3 Doors Down: I Don't Think We Ever Realized We Were Evolving

Talking to 3 Doors Down guitarist Chris Henderson you get the sense that he lives by the Keep It Simple, Stupid code of music life. When you are in a rock and roll band, you need to just enjoy the ride and not overthink things or worry about how long you're going to last. Figuring out why your band is so successful is pointless because it simply is; for Henderson and the rest of the band it's about just letting it all hang out.

What's hanging out right now is--well, it isn't plugged in. That's right, the guys behind rock tracks like "Kryptonite," "When I'm Gone" and "It's Not My Time" are taking it down a notch in an effort to make the 3 Doors Down concert experience more personal. We talked to Henderson about all that and more ahead of their show Thursday at the Celebrity Theatre.

Did you guys ever think you'd make it this long? Nah, man. We never really thought about it that way. Especially when you're young and you're in a rock band, you're touring and partying every single day and living in the moment, you know?

What do you think has kept you together so long then? You talked about living in the moment, so is that still how you guys approach things? So many bands come and go. I think just giving each other the space we deserve, you know what I'm saying? I think that's kind of the most important thing to do is to just keep giving each other space and move from there.

How do you think you've evolved over your career? I don't know that I have a definitive answer for that. We just kind of did, and I don't think anyone noticed. We just kind of naturally progressed and moved in the direction that we did, and I don't think anyone realized it. I don't think we ever realized it. We just kept doing what we do.

Some bands get heavy and some bands become jam bands or whatever, but we never really did that. We just did our thing.

You released Greatest Hits in 2012, and sometimes a greatest hits record signals the end for the band, but you're still playing. Was that more like a pause in the action? Is there new material in the works for 2014? Oh yeah, there's new material coming. We're not hanging it up or anything. We're going to be around and keep doing what we do, be it for good, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer until the end of it.

Can you say anything about the material you're working on? It's not really hush-hush or anything. We're just writing and trying to wait and see what happens. We have new members in the band now. We don't have [bass player] Todd [Harrell] with us anymore, so we're writing with two new guys and we're just going to see what happens.

What kind of impact are these new band members having on the band dynamic so far? It's made the live show a lot different. The dynamic has improved. There's a lot more interaction on stage between the band members. It's brand new for us. It's like starting over, almost, so it's pretty cool. We're enjoying each other's company.

And how is having these guys in the band affecting the way the songwriting process is working out with respect to new material? Has this led to any changes in the way you approach that? Yeah, it has. Things are different now. It's not just one or two guys doing everything. Everyone's helping out.

You're doing an acoustic tour this time around. Where led to you guys deciding to give this tour a more stripped-down, intimate feel as opposed to your usual rock and roll show? We did an acoustic show in Nashville in September. We had so much fun, man. But more than the fun we had, the feedback we got from the crowd was so intense, so we thought we should do it again.

What made you decide to make a full-on tour out of this instead of a one-off here or there, or even doing a mini-acoustic set in the middle of your usual show? Wa it just something new you wanted to try? Yeah, it's something we've never done before. It's something we've always talked about trying to do. We had so much fun that night in Nashville that we were like, "Man, let's just do this! Let's plan it, let's make it happen!" So here we go.

What can fans expect from this show? Will you be playing mostly your hits? Or will there be some surprises? Fans are going to get to see us perform the songs the way they are actually written, so that's what I think is going to be really cool about this. We wrote most of these songs on the acoustic guitar, so we're going to play all these songs the way they were created, which is going to be really cool. We're setting the stage up like it's a basement and people will be on stage with us, so it's going to be cool to do that as well.

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Brian Palmer
Contact: Brian Palmer