3 Doors Down’s Chris Henderson Discusses Charity, Musicality and Longevity
It’s fitting the gents of 3 Doors Down are involved in the recent efforts of the Home Depot Foundation and the Mission Continues to help rebuild the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center, a place for homeless veterans recovering from substance abuse, mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder. After all, the Mississippi band are long known for their dedication to the troops and their extensive charity work through their own Better Life Foundation.
“We feel like the troops give up so much, and their families give up everything, sometimes even their lives,” guitarist Chris Henderson tells Loudwire in an exclusive interview. “They’re not really doing it for the money, either. When they come back, they need our support and they need America’s support. We feel it’s our duty. The least we can do is give back.”
3 Doors Down are teaming up with the Home Depot Foundation, the Mission Continues and other volunteers to help homeless veterans. How did you get involved with this charity campaign?
Being able to give back, I think, is one of the coolest things about being in the business I’m in. When you give something without excepting something in return, that’s really giving. Home Depot just mentioned it to us and asked if we would want to be involved, and we were like, “You don’t even need to ask. Just tell us, and we’ll be there.”
We went to a VA hospital in Los Angeles and went to work, building benches for their outside area, redoing the beds, painting the rooms, redoing the spaces for the people who live there, doing landscaping work outside. It was a lot of heavy labor work and a lot of man hours, and I was sore the next day. But we met some great people volunteering all day. The Home Depot Foundation people are so passionate about it, and it was one of those things where we felt like we needed to step up the game and be even more passionate about the cause.
How else are 3 Doors Down involved with the charity campaign, and how can people get involved?
If you buy [our album 'Time of My Life'] from HomeDepot.com, we’ll give a dollar [for each one sold] to the Veterans Administration. They’re going to give $30 million over the next few years, so this is the real thing.
Let’s change direction and talk a bit about your music, now. You have a new album out, ‘Time of My Life.’ This was the first time 3 Doors Down worked with producer Howard Benson. What was that like?
It’s interesting when you pick a producer, because it depends on where the band is and what the band is thinking at the time, and also the producer’s take on the music. We interviewed Howard for all of our records, and we used Johnny K and for two albums and it felt like we’d grown as much as we were going to grow. We thought at that point, we needed another producer to do things differently.
He explained how he worked, and it was different than anything we’d experienced before, so we jumped at that chance. It was a perfect situation. He’s a brilliant songwriter and producer and all-around brilliant guy.
How did the writing process for this album differ from past 3 Doors Down efforts?
We wrote with co-writers for first time ever. Again, it was one of those things where we needed to switch it up and see how things work in with different perspectives. It was nice and refreshing to work with professional people who do that for a living, because we’re just guys who write songs. Working with a professional lyricist was especially awesome — guys who write lyrics for a living every single day, not just once every two years. It was really cool, and we learned a lot.
Can you talk a little about the new single ‘Every Time You Go?’
We co-wrote it with Bobby Huff, and it’s just a feel good song, and it’s more along the lines of what we’re good at, with the idea of being away from things, because we spend so much time traveling, so it’s one of those songs that felt natural writing. And Bobby is such a great guy and a great songwriter, so it was just really easy to work with him. We’re really proud of that song.
Do you know what the next single might be?
We don’t know yet. It depends on the people and what happens with iTunes and the way people rate individual songs, so we’ll see how that comes out.
3 Doors Down are touring this fall with Theory of a Deadman and Pop Evil. What is your relationship with those bands?
They’re all good friends of ours. We’ve never toured with Pop Evil, but we’ve done shows with them and we always talked about touring, but it never came around. This time, when Pop Evil’s name came up, we were like, “Sounds like a good match for us.” Theory are good friends of ours, and I’ve known [frontman] Tyler [Connolly] for 15 years. I’ve always enjoyed hanging with him, and it’s going to be really fun.
Why do you think Theory of a Deadman and Pop Evil are a good fit with 3 Doors Down?
I think these bands actually have substance to their music, which is important to us, because we’re definitely a substance band. We write songs about how we feel and the things we do, and we feel they do the same thing. They’re in it because they love it, not because they’re trying to make a million dollars. Tyler is a songwriter. That’s what he does. We like to associate ourselves with people like that.
More than 10 years have passed since you guys broke out with ‘Kryptonite,’ and you’ve continued to produce chart-topping hits year after year. What’s the secret to 3 Doors Down’s success?
Man, if I knew that, there’d be a million bands that could do it all right now. [Laughs] It’s not a secret, but what works for us is to try to produce music people can relate to. We write music about life, and that’s what people identify with and not recycling things. We are who we are, and we’re not reinventing the wheel, but when we write music, we stick with what we believe in. For whatever reason, people are getting it, and I hope that continues.
What’s next for 3 Doors Down, after the fall tour?
We’re going to Europe, and we just got back a few months ago, because we went in May, but we had a really great time there. So, we’ll go there after our [Better Life] Foundation show in November [at the Horseshoe Hotel and Casino in Tunica, Miss.]. Every year, we do the show, and it’s for charity, and people can buy tickets. It’s like no other 3 Doors Down show, because we stay in the hotel there all weekend, and you end up just running into us throughout the hotel. It’s for the true fans of the band.
Watch the 3 Doors Down ‘Every Time You Go’ Video