Three Days Grace
Three Days Grace in 2006
|Origin||Norwood, Ontario, Canada|
Three Days Grace is a Canadian rock band formed in Norwood, Ontario in 1997. Based in Toronto, the band's original line-up consisted of guitarist and lead vocalist Adam Gontier, drummer and backing vocalist Neil Sanderson, and bassist Brad Walst. In 2003, Barry Stock was recruited as the band's lead guitarist, making them a four-member band. In 2013, Gontier left the band and was replaced by My Darkest Days' vocalist Matt Walst, who is also the younger brother of bassist Brad Walst.
Currently signed to RCA Records, they have released six studio albums, each at three-year intervals: Three Days Grace in 2003, One-X in 2006, Life Starts Now in 2009, Transit of Venus in 2012, Human in 2015, and Outsider in 2018. The first three albums have been RIAA certified 2x platinum, 3x platinum, and platinum, respectively, in the United States. In Canada, they have been certified by Music Canada as platinum, double platinum, and platinum, respectively. The band has had 15 No. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and three No. 1 hits on Alternative Songs.
The band has its origins as a five-piece band called "Groundswell", formed in Norwood, Ontario, in 1992. Groundswell released one full-length album, Wave of Popular Feeling. The band's line-up consisted of lead vocalist Adam Gontier, drummer Neil Sanderson, bassist Brad Walst, lead guitarist Phil Crowe, and rhythm guitarist Joe Grant. Most of the members were attending high school when the band formed. By the end of 1995, the band had broken up.
In 1997, Gontier, Sanderson, and Walst regrouped as "Three Days Grace". According to Gontier, the name refers to a sense of urgency, with the question being whether someone could change something in their life if they had only three days to make a change. Once in Toronto, the band became acquainted with local producer Gavin Brown. They gave him several years' worth of material which they had created, and he "...picked out what he called 'the golden nuggets'", according to Gontier. Brown and the band polished the songs and created a demo album, which they gave to EMI Music Publishing Canada. The record label wanted to hear more material, and with Brown producing, the band created the song, "I Hate Everything About You", which attracted the interest of several record labels. TDG were soon signed to Jive Records after being sought out by the company's president.
Three Days Grace was met with mixed-to-favourable reviews. Dave Doray of IGN said of the album, "Mistakes? There's not many." AllMusic reviewer Heather Phares said that on Three Days Grace, "the band's focus and adherence to alt-metal's formulas – coupled with tight songwriting and some unexpectedly pretty choruses – results in a strong tracks [sic] that are more memorable than the work of many of their peers". She did criticize the album for its simplicity, concluding, "Three Days Grace are definitely one of the most accessible alt-metal bands of the 2000s; they just need to add some more distinctiveness to their sound."
To support the eponymous album, the band released their first single, "I Hate Everything About You" (the song whose demo had gotten the band a record deal) in 2003. The song received heavy airplay and rapidly became widely recognizable, and was labelled as the band's "breakout hit". After Barry Stock joined as lead guitarist in late 2003, the band toured continuously and extensively for nearly two years in support of their major label debut. The album peaked at No. 9 on the Canadian Albums Chart and No. 69 on the Billboard 200, and was certified platinum in the U.S. by the RIAA in December 2004 and double platinum in Canada by the CRIA.
One-X and Stock's arrival (2006–2008)
The release of "I Hate Everything About You" was followed by two more single releases, "Just Like You" and "Home". About this time, Gontier developed an addiction to the prescription drug OxyContin. After finishing the tour for their first album, the band knew they could not continue with the condition he was in, so in 2005, with the support of his family, friends, and band members, Gontier checked himself into the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. While in treatment, Gontier began writing lyrics for songs regarding how he felt and what he was going through in rehabilitation.
Gontier successfully completed treatment at CAMH. The band found a place suitable for further songwriting in Northern Ontario, in a cottage where they experimented on, tested, and practiced new songs. After three months at the cottage, they had about finished what would be their second album. Gontier contributed lyrics about his experiences in rehab; the first single from One-X, titled "Animal I Have Become", features lyrics Gontier had written while getting sober. The second album contained at least four more such songs, including "Over and Over", "Gone Forever", and the hit songs "Pain" and "Never Too Late". In a 2006 interview, Gontier said that the album's material was more personal to him than the band's previous work because the inspiration had come out of his experiences with despondence, drug abuse, and rehab, which had constituted the past two years of his life.
