From Gulf Coast gigs to CBGB, from local radio stations to international stages, 3 Doors Down established itself as an iconic post-grunge band of the early 2000s. Powerful, emotive, and engaged tracks helped the group branch out beyond its roots in the Deep South to a global audience. Fifteen years and a few lineup changes later, 3DD is touring again, this time to promote its sixth album, Us and the Night, due out this fall.
Hailing from Escatawpa, a quintessential small town in Mississippi — so small, in fact, that it's not really a town but a "census-designated place" — 3DD found fame via WCPR-FM, a local radio station that got hold of some of the band's early recordings. After the station began playing "Kryptonite," the song became an immediate hit.
"I've been thankful for those guys forever," lead singer Brad Arnold says.
Arnold has a soft spot for terrestrial radio. Not only did the medium rocket his band to stardom, but also he's keen on the connection between radio and its listeners.
"Today it's up to the listener to go find music to listen to," he says. "You have so many outlets to find music, but it's not presented to listeners in the way it used to be. If you're into music and you want to go find it, you can. But the more casual listener might miss out on new artists."
Arnold doubts his band would have found the same success coming up in the internet age. "Every time I meet people at shows, somebody says, 'Man, I remember the first time I heard your song on the radio.' Those people might not have gone to seek out new music on the internet."
3DD's classic songs have found a forever home on alternative-rock stations and stations that claim to play "all the hits!" But the band is not content to fade away on airwaves, instead maintaining a rigorous touring schedule.
Between 2013 and 2014, 3DD played acoustic tunes while touring the States. Now the band has embarked on an electric tour to promote its forthcoming album. Arnold insists these shows and the album are as alive as 3DD has ever been.
"I was onstage the other night, two-thirds of the way through the set, and I thought, I need to do some cardio," he says. "The set starts kind of slow for the first song. But after that, it goes and goes and goes."