When anyone thinks about Three Days Grace, instantly one thinks of 2003’s ‘I Hate Everything About You’. The song came out in emo’s prime and it fit so well. Ever since releasing their debut self-titled album, the Canadian quartet has stayed true to their three-year interval on releases. Continue reading
We arrived at Day Two of the Food Truck and Rock Carnival a bit tired, but amped up for a full day of bands. With more time to explore the fest this day, we checked out the awesome fair food in the main concert area such as corn dogs and deep-fried Oreo’s as well as some of more interesting choices on the Food Truck side too.
Doing a reverse of yesterday, we took in the bands first, followed by some Carnie fun, and then more bands. Up and coming New Zealand rockers Like A Storm were the first band we saw and they were insanely good. With several rock hits at satellite radio, they had their own fans in the house. They seemed to make a lot of new converts too with a fiery show. Crobot was next on the other main stage. If you have never seen them, they are a fierce piece of psych rock explosiveness! They whipped the crowd into a frenzy with their over the top antics.
After I headed back stage to conduct some band interviews we headed back out the now full festival grounds. It was really impressive to see this for a first time fest. Especially after the performance of the next band I caught: Anthrax. The band has been touring like crazy leading up to their new album For All Kings (Megaforce) due this winter. The band had a short set so they dispensed with the pleasantries and commenced the ass kicking. In addition to their typical hits, they played the rarely ever heard live ‘Lone Justice’ as a tribute to Eddie Trunk. The band was on fire too, especially drummer Charlie Benante and singer Joey Belladonna.
Nighttime fell on the fest and lights from the stages and the carnival lit up the sky and you just felt everyone’s collective energy was high. Following the model of some European fests the two areas in front of the main stages was cut into a big “Y” shape with an enormous VIP area. This also helped security with crowd control, but at the same time made it a chore to see both stages easily. This was the only weakness of the weekend to me. At the same time the two stages also created an awesome VIP Cabana area between them, that for the came with tons of amenities including private wait staff services, a private viewing area of the stage, a private VIP meet and greet sesh, free beers and up close access to the bands and the main stages other fans did not have. The fan in me was a little bit jelly and some of the patrons I talked to were over the moon about the experience.
The perfect band to bring in the spirit of rock revivalism to the darkened skies was Clutch who happened to be up next. They played a lot of songs from their new album ‘Psychic Warfare’ (Weathermaker Music) and no one complained. Neil Fallon gesticulated wildly all over the stage, tending to his flock. The band was tight as hell and just jammed it out for an hour straight. Late in the set brought the hits fans wanted to hear like ‘Spacegrass’ and ‘The Mob Goes Wild’.
Tucked away in the far corner of the fest, the carnival area was the last stage, and by all accounts had been decently attended all day with locals and some bands paying tribute to rock and metal heroes. Two of the most prominent tribute bands in the nation closed the stage each night: RATM2, he Rage Against the Machine Tribute and Schism, the première Tool tribute band. I managed to catch some of Schism’s set, and having been a Tool-o-phile from back n the day and seeing the band as many times as I have, they are the real deal. If you have never seen the enigmatic gods of art rock, Schism is a fair stand in both sonically and visually. Next year this stage ought to be closer to the main stages.
Godsmack and Stone Temple Pilots closed the main stages respectively on this night with a lots of bravado from each. STP featuring Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) for one of the last times, played all the songs that made them of the première alt rock bands of the 90s. Chester is spot on vocally, and a star in every way imaginable. Fans have commented that his copying Scott Weiland is unflattering to the band and off-putting, and I have to say it isn’t necessary at all. Chester can hang with anyone vocally and to me was a great fit with STP, end of story.
Godsmack opened up with a montage film that recapped their last few years touring and intercut shots of iconic Boston sports people such as Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, members of the Boston Bruins and David Ortiz. Curious choices in New Jersey, the land of many Jets and Yankees fans, but oh well. The band came out fired up and played all their big radio friendly tracks. They were a worthy closer on this night. Drummer Shannon Larkin always stands out a lot to me. He is one of the most talented drummers you will ever see live worth watching. Sully Erna flipped back and forth between playing guitar and running around with a wireless microphone, and seemed to really relish performing for such an enthusiastic crowd.
