With more than 16 million records sold, it’s hard to argue that 3 Doors Down doesn’t belong atop of any list. The southern boys from Mississippi — well, most of them anyway — last played Beaumont’s Ford Arena in 2009. But no matter how and when they play here, their popularity continues to soar.
3 Doors Down is touring in support of their summer release Time of My Life, which is the band’s fifth studio album on Universal Records and produced by Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson. Three singles from the record have been in radio rotation including “When You’re Young,” “Every Time You Go” and “What’s Left.”With six No. 1 songs, which include “Kryptonite,” “Loser,” “Duck and Run,” “When I’m Gone,” “Here Without You” and “It’s Not My Time,” 3 Doors Downs appeals to more than just a rock audience. The band has gained other fans from other genres including country and modern rock.
Drummer Greg Upchurch joined 3 Doors Down in 2005 right after the release of Seventeen Days. Upchurch, like the band, has southern roots as he was born in Houma, La., and is no stranger to the music world.
After moving from Oklahoma to Los Angeles, Upchurch joined the bands Eleven and Puddle of Mudd before auditioning for the position with 3DD.
Upchurch spoke with The Examiner before the hitting the road for the Time of My Life Tour.
I read where you got a key to the city in Oklahoma City.
Ha! The program director for the radio station 100.5 The KATT set that up. I was a little shocked, to say the least. I guess the expectations for Oklahoma City were a little low then.
When did drumming become a part of your life?
I started with pots and pans mostly. People asked me when I started playing, but I have no clue. If I had to guess it was probably 4 or 5 years old. Musically as a kid, KISS did it for me. I would play along with the records and when I really started focusing on drums, I got into Led Zeppelin. John Bonham (drummer) was the man.
Why did you choose to leave Oklahoma for Los Angeles?
I wanted to do something musical and Oklahoma was tough to break through musically, so I thought either New York or L.A. I really didn’t want to do New York because the pace is so much different, so I chose L.A. and got a job at The Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard. I met some people in a band called Eleven and their drummer quit to join Pearl Jam, so I auditioned and got the gig with them. I was literally in L.A. for six months and then found myself opening up for Soundgarden in Europe.
So were you a natural fit when you started jamming with 3 Doors Down?They are from Mississippi and I remember showing up for the audition for drummer with a New Orleans Saints camouflage cap on, so that alone was a step in the right direction. Everything was in L.A. then, but it was an opportunity for me to actually leave the West Coast. It’s so expensive, and money doesn’t go very far there. Now I live in Nashville, and this is much more my speed. I got everything I needed out there. It’s been a long ride. But I’m content now.
You came in after the third record but did tour to support it. How does this new one compare to the collection?
I think this sounds like the first record, “The Better Life,” to me. It’s like going back to their original roots. My favorite track on this new album is “Time of My Life.” It’s a fun song to play on the drums.
It’s a competitive industry, so how does 3DD keep its head above water?
One thing is songwriting obviously, and Brad (Arnold) has a distinct voice that you can listen to. He actually sings, not screams. This music appeals to any age. It’s not pigeonholed to a certain market. Plus, we have extremely loyal fans.
I read somewhere that you played a show or two with Heart.
Yeah, it was awesome and wild. I did it on two-days notice. Then, the bass player for Heart was the bass player for Chris Cornel when I toured with Chris. He called and asked me to fill in for their drummer and I said sure, but when? He said well, it’s two days. The first time I played with Heart was during a 20-minute sound check, which was for an hour and a half set. I knew all their songs, like “Barracuda,” “Crazy on You” and “Magic Man,” but I never dreamed I would play those songs with them.
Ford park SRO opens at 5 p.m. for a pre-show experience featuring Texas Guardsman CW3 Darby Ledbetter, plus various military equipment and combat and rescue vehicles on display.