Sunday, October 23, 2011

INTERVIEW: Theory of a Deadman

by Chad Cooper (Oct. 24, 2011)

Following the highly successful third album Scars and Souvenirs, which reached platinum status and saw an unprecedented nine of its 12 tracks released to radio, Canadian rockers Theory of a Deadman have returned to the road in support of their fourth project titled The Truth Is ... via Roadrunner Records.

The album was released in July and has already hit No. 1 on three of the Billboard charts (hard rock, rock, alternative), and the first single, “Lowlife,” gave the band its second No. 1 song. “Out of My Head” and “Bitch Came Back” have been the second and third singles sent to radio.

Theory of a Deadman formed in 2001, and their debut album was a self-titled record in 2002 that was produced and co-written by Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger.

Gasoline was the sophomore release and produced the hit tunes “No Surprise,” “Say Goodbye” and the ballad “Santa Monica.”

For those who hadn’t heard the band up until 2008 certainly took notice when the second single of Scars and Souvenirs came out, “Bad Girlfriend.” The catchy song not only hit No. 1 on the charts, but also became one of the most popular ringtones of all time.

Other popular titles include “So Happy,” “By the Way,” “All or Nothing,” “Hate My Life,” “Not Meant to Be,” “By the Way” and “End of the Summer.”

Constantly on the road, the tour-heavy boys from north of the border have played with the likes of Mötley Crüe on Crüe Fest 2, Daughtry, Avalanche Tour with Stone Sour and are fresh off the 2011 Carnival of Madness with Alter Bridge.

We spoke with lead singer Tyler Connolly about a variety of subjects including the new album, co-writing with former American Idol judge and hit maker Kara DioGuardi and even recording music with a homeless banjo picker.

Any added pressure going into the studio to record the new album after all the success from ‘Scars and Souvenirs?’

Yes, it was. I would by lying if I said there wasn’t, but it was good pressure. I don’t think I lost much sleep, but there was some stress. Once you have success like that, then you want to keep it going. There’s a lot of thinking involved in what direction you want to go in. Like do you want to keep it the same and have another “Bad Girlfriend” song? Those songs have done well for us but you don’t want to release five records and they all sound like the same tiring stuff. With this album, there was a balance to be made and a lot more thought. The last three records, we just wrote songs and put them on a record.

Listening to this album, the lyrics seem more personal.

I went through a marital break-up, which was devastating for me. My manager said he had been through a few divorces and it’s the toughest time of your life, but it makes for a great rock record. It’s really good material for the fans because they can relate to it. Fans like the songs that are the most honest and most relatable.

I noticed in the last album, Kara DioGuardi helped co-write a song; she starred in the video and helped you write three songs on this record. How was it working with a female songwriter? It was different. Up until that point on the last album, I never worked with any songwriters per say. Chad (Kroeger), who produced our first record, helped co-write some songs with us on the first album. She had written a lot of songs for pop artists like Britney Spears, Pink, Enrique Iglesias, Christina Aguilera and Gwen Stefani, but she had never written a song for a rock band. She was probably just as curious as I was. She actually lives about a mile from my house in Los Angeles and I went over there with my guitar, drank some wine and wrote “Meant to Be.” After we finished it, I sent it to her and she immediately said it was a hit so, so I was like, OK, let’s see what happens. This record, it just made since to do the same. It would have been stupid not to call her up again and work with her again.

It also seems the band has a great relationship with producer Howard Benson. He has a great resume and has been with you since the second record.

Working with him is great, but the first record with him was tough. We didn’t have a lot of experience with producers. Once we got past the personalities and the creative stuff, it turned out to be an amazing partnership and friendship with him. That’s why we have done three records with him. A lot of people say you shouldn’t use the same producer, but this feels great for us.

Do you have a personal favorite on the album?

Probably “We Were Men,” which is the last track. It’s the first time I have ever written a military song. We travel a lot and have a lot of military fans that do come to the show. I remember once, we met some guys and he said the next day he was getting shipped out to Afghanistan. We also heard some not-so-good ones. One guy told me that he saw us two years ago with his buddy, who had since died in Iraq. I think it was time in my career to write a song like that. During a recent meet-and-greet, a fan who was in the Air Force said that was his favorite song. It was like the first time I didn’t write a relationship song or something goofy.

Did you guys really record a song with a homeless man?

