Rock band 3 Doors Down does helpful things for the military, such as cutting a song to coincide with National Guard recruiting efforts. In return, singer Brad Arnold says, “They let us play with their toys sometimes.”
The other day, members of the band — playing tonight at Green Valley Ranch — tested sniper rifles at Camp Shelby in southern Mississippi.
And they fired shells out of an M1 Abrams tank at a target more than a mile away.
“It’s like unleashing hell on something. It’s like being on the giving end of hell,” Arnold says.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God! … The whole bullet casing and everything is all combustible, and it all just explodes, and you can watch that bullet (shell) reach out and touch somethin’.”
Before that, Arnold flew shotgun in U.S. Thunderbirds.
“We pulled like 9 G’s, man,” he says. “It’s incredibly intense. You see your vision just narrowing, about to pass out.
“I saw all these NASCAR guys not long ago, and they were pulling 5 Gs and passing out. And I was like, ‘You pansies.’ “
This is how Arnold spends his spare time. He also fishes. He and a band member just caught one THISBIG in Louisiana.
“I actually caught a 151-pound, yellow-finned tuna. That’s about 20 pounds less than I weigh, and he was a way, way better swimmer than me. It took me an hour and 40 minutes to get him in the boat.”
It’s odd hearing Arnold’s talking voice. He has no accent in his band’s hits (“It’s Not My Time,” “Here Without You,” “When I’m Gone” and “Kryptonite”). But he talks really, really Southern, being a Mississippi native.
“When you accentuate your words (while singing), your accent just kind of disappears a little bit, because you’re trying to be punctual,” he says.
He’s also got that Southern humility.
“I’m not a good singer. I just got a loud voice,” says Arnold, whose band sings “Presence of the Lord” on the new multi-artist gospel album “Oh Happy Day.” “A lot of times when you see a bad singer, it’s just because they’re not opening their mouth.
“There’s nothing worse than somebody singing bashful. You gotta sing like nobody’s listenin’, you know?”
Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets cost $55 (547-5300).
MORE THIS WEEKEND
David Spade, doing stand-up at The Venetian, talks with me about being a new dad in today’s Neon section. Also this weekend and in Neon:
Gavin Rossdale performs late tonight at LAX at Luxor. The Academy of Country Music Awards hit the MGM on Sunday. Country acts perform for free at the Fremont Street Experience today and Saturday, and include LeAnn Rimes, the Zac Brown Band and Kellie Pickler. Fall Out Boy performs Sunday at the Palms. Robert Randolph plays late Saturday at Pure at Caesars. Perez Hilton parties at Pure tonight.
And dig into Neon’s Diversions page to find the traditional: a Rockabilly fest at The Orleans; new plays; the county rodeo; charity events; and today is the walk-drink-and-look-at-art of First Friday downtown.
Doug Elfman’s column appears on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 702-383-0391 or e-mail him at email@example.com. He also blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.