3 Doors Down goes acoustic for Reno show
You would think that a band that relies on power and volume for its sound would be slightly petrified at the prospect of playing a round of stripped-down acoustic shows. That is certainly not the case for 3 Doors Down, who will be doing their second such tour in their career this year.
“I think it’s actually easier to play this way,” said Chris Henderson, 3 Doors Down guitarist, in a January interview from his home in Nashville, Tennessee. “The only thing hard about it is that we haven’t played this way in quite a few years, but it comes right back to you.”
Henderson and his band will play one of the first of its latest round of acoustic shows on Jan. 20 at Silver Legacy.
Henderson said the band wanted to do another acoustic tour because it’s so much fun to play in that format.
“It’s nice to connect with people in a different way,” he said. “You get a lot more eye contact and there’s also an audible connection that’s different, that’s not possible in a big room. People will yell out requests and talk to us and we can talk right back to them. It feels really close to me. There’s no barricade, no crowd surfing or any of that stuff.”
“It’s a whole different vibe. I really don’t know why more bands don’t do it. Look, there’s definitely a romance between the crowd and the band, and when you have the big speakers and the lights and the fire and the dancing around, that’s one level of it. But when you can sit down in front of a crowd like this, I can see you and you can see me and it’s a bigger connection.”
In a way, the band also gets to play its songs as they were originally written, something that Henderson also enjoys.
“We’re not jumping around all over the place and trying to be cool at these shows,” he said. “We just play the songs as they were intended to be heard the first time, and that’s really cool to me. Every night feels different.”
Henderson said the group also plays some unexpected songs on the acoustic tours, including several unrecorded ones that pre-date the band’s first big hit, “Kryptonite” in 2000.
“There will be a few cool things that people won’t be expecting,” Henderson added.
Living 'The Better Life'
3 Doors Down started from humble origins in a small town in Mississippi and rose quickly to become a top band as the 21st century began. The group’s current lineup includes founding member Brad Arnold on vocals and Henderson, who joined 3 Doors Down in its formative years and before it started recording demos. The band also includes drummer Greg Upchurch, who joined in 2005; Chet Roberts, lead guitarist who joined in 2012; and bassist Justin Biltonen, the newest member who joined 3 Doors Down in 2013.
Back in 1998, two years after forming and playing clubs in the South, 3 Doors Down made a demo, which was played by their local radio station in heavy rotation for months. Eventually, word got around to a major label, Republic Records, who signed the band after they played a showcase gig in New York City.
The group’s first album, “The Better Life,” was an immediate hit after being released in 2000. With singer Arnold also playing drums on the album, “Better” ended up selling more than 5 million copies and reached No. 7 on the Billboard charts. The album also spawned a top 10 pop hit with “Kryptonite” and a top 20 hit with “Be Like That.” The songs “Loser” and “Duck and Run” also did well on rock radio.
“Away from the Sun” was 3 Doors Down’s second record and it was close to as big of a hit as the debut. It sold more than 5 million copies and reached No. 8 on the album charts, while two of its songs hit the top 10, “When I’m Gone” and “Here Without You.” The group’s next two albums — “Seventeen Days” in 2005 and a self-titled album in 2008 — each hit No. 1 on the album charts. Popular songs from those records include “Let Me Go,” “It’s Not My Time,” “Citizen/Soldier” and “Here By Me.”
The songs that drive the band
During this entire time, 3 Doors Down also stayed as a top live attraction, eventually graduating to arenas. Two further albums — “Time of My Life” in 2011 and “Us and the Night” in 2016 — led to more familiar songs for fans, including “When You’re Wrong” and “In the Dark.”
Along the way, the group earned a reputation for strong, classic songwriting to go along with the heavy guitars, something that Henderson said the band feels grateful about.
“When you hear a 3 Doors Down song, we try to have that song not change from the point we wrote it to when you hear it on the record. Of course, there are some production tricks, but the core of the song is the same,” he said.
More of those songs that 3 Doors Down’s audience enjoys will also be on the way soon.
“We will be working on some new stuff for sure this year,” Henderson said. “We’re working on some things now, but right now we are at the stage in our lives where we just try to enjoy the whole process. No one is buying a ton of records anymore, and that being said, we’re not rushing to put anything out. A band can put out so much new music that they can’t really enjoy the fruit of their labor. We’re not trying to break as a rock band anymore, so right now it’s really about the twilight for us, just having a good time.”