`Different' being the operative word here. Because what 3 Doors Down did after reconnecting with family, and `soul searching', was opt for a new process to the creative part of their relationship. One that emphasized the undeniable strength of the group. The fact that the sum is greater than any individual part. "It is all about getting in that room and hashing it out," recalls lead guitarist Matt Roberts. "If you look at a song like `Train,' it was one of the first songs we wrote for this album. It's kind of a building block that exemplifies the spirit of collaboration. Brad came with words and a melody and we hammered it out." "I remember I had that one in my head at home," laughs Brad. "I was singing it so much a friend threatened to kill me if I didn't get it down." Matt also remembers it as one of the `most fun songs to put together. "The best moments of this band have always been about keeping it a fun ride. You need that sense of accomplishment, but you also need to keep the process comfortable.". Adds Chris: "I think it's also fair to say we are one of the only `southern' bands who has the balls to put a song like `Train' out there these days."
The band rented an old farmhouse South of Franklin, Tennessee, where they would not only write songs, but live together, for a while. Says Brad: "The farmhouse was great because it became a wholehearted experience where we just focused on the writing. It was such a close-knit atmosphere, reconnecting us after we had been doing our own thing for a while. It set a cool mood for the entire record, writing out in the country around this fireplace in the basement. Just locking ourselves away and doing it."
Matt adds that the unique setting soon sparked 26 or 27 song ideas. "But winter turned colder than expected in Tennessee. So we decided to head to a warmer climate." The band found a ten bedroom mansion in a remote section of Orlando, Florida. They brought in Seventeen Days producer, Johnny K. and turned the house into a recording studio.
The originality of the two locations rejuvenated the band's approach. They worked hard to capture that sense of camaraderie on the final product. Once they nailed it, they packed up and headed back to Nashville. Talking legendary mixer, Andy Wallace, into abandoning his NY studio, again, (he also mixed Seventeen Days in Nashville), and they began the final process of putting the pieces together.
This album features inspired musicianship as well as some intriguing personal refrains, like on one `band favorite,' "Let Me Be Myself." "That one touches on the wrongheaded notion of how we often try destructive methods to try and kill our pain," says Brad. "But I also want the songs to be open to interpretation. More universal. That one is really talking about anything you can get lost in." And the ballad "Pages": "I think it has a lot of meaning for the whole band. What we've gone through," says Matt. "Brad is pointing out what's going on with his personal situation and ours. It was a very meaningful song for us."
The group also nails their share of (in-yer'-face)-rockers like "Runaway." "It's the kind of song you put on only to get somewhere else," says Todd. "Put it on in your car and drive as fast as you can." He and several of the guys also touch on the last song of the album, "She Don't Want The World," one of the most unique 3 Doors Down offerings yet. "That song has really become one of my favorites. It doesn't have a big chorus or anything, just Brad telling a story." Adds Brad: "We even use loops on that one. We were so willing to try different things. I think one of the reasons this is such an important album for us is because every one of us was in a different place prior to any other record we've ever made. And I would say a `better' place. But it's the kind of record that never would have happened if we didn't get off that merry go round for awhile."
For Greg (former Puddle Of Mudd drummer, born in Louisiana, raised in Oklahoma), a song like the gutsy "It's The Only One You've Got," also exemplifies the band's `sixth-sense' for cooperation. A true democracy - right down the line. "Just the way that it went down. Chris was trying to learn another song and stumbled upon the riff for this song. Brad was like `hold on, I've got something for that.' Then someone else would join in. The whole thing happened quickly, and it turned out to be such an inspiring song. This has been the most collaborative experience I've ever been involved in. And the most satisfying."
"We just can't wait to put this sugar out and get back out on the road," agrees Brad. "It's definitely the one where we got our `grit back."