3 Doors Down

"Hailing from the small town of Escatawpa, Mississippi, 3 Doors Down hit their peak in the early 2000s with a string of post-grunge singles, most notably "Kryptonite," "When I'm Gone," and the ballad "Here Without You." "Kryptonite," with its minor-key shuffle and references to Superman, was the catalyst for the band's career, generating an unprecedented buzz at a local radio station -- Biloxi's WCPR -- during the band's independent days. Such support helped make 3 Doors Down a regional favorite, enabling them to draw relatively large crowds to their local live shows and, consequently, extending their popularity beyond the Deep South to internationally famous clubs like New York's CBGB's.

The founding members of 3 Doors Down -- vocalist/drummer Brad Arnold, guitarist Matt Roberts, and bassist Todd Harrell -- were raised in Escatawpa, a cozy town of 8,000 people. Although brought up in religious households, the musicians also felt the call of rock & roll at an early age, eventually forming a rock trio in 1994 to play a friend's backyard party. As the years progressed, so did the band's sound, and the group soon added guitarist Chris Henderson and retained a studio drummer so that Arnold could come forward and sing live. After touring the Gulf Coast's venues, the band made its way to New York, where a showcase at CBGB's brought 3 Doors Down to the attention of Republic Records. A subsidiary of Universal, Republic Records signed the musicians and issued their major-label debut, The Better Life, in early 2000.

The Better Life became one of the biggest-selling albums of 2000, going platinum four times during its first year of release and spawning several singles. The band furthered its success with 2002's Away from the Sun, which debuted at number eight on the Billboard Top 200 and, like its predecessor, climbed to multi-platinum status. 3 Doors Down toured steadily throughout 2003 and 2004 in support of Away from the Sun, and issued the live EP Another 700 Miles in November 2003 as a holdover between studio efforts. The group returned with a heavier album, Seventeen Days, in early 2005. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and went platinum in its first week of release. A self-titled album, which followed in May 2008, repeated its predecessor's success when it too debuted at the top of the Billboard 200.

3 Doors Down toured throughout 2009, released a digital-only acoustic holiday album at the end of the year, and began to work on their next album in 2010. With Howard Benson serving as producer, the guys shuttled themselves between L.A. and Tokyo, recording the album in both cities and eventually emerging with 2011's Time of My Life." - Stacy Proefrock, AllMusicGuide

Honesty is always the best policy. Theory of a Deadman adheres to that age old adage on their fourth album for Roadrunner/604 Records, The Truth Is…

The platinum-selling Vancouver quartet builds arena-ready hooks around hard rocking stories of good times, bad times and everything in between. “Lowlife," is a raucous anthem celebrating simple pleasures. Meanwhile, "The Bitch Came Back" gives a hilarious send-off to a bad ex with roaring guitars and flourishes of horns. "Hurricane" stirs up a storm of emotions over an orchestral hum of guitars and massive chorus. Then there's "Head Above Water," which delivers an uplifting, contemplative message encased in mid-tempo rhythms. Theory of a Deadman—Tyler Connolly [Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar], David Brenner [Rhythm Guitar], Dean Back [Bass], Joey Dandeneau [Drums]—are telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth, like it or not.

For The Truth Is…, Theory of a Deadman preserved the sound that fans worldwide have grown to love on Scars & Souvenirs [2008], Gasoline [2005], and Theory of a Deadman [2002], while expanding, enhancing, and evolving their approach. The band solidified their place at the top of modern hard rock by exceeding Platinum sales with their breakthrough Scars & Souvenirs and with #1 Mainstream Rock Radio hit "Bad Girlfriend."At the same time, other singles, "So Happy" and "By The Way," became crowd favorites on tours with everyone from Mötley Crüe and Godsmack to Daughtry and label mates Stone Sour. For The Truth Is… the band stuck to what works best and are taking it to the next level.

"Musically, not too much changed," says Connolly. "We had a bit of an epiphany when it came to songwriting though. We've been a band for over a decade now, and we realized what we're doing makes sense. There was a lot more confidence. I was able to dig in lyrically and be wide open. When I write, I either want to kiss someone on the lips or punch them in the face. Anything in between is boring."

To capture those two ends of the spectrum, the band hunkered down once again in Los Angeles’ Bay 7 studio during January 2011 with Howard Benson [My Chemical Romance, 3 Doors Down]. Brenner adds, "We really found our sound on Scars & Souvenirs."

"Lowlife" pulsates with stadium-sized energy, and it tells a clever tale in the process. Connolly reveals, "I thought it'd be cool to write a fun anthem about being a lowlife. It's okay to drive an old piece of shit car, get arrested and be a dirtball. Our fans aren't wearing suits and ties. They don't have diamond necklaces. They're regular people who like to party and sing rock 'n' roll music. The song speaks to them."

Elsewhere, Theory sneak in some humorous jabs on "The Bitch Came Back," a song that exudes a theatrical swagger with a rousing chorus and propulsive riff. The song began in a fashion that saw Theory reaching way back. “We love to mess around and try things, and we tried horns here. Horns can be rock 'n' roll," says Brenner.

Theory makes the horns sound very rock 'n' roll especially when they're wrapped in soaring distortion. For Connolly, these songs came from one of the most intense periods of his life. “There are a lot of lyrics that came from going through the roughest period of my life. I don't think I've ever been that beat up physically and emotionally. It took me awhile to get better, but as a result, this record is the best work that we've done," he said.

