Canadian Musician - May / June 2018 - Page 34

(L-R) NEIL SANDERSON, BRAD WALST, MATT WALST & BARRY STOCK OF THREE DAYS GRACE By Michael Raine Fifteen years ago, Three Days Grace stepped into a music market that was happy to embrace a band of emotional hard rockers. Yes, Napster had kicked CD sales in the gut, but TV, ra- dio, awards shows, and festivals were still ripe with rock music. The genre, as it had been for decades, was firmly planted in the mainstream. But fast forward to 2018 and suddenly rock isn’t driving the culture anymore. The Grammys, for instance, didn’t televise any rock categories and, most tell- ingly, R&B and rap have combined to sur- pass the rock genres as the most listened to styles of music in the U.S. and Canada, according to Nielsen Music. Suddenly, Three Days Grace and their contemporaries are outsiders in the music landscape. “I just heard someone say, ‘Oh, that [radio] station doesn’t play any music with guitars anymore,’ and I was just kind of overhearing it and I was like, ‘What did you just say?’ It’s a weird time when you’re like, ‘We’re just not into the guitar right now. That’s an instrument we don’t really support right now. Maybe we’ll reconsider it in the future,’” says drummer Neil Sand- erson as his bandmates, singer Matt Walst and bassist Brad Walst, burst out laughing. 34 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N “You know, here we have the GTA and then there is Ajax or whatever, but in the U.S., there are towns with 150,000 people every hour you drive, so for anyone who is a naysayer about the state of rock, I always suggest they go to one of these rock fes- tivals that we play. A lot of them, they’re not in New York City or L.A.; they’re in the fly-over places. You get there and there are 40,000 people and they’re all drinking warm beer in the sun, but you see that and it’s just awesome. We’re believers that it’s alive and well.” To further the point, Three Days Grace has seen new international markets open up for them in recent years. In particular, the Eastern European countries known for their rabid hard rock communities have become main touring destinations for the band. They spent their last two summers playing nearly every rock festival through- out the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Poland, Belarus, Estonia, Ukraine, and Russia. But all that travelling took its toll on the band and set the stage for what would become their latest and sixth studio release, Outsider. “Our last major world tour, if you will, in Russia and Eastern Europe, we were pretty burnt out. We’re fortunate enough to have opened up some markets overseas that we never thought possible and we’ve been going there a lot. But you know, we were kind of weary from travel and I think just the notion of wanting to be isolat- ed kind of started with that – of being burnt out and kind of wanting to escape everything and everybody. We knew we weren’t going to be able to be creative unless we did exactly that. It’s impossi- ble to unplug today, but we wanted to distance ourselves geographically,” says Sanderson. So once they got back from touring in the summer of 2016, they de- camped to a rural area two hours north- east o ܛ۝\H[\ۂ[Y H[\[\[B[ ۈ\K'H\Y]\[[][XZ[\HHXH\\KB\H\[[YX[^HYB[܈\ۈ\]Y[\][\\™[]YK[[[Y\ˈB][[[HܙX]]HB\ܝوY]YH\KHوHۙH\X[X[\Z[H[]H\H\\B[[X][]Y[X] ܞZ[˜X] ]]\'B܈Hܛ\وXXY[YX[H[XY[HX\Z\Y[[›ۈZ\Y]\ˈ[[[ۘ[[\X[]B\[^\Y[\[[Z\]\X[^x&]H]\YYH[[[H]و\Z\[[\]]8&\[YZ\XH[XX[۝\][ۋ][›ݙ\[[H\Z\\]H]B[۝ۈܛ۝ˈ][[H\Hق[ܙH[۝\][ۜX]Y[[X[ [H[۸&]^XHܛ\ق[[[X\ٝ[^\H[X]ܞZ[\[H[\\K