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Three Days Grace Write Their ‘November Rain’ With ‘Last to Know’

Perhaps the biggest indication that Toronto rock act Three Days Grace wanted to go for something a little different on their new album, ‘Life Starts Now,’ is the moving piano-based ballad ‘Last to Know.’ “That’s really the first time that we’ve used the piano to write. I don’t think we’ve really had other songs we’ve done that,” says drummer Neil Sanderson, who plays guitar and piano off-stage. The main part of that song has been around for a while. It was actually written on guitar originally, but I translated it over to piano one day and it just sounded really good. It felt like the part was made for the piano.”

“Last to Know’ is probably one of our favorites on the record,” says singer-guitarist Adam Gontier. “Musically, it was [Neil’s] song. He had a demo, or a piano version of it, and he gave it to me. I sat with it for a couple of hours in a hotel room somewhere and just plugged in and sang a bunch of melodies over it and it came together pretty fast.”

The band — Sanderson, Gontier, guitarist Barry Stock and bassist Brad Walst — are starting to write more and more with the live show in mind, “especially with this record,” says Sanderson of the follow-up to 2006’s sophomore release, ‘One-X.’

“We wanted to write songs that have a certain type of energy, but then ‘Last to Know’ is going to be great for live, because it will bring everything down and people can actually take a breath during the set, instead of [us] just hammering out heavy stuff. So we kind of have the ‘November Rain’ vibe going on a little bit,” he laughs.

Should we envision him sitting at a grand piano then, a la Axl? “Depending on how things go, it would be nice to have a grand piano, but realistically I have a Yamaha Motif which sounds amazing, so I can have that onstage.”

‘Last to Know’ isn’t the only piece that stands-out on ‘Life Starts Now.’ The band broadens their sound with the elastic eeriness of ‘Goin’ Down,’ the dynamic arena-rock of ‘World so Cold,’ menacing galloping beat of ‘The Good Life’ and jangly and soaring ‘No More.’

“Yeah, definitely, we just wanted to expand,” Sanderson says. “We wanted to think outside the box. Part of that is, as a band, we’re a little bit sick of the sound that a lot of bands go into the studio and default to, like layer upon layer of hard panned guitars that multiply in the chorus. It just starts to sound really mechanical and over-produced.

“So we wanted to make sure that all of the parts were really together, as far as the riffs and the music and everything before we got into the studio. We really spent a lot of time on those parts because our goal was to make it sound big without having a lot of stuff actually in there. “

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