From the backwaters of Mississippi, 3 Doors Down has emerged as one of the hottest young bands out there today. From smash hits "Kryptonite" and "Loser" 3 Doors Down has pushed expectations very high for their next release. Will the band have the stamina and artistic ingenuity to rise even higher?
Livewire's Phil Bonyata got the opportunity to talk with bassist Todd Harrell.
Livewire: Is it true that The Better Life is the fastest selling debut album of all time?
Todd: I think so, man. When it first came out it broke a of couple records. Yeah as a debut album I think it did, yeah as a baby band. It's pretty overwhelming. We've been lucky you know. We've had a great run this past year and everything has been great, we've really had nothing bad happen to us, yet.
Livewire: I saw you play with Creed and Sevendust in Madison last year, what was it like playing with those guys?
Todd: What a band to go in front of, Sevendust. Those guys are amazing. You know what, those guys got a lot do with us steppin' up to the next level. That was one of our first tours. You know, when Sevendust takes the stage they just go nuts! So much energy on stage and that's where we wanted to be. I mean, damn these guys just go off.
Livewire: Obviously, Sevendust has influenced your music. What about some others?
Todd: Some of the older music like AC/DC you know, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd that kind of stuff. Yeah, watching Sevendust get up there and give it everything makes me want to get up there and go nuts, you know.
Livewire: Any others?
Todd: One of my all time favorite bands is the Cult. I'd give anything to play with them. I've never seen 'em live, dude. I used to sit up when I was like in the sixth or seventh grade and watch MTV all night to catch that one video "Love Removal Machine." They've just been a band of mine that I've liked for a long time.
Livewire: After I initially listened to The Better Life "Kryptonite" and "Loser" jumped out at me right away. The other songs didn't seem nearly as good at first, but after a few listenings other songs like "By My Side", "Smack" and others turned out to be just as infectious. Your thoughts?
Todd: Well thanks, when we were doing the album we didn't want every song to sound the same, know what I mean? So we took a little time to try to make them different. We've had a lot of luck with it so far. I think it's going to be the formula from now on, you know.
Livewire: What is the musical direction going to be on your next album?
Todd: Well, I think our next record is going to be a little more in your face, a little more heavy. It's definitely going in that direction. This whole ride has been like a learning experience. The next record we're not going to rush, we're going to take our time on it.
Livewire: I'm sure your working on new songs right now?
Todd: I wrote four new songs last night.
Livewire: Have you gone through the editing process with the band yet?
Todd: They're just laid down. Tonight we're going to do guitar tracks. Chris is coming over. That's what we've been doing in our time off.
Livewire: Do you and Brad write all the music or is it more of a collaborative effort with the whole band?
Todd: Brad writes all the lyrics. The music is kind of a band thing. Chris puts his in. We all write together you know. Someone comes up with an idea and we can run with it. It's just what sounds good and feels good. We're definitely a group and we all put the songs together.
Livewire: Do you have a tentative completion date for this new album
Todd: We're gonna probably get in the studio and start this next record in September.
Livewire: You are taking it slow?
Todd: "Duck and Run" just went to #1. That's out third #1 single. We're going to release "Be Like That" through the summer. You know then we'll be ready to record. The record is probably coming out the first of next year.
Livewire: Tour to follow?
Todd: Yes indeed.
Livewire: Any live gigs before that?
Todd: There might be something here and there, there ain't no tellin'.
Livewire: Do you have any backstage food requests like Van Halen's infamous no brown M&Ms?
Todd: No nothing like that. We do try to keep out of Reese's cups. We got on the road and got to eating those Reeses cups and you know what happens when you eat too many Reeses cups, you get fat and out of shape. (laughs)
Livewire: Do you have any interesting groupies that follow you from city to city.?
Todd: There's a few that show up every so often and we catch their eye or their face. That's all cool you know, if you want to come see us play and enjoy what they're seeing. That's good and makes us feel good.
Livewire: I understand you played at the legendary CBGBs in New York two years ago. What was it like to play in a place where all the pioneer punks and New Wavers held court twenty years ago?
Todd: Dude, that was totally a place where everybody should play, you know. You could just feel the vibe in there. It was kind of spiritual, you know what I mean! I was sittin' there and thinking, man there were some great people that came through here. Madison Square Garden was another place I always wanted to play.
Livewire: How did you get Toby Wright, who mixed albums with Alice in Chains and Korn, to work on your record?
Todd: We wanted to do it right. Our management and their management and the record label hooked it up. There people knew our people. That's how that came about. It turned out great. He did a great job, he's probably one of the best in the business, you know.
Livewire: When are you going to get Brian Eno to produce one of your albums?
Todd: We'll I'd like to. We've been actually taking to few people now. I don't know if I'm supposed to say anything right now, but we've been talkin' to some big names for this next record.
Livewire: How's Brad's math ability? Since he apparently wrote "Kryptonite" and many other songs during his high school algebra class?
Todd: That's true. When we first started Brad wasn't even old enough to get into the bars.Yeah, I had to sign a paper for him to get him into bars. Brad was sixteen when we first started. We've been goin' on seven years now. We always wanted be where we're at now so we'll see what happens next.