace welcomes you into their world to feel it the way that they do. Songs inspired by ironic bouts of loneliness and isolation while surrounded by millions of people. You may think you know them, but they will quickly remind you that you don’t.
Three Days Grace (Adam Gontier on vocals and guitar, Barry Stock on lead guitar, Neil Sanderson on drums, and Brad Walst on bass) is currently out on the Jagermeister tour with Staind and will be joining Nickelback and Hoobastank on tour starting June 30th.
Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette | June 2006
So it’s down to single digit days now until the release of your new album, One-X, how are you feeling?
I’m feeling excited.
I know that everyone in the band is involved in the writing process. Going into writing this new album, did you feel any pressure to make a better album than your first or what was your general approach?
I don’t think we felt any pressure to make it better. I don’t think we felt any pressure to make it anything. We’ve been together so long that when we sit down with guitars and write songs it comes really easy, so we just secluded ourselves away from every body else. We went up to a cottage that was basically in the middle of nowhere. We whipped out the acoustic guitars and we wrote the songs on the record. We tried to basically eliminate time and basically all of the outside pressures as a factor because sometimes there can be a lot of pressure but there’s no pressure if you don’t allow it to bug you.
How was working with producer Howard Benson? (P.OD., Hoobastank, My Chemical Romance)
It was great. He’s been around for a long time. He’s done some great records and he’s a really a professional. It was cool because he focused a lot on vocals while his engineer would record the music. I spent a lot of time with him doing vocals and harmonies and melodies that I would have never come up with if it wasn’t for him.
The first single, Animal I Have Become, has been released and seems to just be exploding on rock radio. I love the song, the bass line is unforgettable..were you gunning all along for this to be the first single or was that a record company decision?
We have a lot of creative control and we wanted to make sure that we had that going into signing a record deal. Between us and the label I think it was a mutual agreement. We had all the songs done and it just seemed that from when we finished recording that song that it just felt like the right representation of what we are about now. It just felt right. It definitely represents what this band is all about. It really worked, I think everyone thought it was a good decision.
On your first cd, a lot of the inspiration was said to have come from what you saw around you and your life experiences. Since life has changed a bit since then and you’ve toured so much over the last two years in support of the first cd, where are the new songs coming from?
Well, like you said, we were on tour for so long, it was about two years and it definitely takes its toll on you. After being out for so long you always seem to be putting on a show for people that you don’t know. You have a lot of people coming up to you thinking that they know you, pretending they know you. There was a point where I definitely felt a little bit lonely and I felt isolated when we were on the road. I’d become sort of a different person. I had inner demons that I wanted to deal with and that I had to deal with so when we got off tour for the record and it was time to start writing the new record this was all coming together. I realized that I wanted to change as a person. Lyrically it was great timing because everything that I was feeling over the last year or so basically came out on this record lyrically. All the songs are about the last couple years of my life basically.
Since a lot of us haven’t heard the new cd in it’s entirety yet, can you take us through a few of your favorite tracks and tell us what they are about both musically and lyrically?
My favorite, or the track that I relate to the most on the record is “Never Too Late”. That song is about somebody basically saying to me that they feel like they don’t want to be here anymore and they want to give up on life and that sort of thing. Basically it’s just about telling somebody that it’s not worth it. You can always change your life if you have to. Nothing is bad enough that you should ever want to end it. It hits home. It’s very personal.
Animal I Become, the first single, is another pretty cool song. It’s just a realization that I became a different person, that I have a dark side and it’s about asking for help. It’s about asking somebody else to help me control this dark side. I think that everyone has a dark side. Asking to control that…
One-X, the last song on the record which is really cool because I think it sort of wraps up the whole record with a little bit of hope. That song is basically about feeling alone and feeling isolated and at the same time it’s about realizing that there are people who feel the same way you do. Even if you feel like you’re the only one who understands yourself, there are a lot of people that do understand you. So, One-X is..I think at the end of a few songs about feeling down and feeling lonely I think One-X is a hopeful song about realizing that you’re not alone.
