Today’s Feature June 2-3: 3 Doors Down

June 3, 2008 at 9:12 pm (Today's Feature)

Brad, Matt, Todd, Chris and Greg of 3 Doors Down are some of the finest people you’ll find in rock n’ roll – a band who does more than prove it on stage and in the studio. Their list of accolades is long, selling nearly 13 million albums worldwide to date all while maintaining their own well-crafted sound; keeping in mind that their fans are the blood that pumps their iconic rock career ever forward. From the first colossal record “The Better Life” to the latest self-titled release as well as “Away from the Sun” and “Seventeen Days” in between, 3 Doors Down has been bringing it as hard as anyone can.

These guys catch attention as more than just rockers – just look at their recent work in conjunction with their song “Citizen Soldier,” with the Mississippi Army National Guard and their own Better Life Foundation. Starting in 2003, the original mission for their organization was to focus on children’s charities along the Gulf Coast area, but in 2005, Matt recalls “we had to redirect the mission to focus on the coast, with Hurricane Katrina, people being battered with the forces of nature, it was only the right thing to do, to redirect the mission and turn it into a Hurricane relief effort.” Seeing all the work the National Guard was doing in the hurricane aftermath made it a natural fit to work with them, and the band continues to help with some remarkable efforts today.

Their latest work in the studio, including the new hit “It’s Not My Time” was been equally impressive, reigning as the #1 most added song at Alternative Radio, as well as amassing hits on iTunes and radio stations everywhere. The latest self-titled record gets back to the roots of the band. While the group has always kept to their own technique, they feel this collection contains “elements and some things that kind of fell back into the same shape of what we were doing early on. The quintessential 3 Doors Down sound.”

Chances are you already own the album, but if you don’t, get out there and grab it. And don’t miss their show when it comes through your town. Speaking from personal experience, 3 Doors Down isn’t just a studio act, but a band who gives you something to remember no matter where your spot is among the audience. And with 20 world tours behind them, you know you’ll see them again soon. Jump into the XXQ’s to learn more.

XXQs: 3 Doors Down – Matt Roberts

PensEyeView.com (Mark Friedman): So, first off, where are you right now, what are you doing?

Matt Roberts (MR): I am at my manager’s house [in Tennessee] right now, on the front porch, on my cell phone, talking to you.

PEV: Lets lighten the mood a little bit, you and the band are from a small town in Mississippi. What do you think of Brett Favre retiring?

MR: That’s a funny question. Actually, the band and I, we know Brett pretty well, he is a good friend of ours. My dad and I went to a game of his last season and had dinner with his wife. We were asking him if he was going to retire and he didn’t know, but my dad and I went up there anyway to watch what we knew was going to be his final season. It was sad to see him go, but I understand it. I hope the best for him and his finding what he is going to do, but we understand it.

PEV: Your new album is coming out this month; tell me a little bit about it, what is the direction, what is the feel of this album?

MR: Well, I think, as far as I’m concerned, the direction is pretty much on track with what we do, the 3 Doors Down sounds if you will. I think its back to where we kind of started, not saying we really got away from anything, off direction or anything, but I feel with this record, there were some elements and some things we did here that kind of fell back into the same shape of what we were doing early on. The quintessential 3 Doors Down sound I think our fans that have been with us will really enjoy and like this record.

PEV: Do you maintain some of that sound by working with Johnny K and Andy Wallace, two guys that you have worked with before? Did you work with them again to maintain that sound?

MR: Not really. To be honest with you, from that perspective, the sound, that relies solely on the band and what we do. We brought those guys in because we have worked with them in the past, they are great, they have a great track record and their work ethic is outstanding. We like to get in there and work really hard when we are making a record. We make a schedule and we do it and these guys work just as hard as we do. So that’s part of the plan, getting [Andy] Wallace and Johnny K in there. As far as working with them on the sound, that comes from here, we have to be responsible for that.

PEV: While working on this album you were in Florida and Tennessee, mixing it up a bit. So how long did it take and did moving around influence you or your writing or anything in the process as far as making the new album?

MR: It certainly did influence the sound and the writing process, because I am not the biggest fan of being away from the coastline when it comes to living somewhere. I kind of bit the bullet and came up to Nashville for a few months, it was the winter and we had a really cold winter. So we got a pretty significant amount of the writing done here. But the next phase, I wanted to take it back to the tropics, extremely hot and all that good stuff in Orlando. Florida seemed like a good place. There are beaches and stuff nearby to do when we are not working. It really did help change the vibe and recharge everything. So yeah, it was a big help.

