3 Doors Down set to rock the Mullins Center

By Chris Shores

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3 Doors Down – the band that in 2000 asked listeners “If I go crazy, then will you still call me Superman?” – is coming to the Mullins Center tonight.

It’s been 11 years since the smash hit “Kryptonite” propelled the band onto the scene, but the five-person group from Escatawpa, Miss. is still going strong. The group’s stop in Amherst comes amidst a tour of over 40 shows across Europe and America, promoting the quintet’s fifth and most recent album, “Time Of My Life.”

In a March interview with Billboard, lead vocalist Brad Arnold said that the album “shows some growth on our part… We’ve had success in the past and we’re very thankful for that, but there’s always room to … take it up to another level. And I feel like we did that.”

Upon its release on July 19, the album peaked at third on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and sold nearly 60,000 copies in the first week. But it also received an unfavorable review from Rolling Stone’s Jon Dolan who said that the band hasn’t changed much since its early successes, “still clinging to that anthemic plod a decade later, like an eight year-old who can’t bear to throw out a dead hamster.”

Set lists from previous concerts on the current tour indicate that while the band will feature songs from “Time Of My Life,” it’ll also mix in the songs that got it where it is today.

While “Kryptonite” got the ball rolling in 2000, 3 Doors Down’s entire first album, the post-grunge alternative rock record “The Better Life,” was an enormous success for the band. Following the success of “Kryptonite,” the singles “Loser,” “Duck and Run” and “Be Like That” led to the album selling over six million copies.

3 Doors Down did not suffer from a sophomore slump, as two years later, “Away From The Sun” sold more than four million copies. The singles “When I’m Gone” and “Here Without You” both cracked the top five positions of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“Seventeen Days” was released in 2005, featuring the hit singles “Let Me Go” and “Here By Me” as well as a duet with Bob Seger on “Landing In London.”

Then, in 2008, the band released a self-titled album, with “It’s Not My Time” serving as the first official single. Perhaps even more recognizable is the song “Citizen/Solider,” featured in a commercial for the National Guard that was played across the country in movie theaters that summer.

And for the newest album, guitarist Chris Henderson said in an interview with Entertainment Focus that the songs from “Time Of My Life” showcase the strengths of the band’s previous albums.“The new record is in a lot of ways a lot like the very first record ‘The Better Life’ because it has a more punkie kind of rock sounds of it,” he said. “But, there’s also the songs from our second record so it’s a good mix of what the band’s been through.

“When you’re a band like us… we’re not reinventing the wheel,” he said. “We’re a rock band. That’s what we do. So when we grow, we just grow in ourselves and try to keep it interesting, by mixing all the different things that we’ve done in one record.”

Arnold first formed the band in 1996 with the help of guitarist Matt Roberts and bassist Todd Harrell. Henderson joined the group soon after and current drummer Greg Upchurch became a member in 2005.

Opening for 3 Doors Down tonight is Theory Of A Deadman, a hard rock group from British Columbia. In nine years, the band has recorded four top-five chart hits:  “Bad Girlfriend,” “So Happy,” “Hate My Life” and “Lowlife.” The group’s latest album, “The Truth Is… ,” was released in July and hit the top of  the U.S. Rock chart.Also playing tonight is Pop Evil, a quintet originating from Grand Rapids, Mich. Like the other two bands, Pop Evil also released its latest album, “War of Angels,” in July.

Tickets for the show are still available for $39.50 and $49.50 at the Mullins Center box office and online via Ticketmaster. Students can purchase tickets for $20 with a valid UMass ID. Doors for the show open at 6 p.m.

Chris Shores can be reached at [email protected]