One-X was released on June 13, 2006 and marked Barry Stock's first effort with the band. Gontier also performed live by himself at various rehabilitation centres as a "thank you" to the people who had helped him get through his addiction, and as an inspiration to others who were also dealing with addiction issues. In these performances, he would play songs such as "Pain", "Animal I Have Become", and "Never Too Late", to encourage and motivate people under treatment to overcome their addiction. Most, if not all, of these solo acoustic performances, called the "Three Days to Change" tour, took place simultaneously as Three Days Grace toured promoting One-X. In November 2006, Gontier performed with the band at a special show at the CAMH in Toronto, where he had gone for his own rehab. The audience of about 250 people included patients, radio contest winners, family and friends of the band, and representatives from the band's label. Following the performance, Gontier did a 50-minute Q&A session which was filmed as part of the "Behind the Pain" documentary.
One-X was met with mostly positive reviews. The Toronto Star complimented the album with a review title of "One CD Worth Buying..." and focused on its lyrics, saying: "The lyrics really speak out to you, especially if you're going through a tough time in your life." Allmusic reviewer Corey Apar praised the music, saying it "remains catchy despite its lyrical darkness", but pointed out that Three Days Grace is "hardly innovative" in their approach to writing music and that "further distinctive qualities" would help the band separate itself "...from their alt-metal peers".
One-X peaked at No. 2 on the Canadian album chart and at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, selling 78,000 copies in the U.S. in its first week of release. "Animal I Have Become" was Three Days Grace's most successful single, becoming 2006's most played rock song in Canada. The album helped Three Days Grace become the No. 1 rock artist by airplay in the U.S. and Canada in 2007, with Billboard ranking them as the No. 1 rock artist of 2007. One-X was certified triple platinum by the RIAA in the U.S. on March 4, 2016, and double platinum by the CRIA in Canada in July 2007. Three Days Grace toured the U.S. and Canada throughout the second half of 2006 and all of 2007 in support of One-X. In early 2008, they toured across the U.S. alongside Seether and Breaking Benjamin.
Life Starts Now (2009–2011)
From March to August 2008, and from January to April 2009, the band recorded their third album at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia, and in Los Angeles, again with producer Howard Benson who had worked with them on their previous releases. The album, entitled Life Starts Now, was released on September 22, 2009. Critics as well as band members have noted the album's departure from the angry tone of the band's previous releases into a lyrical style that is perceived as more optimistic. This album reflects the maturity of the band members as they overcome problems such as sickness and death within their families; in a published statement they were quoted as saying: "We had to be inspired by it, but the outcome is this: It’s a new beginning. It’s life starting over.”  According to guitarist Barry Stock, the album's theme centres around "a new sense of freshness" and the idea that "you don't have to be stuck in whatever it is you're dealing with. Whether it's good or bad, it's your choice to make a change".
Life Starts Now debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, the band's highest chart position to date, and sold 79,000 copies in its first week. The album was met with mostly positive reviews. Ben Rayner of the Toronto Star gave the album a negative review, saying it possesses "no sound of its own, just a shallow range between Linkin Park and Nickelback". According to Allmusic reviewer James Christopher Monger, who gave the album three out of five stars, Life Starts Now "...continues the theme of One-X, Gontier's personal demons, but with a 'hint of sunlight'." He complimented the album, however, saying it "...treats the well-worn metal themes of anger, isolation, heartache, and redemption with the kind of begrudging respect they deserve, pumping out a competent flurry of fist-bump anthems and world-weary, mid-tempo rockers".
The first single release from the album, "Break", was released on September 1, 2009. In support of the record, the band embarked on the Life Starts Now Tour, with 20 Canadian shows lasting through November and December 2009 and U.S. shows in January–February 2010. They were joined by Breaking Benjamin and Flyleaf during the U.S. shows.
Life Starts Now was nominated for "Best Rock Album" at the 2010 Juno Awards, but lost to Billy Talent III. They went on tour with Nickelback and Buckcherry on the "Dark Horse Fall 2010 Tour" and they later toured with My Darkest Days starting in March 2011.
Transit of Venus and Gontier's departure (2012–2013)
On October 7, 2011, the RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding Jive Records along with Arista and J Records, and moving all the artists signed to the three labels to its RCA Records brand, which included Three Days Grace.