PEV: The single out now, “It’s Not My Time”, has really been all over the radio and getting a lot of hits on the internet. Is that exciting for you and do you think that is a good sign for the album as a whole?

MR: Yeah it is, especially when you have been doing this forever, it feels like now. We put our first single out in ’99 and it’s been almost 10 years, it feels really good to still be relevant. That’s the biggest blessing you can ask for.

PEV: You were working with the Mississippi Army National Guard and The Better Life Foundation and in conjunction with that was the song “Citizen Soldier.” Tell me about that, how you hooked up with the National Guard and about the foundation you run.

MR: The Better Life Foundation is a foundation that we started back in 2003 and the original mission was to focus on children’s charities along the Gulf Coast area. We started the foundation and it coincided with a concert, an annual event where we have 3 Doors Down & Friends. We had guests like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Staind, and a bunch of our friends who really helped us out the last few years. 2005-06, we had to redirect the mission to focus on the coast, with Hurricane Katrina, people being battered with the forces of nature. It was only the right thing to do, to redirect the mission and turn it into a Hurricane relief effort, to put the funds there. In doing that, we developed a relationship with the National Guard, because those were the guys on the ground, helping the citizens of the area, it was such a great thing to see. I really can’t explain it. Before running water and electricity, these were the guys there, bringing in water and canned food. They were the only source of these kinds of things that people take for granted every day, these were the guys making things happen. So, that was our first interaction with the National Guard and they came to us about making the song, helping out and they donated some money to our charity and it was just a great effort and a great partnership and it all took off from there.

PEV: You mentioned you put your first single out in ’99 and you formed your group in 1995. Does it seem that long?

MR: Ha, yeah it seems like a long time. When you have done 20 world tours and 4 studio records and one live record, it seems like a lifetime. But in some aspects it seems like just yesterday. This is the only thing that I have ever done; it’s kind of hard to think of doing anything else at this point.

PEV: You talked about Orlando being a great place to hang out; when you guys are touring and you have some down time, what do you guys do?

MR: Well, there’s not much of that when we’re working. I like to ride sports bikes, my brother and I like to ride motorcycles. Just really take some time off and enjoy. I live on the beach, so I take time to enjoy and relax and just hang out. Trying to find the art of doing nothing, it’s kind of tough you know?!

PEV: Ha, yeah I know what you are saying! You guys have played in big venues and toured all over, is there anyone big out there that you have not collaborated with that you would like to?

MR: Hmm, not off the top of my head. We have just been fortunate to do some of the things we have with some great people. That is not something I think about, not off the top of my head, it’s not something I aspire to. My aspirations right now are to finish this tour up and get this record out. I am kind of one track minded right now.

PEV: Is there anyone out there right now, anyone coming up from Mississippi, that you think we should really know about, that is not out there yet?

MR: Well, I have a great band that I work with at home. They are called Top of The Orange, hopefully we will see those guys sooner than later. They are some guys that a friend and I started working with a couple of years ago; younger kids, great musicians, they are actually doing some shows with us. We are trying to get those guys seasoned, get them out there, so hopefully you will hear them sooner than later.

PEV: How has your family and friends reacted to all your success? You are from a small town, just doing your thing and then one day you are huge! How do they react to that?

MR: Well, people react in different ways. For the most part, my family has been great and always been really supportive. As far as friends go, as you get older you keep a certain few and everybody kind of goes their own way. The ones I kept kind of get a grasp of what I do and since I have been doing it for so long, a lot of them kind of see what it takes to do what I do. I think in the beginning, they were like “whoa, you are on MTV, on the radio, that must be exciting” and then people see you once every seven months, they are like “man, how do you do it?” A lot of people find out its not that easy.

PEV: Any final thoughts on the new album and for fans that have been their all along and for new listeners, what do you want them to take away from the new album?

MR: The new listeners, the people that are finding out about 3 Doors Down, I hope when they hear this record, it stands on its own. Hopefully they will want to be interested after they hear this record and want to be interested in us and what we’ve done. And like I said, I want this record to stand on its own. I want listeners to really be blown away by it and people who have been there from the beginning to appreciate this as another extension of us and what we do. I think they will find their common elements, like I was saying earlier, there are some things there that come from the beginning that you can find on this record. I know I don’t like it when a band takes a 180 degree turn and they start experimenting. They can really do whatever they like, but it’s better for us to stay on our path and do what we know and I hope that is what the people who follow us get out of this record.

PEV: Matt, I really appreciate your time, check out PensEyeView.com. Our readers will really be interested in you.

MR: Cool, well come out and see us if you get a chance, take care.

For more information on 3 Doors Down, check out www.3doorsdown.com

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