There's a line by Thomas Wolfe that goes "you can't go back home again," but for Norwood, Ontario's Three Days Grace they're doing exactly that for good reason.
The veteran band spend most of their days working in the United States where their angry modern rock earns them touring spots with the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, Seether and Bullet For My Valentine. Right now, though, they're back in Peterborough, Ontario, deep in the middle of a series of hometown charity shows -- their first gigs in their old stomping grounds in almost a decade.
"We've got three separate charity shows in Peterborough, our hometown, at The Venue," the band's Brad Walst tells Huffington Post Music Canada. "We're pretty excited because we haven't played Peterborough proper in about 10 years. It's a special few nights."
Each of the band's three hometown shows is for a separate charity.
"The first night is the James Fund, which is an organization out of Peterborough which raises money for blastoma research, which is a childhood cancer," says Walst. "That one's pretty special to me. Basically my son was diagnosed in 2008 with neuroblastoma, so that one hits really close to home.
"The second night is Road Recovery and Adam [Gontier, singer] picked that one. Basically that one helps musicians and artists who have addictions. Basically it helps them recover, helps them with rehab costs. I believe that they're the ones that helped him out when he was having a hard time.
"The third night is the Herbie Fund, which I think is based out of Toronto, the Hospital For Sick Children. It's an organization that flies different children from all over the world that need special surgeries like conjoined twins and stuff like that. That's a really good one for sure, too."
A series of charity shows seems unlikely from a band whose biggest hits have titles like "I Hate Everything About You," "Pain," "Animal I Have Become" and "Chalk Outline." When Gontier went through a severe drug addiction in the mid-2000s, though, he thanked those who helped him through it by playing a series of shows at mental health centres and rehab facilities. From that point on the band have been trying to give back.
"It's kinda funny," starts Walst. "We come from a small place and we've faced some hardships, and without writing hard music like that we'd all be different people. We'd probably be pretty angry, so I think the music alone has helped us, so in turn we're gonna help people."
It seems the only time the band gets to play at home is when they're helping out.
"Last time we played in the area was actually in Norwood, Ontario, which is actually where we grew up, which is 15 minutes away from Peterborough," says Walst. "We actually did a charity show five years ago for the Norwood Arena. We raised $55,000 to pay off their final debts. But Peterborough proper, where we used to play all our shows back in the day, we haven't done that since 2003 with Nickelback at the Memorial Arena."
The dearth of Peterborough shows in recent years is strange considering how often they played there in their early days. In fact, the city of 80,000 is partially responsible for getting them signed.
"We played there close to a hundred times," says Walst. "We didn't get noticed as a band professionally, it took us 10 years. We'd play at the bars... anything we could do. And that's actually where we got signed. We actually got some interest from the States and they were like 'Come down and play our showcase stage' and we were like 'Y'know what? If you want to see us, come to Peterborough.' And there was only one label that did, Jive, and they flew to Toronto, then drove two hours to Peterborough through a snowstorm and watched the show at the Gordon Best Theatre. And we were like, 'Well they were the ones who actually cared to see us, so they're the ones...'
And now, full circle, the band are using people who care to see them in Peterborough for the greater good.
"It's pretty cool that people pay for a ticket," says Walst. "We thought up the idea a few weeks ago and we decided we had to do this. It's just been great. And my brother's band are opening, My Darkest Days, so it's good to have them, too. It's just gonna be a good family/friend oriented thing, so it's gonna be good."
More info about the shows can be found here.