On June 5, 2012, the same day as Venus' visible transit across the sun, the band announced that their fourth studio album would be called Transit of Venus and released on October 2, 2012. They created an early promotional video on their website featuring clips of them in the studio as well as footage of the physical transit of Venus. Due to the rarity of this occurrence, they created the slogan, "Some things will never happen again in your lifetime", reflecting both this uncommon occurrence as well as the mood that the lyrics and music would most likely take on. The first single from the album, "Chalk Outline", was released on August 14.
On January 9, 2013, the band announced that Gontier had left the band. They described Gontier's departure as being abrupt and unexplained. The departure came just weeks before a co-headlining tour. Gontier explained that he was simply ready to start a new chapter in his life, stating, "After twenty years of being part of an ever evolving band, I have been inspired by life, to move on and to continue to evolve on my own terms." Brad Walst's brother, Matt (of My Darkest Days), became the band's new lead singer. They commenced their 2013 tour in Moline, Illinois. Shinedown and P.O.D. accompanied the band throughout the tour. Dani Rosenoer, the band's touring keyboardist and backing vocalist since 2012, also joined the band for the tour.
During an interview on July 19, 2013 with 99.9 KISW in Seattle, Neil Sanderson confirmed the band was currently working on a new album and they had already recorded half of it. He stated, "We're really amped-up about it, it's got a new energy. It's a little heavier, and it's just more aggressive and it's just got this fresh vibe." A new track entitled "Painkiller" was released to US Rock radio stations on April 8, 2014. On June 6, 2014, "Painkiller" reached No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock Charts, which made it the eleventh No. 1 single the band has released. In an August 2014 interview, the band revealed the title of their next single, "I Am Machine", which was released September 30, 2014, On January 26, 2015, it was revealed that the new album would be titled Human. On March 23, 2015, "Human Race" was released as the third single. Human was released on March 31. In early 2015, the band toured Europe, followed by touring predominantly throughout the United States and later in Canada, starting in November 2015. Halestorm supported most of the Canadian dates. The band toured Europe and Russia in early 2016. On November 18, 2016, Three Days Grace released a cover of the Phantogram song "You Don't Get Me High Anymore".
The band began recording their sixth studio album, Outsider, in July 2017, releasing "The Mountain" as the first single on January 25, 2018 with an accompanying music video. The song peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart in March 2018 and became their 13th No. 1 on the chart while tying the record with Van Halen. The album was released on March 9, 2018. On June 12, "Infra-Red" was released as the band's second single from the album. "Infra-Red" peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard's Mainstream Rock Songs chart and it is their 14th No. 1 single. With this latest achievement, the band broke Van Halen's two-decade record of topping the chart. On November 13, 2018 "Right Left Wrong" was released as the band's third single from the album. It peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard's Mainstream Rock Songs chart and it is their 15th No. 1 single. On March 14, 2019 the band won Rock Artist of the Year on 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards.
Awards and records
The band have been recognized for their musical efforts through several awards and nominations. In 2007, the band was ranked by Mediabase as the top artist in airplay across all rock formats in the U.S. and Canada, and Billboard named them Rock Artist of the Year. They have been nominated for six Juno awards but only won four, including "New Group of the Year" for 2004. "I Hate Everything About You" won for "Best Rock Video" and "People's Choice: Favourite Canadian Group" at Much Music Awards. In 2007, they won for "Best Group of the Year", and their album One-X for "Album of the Year". The band's first single from One-X, "Animal I Have Become", was Canada's most-played rock song in 2006 and won that year's Mediabase award for the most-played rock song on radio. "Never Too Late" was nominated for "Best Video" and "Best Rock Video", and "Pain" won for "Best International Video by a Canadian" and "People's Choice: Favorite Canadian Group" at Much Music Awards.
In 2010, Life Starts Now was nominated for "Best Rock Album" at the Juno awards, but lost to Billy Talent III. In 2010, "Break" was nominated for "Best Post Production Video" and "Best Rock Video of the Year" at the Much Music Awards on Fuse.tv. "Break" was nominated for "Best Single" and Life Starts Now won for "Best Album" at the Casby Awards.
The band has a record 15 No. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
Their music has been described as post-grunge, hard rock, alternative metal, alternative rock, and nu metal. Their self-titled album mostly features the sounds of alternative metal and post-grunge. However, on their second album, One-X, the band had more guitar solos and a more melodic sound. Their fourth album, Transit of Venus, included a few electronic influences.
Former touring musicians
- Three Days Grace (2003)
- One-X (2006)
- Life Starts Now (2009)
- Transit of Venus (2012)
- Human (2015)
- Outsider (2018)
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