Three Days Grace is a Canadian rock band formed in Norwood, Ontario, Canada in 1992, originally under the name Groundswell. After a breakup in late 1995, the band regrouped in 1997 under its current name with a line-up consisting 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. The band is based in Toronto.
After signing to Jive Records, Three Days Grace has released four studio albums, each at three-year intervals: Three Days Grace in 2003, One-X in 2006, Life Starts Now in 2009, and Transit of Venus in 2012. The first three albums have been RIAA certified platinum, platinum, and gold, respectively, in the United States, whereas in Canada they have been certified by Music Canada as platinum, double platinum, and platinum, respectively. The band have a string of number one songs on the Billboard Alternative Songs and Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks charts.
At the start of 2013, Three Days Grace announced that lead singer Adam Gontier was resigning from the band because of a "non-life threatening" health issue. Adam Gontier was replaced by My Darkest Days singer Matt Walst shortly thereafter, who was not confirmed as an official member until March 28, 2014.
Three Days Grace has its origins in a band called Groundswell, which formed in 1992 in Norwood, Ontario. They released one full-length album, Wave of Popular Feeling. The line-up consisted of vocalist Adam Gontier, drummer Neil Sanderson, bassist Brad Walst, lead guitarist Phil Crowe, and secondary guitarist Joe Grant. Most of the members were attending high school when the band initially formed.
By the fall of 1995, Phil Crowe and Joe Grant had left Groundswell. In 1997, Gontier, Sanderson, and Walst regrouped and changed the band name to "Three Days Grace". According to Gontier, the name stands for a sense of urgency with the question being whether someone could change something in one's life if one had only three days to make a change. Once in Toronto, the band became acquainted with local producer Gavin Brown. The band gave him several years of material that they had created since forming, and he "picked out what he called 'the golden nuggets'", according to Gontier. Brown and the band polished the songs into 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. The band was soon signed to Jive Records after being sought out by the company's president.
Three Days Grace (2003–2005)
After being signed to Jive, the band moved to Long View Farm, a studio in North Brookfield, Massachusetts to record their debut album. The self-titled album was finished in Woodstock, New York and released on July 22, 2003. It was met with generally mixed to favorable 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, in 2003 Three Days Grace released its first single, "I Hate Everything About You", the song whose demo had gotten the band its record deal. The song received heavy airplay and rapidly became a widely recognizable song, being labeled as the band's "breakout hit". After acquiring lead guitarist Barry Stock in late 2003, Three Days Grace toured continuously and extensively for nearly two years in support of their major label debut. The album peaked at number nine on the Canadian Albums Chart and number 69 on the Billboard 200, and was certified platinum in the US by the RIAA in December 2004 and double platinum in Canada by the CRIA.
Around the time the band's first album became a mainstream success with the release of their first single, "I Hate Everything About You" followed by two more singles, "Just Like You" and "Home", Gontier developed an addiction to the prescription narcotic analgesic OxyContin. After finishing touring 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). While in treatment, Gontier began writing lyrics for songs regarding how he felt and what he went through in rehabilitation.
Adam Gontier successfully completed treatment at CAMH. The band found a place suitable for further songwriting in Northern Ontario, in a cottage by themselves where they experimented, tested, and practiced songs. After three months at the cottage, they had about finished what would be on 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 two more hit singles, "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 material had come out of his experiences with despondence, drug abuse, and rehab, which had constituted the past two years of his life.
The album, titled One-X, was released on June 13, 2006, and was guitarist Barry Stock's recorded debut. Gontier also performed live by himself at various rehabilitation centres as a "thank you" to the people who 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 like "Pain", "Animal I Have Become" and "Never Too Late" to encourage and motivate other 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 while Three Days Grace toured to promote One-X. In November 2006 Gontier performed with the band at a special show at the CAMH in Toronto, where Gontier went 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.
"Animal I Have Become"
"Animal I Have Become" reflects Gontier's regrets about the person he became during the Three Days Grace tour. "A few of us got really carried away, especially myself. I became somebody I didn't want to be."
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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 number two on the Canadian album chart and at number five on the Billboard 200, selling 78,000 copies in the US in its first week of release. Its first single, "Animal I Have Become", was Three Days Grace's most successful, becoming 2006's most played rock song in Canada, and the album helped Three Days Grace to become the number one rock artist in airplay in the US and Canada in 2007, with Billboard ranking them as the number one rock artist of 2007.One-X was certified platinum by the RIAA in the US on August 30, 2007, and double platinum by the CRIA in Canada in July 2007. Three Days Grace toured the US and Canada throughout the second half of 2006 and all of 2007 in support of One-X. In early 2008, they toured alongside Seether and Breaking Benjamin across the US.