Yeah. Well, I don’t know if he was homeless, but he sure did look like it. He was on the street corner playing a banjo outside the studio and while I walked to the store to grab a drink, I started talking to him and gave him some money. I went back inside the studio and told the guys this old dude was outside jamming on the banjo, and they said well bring him inside. I had to call our manager and call our lawyers and make sure all this paperwork was signed just to come in and play banjo on a song. He ended up making about $800 for about a half hour’s work. You can hear it on “What Was I Thinking.”

You guys are tour heavy. How do you deal with the burnout factor?

It’s easy to get burned out, but playing each night for fans is our drug that keeps us going.

3 Doors Down, Theory of a Deadman & Pop Evil will perform at Ford Arena on Friday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. Advance tickets are $42.50, $38.50 and $34. Click HERE to purchase tickets.

INTERVIEW: 3 Doors Down

by Chad Cooper (Oct. 23, 2011)

With more than 16 million records sold, it’s hard to argue that 3 Doors Down doesn’t belong atop of any list. The southern boys from Mississippi — well, most of them anyway — last played Beaumont’s Ford Arena in 2009. But no matter how and when they play here, their popularity continues to soar.

3 Doors Down is touring in support of their summer release Time of My Life, which is the band’s fifth studio album on Universal Records and produced by Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson. Three singles from the record have been in radio rotation including “When You’re Young,” “Every Time You Go” and “What’s Left.”

With six No. 1 songs, which include “Kryptonite,” “Loser,” “Duck and Run,” “When I’m Gone,” “Here Without You” and “It’s Not My Time,” 3 Doors Downs appeals to more than just a rock audience.

The band has gained other fans from other genres including country and modern rock. Drummer Greg Upchurch joined 3 Doors Down in 2005 right after the release of Seventeen Days. Upchurch, like the band, has southern roots as he was born in Houma, La., and is no stranger to the music world.

After moving from Oklahoma to Los Angeles, Upchurch joined the bands Eleven and Puddle of Mudd before auditioning for the position with 3DD.

Upchurch spoke with us before the hitting the road for the Time of My Life Tour. The tour will play Beaumont TX @ Ford Park on Friday, Oct. 28.

I read where you got a key to the city in Oklahoma City.

Ha! The program director for the radio station 100.5 The KATT set that up. I was a little shocked, to say the least. I guess the expectations for Oklahoma City were a little low then.

When did drumming become a part of your life?

I started with pots and pans mostly. People asked me when I started playing, but I have no clue. If I had to guess it was probably 4 or 5 years old. Musically as a kid, KISS did it for me. I would play along with the records and when I really started focusing on drums, I got into Led Zeppelin. John Bonham (drummer) was the man.

Why did you choose to leave Oklahoma for Los Angeles?

I wanted to do something musical and Oklahoma was tough to break through musically, so I thought either New York or L.A. I really didn’t want to do New York because the pace is so much different, so I chose L.A. and got a job at The Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard. I met some people in a band called Eleven and their drummer quit to join Pearl Jam, so I auditioned and got the gig with them. I was literally in L.A. for six months and then found myself opening up for Soundgarden in Europe.

So were you a natural fit when you started jamming with 3 Doors Down?

They are from Mississippi and I remember showing up for the audition for drummer with a New Orleans Saints camouflage cap on, so that alone was a step in the right direction. Everything was in L.A. then, but it was an opportunity for me to actually leave the West Coast. It’s so expensive, and money doesn’t go very far there. Now I live in Nashville, and this is much more my speed. I got everything I needed out there. It’s been a long ride. But I’m content now.

You came in after the third record but did tour to support it. How does this new one compare to the collection?

I think this sounds like the first record, “The Better Life,” to me. It’s like going back to their original roots. My favorite track on this new album is “Time of My Life.” It’s a fun song to play on the drums.

It’s a competitive industry, so how does 3DD keep its head above water?

One thing is songwriting obviously, and Brad (Arnold) has a distinct voice that you can listen to. He actually sings, not screams. This music appeals to any age. It’s not pigeonholed to a certain market. Plus, we have extremely loyal fans.

I read somewhere that you played a show or two with Heart.

Yeah, it was awesome and wild. I did it on two-days notice. Then, the bass player for Heart was the bass player for Chris Cornel when I toured with Chris. He called and asked me to fill in for their drummer and I said sure, but when? He said well, it’s two days. The first time I played with Heart was during a 20-minute sound check, which was for an hour and a half set. I knew all their songs, like “Barracuda,” “Crazy on You” and “Magic Man,” but I never dreamed I would play those songs with them.

Ford Park SRO opens at 5 p.m. for a pre-show experience featuring Texas Guardsman CW3 Darby Ledbetter, plus various military equipment and combat and rescue vehicles on display. Click HERE to purchase tickets.