"It'll go about 70 miles an hour, so I've been taking it that speed for about the last two days," frontman Brad Arnold told POLLSTAR. You could almost hear the big grin on his face. The same approach is being taken with the rock band's career pedal to the metal!
Sure, 3 Doors Down was a local favorite in its small town (about 20 miles east of Biloxi), but who would have thought a local radio show would bring the band national attention?
The operations manager of WCPR-FM in Biloxi, Kenny Vest, apparently thought enough of the band's single "Kryptonite" to put a call into New York management/promotions firm Indegoot Entertainment.
Vest told Indegoot's Phin Daly that he had played this local band's song and was getting phones on it. "I said, 'You know what, most likely it's friends and family. But send it up to me,'" Daly told POLLSTAR.
He listened to 3 Doors Down's CD, thought it was pretty good and put it aside. About two months later, Daly got another call from Vest. "['Kryptonite'] has been number one phones for the last month here. I've never seen anything like it. I can't get the phones to stop ringing."
After a second listen, Daly and soon-to-be band co-managers Bill and Rose McGathy decided to bring group members Todd Harrell, Chris Henderson, Matt Roberts and Arnold to New York for a show at C.B.G.B. In meeting the polite, southern young men, Daly thought they were all very nice but he didn't get any overwhelming vibe on their star potential until they took the stage.
"They started to play and I tell you what honest truth you could feel it coming from them. You could feel there was a magic to this," Daly said
The only problem was, Arnold is also the band's drummer. The setup at C.B.G.B. had him playing behind the other band members, pounding the skins and singing. That created a focal point problem. So at management's suggestion, the band found another drummer, Mississippi native Richard Lyles. That made Arnold a literal frontman.
"When Brad stepped up to the front, I mean he really stepped up," Daly said. A few mini tours over the holidays last year allowed Arnold and Lyles to get comfortable in their new positions. As the band's record started to get bigger and bigger, the members were ready to hit the road rockin'.
The 21-year-old singer doesn't seem to miss playing drums that much. "I like it up front," Arnold said. "I have more fun. I get to jump around and stuff."
He has plenty to jump around about. The band's debut album on Republic/Universal, The Better Life, is platinum in the U.S. and headed that direction in Canada. The members are getting to spend time on the road with the likes of Creed and they're headed for Europe for the first time in September. The whole thing looks like an overnight success.
"It feels more like an overnight, after night, after night success to me," Arnold chuckled. In reality, "In terms of how long [it took] after we got signed as a national act, it really is an overnight success," he said.
Though "Kryptonite" has propelled the band's movement toward stardom, Arnold isn't worried about the one-hit-wonder phenomenon. He said "Kryptonite" isn't even the best song on the album. He and the band have plenty more up their sleeves.
Their plan for longevity? "Stay true to what got you here," Arnold said. "It seems like most of the things that kill people are when they change."
Besides releasing more singles, plenty of touring is planned to get 3 Doors Down on track for a long, successful career. For that, Daly gave kudos to The Agency Group's Ken Fermaglich, who also represents Creed. In a short time, Fermaglich brought 3 Doors Down up from $250 shows to making $2,500 per date, Daly said. The band has even weaned itself off of tour support.
"We were on tour support for I think 12 weeks and then we were done with tour support," he said. "Actually, this next month (June), we've completely paid for the tour in itself and I believe that next month, we're on the profit side already in just five months."
While 3 Doors Down's business team handles all the numbers, the band members have more important things to worry about.
"When I got home the other day, after I looked at my jet ski for just a second because I just got it, I walked straight in the house, picked my gold record up, and hung it right above my bed," Arnold said.
That bit of time to savor its accomplishments may just be what the band needs before getting back on the road to continue to headline its current tour, open for Creed in August, play Europe in September, then hit the U.S. again followed by Japan and Australia in the new year.