If you were wondering what 3 Doors Down was up to this summer, what you find out might be somewhat surprising. After years and years… (and yes, maybe years) of touring with what seemed to be the same ten to twelve bands consistently, the Mississippi-natives got pushed into completely new territory. 3 Doors Down is currently on The Gang of Outlaws Tour with… Gretchen Wilson… and ZZ Top. Four years ago that show bill announcement to alternative music enthusiasts would have been highlighted by some puzzled silence sprinkled with crickets chirping. But in 2012 when 3 Doors Down has sold millions of records and gone through a multiple hit songs, it’s time to start doing something different. The audience you’re playing for is a great start, 3 Doors Down’s Brad Arnold agrees.
“I’m not exactly sure how it came to life but we were all about it,” said 3 Doors Down’s down-to-earth lead singer. “It’s a bit of a different package, I’m not sure it’s something you take everywhere and play but it’s working really well in the places we’re going to. It works out to be a really good show. I didn’t know myself. I was willing to do it but I was also a little skeptical. It really gives us a chance to get out in front of some new fans with the Gretchen fans and the ZZ Top fans.”
“The ZZ fans might be a little bit of an older crowd than what we’re used to but honestly they’re pretty fun to play for. They’re not jumping around and being crazy but you see them enjoying the show. That’s all I want. They want to sit there and watch the show, sit there and watch the show. You will never hear me being that guy screaming ‘get up everybody, get up!’ In all honesty, when I got to a concert I’m sitting down and watching the show too. That’s how I like to watch. At first they’re just sitting there looking at you because they don’t know who you are. If they haven’t heard us on the radio before or something or they just don’t know who we are. But by the end of the show they’re looking back and forth at each other like ‘the boys are alright.’ That’s pretty satisfying to me.”
Playing in front of this audience is gratifying, not just because they’re successfully playing to new fans that might not be entirely familiar with them, but because since the band’s inception, they haven’t gotten to open for a lot of other bands, noted Arnold.
“If you’re always the headlining band you never get a chance to put yourself out in front of new fans. The fans that are there are obviously fans coming to your show. We’ve opened for so few bands over the years. We first started opening for Creed and we went out with Lynyrd Skynyrd for a while. We opened some shows for Aerosmith and then these shows for ZZ Top, and aside from that all we’ve ever done is headline.”
The Gang of Outlaws Tour is somewhat of a risky decision for a band that’s used to playing in a genre that be overly selective in choosing who to support. But when highlighting the other big piece of news with 3 Doors Down in 2012 you understand that they’ve done enough over the last decade and a half that they can do whatever the hell they want. Sometime in the fourth quarter of this year, Universal Music will be releasing a greatest hits collection featuring the band’s key singles and some new songs. Brad says that after the tour, they’re getting to work on the new material.
“Were going to go back into the studio and record three or four new songs and we’re going to release a greatest hits record around November. I never, thought, honestly, that I’d be in a band long enough to do a greatest hits record and I think it’s awesome. We’ve got most of those songs written but I think we might try and write a couple more. When we get off this tour we’ll go into the studio and record those songs.”
A new type of tour and some new songs on a greatest hits collection are the news this year for the group, but Arnold’s desire to take an old album on the road in its entirety might be something to look forward to for fans next year. Arnold wants to take one of the band’s first couple of albums on the road and play it from start to finish.
“What I’d like to do… When we played those couple of shows with Aerosmith they went back and played through all their hits, but they walked out on stage and played the whole entire album of Toys in the Attic and then they went back out and played their other hits and the songs they were going to play. I would like to either take The Better Life or Away from the Sun and walk out on stage and play the record from front to back. That would be cool, a lot of our fans, they really like those first two records. They like the other ones, but pretty much everybody had the first two albums. I think that would be fun to do. Maybe you don’t even do the same one every night. One night you go out there and play the first one and maybe one night you go out there and play the second. I think that would be pretty fun to do and I think fans would enjoy it too.”
Currently, The Gang of Outlaws Tour runs through the end of June. Partnering up with DiscLive Network, they’re currently making USB Bracelets of specific shows for $25 to fans in attendance and available to purchase online. The bracelets (pictured below) will be available throughout the rest of the tour. For more information on the tour visit, http://www.3doorsdown.com. For more information on the bracelets, visit http://www.disclivenetwork.com.
Oh… By the way… the other great thing for 3 Doors Down opening for another band?
“You get to be done early,” says Brad. “You just get to stand on the side and drink beer and watch them play.”