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Three Days Grace
Three Days Grace - They Hate Everything About You
It seemed to have happened overnight. One day, Three Days’ Grace was just an expression; the next day, everyone in Canada and the U.S. was humming along with the eerie voice that chanted, on radio airwaves everywhere, “I Hate Everything About You.” Three Days Grace had suddenly become everyone’s favorite rock band. The key word here is, “seemed.” Three Days Grace were anything but an overnight success. In fact, between the creation of Three Days Grace and the moment your spine first chilled at the line, “After every hit we take,” a good ten years elapsed. Three Days Grace first formed in 1992 under the name Groundswell. Back then, it consisted of five members and its Home was based in the Ontario town of Norwood. In 1997, Groundswell was reduced to a trio, renamed Three Days Grace, and relocated their Home to Toronto, Canada.
At that time, the band consisted of three members: vocalist and guitarist Adam Gontier, drummer Neil Sanderson and bassist Brad Walst. Eventually, the members of Three Days Grace met the man who would launch them to stardom: a producer by the name of Gavin Brown. Gavin Brown had once been the drummer for the band Big Sugar, and was already famous for having launched other bands, most notably Canadian punk sensations Billy Talent. Gavin Brown helped produce Three Days Grace debut album, the aptly named Three Days Grace. The band spent time in Boston and Woodstock, New York, recording the album. The album, released in 2003, was a best-selling, chart-topping sensation. The Three Days Grace album soared to the top ten of the American albums chart, the top 100 of the Canadian Billboard 200, and number one on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Everywhere three days grace went, fans looked ready to Riot. It’s no surprise that Three Days Grace enjoyed such success, especially when you consider the climate back Home in Toronto, Canada the summer of 2003, when the first three days grace single hit the radio airwaves. Yes, it was an unbearably hot summer, temperature-wise, but otherwise, Toronto was chilly.
The threat of SARS had terrified Toronto residents into seclusion. Those who did venture out onto the streets wore masks. The custom of shaking hands at meetings and job interviews was temporarily abolished. And all around the world, budding tourists lined up at travel agencies to trade their Canada-bound airline tickets in for someplace safer, like New York City. Toronto’s tourism industry went into hibernation; thousands of tourism workers went on unemployment insurance; students and seasonal workers stayed home and watched DVDs instead. This once thriving metropolis, which had even nicknamed itself the Centre of the Universe, had transformed into a concrete desert. As far as 2003 music went, very few artists managed to capture the angst of what it was like to be a young, shunned Canadian that particular year. The biggest hit of the summer was Crazy in Love, by Beyonce—the musical equivalent of a hit of ecstasy. Sure, it would make you want to hug the world during the three to four minutes it was on the radio, but once it was over, you’d sink into depression, somehow now doubly aware that not only were you NOT crazy in love, you were also unemployed, and growing increasingly concerned about that recurring cough that kept you awake at night (though it may have had something to do with the fact that the new smoking in restaurants ban left you lighting up twice as much in your own apartment). No, Beyonce did not manage to accurately capture the sentiment of the summer of SARS. Neither did the Ataris, whose chart-topping, feel-good rendition of Don Henley’s Boys of Summer played on loop in order to give sullen staff at empty restaurants the illusion of happiness. Matchbox Twenty came close, with their soulful, sympathetic mega-hits Unwell and Bright Lights, but these lyrics just gave listeners an excuse to feel sorry for themselves. They also made female listeners feel even worse, because Rob Thomas proved that there WERE sensitive guys out there, they just weren’t HERE. Canadian rocker Sam Roberts was doing well with his third single, Where Have All the Good People Gone? Canadians were happy for the talented Montreal rocker, but many people – hotel owners in particular- couldn’t help but feel the song’s title unknowingly mocked Toronto’s economic situation. No one knew where all the good people had gone, but it certainly wasn’t Toronto. And then there was three days grace. I Hate Everything About You was so full of rage that, even without listening to the Three Days Grace lyrics, listeners could feel their anger.
This was the song that would capture their anger over having been dismissed by the rest of the world. As one new Three Days Grace remarked through her SARS mask in the subway, “The animal I have become is totally represented by the fury in Adam Gontier’s voice.” Three Days Grace’s debut album spawned four hit singles. The first was the legendary, angst-ridden I Hate Everything About You, which hit number one on U.S. rock charts and number two on Canadian rock charts. The second was Just Like You. It gave Three Days Grace their second U.S number one single, and their first number one single back home in Canada. The third was Home. Home hit number two in the U.S. and was the second most played Active Rock song of 2005. This song was so successful that its infectious chorus, “This house is not a home,” was widely quoted by real estate websites urging new home shoppers to evaluate the difference between a roof over one’s head and a personalized dwelling. The fourth single, Wake Up, was released only in Canada, and was also incredibly successful. For much of 2003-2005, songs from Three Days Grace dominated both the radio and television airwaves. Music stations MTV, MTV2, Much Music (Canada’s answer to MTV) and Fuse played Three Days Grace videos practically hourly. And radio listeners across the continents seemed to know all Three Days Grace lyrics by heart. Just before the band embarked on tour, they recruited a fourth member, Barry Stock, to help out on lead guitar and vocals.
The Three Days Grace album ended up winning a Juno (Canada’s answer to the Grammies). The Juno wasn’t for the band itself, but for Gavin Brown, for his production work on the Three Days Grace album. In a cruel twist of fate, Three Days Grace lost the award for which they were nominated, New Group of the Year, to Billy Talent, the other group Gavin Brown had helped launch. 2006 was an exciting year for Three Days Grace fans: the band’s long-anticipated second album was released. The album, called One-X, included the song Animal I Have Become, which ended up being Three Days Grace’s first single off the One-X album. Animal I Have Become hit number one on both the U.S. Modern Rock chart and the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart. Animal I Have Become was released at the end of March. One-X, the album, came out in June—and soared all the way to number five on the Billboard 200. The second single, Pain, was also a chart-topper. The third single, Never Too Late, was released in April 2007. In spite of their success, Three Days Grace remain elusive; Three Days Grace interviews are a real Pain to find online. One interesting fact about Three Days Grace is their label: Jive Records. Anyone who watches the music industry closely will know that Jive Records typically works with pop acts, with the names Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, N Sync and the Backstreet Boys among the most prominent on their roster. Three Days Grace, however, were thrilled with the chance to work with Jive Records—and vice versa.
From the record label’s perspective, the chance to add a rock band to a mostly-pop lineup is a welcome opportunity. From the band’s perspective, Jive Records has so few rock bands that they give Three Days Grace all kinds of attention that a mostly-rock label wouldn’t. At Jive Records, Three Days Grace stand out rather than being one of the Just Like You, Just Like Anyone rock crowd. The other advantage of signing with Jive is, of course, the opportunity to meet pop stars like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. Three Days Grace have never commented on Britney Spears, other than that they’d met her, but they reportedly partied with Justin Timberlake at a Jive Records event and later praised him as a “down-to-earth guy.” He’s Just Like You or me, they seem to have implied. The band has a diverse list of influences. The one band all the members seem to agree on is Sunny Day Real Estate, to whom they are also compared in reviews. Other influences vary from group member to group member, but include Kyuss, Nine Inch Nails, and Tool. Three Days Grace are an addictive band whose music tugs at our deepest emotions like a couple of shots of prairie fire. And you can bet that, tonight, after a long day of work, Pain, and possibly the odd Riot, millions of people Just Like You and just like me will head Home, lay down, and sing along to the Animal I Have Become lyrics.