In case you have been living under a rock lately, the iconic alternative rock band from Mississippi just released a new album March 11th of this year titled “Us And The Night” and the hit single from the album “In The Dark” has been tearing up radio stations since January. We got the opportunity to catch up Chris Henderson to talk about the latest album and what we can look forward to from the band in the near future.
UG: I just want to start off by saying congratulations on the new album. I’ve gotten to listen to it a handful of times already and I have to say that I’m really digging it so far.
Chris: Thank you
UG: The stand out tracks for me are no doubt “In The Dark” and “The Broken”. Honestly I think it’s a great way to start out the record and while the album definitely sounds like 3 Doors Down, there definitely seems to be a different kind of vibe. Was this intentional or was this just a natural progression?
Chris: I think it was a little bit of both. I think we wanted to just let things happen instead of forcing it in the other direction if that makes sense. It’s really easy to kind of rewrite songs over and over again. It’s really comfortable to do that and when things kind of start going left it’s really difficult to let it happen. Everyone’s afraid of change, but this time we just kind of let it happen and see where it ended up.
UG: I get that and I definitely think you’ve managed to put together an awesome collection of work.
Chris: Thank you
UG: Personally I’m always interested in hearing where certain lyrics and titles come from. The name of album is “Us And The Night”, where exactly did that come from?
Chris: Well it came from the song which would be the title track of the record. That song was just shaping up to be a snapshot of where we’ve been the last five years. It makes sense to make the record about that, since we are actually coming out of the other side of all the darkness and craziness of the last five years for us. You know trying to survive and trying to become better than we were yesterday. So that “Come on just enjoy the ride!” kind of sums it up you know. You don’t take it too seriously, just have a good time and let’s enjoy it.
UG: Awesome, well hopefully you guys are enjoying it. Now you just touched on the long break between albums with the last one released in 2011, What was it like jumping back in the studio after such a break?
Chris: It was cool, but honestly we never really left the studio. We’ve kind of been there every day for the last five years just doing other stuff. But it was fun to get back in there and work on 3 Doors Down and work together.
UG: I’m sure adding two new members kind of helped to mix that up too right?
Chris: Oh definitely!
UG: “Us And The Night” was produced by the very talented Matt Wallace. As you know he has produced albums with Faith No More, Deftones, Maroon 5, Train, the list goes on. What was it like working with Matt and how do you feel he influenced the sound of the new album?
Chris: It was a really a great experience. Matt is not only a great musician, but a really nice guy and a really good person. Which really mixed well with us and I think he brought a lot of different ideas that we would have never thought of. Not like train changing ideas, but just ways to make songs more interesting that we would have never thought of that was really cool. You know different chord variations and versions of things that we would have not necessarily thought of in the rock world. He brought that to the table which I thought was really cool and really interesting.
UG: Awesome! Now along that same line, one thing I noticed when I was researching for this interview is that this album was recorded in Nashville and correct me if I’m wrong, but I haven’t really noticed an album since Seventeen Days in 2005 that’s been recorded there for you guys. Was this a conscious decision and how did it impact the album?
Chris: It was a conscious decision. We all live here now, and we actually recorded it at my studio in Hendersonville, so it was really important that we got to drive to work every day instead of having to fly to L.A. and live in a hotel. I think it made the record more comfortable and took a lot of pressure off of it.
UG: The first single off the album “In The Dark” is really a great track and manages to get stuck in your head. The video for this was released last month and features RJ Mitte from Breaking Bad, how did this connection come about?
Chris: The director of the video basically said if you pick my treatment I can get RJ. That was kind of how it happened. But you know we already liked his treatment the best out of all of them, so it was just kind of icing on the cake.
UG: Did you have much input into the direction of the video or did you just let him do his thing?
Chris: You just kind of let them do their thing. That’s what they do… you know video directors, they write videos and band guys write songs. Some guys do videos, but we’re not that visually creative like that so we kind of let those guys have it. They send us their ideas and if we like their idea we just let them run with it.
UG: You guys are about to start a lot of dates, and I actually managed to catch you guys at the Louder Than Life festival last October in Louisville, KY.
UG: To be completely honest I hadn’t listened to 3 Doors Down for quite a while… Don’t hold it against me!
Chris: I don’t.
UG: But you all came on stage and my wife and I sat down on the lawn and really just enjoyed your whole set. It reminded me of why we became fans in the first place and it took me back to a much simpler time in my life. I was really curious on what is it like to have that type of connection to your fans?
Chris: I mean that’s what it’s all about man. When I listened to music as a child, I mean that’s what it was… the connection. That’s kind of the dragon you chase, and when you’re discovering music you’re looking for that feeling again. It’s really cool when you can find a band that can bring you back to that and it’s really cool when you can find a band that gives you that feeling for the first time. You know? It really becomes more about a period of your life than it does about anybody’s particular music. I like that and I think that’s what is cool about music. I think that’s cool about art and I think that’s really cool about the connection that we have with our fans and they have with us. I think its life changing and profound… being the perfect storm. It’s really cool.
