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In order to know where you’re headed, you have to recognize where you’re from. So when it came time to begin working on their sixth full-length album, Us And The Night [Republic Records], Grammy Award®-nominated multiplatinum Mississippi rock band 3 Doors Down channeled a familiar feeling.
“We all missed the excitement of making our first album,” says singer Brad Arnold. “As you continue creating records, it can become sort of mechanical, and you start taking everything too seriously. However, for Us And The Night, we were all on the same page about just wanting to have a good time in the studio. That created a great vibe. I don’t think we’ve ever felt this unified as a band in our entire career. That’s why the album sounds like it does.”
In late 2014, 3 Doors Down—Brad Arnold [lead vocals], Chris Henderson [lead and rhythm guitar], Greg Upchurch [drums], Chet Roberts [lead and rhythm guitar], and Justin Biltonen [bass]— wrapped up a marathon of touring that included the cycles for 2011’s Time of My Life, which debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top 200, and The Greatest Hits, a year later. Along the way, they welcomed Chet and Justin into the fold in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Us And The Night would make for their first studio experience together and formally open up a new chapter for the group.
“The creativity between the five of us hadn’t been tapped yet,” explains Chris. “That made the whole process really interesting because everybody was bringing different ideas to the table. The boundaries totally opened up. Chet and Justin kept pushing and pushing, and none of us wanted to stop.”
The guys holed up in Chris’s own Rivergate Studios in Nashville, TN and dove into extremely collaborative sessions—which even saw Greg writing for the first time. As a result, the sonic palette started to expand with producer Matt Wallace [Maroon 5, Train, Faith No More] behind the board.
“Matt was a great coach,” continues Chris. “We got out of our comfort zone and started to approach the music from a different angle. We’d use synths or try different styles of riffs. That made everybody a little uncomfortable in the best way. It really worked.”
“This couldn’t be just another 3 Doors Down record,” adds Brad. “It needed to be an album that made people take a second look and listen.”
That’s exactly what the first single “In The Dark” does. With a raucous, raw, and rowdy riff, the track shows an unexpected and undeniable side of the band, culminating during the chorus, “She likes to do it in the dark.”
“We’ve never had a sexy, playful song,” smiles Brad. “There was definitely a place for it. It’s about seeing that girl across the room. I initially played the idea for my wife, and she smiled, ‘I like that.’ I knew we had to go for it!”
“Living In Your Hell” teeters between a drum stomp and robust guitars before an arena-size refrain. “It’s about broken promises,” Brad goes on. “So many people tell you they have your back, and it’s just lie. You end up living in hell from their broken promises.”
Meanwhile, “The Broken” delivers an immediately unshakable chant complete with gang vocal, handclaps, and a swinging synth melody. “It’s a call to the youth,” exclaims the singer. “It’s not about taking everything down; it’s about building everything up. This is an empowering call-to-arms for the next generation to take back the world. Use your voice.”
3 Doors Down first found their own voice in 1995. It’s only gotten louder over the past two decades. Everything kicked off with their 2000 debut, The Better Life. The album went six-times platinum and introduced the world to their now-classic “Kryptonite.” Their fan base continued to grow with 2002’s triple-platinum Away from the Sun—which yielded the smashes “When I’m Gone” and “Here Without You.” Both 2005’s platinum-certified Seventeen Days and 3 Doors Down  bowed at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 followed by Time of My Life’s #3 debut in 2011. In between countless sold out shows, the guys notched three Grammy Award® nods, scored two American Music Awards, and received a total of five BMI Pop Awards, including an award for Brad for BMI “Songwriter of the Year.”
2003 saw the group begin a tradition of giving back in a big way with the launch of their The Better Life Foundation [TBLF]. The organization has lived up to its name by giving as many children as possible a better life and supporting Center of the Prevention of Child Abuse, Habitat for Humanity, and various other charities. Its annual concert has hosted everyone from Lynyrd Skynyrd and Sara Evans to Staind, Shinedown, and Alter Bridge.
Unified, unbreakable, and undeniable, 3 Doors Down remain poised for their boldest moment yet. This promise even stands encapsulated within the very title.
“Us And the Night means, ‘Let’s just keep going until it’s just us left,’” Brad leaves off. “It’s an ‘us against them’ song. The world’s problems don’t have to stop us. Let’s forget about them, stop worrying, and enjoy the ride together. It’s an invitation to fans everywhere to do the same.”