It’s been 15 years since a demo for a little song called “I Hate Everything About You” thrust Three Days Grace onto the Canadian rock scene.
They followed with their self-titled debut, which went platinum. Founding member Neil Sanderson says the key to their longevity has been their honesty. The drummer says they put their “heart and emotions” into each song, and fans have responded.
“We’re extremely collaborative, and we trust each other as a group. We all play guitar and we all write lyrics. We each have our own ideas,” he adds. “The process is important to us, and there’s strength in numbers. We’ve learned to check egos at the door, and we’ve trusted that when we’re all excited about a song, that’s a great measurement.”
From hits “Just Like You” and “Home” to their latest album, six-month-old Outsider, they’ve shown growth with every album.
One-X was an album that was chock full of songs informed by lead singer Adam Gontier’s addiction to OxyContin and time in rehab. With songs “Never Too Late” and “Animal (I Have Become),” the album contained a raw honesty.
Upon his departure in 2013, and with the addition of Matt Waist, of rockers My Darkest Days, the songwriting style and camaraderie continued.
“Now that Matt is on, he brings a youthful energy and new edge. It truly shows. We’re doing the same size of shows we did with Adam, and the key is we just didn’t stop,” Sanderson says. “We wrote ‘Painkiller’ and released that and ‘I Am Machine’ on radio as soon as Matt joined. It set the tone for the sound, fans embraced it, and they’re still on this journey with us.”
He says their growth in musicality comes from something he calls the “10,000-hour rule.”
“When we have confidence in each other, the connection between all of us grows. It translates into great work in the studio,” he explains. “Matt has grown vocally after five years of touring, and we’ve grown as friends. Being in this band and with us has built his confidence, which has translated to more skillful songwriting and work on Outsider.”
Sanderson says this tour represents a really nice time for Three Days Grace.
“We got back from a six-week stint that took us from England to Russia, and it was the biggest European tour we’ve ever done. It’s amazing to go places where they speak no English, and see they know the words to our songs anyway,” he says. “We have a thriving career there, and we love to travel, but it’s nice to have a proper tour in our home country.”
They’ve gone coast-to-coast in Canada, and toured with Nickelback, The Trews, Buckcherry, Breaking Benjamin, and more.
“Some things change for us, but a lot remains the same,” Sanderson says. “Our passion is in creating music from scratch and from the heart. We share our music with the world and we’re happy to do it. We wake up every day happy to be doing what we do. The feeling we get moments before we get on-stage—the adrenaline, nerves and ton of energy—make me feel so lucky.”
After their big Halifax stop, they’ll head on tour with Disturbed. But then Matt and Sanderson will look at something close to their hearts.
“We went to Kenya and saw the challenges there. The extreme poverty, limited water access and issues of child protection are huge,” he says. “We will be rolling out an initiative to do something and raise awareness. We want to use what clout we have to make change for the better.”