Rock band 3 Doors Down has a knack for writing the type of songs that even when you don't know them, you know them.
Quick, sing a few lines of the band's signature hit "Here Without You." Can't do it? Don't know it? You probably do, actually. Go listen to it and you'll probably be like "Oh, yeah, THAT song."
It's one of the peculiar things about 3 Doors Down -- which brings its co-headlining tour with Daughtry to Save Mart Center on Thursday. The band has proven hugely successful in the past 12 years. You can peruse its recently released "Greatest Hits" collection and find songs that are more popular than you might realize.
For example: "Here Without You" was ranked the No. 8 most-played song on the radio in the past 20 years. "Kryptonite," another of the band's big hits, ranked No. 25 on the same list. 3 Doors Down has sold 16 million records and its calling-card album, 2000's "The Better Life," has gone platinum six times, which means it sold more than 6 millions copies.
Yet, could the casual rock fan name the band's singer? Or its guitarist?
This is "one of the coolest things about the songs that we write," says Chris Henderson, the guitarist whose name you might not know. "I can walk into a Taco Bell and my song will be playing. Everybody in that Taco Bell will recognize that song and not notice me."
Just to be clear here: This is a good thing to the members of 3 Doors Down, especially in the era of TMZ and reality TV. Theirs is an understated fame. The band without a face, they've been called. (For the record, the singer is Brad Arnold).
"We manage to have a really cool rock 'n' roll career without getting published for beating up each other," Henderson says. "All those things happen, but no one really talks about it. It's kind of cool. It's the best of both worlds. We get to live the rock-star lifestyle without all the bullcrap that goes with it."
It's not perfect, he adds: "We have our ups and downs. We fight. But when it comes down to it, you punch the other guy in the face and move on. It works for us."
If you dig around 3 Doors Down's backstory, all this makes sense. The band is that classic Americana tale personified: high-school buddies from a small town who start a band and become famous rock stars touring the world.
The band formed in Escatawpa, Miss., a city that no one is going to blame you for not knowing. Its population is just about 3,500 and aside from 3 Doors Down being from there, the next most-interesting thing is that knowing how to spell the city's name might help you win a pub quiz one day.
Small-town boys, big hits and big dreams, that's the 3 Doors Down story.
"We consider ourselves America's band," Henderson says. "For the last 10 years, America's band has been from another country."
As such, the band has collaborated with NASCAR and its song "Shine" was used to promote the 2010 Winter Olympics. With 3 Doors Down, the story is really all about the music. If you haven't been paying attention to pop culture the past 10 years, please know that's an old-school concept.
"We've always been about the music," Henderson says. "It should really be about the music. There are artists out there -- if you want to call them artists -- that when it comes down to the creating part of what we do, couldn't create their way out of a bad situation. That's fine. People like it. But the songs are written by other people. We're the actual songwriters."
Henderson says 3 Doors Down's tour with Daughtry is a good fit. Daughtry has the same multi-generational rock appeal, plus the band brings some of that reality TV pizazz, since its namesake, Chris Daughtry was discovered on "American Idol."
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