Escatawpa, Mississippi’s platinum selling alt-rock exports 3 Doors Down long ago had proven they were not one of the many “one-hit-wonder” bands of the 1990s, but the release of their first “Greatest Hits” collection last winter underscored the fact.
“We’ve been doing this for 20 years now,” said guitarist Chris Henderson, reflecting back on the group’s five albums to date, each certified platinum with sales of 1,000,000 or more copies, with three being multi-platinum sellers. “Sometimes I find it hard to believe so many years have gone by so quickly.” Henderson and his band mates have not forgotten the struggle to get that big break.
It came after a snippet of their original song “Kryptonite” from an EP the young band had recorded at a small local studio was used in a radio ad promoting a local club concert the young band was doing. The tune caught the ear of Kenny Vest, the operations manager at WCPR in Biloxi who added it to the station’s rotation and later contacted Universal/Republic Records on their behalf.
Signed by the label, the group re-recorded “Kryptonite” and saw it go to #3 on the national Billboard Hot 100 chart and earned the new national act a Grammy nod with their first single. The success of “Kryptonite” pushed their debut album, “The Better Life,” to six times platinum sales making it the 11th best-selling album of 2000. “Not a bad start,” noted Henderson of how fast things happened once they got signed.
Grateful for the whirlwind start and their continued success the 3DD members began “giving back” by starting a charitable outreach in 2003 called “Better Life Foundation” to help children in need of food, shelter and medical attention. The foundation’s coffer is replenished largely through an annual multi-day festival in the group’s home town that includes a 3 Doors Down & Friends concert performance.
Still signed with Universal-Republic, 3 Doors Down have enjoyed a long string of hits since – “When I’m Gone,” “Here Without You,” “Loser,” “It’s Not My Time,” “Duck And Run,” “Let Me Go,” “Always From The Sun,” and others – all found on the group’s latest “Greatest Hits” collection which has kept them on the road for most of the year, including a long stretch across the Atlantic.
“Oh man, it’s so much fun to play over there, especially in the summer when the weather is so nice,” said Henderson. “We just got back and it was great. Oversees is always great for us and it always has been. We played Russia, and then went to Poland and then Finland, Sweden, Germany, the U.K. Belgium, Holland, Switzerland and then France.”
3 Doors Down are currently on the third leg of a co-headline tour with the group, Daughtry, which finds the two bands flip-flopping when it comes to opening and closing shows. “I don’t know who will be opening and who will be closing when we get there (The Venue), but it really doesn’t matter,” said Henderson. “It’s a really good show and a good pairing (of bands).”
Along with the many positive things, a very negative situation happened to the group earlier this year, when 3DD’s founding member and bassist Todd Harrell was charged with vehicular manslaughter stemming from a fatal car crash in April involving his Cadillac CTS and a pick-up truck. Harrell checked himself in to a rehab facility following the tragedy which has left all in the band understandably shaken.
Briefly taking some time off from the road in April, 3 Doors Down returned to the bus to complete their scheduled dates with their old friend Justin Biltonen filling in on bass.
“Justin is doing a great job. He’s from a band that I’ve produced a couple off records for in my studio in Nashville,” said Henderson. “We became friends over the years and he’s been around, so when all this went down (with Harrell) he was the only guy we considered and asked.”
Although the new “Greatest Hits” album includes three new songs – “There’s A Life,” “Goodbyes,” and their current single “One Light” -- Henderson does not expect the group will immediately jump into working on a new album once the Daughtry and 3 Doors Down tour wraps up in September.
“We need to take some down time. We’ve not stopped since the (“Greatest Hits”) album came out and with everything that’s happened in recent months and all the touring we’ve done, I think we all need to take some time to decompress,” concluded Henderson. “After that, we’ll get together and figure out what we’re gonna do next.”