UG: Yeah certainly. Well that was without a doubt an awesome set and you guys sounded picture perfect.
Chris: Thank you
UG: What is your favorite aspect to performing live and how do you manage to continuously pour new life into songs that are 10 and 15 years old that you have played countless times?
Chris: I think you just go out there and do it man. You don’t really think too much about it, and don’t take it too seriously. Just go out and play and have fun. If you’re trying to have fun and you enjoy it and you’re living in the moment, I think that people will live in the moment with you instead of trying to be something you’re not. Especially if you’re trying to say that you are in a real band, with real people that plays real music, and you get up on stage and try to do some contrived bullshit… people are going to pick up on that. You know what I mean? So I think that you just get up there and do it. Every night the song comes up and you just play it. Whether it’s the same or different, you just play it the way it is and that’s how you keep it interesting and new.
UG: The band formed in 1996, so you’re coming up on the 20 year mark. I know you weren’t there for its inception, but you joined shortly after. That’s really a long time to hold together a successful rock band. Touring obviously isn’t all fun and games, but in your experience and being together for so long do you find that touring is getting easier or more difficult?
Chris: I don’t think it’s getting easier or more difficult. I think it is just what it is. I think it’s a part of my life and I do it. In the last 20 years I definitely figured out how to do it and how to do it correctly without killing myself… which is cool.
UG: Right! That’s always a plus.
Chris: But I have done it the hard way and I’ve done it the easy way and I really don’t think it’s gotten easier, but it hasn’t gotten any harder. It’s been pretty cool man. Touring is fun and honestly that’s why we started doing this in the first place is to tour.
UG: Well it’s no doubt that being a rock star in today’s day and age is much different than it used to be. Even since the beginning of 3 Doors Down, technology has both helped and hurt the music industry in so many ways. On one side of the coin you can more easily connect with your fans, but then there is also the other side. Do you find the rise of social media difficult to maintain a personal life and keep things private?
Chris: Not really. You can always run hot in that shit if you want to. Social Media is only present if you let it be present, so I don’t really look at social media like that. I run my own Twitter, Facebook and Instagram account so I have a pretty cool connection with those outlets. If it gets too harry for me I put it down for a couple of days. One of my things… I have this motto called text and delete. So when you get haters on your page and stuff like that, you just kind of text and delete and you move on. Know what I mean?
UG: For sure… well speaking of your personal life and I won’t get too much into that, but it looks like you recently got engaged last year. Is that correct?
Chris: I did, yep!
UG: That’s awesome, congrats on that.
Chris: Thank you
UG: Do you find it difficult to balance being a rock star and trying to maintain or start a new family?
Chris: I don’t recommend trying to start a family on the road, but I’ve already done that and I failed miserably at it. Starting a family on the road, I would not recommend that and not just because you can or can’t do it, but there’s other people involved that don’t give a shit about your touring schedule and those are your children. They don’t really care about that stuff so much. It’s not really their fault and they don’t really sign on for that stuff, but now that I’ve done it and my kids are getting older they think it’s kind of cool now. But they had to live through the hard part when they were children and I was gone all the time.
Chris: So I would say that it’s pretty difficult, but with my Fiancée…. you know this is what I do, this is what I’ve always done and she doesn’t know any other way with me. So it’s working out better with me and her. You know what I mean? I’m allowed to leave and I don’t really get a lot of grief for having to go to work.
UG: Sure… Now it’s really no secret to anybody that pays attention to band and sees pictures and everything that you have a love for tattoos. I have noticed a handful of skull pieces, is there a favorite piece that you have?
Chris: Man I got a bunch of them. I tell you whenever something changes in my life I end up with a tattoo. I have a bunch of skull pieces, I don’t know what it is about the skulls but I think it just worked out that way over the years. I’ve learned to incorporate the skulls into things that have changed in my life like music, and hurricane Katrina. I have a big hurricane Katrina piece on my arm because it definitely changed my life. I haven’t gotten a tattoo in about five years but I think I’m due for a new one.
UG: I think about on that same schedule myself. Well getting back to the band, I just have one more question for you. You have dates scheduled up until August, what’s next for 3 Doors Down after that?
Chris: Well during Aug, Sept, Oct… We’re trying to book a fall run right now so there will be another tour. Right after that probably Europe and maybe South America and hopefully Australia. We’re trying anyway.
UG: Great… well hopefully you make it down this way and we can catch you again soon.
Chris: Yes sir
UG: Alright, that’s all I got. Thanks again for your time and I really appreciate the interview and I hope your touring goes well. Best of luck with the new album and your personal life as well.
Chris: I appreciate it man thank you.
For more information on the band and album visit the Official 3 Doors Down page.
To keep updated on their show schedule visit the Official Events Page.