Three Days Grace

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Three Days Grace

Hard rock group

Canadian band Three Days Grace is known for their melodic, heavy riffs and honest lyrics. Their two albums have enjoyed solid success both in their home country and in the United States. A Sputnikmusic reviewer described their sound as "dark brooding vocals, a blend of heavily distorted acoustic and electric guitars, and simple drum and bass riffs."

The members of the band all grew up in Norwood, Ontario, a small town of 1,500 people, and met each other in high school. They liked the same kinds of music, so they got together and started jamming in each other's basements or attics. Lead singer Adam Gontier recounted in an interviewer from Designer Magazine that one day he told his friend Brad Waist, who had never played an instrument, to start playing the bass. Waist did, and they formed a band immediately. Initially, they played covers of other people's songs, but soon graduated to doing more of their own material. Gontier remarked to Michael Montes in Florida Entertainment Scene, "We took it from there and eventually made our way to Toronto … and started to take music really seriously. That was around 1997."

They took their name to represent a sense of urgency, as Gontier told Montes: "[If] you had three days to change something in your life … could you do it in three days. That sort of urgency, I guess." Gontier also noted modestly that there are many great bands out there; for him and his bandmates, the thrill of making music is playing live: "We love to play live. When we first started that was what we always wanted to do. To get on tour and wake up in a new city every day and play to new people every night."

Drummer Neil Sanderson told Dave Doray in IGN that being from a small town was a plus in terms of the understanding it gave him of people and their motives: "[In] a small town the hearsay travels quickly. You get a clear picture of what someone's about. You see most aspects of their lives. The causes and effects of an event are much more obvious and it kind of feeds your pool of ideas [for writing songs]."

The band had been playing for ten years before they finally got a recording deal with Jive, an imprint of Sony BMG. Gontier told Montes, "There were definitely times we considered quitting: giving it up," but the band's love of music kept them going. Once they were signed with Jive, the label gave them the creative freedom they needed to create their own music. In an interview with, Gontier said, "[They] realized that we had to steer our own ship and do things our own way." He added, "[When] the message becomes real, and you have every opportunity to really make everything from a genuine place, and not from a contrived place … that is really awesome to us."

Also, unlike many other bands, Three Days Grace does not spend a lot of energy on "sex and drugs and rock and roll, and ego," as the interviewer noted. Gontier explained, "[We] are out here for different reasons than most bands. When fans come up to us and tell us that their music has changed their lives, that's what it really is about for us, not about how much whiskey we can pound or anything like that."

The band's self-titled debut album, released in 2003, was described by a Designer Magazine reviewer as "straddling the lyrical content of emo, while at the same time having the sort of rock tunes that could fill theatres." The interviewer also told Gontier that the album "is a cohesive body of work. It all gels together with that similar sound throughout the whole record." Gontier said that although the band did not try to stick to one sound, all their different influences come together when they record to produce a cohesive sound. He also said that most of the songs were written over a ten-year period, and added, "We basically got the chance with getting a record deal to make a really good sounding record. We had a lot of songs we wanted to finish and the record turned out exactly how we wanted it to."

One-X, which was released in 2006, describes Gontier's feelings of isolation and loneliness during the band's tours. On the band's Web site, Gontier explains that being constantly surrounded by and looked at by other people made him feel like "I had a target on my back. I felt like there were a lot of things getting thrown at me that I had to deal with and I felt alone. I was the only one who could really understand myself." He added, "I wanted to be normal and I just wanted someone, anyone to help me." Eventually, he wrote, he realized that many other people were in the same situation, and he understood "Okay, I'm not alone." One-X describes those feelings. Bass player Ron Waist added, "All these people around you seem to know you, but they really don't and you don't know them either, but you carry on as if you do. It's weird how you can still feel alone in a crowd of people."

After experiencing this kind of urban isolation in a crowd, the band took time off and returned to backwoods Ontario to write One-X. Waist wrote on the band's Web site that most of the album was composed "around a fire with acoustic guitars. It was all about getting back to our roots." The Web site noted that the album is "a roller coaster ride through Gontier's psyche. Intensely honest, Gontier leaves nothing out; it sounds as if he's ripping pages from his journal."

Gontier told Montes that he is indebted to the band's fans, and said he'd like to tell them: "Thanks for being fans of our band. It's nice to see people. We're from so far away when we come to a new place and meet new fans it's amazing. We want to thank the fans for liking the band and digging the music."

For the Record …

Members include Adam Gontier , lead vocals, guitar; Neil Sanderson , drums; Barry Stock , lead guitar; Brad Waist bass, backing vocals.

Group formed in 1997; released Three Days Grace, 2003; released One-X, 2006.

Addresses: Record company—Sony BMG, 550 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10022. Web site—Three Days Grace Official Web site:

Selected discography

Three Days Grace, Sony BMG, 2003.

One-X, Sony BMG, 2006.


"Interview with Adam Gontier of Three Days Grace," Florida Entertainment Scene, (June 23, 2008).

"One-X Review," Sputnikmusic, (June 23, 2008).

"Three Days Grace," Designer Magazine, (June 23, 2008).

"Three Days Grace Interview," IGN, (June 23, 2008).

"Three Days Grace Interview in Support of I Hate Everything about You,", (June 23, 2008).

Three Days Grace Official Web site, (June 23, 2008).

—Kelly Winters