Ultimately, The Truth Is... stands out as the band's best work to date because it's about a shared experience with the audience for Connolly and Co at the end of the day. The frontman concludes, "I want to make a great song that can help get fans through hard times. I want them to take that music with them for the rest of their lives. I'm trying to write songs and change people, make them laugh, smile, or sing along. That's what I'm looking for."

The Truth Is… Theory of a Deadman found it.

POPEVIL comes out swinging.

With Lipstick On The Mirror (Universal Republic/Pazzo Music), the Grand Rapids quintet revs up rock n' roll. Their first full-length album is just as loud and proud as the midwestern mecca where they hail from. Pop Evil push out a propulsive combination of epic guitar leads, massive sing-a-longs and bombastic beats on songs like "Breathe" and "100 in a 55." When all is said and done, these five men provide the proverbial kick in the pants that hard rock needs these days.

When they get together, singer Leigh Kakaty, bassist Matt DiRito, drummer Dylan Allison and guitarists Tony Greve and Dave Grahs make fist-pumping rock with edge and heart. Leigh explains, "We're very driven by classic rock, and we're more worried about writing good songs than creating a sound. If it gets us excited, we go with it."

Pop Evil formed in 2001 when lifelong friends Dave, Dylan and Leigh began seriously gigging around Grand Rapids. In 2005, they recorded their debut EP with acclaimed producer Al Sutton (Kid Rock). Quickly, Leigh and Co. unleashed their first single "Somebody Like You" on local radio station 97.9 WGRD. The track was quickly bumped into regular rotation and it became the most requested tune on the station. Local buzz began to build more and more after the band's radio success. In 2007, Pop Evil rounded out their current lineup with Tony and Matt. Solidifying their creative core, they went back into the studio and cut "100 in a 55," which landed them at #1 again on WGRD.

Michigan is integral to the band's story in terms of inspiration and support. "We grew up as fans of Detroit Rock City artists—from Eminem and Kid Rock to Bob Seger," says Leigh. "The Detroit Lions, Red Wings and Pistons never get old for people in Michigan. A cranked up guitar, grinding drums and emotional lyrics never get old either. Michigan appreciates rock n roll."

In 2008, the band churned out Lipstick On the Mirror with Sutton once again behind the board. After releasing the record independently with Pazzo Music through Fontana Distribution, Universal Republic snatched it up. The new partnership sent the band back to the studio, this time with Chuck Alkazian (Elton John, Dave Matthews Band) at the helm to record a new song for the Universal Republic release. “Rolling Stone” was born from those sessions and Alkazian even went back and remixed songs which became the version of Lipstick that exists today. "The album is our timeline," continues Leigh. "The band's journey is a central theme. The beginning of Lipstick is very rock n' roll, but we bust out the acoustic guitars in the middle. We let people go on a trip with '100 in a 55,' and we take them on an emotional ride. We made this choice to be rock stars years ago, and it's too late to turn back."

Lipstick's first single "100 in a 55" is an undeniable anthem that's been lighting up the airwaves nationally in 2009. "Another Romeo and Juliet" also paints a vivid portrait, and it gives insight into the band's creative process. "I woke up with that song in a dream. It's got this 'Eruption' feel at the beginning that's totally rock n roll. We wanted to tell the story of this character's anger and frustration with his chick so it starts off with a ripping solo and breaks off into this very heavy guitar riff. It's very spiritual and exciting to see how it turned out."

For Leigh, the album title sums up the band's ethos and ethic, and the album's cover art ties in with the story. "Lipstick On the Mirror is about marking your place. Instead of going in and out of the industry with one or two songs, we're going to create a legacy. From the standpoint of a female who might've partied with the band in a hotel room, instead of just making a memory and leaving, she decides to write 'Pop Evil' on the mirror, kisses it and leaves her lipstick so we'll never forget her. That's the metaphor on the cover."

Pop Evil are living the rock life to the fullest, and they're showing no signs of slowing down either. Leigh proclaims, "Our name is Pop Evil because all five of us are influenced by completely different genres of music. As we come together, the songs take shape through that diversity. It's not a name; it's a lifestyle—on and off on the stage. This is our path and we're going to run our race."

On stage, Pop Evil never fails to put on a show. They've played with everyone from Theory of a Deadman, Saving Abel and Puddle of Mud to Tesla. That experience has made them arena-ready for their upcoming run with Judas Priest. "Our live show is our bread and butter," says Leigh. "People don't have money to waste anymore. They want to leave a concert saying, 'Wow, that was incredible.' When fans used to see Guns N' Roses and Pantera, they had a blast. Everyone will have a good time at a Pop Evil show. We do our part to bring the fun back to rock n' roll."

In the end, Pop Evil invites you to join the party too. "We want to get back to good old grimy guitar playing, raw soloing and relatable, catchy choruses that you can't get out of your head—whether you like the song or not. We're trying to build a relationship with our audience and give them an experience. We want to create our own musical family."

Pop Evil is certainly a family worth being a part of.

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3 Doors Down with Theory Of A Deadman, Pop Evil

Sunday, November 13 · 6:00 PM at DAR Constitution Hall