|Three Days Grace|
Several weeks ago I wrote a post titled “Learning to Live With Change”, that featured the band Flyleaf. Amazingly there are many parallels between that post and the one you are reading now. Both articles featured nu metal genre bands. The bands also had recently experienced a change in lead vocalists. Both bands have also enjoyed a long period of success. Even though the bands are similar in many ways, the music they write and perform is unique to each group. Of course, the music created by each individual or band, is personal in nature, and tends to come about because of life experience. Therefore our featured band this week, Three Days Grace, has created new music that we will examine in detail.
Three Days Grace is a Canadian rock band formed in Norwood, Ontario in 1992, originally under the name Groundswell. After a breakup in late 1995, the band regrouped in 1997 under its current name with a line-up consisting of guitarist and lead vocalist Adam Gontier, drummer and backing vocalist Neil Sanderson, bassist Brad Walst, lead guitarist Phil Crowe, and secondary guitarist Joe Grant. In 2003, Barry Stock was recruited as the band’s lead guitarist. The band is now based in Toronto. After signing to Jive Records, Three Days Grace has released five studio albums, each at three-year intervals: Three Days Grace in 2003, One-X in 2006, Life Starts Now in 2009, Transit of Venus in 2012, and Human in 2015. The first three albums have been RIAA certified platinum, platinum, and gold, respectively, in the United States.
As I start my research for the featured artists each week, questions arise that must be answered. Most of the time I am curious about the origins of the artist: where they came from and how they got their musical start. Bands are very interesting because of their process of writing music, and even choosing a name. Three Days Grace started out playing and recording under the name Groundswell. In 1997, Gontier, Sanderson, and Brad Walst regrouped and changed the band name to “Three Days Grace”. According to Gontier, the name stands for a sense of urgency with the question being whether someone could change something in one’s life if one had only three days to make a change.
Upon hearing this explanation of the band’s name, I thought about how it might apply to other bands. Sometimes, there are decisions that need to be made quickly, possibly working within a three-day grace period – more or less. On October 7, 2011, RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding Jive Records along with Arista Records and J Records, and moving all the artists signed to the three labels to its RCA Records brand, including Three Days Grace. Many staff members from Jive Records were laid-off without the three-day grace period to facilitate decisions in life. On January 9, 2013, Three Days Grace announced that Adam Gontier was resigning from the band while on tour. They cited a health issue of Adam Gontier’s as the reason for his sudden departure. Brad Walst’s brother Matt, of My Darkest Days, replaced him on tour with the band as lead vocalist. Three Days Grace had to decide how to proceed quickly, but the decision worked well.
Once I understood the thinking behind naming the band Three Days Grace, it would prove prophetic. The band reached out to Matt Walst because he was familiar with the music, and would fit well with the personalities of the other members. In an interview with Loudwire, Barry Stock stated that “bringing Matt into the group was just like bringing in a family member”. True, his brother Brad was already the bass player. Matt Walst was also part of the songwriting team on the Three Days Grace 2003 album.
Now we turn our attention to the current Three Days Grace album Human. In order to ensure a good product the band decided they would retreat to a dark, uncomfortable rehearsal space and write everything on acoustic guitars, starkly tightening the melodies as much as possible. They reconnected with producer Gavin Brown who helmed the boards on their platinum-certified 2003 self-titled début and enlisted the mixing talents of Chris Lord-Alge and Nick Raskulinecz. “In the past, we’d usually go through a traditional cycle of recording in the studio, releasing an album, and then touring,” says Barry. “It happened so quickly with Matt though. We were writing songs together from the jump. So, we’d go into the studio with Gavin when we got off the road. It was a different approach, but it worked so well.”
After listening to the album several times, I realized how well the efforts of Three Days Grace succeeded. I thought I would listen to the album while working out at the gym. It was one of my best decisions. If any of you are looking for some music for your exercise routine, consider Human as a big addition to your music library. It will certainly remain a part of my workout music. A lot of it has to do with content of the songs. Barry Stock said, “These songs describe what we’re about right now. There’s a lot of inner struggle and loss on those record. ‘Painkiller’ illuminated what we were going for right out of the gate. Our goal was to be a little heavier and darker and reflect what we’ve gone through.” “A lot of this record is pretty hard-edged confessional,” continues Neil. “That’s been apparent on all of our records. There’s the beauty, the rage, the numbness, and the escape. In modern society, we’ve all experienced numbing ourselves to avoid the harsh realities of daily living. Some of the songs are social commentary, while also throwing your hands up and saying, ‘I don’t want to be manipulated. I want to feel pain.’”
Yes, the grace period is over. Three Days Grace is in Europe on tour with a new lead singer and a great new album. Here they come!