I made it a point each day to hang a lot at the Birch Hill Stage towards the end of each day. It seemed that a lot of industry types were gathering there, and it was awesome to see my brethren from the world of music journalism and publicity. Plus the beer garden was right there. The final bands trifecta of LA Guns, Lita Ford, and Slaughter was a great way to cap off the weekend. LA Guns was solid, Lita was excellent, but Slaughter was downright special. After all these years it’s a amazing how little Slaughter has changed. They were a thing to behold, especial Mark Slaughter’s stratospheric singing voice. Of course they closed the weekend with ‘Fly To The Angels’ and ‘Up All Night’ performed to a crowd feeling a mix of jubilation and satisfaction that comes from a having a great time. I held my BFF tight and raised up those horns one last time for the night. Food Truck and Rock Carnival, do us a solid and comeback next year twice as baddass!
[amazon asin=B00LBU7V9Q&template=iframe image] [amazon asin=B00EQ30RVY&template=iframe image] [amazon asin= B011CKVTNI&template=iframe image][amazon asin=B005KWL2IW&template=iframe image]
Throngs of people descended on Southern New Jersey for the first annual Food Truck and Rock Carnival to enjoy the sites, tastes and sounds that they had to offer. Although New Jersey may not be the first place you think of for a destination music festival, to paraphrase a line from the movie Dogma: never underestimate the staggering appeal of “The Garden State”. In the post Hurricane Sandy reality for residents here, including many of the vendors I spoke with, it was great is spend some time and money down here and support this community.
The lay of the land was on the vast side: with two main stages, plus several smaller stages, one hosting a lot of glam rock notables and another with local bands and tribute acts. One entire area was scoped out for the free carnival full of rides, traditional attractions, wrestling matches, notable entertainment personalities speaking, music industry lecturers, comedy shows, merch and a bunch of amazing food trucks. The rides and games were non-stop Some had the typical fair food while others were unique and were like catnip to the foodie souls. Although it was impossible to try them all as the formed a perimeter around the entire carnival area, we did sample a few. Among the best were my personal favorites Fork in The Road, followed by The Angry Crab, Amanda Banana, Dark Side of The Moo, Empanada Guy, Nooch’s Mac Truck, and So Jersey.
Then there was the music. Day 1 featured a bevy of cool bands from across the rock and metal world. Early day entrants from the rock world such as Bad Case For Big Mouth, Fit For Rivals, Otherwise and rising superstars Pop Evil were greeted to a large early crowd and enthusiastic fans. Their recent new album Up (eOne) they are supporting, and the bands high-profile tours and car commercials are starting to bear fruit that can be seen in their sizzling live performances.
Skid Row continues to plow ahead with new singer Tony Harnell. They played a set heavy on the hits, and sounded refreshed. It’s been a minute since I heard this many people screaming along to ’18 And Life’, ‘Monkey Business’, and ‘Youth Gone Wild’. The world needs more of this on a regular basis. Puddle Of Mudd has been road tripping themselves ls a lot of late at similar festivals. Choppy at times as a live band, they leaned on their hits like ‘Blurry’ and their closer ‘She Hates Me’. Next Sevendust was bringing the crowd to their feet in praise for their about to be released (out now), album Kill The Flaw (7Bros) They played some heavy hits and one deep cut, ‘Shine’, that had me and other fans besides ourselves. This band always brings live.
As the warm up to the headliners, Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society played a crushing set of heavy tracks. Wylde of course is the main attraction for shred nerds, Ozzy fanatics, MC crew types. Not only was the band tight, and he played his customary extended guitar solo in the set. Highlights for me included ‘The Beginning… At Last’, ‘Funeral Bell’, ‘Bleed For Me’, ‘Suicide Messiah’, and ‘Stillborn’.
