HiLIFE / BAYFEST 2007
COURTESY THREE DAYS GRACE
Sounds of Bayfest ’07
Thrash-metal band Three Days Grace looks forward to its first concert in Hawaii
The guys in Three Days Grace are looking forward to a couple days off.
» Place: Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.
» Time: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday; noon to 1 a.m. Saturday; noon to midnight Sunday (rides shut down an hour before closing).
» Musical acts: Canadian thrash rockers Three Days Grace, and country stars Gretchen Wilson and Alan Jackson.
» Also featuring: Fireworks, Coconut Island boat rides, food booths, E.K. Fernandez rides, a "build-your-own boat" Bathtub Regatta, Fitness Challenge, new-car show, 5K Run, military displays and a hot dog-eating contest.
» Tickets: $5; concert admission is an additional $20. Available at Ticketmaster outlets, Blaisdell Box Office, Brigham Young University-Hawaii and Mokihana Travel (Kauai). Charge by phone, (877) 750-4400. Or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
» Call: 254-7679 or visit www.bayfesthawaii.com
First, however, they have to plug in and get the BayFest crowd on its feet. The Canadian rockers, riding on the shoulders of their current hit album, "One-X," are a breath of thrash metal in the wall-to-wall Southern-fried boogie that usually constitutes the Kaneohe Marines' summertime festival.
Bassist Brad Walst called from one of the rolling tour buses the band has called home for the last several years.
"I think -- I'm pretty sure -- we're in Salt Lake City," said Walst. They've been touring with Breaking Benjamin and Puddle of Mudd, heartland rockers from flyover states, filling the nation's need for a three-chord Jones.
"We've been wanting to go to Hawaii since we first came out," added Walst. The band largely hails from Toronto, and the thought of a "place with tropical weather that's still part of the states" has lots of appeal. "We're from Canada; big fans of warm weather!"
The rest of the band consists of guitarists Adam Gontier and Barry Stock, and drummer Neil Sanderson. "We're coming with just our guitars -- bringin' our babies -- and we'll rent amps and drums," said Walst. He plays an Ernie Ball bass, the other guitarists play Paul Reed Smith and Ibanez axes. "We all have our sponsors!"
He's excited about seeing the fabulous Koolau panorama from the Kaneohe festgrounds. "We play too many halls at night. We want to see things, too, but we don't have too many days off. We'll just fly in and putt around."
If you're feeling competitive, take part in the "build-your-own-boat" Bathtub Regatta at BayFest 2007 at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.
He's not kidding. Walst and drummer Sanderson are enthusiastic golfers. "We throw our clubs in the back of the tour bus and we're good to go."
After a half-decade of nearly constant touring, plus scoring hits on both Canadian and American playlists (beginning with the charming "I Hate Everything About You"), one sign of their rising status is an extra tour bus.
BayFest is an annual event organized by Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS), and the title sounds better that Marinecorpsapalooza. Proceeds benefit Marines, sailors and their families stationed in Kaneohe.
When driving onto the base: Make sure you have driver's license, valid registration and proof of insurance. All vehicles are subject to random search. Those who talk on cell phones while driving will be issued citations. Everyone in the car must wear safety restraints.
No large backpacks or coolers, pets (unless they are seeing-eye dogs), outside food or drinks, explosives or weapons.
"It's been great being able to stretch out," said Walst. "We have a lounge in the front of one of the buses where we've been working on the next album. It's all done on computer -- using Pro Tools and Mbox, holding it all on an external hard drive. Bit of a learning curve at first, but once you're used to it, really easy to use. Or if you want fast and easy, we just use Apple's Garage Band; plug guitars right into the computer."
After Hawaii, they're playing a gig in Japan, and then, eight weeks of nothing. "Our first summer off in six years!" enthused Walst. "Neil is expecting a baby later this summer, so it's a perfect time."
But on the other hand ...
"We love playing live. It's why we exist. We play and play until we can't play any more. We use the music and the performance as an outlet -- if you can't be passionate about it, why do it? We're still the small-town boys, full of piss and vinegar!"