By Dustin Levy, The Baltimore Sun
9:50 AM EDT, July 3, 2013
While writing the song "When You're Young," 3 Doors Down lead singer Brad Arnold didn't know if it would be a hit, but felt someone in the world needed to hear it.
The song, about the pressures and insecurities of being a teenager, became the band's 10th Top 10 hit when it was released in 2011. And Arnold eventually found that person, a 16-year-old he saw at a concert near the border of Austria and Hungary.
"I'll never forget that boy's face," he said. "When we started playing 'When You're Young,' his eyes looked like water faucets. He was singing that song at the top of his lungs."
Moments like these are how Arnold measures the band's success. And with the amount of time the band has spent on the road recently — they've been touring since April 2012 and plays Pier Six with Daughtry on Saturday — there are many opportunities for moments like these.
"It is all worth it when you walk out on that stage," said the "Kryptonite" singer.
Arnold and Daughtry frontman Chris Daughtry wanted to tour together for some time, and hit the road last November.
"These two bands — its really like one band," Arnold said. "We're constantly hanging out, we're like brothers. We help each other out a lot. There's no ego match."
The bands enjoyed touring together so much they added two more legs, including a tour overseas in Europe.
One of the highlights was when Arnold and Daughtry teamed up for a performance of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight."
"To hear it live, it really kind of captures that song in a cool way," said Arnold. Fans should expect more surprising moments like that in upcoming shows, he added.
Arnold said the show will "pretty much" look like the greatest hits album 3 Doors Down released last year, but with a few surprises. He explained that the decision to put out the band's greatest hits could be misconceived, as it felt more like a natural end of a chapter for the band rather than a sign that they are slowing down.
"God willing, we'll be around long enough for 'Greatest Hits: Part Two,'" he said.
3 Doors Down hit major mainstream success with its first studio album, "The Better Life," which has been certified six times platinum.
Unlike many other bands, 3 Doors Down makes no effort to distance the band from the hits that made them famous. Arnold believes it is a disservice to fans not to play these songs.
"[Those bands] may they think they're too cool," he said. "That's what people buy the tickets to come hear. If we didn't play 'Kryptonite' or 'Here Without You,' we'd have some mad fans. I don't agree with bands not playing the hits."
3 Doors Down's lineup has undergone a few key changes recently. Last year, guitarist Matt Roberts departed the band due to health reasons and the band's guitar tech Chet Roberts replaced him.
"We never even tried anyone else out," said Arnold, adding that Roberts was "one of the most creative dudes you'll ever be around."
Additionally, bass player Todd Harrell was charged with vehicular homicide in April and checked into rehab shortly after. The band announced Justin Biltonen as the replacement bass player.
Arnold is a strong believer in giving back. The band is a strong supporter of the military, as evidenced by the 2002 hit "When I'm Gone," which resonated during the 2003 War in Iraq. Guitarist Chris Henderson was in the Navy for 11 years and Arnold's father, brother and nephew were all in the Air Force. Arnold explained that if he were not playing with 3 Doors Down, he would probably be in the Air Force as well.
"I can't think of a more worthy cause to support," he said. "I always want them to know how much we appreciate them."
The band's military support comes in addition to The Better Life Foundation, which raises money for children's causes after a yearly benefit concert in Arnold's home state of Mississippi. Arnold said the foundation was "the biggest blessing of this band."
Arnold is additionally grateful for the band's prolonged success. He attributes this success to 3 Doors Down's honesty and aversion to following modern trends.
"In a year or so, all those bands that followed that trend are gone," he said. "Be honest with yourself and write songs that people relate to."
Looking ahead, Arnold expects to finally be taking a break from touring in a few months, in which the band can work on writing and recording new music. Arnold said new music in the spring would be a definite possibility.
"There's a whole lot in store for us," he said. "I've had more fun with this band on this tour than I've had in a long time. I don't want to see it end any time soon."
If you go
3 Doors Down and Daughtry perform at Pier Six Pavilion on Saturday. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35-$59.50. Call 410-244-1131 or go to piersixpavilion.com.
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