The members of Three Days Grace began bashing punk chords when they were in their teens, carving a derivative yet energetic sound that fueled their live performances. Three Days Grace were formed in Norwood, Ontario, Canada, in 1997 by Adam Gontier (vocals, guitar), Brad Walst (bass), and Neil Sanderson (drums). The group was originally called Groundswell, a five-piece that lasted from 1992 until transforming to a trio five years later. Gontier and Walst were raised in Norwood, and many of their songs were inspired by living in a place with a population of around 1,500. The bandmembers were still in high school when they had their first gig, and they performed anywhere that would accept them — including opening for a movie.
Three Days Grace eventually relocated to Toronto and were introduced to producer Gavin Brown by their old manager. The band gave Brown a private set, and he selected what he felt were the most promising tracks. The group then produced a demo for EMI Music Publishing Canada. With Brown at the helm, Three Days Grace recorded “(I Hate) Everything About You.” The tune got them a publishing deal with EMI, and soon they were signed to Jive after being courted by the company’s president. Brown and Three Days Grace were sent to a studio in Boston, Massachusetts, to start the group’s debut album. The band completed its self-titled full-length in Woodstock, New York, at an isolated location free from big-city distractions. Heavily influenced by Kyuss and Sunny Day Real Estate, the dark, angst-ridden tales of small-town love and hate on Three Days Grace brought the group a Next Big Thing tag.
Three Days Grace was released on July 22, 2003, by which time “(I Hate) Everything About You” was already a hit on alternative radio stations in Canada. The band toured extensively behind the record for the next two years as both a supporting act and headliners, but after a while, life on the road left the band, especially Gontier, feeling isolated and alone. Consequently, this theme of disconnection — coupled with the realization that one was, in fact, not alone — would serve as the basis for their follow-up album. Getting back to their roots by writing the record in the Ontario countryside, One-X was released in June 2006. The album, which hit number five on the Billboard Top 200, marked the recorded debut of the band’s second guitarist, Barry Stock. Three Days Grace supported One-X throughout the summer on dates alongside Staind, Hoobastank, and Nickelback, while “Animal I Have Become” became a number one modern rock hit.
In 2009, the group released its third full-length album, Life Starts Now, which reached number three on Billboard’s album chart. After heading out on tour with bands like Nickelback and Avenged Sevenfold, the band returned to the studio to record its fourth album, the more atmospheric, electronic-tinged Transit of Venus. Again, they charted in the Top Five of the Billboard 200. In early 2013, Gontier left the band, citing a health issue, and was replaced by Brad Walst’s brother, singer Matt Walst of My Darkest Days. After touring and recording with their new singer, two singles, “Painkiller” and “I Am Machine,” were released in 2014 and both reached number one on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart. The band’s fifth album, the darker, loss-inspired Human, followed in the spring of 2015. ~ Michael Sutton