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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

3 Doors Down’s Brad Arnold talks changing industry, new music

3 Doors Down will headline the First Interstate Center for the Arts on Wednesday. (Courtesy)

When 3 Doors Down played Northern Quest Resort and Casino in January 2018, it was part of the band’s “Back Porch Jam” tour.

The acoustic show found the quintet – singer Brad Arnold, bassist Justin Biltonen, guitarist Chris Henderson, guitarist Chet Roberts and drummer Greg Upchurch – bringing all the hits, plus a few deep cuts, to the stage with the same amount of energy as fans have come to expect, only a little quieter.

“It’s a really enjoyable experience because it gives you a chance to stand there and perform the songs and maybe tell a story about them a little bit and perform the song as it was originally written,” Arnold said.

While they enjoy the acoustic gigs, for the band’s next visit to town, Wednesday at the First Interstate Center for the Arts, 3 Doors Down is plugging back in for an electric show, which, according to Arnold, means lights, smoke, the whole nine yards.

Those who attended the “Back Porch Jam” show and are planning to see the band at the FICA can expect to hear a few of the same songs, as Arnold said the setlist doesn’t change too much between an acoustic and electric show.

Hits like “Kryptonite,” “Be Like That,” “Here Without You,” “When I’m Gone,” “Away From the Sun” and “It’s Not My Time” are likely no matter the style of show, but while acoustic sets might feature darker or more intimate songs, electric shows are a little different.

“With the rock shows, we try to keep it more upbeat and play the ones that keep people moving out there,” Arnold said. “But at the same time, we also try to keep it dynamic.”

The set also will feature a tune or two, perhaps singles “In the Dark,” “Still Alive” and “The Broken,” from the band’s latest album “Us and the Night,” which was released in 2016.

The band will soon start working on a new album, but before then, in February, 3 Doors Down will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its debut album “The Better Life.”

The band plans to re-release the album along with the demo they put out in their hometown of Escatawpa, Mississippi, that eventually landed them a record deal.

“(The re-released album) will have some new little treats and this and that on it, as well,” Arnold said. “That will be some new music for people, new-old music for people.”

When it does come time to release new-new music, Arnold isn’t sure if that music will come in the form of a full-fledged album or if the band will release songs as they’re written.

“I’m excited to explore new ways of putting songs out like that because now, you can just put a song out,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be the whole big shebang of recording a record and trying to do the release of it. Now, you can just upload it, and everyone can go get it.”

Having so many avenues to explore, Arnold said, takes the pressures off the band and “cuts the strings that used to hold us to how it had to be.”

So much has changed since the band released “The Better Life,” Arnold said, that when fans reach out for advice, he sometimes believes that he should turn the question around on them.

“I got into the music business 20 years ago, and that might as well have been 200 years ago when you talk about technology and the whole way the media has changed, the access to music and the way that you put it out,” he said.

Arnold also has noticed the way musicians and fans communicate has changed – in his eyes, for the better – since the band released “The Better Life.”

“If you choose as an artist, there is no wall in between you and the people that are listening to your music,” he said. “You can talk to them almost face to face. With the messengers on social media, if someone sends you a message, there’s your fan. There’s no middleman or filter.”

Arnold admits that the only things that get posted on his Facebook page are the photos he posts to Instagram, but he talks to fans on Instagram all the time.

He loves seeing fan photos from 3 Doors Down concerts and remembers when cameras and photography at concerts were frowned upon.

“Now literally, when people are at our shows, we’re like, ‘Put a picture on your Instagram and hashtag us in it because we want to go see it,’ ” he said. “People used to be like, ‘No, don’t take pictures.’ It’s like ‘Yeah, please take pictures of the show and put it online so everybody can see it.’ We enjoy it.”