We got a chance to catch up with Barry Stock, guitarist of THREE DAYS GRACE, before their set at Welcome to Rockville in Jacksonville, FL about recording their next album, the writing process, and being “married” to songs that don’t make the cut. Watch the full video interview here or read excerpts from the transcription below.
FTS: How’s your festival been thus far?
Barry: It’s good I’m just trying to stay out of the sun and stay cool as best I can. … We’re from Canada, so we haven’t gotten used to the weather yet. We’re just starting out on some shows so we’re still trying to adapt ourselves. [laughs]
FTS: What do you think is the largest issue facing musicians starting out today?
Barry: I think it’s a tougher go than it used to be. You know, there’s not quite as much support for some of these bands as there used to be. You know, in the old days, they used to develop a lot more bands. I find today, the ones I know, the younger ones, they have to work a lot harder get their stuff out there. Obviously, with social media that helps a lot, I know that’s a big deal for them. I just think that out of the gates there’s not as much help for these young bands and it makes it a real tough go.
FTS: Do you think that social media and technology today is a help or a hindrance?
Barry: I think if you’re a new band it’s a good thing, it’s like a tool to reach out to a lot of people. If you’re creative, like some people are, I see some extremely creative people on social media and when they use it right and everything, I see a benefit for them. Without it, I don’t know how they’d get exposure otherwise. I personally think it’s a good thing, I mean, I don’t do much social media myself, but I think it’s a great thing, especially for the younger bands… it gives them an opportunity.
FTS: With a catalog as vast as yours, what does your set for these festivals look like?
We have a lot of singles. So for us, you want people singing. And we’re playing a lot shorter sets [at festivals] because there’s so many bands, so it’s not like our full show where we can play a bunch of neat B-sides. But for these shorter sets, we’ll usually stick to the hits we have.
FTS: What would you say is the hardest part about being on tour?
Barry: I think just the lack of sleep, maybe? We try to keep up on it as much as we can. You know, the traveling part of it. It’s hard living out of a suitcase, on planes and buses. It wears you out a little bit, but I can’t complain. Over the last year we took some time off, which has been really nice ’cause you know the last three years especially we were super busy. Since September last year, we took time off, we’ve been writing the new record, working over the winter, so everyone got some great family time.
We just have a few summer festivals, we go to Europe and Moscow, I think we go to Russia for a show with System of a Down, and as soon as we get back, we’ll go into the studio to work on the new record. So we’re hoping sometime in the fall to release that.
FTS: Are there any plans so far for singles, future music videos, other media to be released with that album?
Barry: Usually by the time we start recording is when we start piecing it all together. Like we don’t even have an album title yet! That’ll all sort of come as we start to record, and start figuring out the artwork and all of that. And so we’ll get really busy once we start doing that, then we’ll start thinking about videos and all that kind of stuff.
FTS: Are the songs usually finished when you take them into the studio to record?
Barry: You know, we all do demos and stuff—the problem with doing demos is that sometimes you get a little bit married to it. And it ends up changing sometimes. I’ve had some things that I really liked that end up getting totally changed—that’s just the way it is. It’s never really “finished” until it’s finished. Once it’s done and we put the stamp on it.
FTS: Have you ever had a favorite song that didn’t make the cut for an album?
Barry: Yeah, actually—absolutely. On the last record, we had a song that was one of my favorites and our management—you know, Cliff Burnstein—we trust him with our music a lot and we would send him stuff and he’d write little notes on it as he hears stuff. And he wrote “DNP” on the song—that means “DO NOT PURSUE,” right— [laughs]
FTS: Oh, man, stabbed right in the heart. [laughs] Do you ever return to old material?
Barry: Yeah, we do that all the time. Through our whole writing career, that happens. When we first start writing and we don’t have a lot of fresh stuff yet, we’ll always pull out some old stuff. Sometimes it doesn’t work and we’re trying to write it again five times and we’re like, “oh, that’s why we didn’t use it last time.” [laughs]
Having said that, there’s definitely some songs that made it on an album much later—beore it just wasn’t the time, I guess, but it became totally fitting for this time. And this is gonna happen on this [upcoming] record too; there’s a couple of them that we have from the last record, we re-wrote them, and they’re going to make it on this record—so that’s kinda neat.
FTS: Do you have any words of wisdom for our viewers back home?
Barry: Words of wisdom? [laughs] Keep your head up, stick on the ice!