In between bands all day I tried to catch some of the talent at the Birch Hill Stage, named for the old Birch Hill Nightclub, the stuff of Jersey legend and special venue to me. Among the acts we caught some or all of were Gilby Clarke (Gun ‘N Roses), Faster Pussycat, Stephen Percy of Ratt fame and King’s X. We saw all of their set and it was terrific. Hanging out with fans and singing every word in the set from the crowd was LaJon of Sevendust, who also gave the band a shout out earlier in the day too.
Back to the main stage, it has been a big year for Three Days Grace and Ghost Cult has been there for a lot of it. Playing the fest in a run of headline dates, the band leaned heavily on their greatest hits and their new album Human (RCA). Lead singer Matt Walst has won over most of the hold out fans who wanted Adam Gontier (Saint Asonia) back and he is a great replacement for Adam.
Slash closed out night one with his mates Miles Kennedy And The Conspirators and just blazed through a set of his own material and of course, a lot of GNR stuff too. It felt like an epic happening, as Slash is a one of a kind showman, beloved blues jammer and icon. Myles and crew are total pros and deliver song after song all night. It was a fine end to a long day of fun.
PHOTOS BY OJC PICS/OMAR CORDYhttp://www.twitter.com/Ojayy666
Now is a great time to be a fan of American Rock Music, which we haven’t really seen in a few years. After a real drought of new music or exciting bands the last few years, leave it to a pair of seasoned veterans acts to show the kids how it’s done. Three Days Grace is stronger than ever behind the power of their new album Human (RCA) and new singer Matt Walst. The band is killing it live and playing a career spanning set list of new tracks and fan favorites. They are tight as hell live, and bring a lot of energy live, especially Walst and guitarist Barry Stock. Having seen the band a few times recently, they are as on point as they have ever been, for the naysayers who have been lined up to diss since Walst joined the fold. Their friends and nearby neighbors (both bands are from Ontario, CAN) Finger Eleven also have a recent album out, the excellent Five Crooked Lines (The Bicycle Music Group). No strangers to consistent performances after years of touring, the band is remarkable in how they switch up their set from year to year and that’s a testament to their deep albums. Singer Scott Anderson works the crowd like a boxer; pacing himself and the band as the crowd gets increasingly amped up as the night goes on. Captured here at The Palladium in Worcester MA by Evil Robb Photography, you see two bands perfectly matched on a bill, and hungry to impress. See this tour if it comes to your town, or live to regret it.
Longtime fans of Three Days Grace have made connections with their lyrics off of their songs from each of their recordings, and their latest album Human is no different. Having a new vocalist (Matt Walst) added into the fold did not change the inner dynamics of the band, and according to guitarist Barry Stock, the band works as a team and has made the unit stronger.
“Having a different person in Matt involved with us now, but we’ve never approached anything any different. We’re still doing everything the same exact way we’ve always written. As a band, it’s never been about one person. We always collectively write, as I said. It’s about the band.”
He spoke about how writing songs for the band has been therapeutic for everyone, and has transcended to their longtime fans, as they have found them interacting with the band about a variety of songs being relatable within everyday life.
“We also use music as a therapy. We always have and for us, nothing changed. We went through a lot of things the last few years of our lives, and we dug down deep into things that bother us and things we deal with. For us, we express the things that go on in our lives. I think that’s why a lot of people relate to our lyrics because we sing about every day things we go through. Things may change time to time, but our process is still the same. Like I said, we still get together and we sing about the things that are bugging us. We dig down and pull things out of us.”
“For us, we feel it’s the same. Obviously it’s a whole new record and a whole new time in our lives but nothing’s changed in the process of how we write the songs,” said Stock.
One of their newer songs with a deeper story is “Fallen Angel,” which talks about one of the member’s family member and their background they never shared publicly until now.
