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Re: 3 days grace fans
Since Anna couldn't open the link, here is the full article minus the HTML in case others have trouble too.
Dark, tenebrous, isolated, pick an adjective. Three Days Grace, Adam Gontier, is all these things and his lyrics on the band's second album titled One-X reflect these emotions. Three years have passed since the Canadian band released a self-titled debut and shook up the world with "I Hate Everything About You." Sounding upbeat and positive, the band's singer verbalized none of the feelings he expresses on the new record but he did explain to Ultimate-Guitar where they originated.
Ultimate-Guitar: How did the band actually evolve? I heard that you had a band called Groundswell that started as a five-piece, then went to a three-piece. Now you have a quartet - what was your musical vision and the concept for the band?
Adam Gontier: Well me, Brad (Walst, bass) and Neil Sanderson, drums), we met, basically…I went to school with Neil for a year in high school. We played in a band together and that band was called Groundswell. And what happened was I left that high school and I ended up going to a different high school. There I met Brad. So basically, me and Neil stopped playing together and when I went into high school with Brad, we started playing together. So what kind of happened basically was I took Neil from my other school and I took Brad from the school I was at, and I got them together. And we basically just started playing, you know, cover songs and whatever else. Just, you know, in my garage and in Neil's basement. We were big into the Seattle scene so we were doing like a bunch of Nirvana covers and that kind of stuff. We just kept doing it. I mean, there wasn't much to do in the town so that's all we wanted to do. We just wanted to play music. And I was sort of writing my music at the time, but not very seriously. So it took a while. We just ended up sticking it out for a long time and about 1997 we met another guitar player. So we turned into a five-piece band. We went with the name Groundswell again, and we moved to Toronto. We wanted to take it very serious in Toronto and just see what kind of people we could network with and that sort of thing. Eventually both of the guitar players actually left the band. So we were a three-piece. And that's sort of how it started. I mean, we moved up to Toronto in '97, we became a three-piece and that's when Three Days Grace Started.
Did you not miss having the other guitars in there in terms of the sound you were hearing? A three-piece suited the kind of music you were writing?
Yeah, that's exactly it. We were getting a bit older. I play guitar, so the songs that I was writing, I mean, I wanted to pick up a guitar and play those songs anyway to give them my sort of feel. By the time the two guitar players had left, I think we had become, you know musically, we had become a little bit different. Moreso, we were all friends. So the biggest thing, it was missing a couple of friends. But you know, everybody got over that and here we are.
"By the time the two guitar players had left, I think we had become a little bit different musically."
You mentioned Nirvana. Were you listening to Kurt as a writer, in terms of the way he was constructing songs?
Well, we were influenced by Nirvana for sure. So I mean, they were one of my favorite bands, one of our favorite bands. So I think naturally when we were sitting down writing songs, I think naturally those different influences from Nirvana came out in our writing for sure. I don't think we intentionally tried to actually take any individual parts or anything like that, but it's just what the influence does to you when you're young and you're writing songs.
Did it take you a while to find your voice as a writer?
Oh, for sure. It wasn't really until we started working with producers. The biggest thing was that I don't think I'd necessarily became a great songwriter until - that's not gonna come out right because I'm not trying to call myself a great songwriter. What I'm saying is I think I was more focused on heavy riffs and good melodies and not necessarily lyrics when I was younger. I think when we met with the very first producer we worked with, Gavin Brown, on our first record, I think that was then the whole idea, I started to learn what songs were really about. They were about lyrics and what the listener is gonna get from it and all that stuff. So yeah, eventually I definitely grew as a songwriter, as did all the other guys in the band. You know, we learned a lot of things working with different producers.
Gavin actually co-wrote that first record with the band?
Yeah, yeah. You know, we met Gavin, we had a lot of music already written and that sort of thing, but what he brought to the table was just a different vision of where the parts should go and where the music should go. Yeah, I guess technically he co-wrote the first record that we worked on, yeah.
Let's talk about some of the tracks on the first CD. A song like "I Hate Everything About You" is currently appearing on television.
Yeah, probably. I mean, we made a video for it and, yeah, it's being played.
It's being played a lot still.
Okay, yeah, I mean, that's cool. I mean, if they're still playing the video, you know, our very first video that we ever shot, that's really cool. That's a good thing.
One of the main hooks of that song is that little acoustic slide part. Describe that.
No, there's not, there's no slides. But we did use an acoustic for the main riff of the song, the opening riff of that song. Like when we were doing demos for the song, we recorded the guitar part and intro riff. And what happened was, because we liked that intro riff so much and the way it sounded with the acoustic guitar, we ended up using that on the finished record. So we took the demo guitar and we actually planted it into the actual record. But basically that's just an acoustic guitar just run through some different Amp Farms (Line 6).
Can you be more specific with what type of acoustic you're playing?
Actually, yeah. It's funny. That acoustic is actually just an old Yamaha acoustic that was sitting at EMI Music Publishing in Canada and Toronto, where we began writing the first record. So there was an acoustic guitar there. We were working on a lot of the songs. What happened was one of us came us with that riff, we ended up going into the booth, and we sat down with that old Yamaha guitar and we recorded it. It ended up being on the demos. And then eventually that same recording session ended up being on the record.
Lyrically, where did that sentiment come from? It could have been titled "I Hate You," but "I Hate Everything About You" is so much more specific and lyrically intriguing.
I think that's yeah, it's obviously the most blunt sort of song on the record. When we were sitting down, we were coming up with lyrics and all that sort of stuff. We wanted to write a song that people would relate to. Because there's a lot of stuff on the radio that a lot of people don't relate to. I think, for us, it was about relationships and it was about drugs and it was about anything in your life that was taking up all your time, that you just wanted to get rid of. But for some reason you couldn't because you loved it so. And I think that sentiment sort of stuck with a lot of people. I think a lot of people related to that. Yeah, we wanted to write something about that love-hate relationship.
What about a song like "Home"? There are those cool guitars on the intro there - can you describe how that part was created?
Yeah. We wrote "Home" and it had a pretty heavy opening riff. And I think between us and Gavin, our producer, I think we decided that we wanted some kind of melody that was done with the guitar, over the top of the opening riff because it needed something. Basically, we'd just mess around in the studio with different ideas, different lead parts that might sound cool. And what ended up happening, was that high-pitch guitar lead that you hear at the beginning of "Home."
"Being on the road for so long, it takes its toll on you."
It almost sounds like a synth or something.
What we did, we actually used a whammy pedal to bring the whole tone up a whole octave. I think it's around the 12th fret where we played. We actually used a whammy pedal to actually bring it up, so it would have been played on like the 24th if there was a 24th (fret).
How do you and Barry (Stock, second guitarist) work out the parts? Are you more of the rhythm player and he is more of the lead guy?
Yeah, that's pretty much the way we work. Barry wasn't around for the first record, but for this second record that we have coming up shortly, he was around for the writing process and the songwriting. He's a great lead player and he's just a great guitar player in general. So he came up with tons of great little licks that went perfectly over the rhythmic stuff that I was writing. That's kind of how we work together. He comes up with leads over what I'm writing.
Do you think he brought a new kind of wrinkle to the band? The new record maybe sounds bigger than the first record?
Some people are like slinkys; they don't really have a purpose, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.