Life Starts Now (2009–2011)
From March to August 2008, and from January to April 2009, Three Days Grace recorded their third album at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Los Angeles, 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. According to guitarist Barry Stock, the album's theme centers 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 number three on the Billboard 200, Three Days Grace's highest chart position, and sold 79,000 copies in its first week. The album was met with mixed 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, 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, midtempo rockers". A harsher negative review came from Ben Czajkowski from 411mania.com as he described the album as "Boring, bland, trite, tired, tried, and true".
The first single from the album, "Break", was released on September 1, 2009. Three Days Grace embarked on a 20-date Canadian tour lasting through November and December 2009. They co-headlined a January–February 2010 tour of the US with Breaking Benjamin and Flyleaf, and toured as the headlining act in the US with support from Chevelle and Adelitas Way from March to April 2010.
Life Starts Now was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 2010 Juno awards, but lost to Billy Talent III.
Three Days Grace went on tour with Nickelback and Buckcherry on the Dark Horse Fall 2010 Tour. They toured with My Darkest Days starting in March 2011, and later joined Avenged Sevenfold on their spring "Welcome to the Family" tour in 2011. They toured with acts such as Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine on the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar tour from August 2011 to October 2011.
Transit of Venus and Gontier's departure (2012–2013)
On October 7, 2011, RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding Jive Records along with Arista Records and J Records, and moving all the artists signed to the three labels to its RCA Records brand, including 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 which was set to be released on October 2, 2012. They created an early promotional video that was released 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, Three Days Grace announced that Adam Gontier was resigning from the band. Brad Walsts's brother Matt, of My Darkest Days, replaced him on tour with the band as lead vocalist. They cited a health issue of Adam Gontier's as the reason for his sudden departure. Since the departure, Gontier has formed a new band and plans on releasing new music shortly.
On January 16, 2013, it was reported that the band described details of Gontier's departure as being abrupt and unexplained. Later, contrary to belief that Gontier had turned again to his addictions, he 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."
Three Days Grace commenced their 2013 tour in Moline, IL along with Shinedown and P.O.D. with Matt Walst as touring lead singer. He was substituting and was not an official member of Three Days Grace, until a post to the band's official website on March 28, 2014 confirmed he was the new lead singer.
New vocalist and future plans (2014–present)
On March 28, 2014, Three Days Grace confirmed Matt Walst had become the official replacement for Adam Gontier. With the announcement, the band said, "Your first taste of new Three Days Grace may be even sooner than you think. Stay tuned." During an interview on July 19, 2013 with 99.9 KISW in Seattle, Neil Sanderson confirmed they are currently working on a new album and they have 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." On April 1, 2014, the band released a new track titled "Painkiller" on the iTunes Store. It was released to US Rock radio on April 8, 2014.
Three Days Grace has 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 US and Canada, and Billboard named them Rock Artist of the Year. Three Days Grace has been nominated for four Juno Awards, including New Group of the Year for 2004. "I Hate Everything About You" was nominated for Best Rock Video and People's Choice: Favourite Canadian Group at Much Music Awards. In 2007, they were nominated for Best Group of the Year, and their album One-X was nominated 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" was nominated 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 Much Music Awards.On Fuse.tv. "Break" was nominated for "Best Single" and Life Starts Now won for "Best Album" at the Casby Awards.
- Current members
- Brad Walst – bass, occasional backing vocals (1997–present)
- Neil Sanderson – drums, percussion, keyboards, backing vocals (1997–present)
- Barry Stock – lead guitar (2003–present)
- Matt Walst – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (2013–present)
- Former members
- Adam Gontier – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1997–2013)
- Live members
- Dani Rosenoer – keyboards, backing vocals (2012–present)
- Studio albums
- Three Days Grace (2003)
- One-X (2006)
- Life Starts Now (2009)
- Transit of Venus (2012)
- Life Starts Now tour (co-headline with Breaking Benjamin and Flyleaf) (2009)
- Welcome to the Family tour (with Avenged Sevenfold, Sevendust, & Bullet For My Valentine) (2011)
- Uproar Festival (2011)
- Special club shows (2012)
- Transit of Venus tour (co-headline with Shinedown and P.O.D) (2013)