Not including a brief breakup in 1995, bassist Brad Walst has spent his entire adult life in the rock band Three Days Grace. That makes more than 20 years since he and bandmates Adam Gontier and Neil Sanderson created the group while they were in high school in Norwood, Ontario, Canada.
You might think that so much time spent together could lead to hidden grudges and jealousies.
You would be wrong.
Mirror photo illustration by Tom Worthington II/courtesy photo
The members of Three Days Grace include:?(from left) lead guitarist Barry Stock, drummer Neil Sanderson, lead singer Adam Gontier and bassist Brad Walst.
"When you know somebody that long, there's no ego, there's no real fighting," Walst says in his thick Canadian accent. "It really comes down to communication. It really comes down to just communicating and really keeping those lines open.
"We're basically brothers, ya know?"
Walst spoke with the Mirror recently from a tour stop in Erie. He will turn 33 on Wednesday, the same day his group will perform at 7 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center, on the Penn State University Park campus. Breaking Benjamin will be the co-headliner and Flyleaf will be the opening act.
If you go
What: Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin and Flyleaf
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Bryce Jordan Center, University Park
Tickets: $39.75 for the general public and $24.75 for Penn State University Park students
Since the members of Three Days Grace grew up together - other than lead guitarist Barry Stock, who joined the group in 2003 - the band's evolution has mirrored the maturation of its members.
The band's first two albums, 2003's self-titled debut and 2006's platinum-selling "One-X," expressed the rage and turmoil of lead singer/main songwriter Gontier, who has struggled with substance abuse. The angst served the band well, as six singles from their first two discs hit the Top 5 of the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts, with four songs hitting No. 1 - three of those from "One-X."
But the heights of "One-X" gave way to a series of lows. After two years of touring behind "One-X," the band took some time before writing their third album. That time off gave way to some personal troubles for each member of the band, including deaths and family illness, according to the band's official Web site.
Walst said the troubles fed into the writing of their third album.
"We'd been on tour for so long," he said. "When we came home from the break, there was a lot of harsh reality in everyday life. ...
"It definitely shows on the record. We definitely had to get through that to get to where we are now."
After the double-platinum success of "One-X," was there pressure on Three Days Grace" to top their previous record?
"Not really," Walst says. "A lot of people asked us that after the first album. It's one of those things where you just keep focused, and not let any outside things in."
The first single from "Life Starts Now," the rocker "Break," has been the No. 1 song on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts since early December.
"Break" has been a hit locally, too, according to Rocky 104.9 program director Tommy Edwards. Edwards says Three Days Grace is a particular favorite of Rocky listeners.
"I would say they're Top 10 in requests," he said.
Rocky did a ticket giveaway before the tickets offically went on sale, Edwards said, and the concert has created a big buzz among listeners.
"(Especially) with Breaking Benjamin also - because they're just as popular, if not more so," he said.
Though "Break" has already proven a success, Walst says his favorite song on the album is one of the last to make it onto the disc.
"My favorite on the album and to play live is probably 'No More,' because it's different from everything else on the album," he said. "We're always trying to evolve as a band."
That evolution, says Walst, is apparent on "Life Starts Now."
"This one, musically, it's a little different," he said. "We tried to come up with some new beats and really think about the live part of it. I think it's a lot more musical than the first two albums."
"The live part" is a huge piece of what keeps Three Days Grace going, Walst says.
"I think that's basically why we're in this," he said. "We take our live show really seriously. Recording is really fun, but the live show is what keeps us out there ...
"I think even if we weren't making music at this level, we'd still be out performing live."
Mirror staff writer Keith Frederick is at 946-7466.