“That song really was about Neil’s [Sanderson] mother. We pulled this out of him. He had this thing about his father passed when he was young and he lost a brother as well. His mother was dealing with all of this and was strong for the kids, like you listen to the lyrics and how he’s talking about ‘I can hear you crying at night’ and stuff like that – that’s really where that came from. Neil remembers this as a child as he goes to bed at night and his mom is cool and tough for the kids all day long, but he’d go to bed at night and he would hear his mother crying. He had this helpless feeling all the time. He had that inside all of these years.“
“Again we use music as therapy and now it’s one of those things we were able to bring out. Neil was able to express and we wrote a song about it. That’s what ‘Fallen Angel’ is about – seeing somebody going through horrible things and feeling helpless.”
Canadian rockers Three Days Grace have released their fifth and latest album Human earlier in the year. This marks their first album without longtime vocalist Adam Gontier (replaced by Matt Walst), and their first lineup change in the band’s 12 year history.
“The first record came out in 2003. The other guys met when they were kids in Grade 9. I think they were all playing together. It’s probably around 1994 when they originally hooked up with each other. In 1997, they became a band,” explained guitarist Barry Stock, about the band’s history. Stock joined the band in 2003 as the band’s lead guitarist during the release of their debut self titled album.
While the band has scored multiple platinum status albums over the years, they have never let their past success affect how they approach their present status.
“We don’t take anything for granted,” he said, about what they went through over the past couple of years. “We’re all kind of workaholics and work really hard at what we do. We love what we do. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I don’t know what else we would do.”
“We’re always thrilled that we’re still relevant and people still love what we do. We hear from people all the time [about] how we’ve changed their lives and made things better through our lyrics. That’s really important to us. Just like I said, we don’t over think it but we keep working really hard at songwriting and we do the best we could do. We’re going to carry on as long as the fans gonna accept it.”
At the time of the interview, the band had just completed a run of dates in South America. Stock talked about the experience and reaching new fans.
“We’re in New York City tonight, but we just got back from South America the other night. It was our first little tour on this record. We hadn’t been to Argentina. We went there and it was amazing. Originally we were like the record’s not out…should we play the new ones or play the singles? Once we got there, we thought let’s just play half a dozen new songs. So we did that. So far in South America, we played six new songs in the set. It’s been greatly received. People are digging it, even though they haven’t had a chance to hear some of the other ones. It was really cool to be able to play some of them live, even if people haven’t heard them yet. For a band, you play the same music over and over, it’s always fun when you do a new record. We were looking forward to that. The coolest part is to get out-of-town and to play a bunch of new stuff for people.”
Since their earlier releases, Three Days Grace had not toured extensively internationally. While they have had high-profile records across North America, their focus has now switched over towards the overseas route and Stock and the band are excited to perform for new fans.
“This time around, on this record we’ve thought ‘you know, we pounded it out so hard in North America for years and years, and we’ll continue to do so. We didn’t hit a lot of places. We have so many fans all over the world who have been hounding us for years and years to play. We just didn’t make it happen. So that’s definitely our goal on this new record is to reach out to places we’ve never been, or we haven’t been to in a long time. We were in Russia in the fall. That was our first time there. It was overwhelmingly amazing. We were super accepted. It was a cool one for us. Now we just got back from Argentina and Brazil, where we haven’t been back to since 2004. The fans are just going crazy.”
“Like I said, that’s our goal. We’re constantly, between us and management, trying to find new places and reaching out to these places. That’s what we’re going to do for the next two years, and obviously continue what we’re doing here. We’re going to Europe in June. We have a bunch of the festivals we’re doing over there, and a whole bunch of countries again we’ve never been to. We’re excited about trying to reach out to as many of these fans that have never been able to see us live. Live is our most favorite thing to do. We love to do it and we love to share that with people. To us there’s nothing greater than having your fans sing and having a great time with you. We need to reach out to all of those people. That’s our goal this time.”
New beginnings can be a blessing for many, and in the case of Canadian rockers Three Days Grace, they have spent the past couple of years regrouping following the departure of their longtime frontman Adam Gontier, who left in 2013 (and now in Saint Asonia). The remaining members began working on new material with their new frontman (and brother of bassist Brad Walst), Matt Walst, on their new album titled Human.
