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."