So Adam, do you write the majority of the lyrics?
Well, on this record the majority of the lyrics basically came from my journal over the past few years. The songwriting process is we all just sit down and we come up with the song. So if anyone has ideas towards lyrics or anything that they would like to see changed, then we do that. Everyone has a voice in this band and everyone brings to the table what they want. The lyrics definitely start with what I’m feeling and then they evolve into maybe something that everybody is feeling.
The video for Animal I have Become pretty much tells the story of the song perfectly. Who came up with the idea?
Between us, and the director Dean Carr we all mutually had the same sort of vision for the video. The lyrics are blunt. We’re talking about everybody having a darkside and we wanted to bring that darkside out in this video. If you watch the video it relates to the lyrics pretty closely; me fighting with another evil side of myself.
Who knew you could look so creepy Adam! (Check out the video here)
You’re currently finishing up some dates on the Jager tour with Staind. How much of the new material are you playing and how is it being received?
We’re playing about five new songs, four or five new songs off of the new record on this tour. They’re being received surprisingly well. It’s really cool, the fans are really digging the new stuff. I get the impression that the fans are just as excited as we are to have a new record and new songs out which is really cool.
I read, and you previously mentioned, that most of the new cd was written “around a fire on acoustic guitars”. Any chance you’ll be doing any acoustic stuff on this or your next tour?
Well we try to do a lot of acoustic stuff whether it’s at radio or on TV shows. We always we want to do acoustic things, that’s the way we started; that’s our roots. Any time we get a chance to play our songs acoustic we always do.
Any good tour stories? I mean, being sponsored by Jager…you have a reputation to uphold!
Not exactly. Something a little weird, I don’t know if you’re familiar with The Lizard Man?
I actually heard him on the radio talking about the tour, what exactly is he doing on the tour?
He’s basically the emcee of the show. He’s the guy who has completely tattooed himself green like a lizard, he has a split tongue and scales, tons of weird stuff. He’s basically a traveling creep show. He drills a foot long drill into his nose and he picks up bricks up with his balls, just weird stuff. He’s one of those guys, like a freak show. He’s a little weird, it’s kind of fun watching him do crazy things every night but for the most part it’s been pretty tame. Everybody is taking the tour pretty seriously. Everybody wants to have a good show so there’s not a lot of partying going on believe it or not.
So when that tour with Staind wraps up, right away you’ll be touring with Nickelback and Hoobastank starting around June 30th?
Yeah, that’s right. We’ve toured with both of those bands before and I think that its a good opportunity for us to introduce our new record to a lot of people. They’re going to be big shows, like 15,000 – 20,000 people at each show so for us we wanted a way to bring the record out to new people. It’s a good way to do it for us. Maybe the musical styles are just a tiny bit different but we’re going to have a good time.
I noticed you have a lot of interaction with fans of the bands through many different channels..your fan club, your street team, your myspace profile. For fans who are just getting in on the action now, what is your advice to them to get in on it now and help promote One-X?
We actually have a lot of cool stuff going on our online street team. There’s a whole bunch of stuff you can do. We have a lot of exclusive stuff as well for anybody who signs up to be on the online street team so whether its that or the actual street team, like the physical team, there’s lots of ways to do it. Any support from fans is great and we appreciate everything so we try to make a point of letting them know. We have meet and greets with our online street team and our street team every night. We try to keep a close connection with the fans and that’s the way we do it.
Let’s put the band name to the test. If you found out you only had three days to live…how would you spend them?
If you told me now that I had three days to left to live, I’ve been on tour for quite awhile now so I would probably go home and I would probably sit on my couch three days straight with my wife. That’s exactly what I’d do.
Be sure to check out Three Days Grace on Rockline on June 12th at 8:30 PDT and on The Craig Ferguson Show on June 16th.