Guitarist Barry Stock explained how their first lineup change since the band’s formation in 1997 became a reflection on themselves and a time to refocus.
“Obviously with what’s going on and with our singer, it’s been an exciting time. We went through all emotions in the last two years, many ups and downs for obvious reasons, but for us this record’s been super exciting for us. It’s been a long process for us.”
“Generally when we write a record, we don’t write too much on the road. We get off the road and we all get together and put the record together. This time when we did this record, when we started touring with Matt [Walst], we started writing right away. It was almost two years ago.”
“ ‘Painkiller’ was one of our very first ideas. Matt had this idea and we’re like ‘oh cool – let’s write that!’ Then we wrote a few others, as opposed to waiting like we normally do, we thought this is really exciting. Let’s get into the studio and see how this goes. We went into the studio and then knocked out ‘Painkiller’ and a couple others. When ‘Painkiller’ was done, we thought wow. What a bad ass song. We still have to get this out and that’s why we didn’t wait for a record release to release the single. We thought people need to hear this. We were really excited and moving forward, how it was going, somebody wanted to get that out right away and that’s why it came out so early.”
The band looked within their immediately band family for their new frontman. They looked to a familiar personality to sing when their previous one was on the outs with them.
“It kind of worked out perfect at the time. When we got the news when it all went down, Matt happened to have some free time. He wasn’t touring or anything himself. He happened to be Brad’s [Walst, bass] brother and happened to be with him when we got the news. I think they were having sushi together. Brad got off the phone and just said to Matt, ‘what are you doing for the next six months, or two years?’ Matt was like ‘let’s do this.’ He was really cool about it too.”
“We didn’t seem to audition anyone. Matt seemed to be a great choice. He’s a great guy and great singer. Matt’s been there since Day One and being Brad’s brother. Matt co-wrote on the first record (2003’s Three Days Grace) and on the last record (2012’s Transit of Venus). He’s been there all along. He also knows, being a family member, when we sing all the songs we sing, he knows exactly where they come from in our lives and what they were written about. He has a great understanding of the songs themselves, so it seemed perfect. So he shares the same passion that we do. He lives the same stories that we live. He’s lived it too. It seemed to be perfect. It seemed to fall into place.”
With the new frontman in place, they still worked as a group on the songwriting. Despite the new band member, Stock claims their writing approach have not changed much.
“With Three Days Grace, we do everything the same we’ve always done it. Three Days Grace has never been about one person. It’s always been a group of us – we’re all songwriters and musicians. Everyone can play multi-instruments and we all write lyrics and music. That’s how we’ve always since day one with Three Days Grace. We all collectively write when we write songs. There’s no one person comes in with a whole song.”
“We all come up with ideas and we all collectively get together to throw ideas out there. We’ll pick and choose what ideas we want to go with. But like I said, we always sit down and wrote together, generally with acoustic guitars and we’ll hash out a song. We’ve always kept that approach. Matt being around since day one and as Brad’s brother, he understood how we worked as well. When Matt came into play, he became like one of us. This is how we do it. It’s not about one person. We all leave our egos at the door when we come in the room and it’s always about what’s best for Three Days Grace. Still to this day, we approach that same thing and Matt blended in perfect. He’s got great ideas and he’s a great contributor as well. So nothing’s really changed when it comes to the songwriting.”
Stock was vague on the subject of his former singer and his parting from Three Days Grace. Despite leaving for personal reasons, he wished him well and felt both parties were in better positions now.
“We kind of went our separate ways,” he said. “Just the way it went down wasn’t great. Looking back it seemed terrible back then, but we’re all over that too. It seems like everybody’s in a happier place. We have mutual friends and Adam does too, so we hear what’s going on. It seems like he’s in a happier place. What seemed so disastrous back then, being able to look back now everybody overall is in a better place and happier. That’s what’s most important. Life is very short and we don’t have time to be dwelling on past things.”
“There’s been some contact, like I said between mutual friends. You’re going to bump into each other. It’s going to be ok on both sides.”