As Daughtry frontman Chris Daughtry settles into his seat beside guitarist Brian Craddock, it’s clear the interview isn’t going to be about how far the singer has come since his days on American Idol.
The gravelly-voiced crooner has made it clear that his second album is not about him, but about the band.
The band’s second album, Leave This Town is the first recorded with drummer Joey Barnes, bassist Josh Paul and guitarists Josh Steely and Craddock.
The newly formed ensemble then hit the road for close to two years before settling into their first studio sessions on the second record.
The group is working hard to get recognized as a collective entity and not just perform in the shadow of the former Idol contestant.
“What you’re hearing on the record is three years of us getting to know one another as people,” says Craddock.
“I think we started writing for this record the week we started the tour for the last record,” he says with a laugh. “We’re all kind of workaholics, we write constantly.”
Staying up to jam after a show, penning songs on a tour bus and recording demos when they should have been sleeping was typical as the band came up with 70 potential songs for the new album.
The long hours and constant creative process seems to have helped the band bypass the sophomore slump.
The group looks to bands like U2 and Bon Jovi as examples of rockers who have been around producing relevant quality music for years on end.
“That’s all any artist can hope for, not to fade away,” says Daughtry adding that the band was planing to kick around for at least the next 20 years.
The group is also trying to establish a trademark sound, without making all their tracks sound the same.
Craddock says the freshest thing about the new record is the influence of the other band members on the music.
Due to the range of songwriter collaborations the album features a melange of tracks with different textures.
A club dance effect created by the track ’Supernatural’ offsets the soft rhythms of country-like ’Tennessee Line,’ while closing song ’Call your Name’ lets off some smooth soul.
Big names in the industry also added their touch to the record with Nickleback’s Chad Kroeger co-writing melodic pop-rock single ’No Surprise’ and the softer ’Life After You.’
The album also boasts collaborations with Lifehouse’s Jason Wade and One Republic’s Ryan Tedder.
But despite the variety, every track eventually falls back into the band’s signature tones which Craddock calls “Daughtryland.”
“It always comes back to what we do,” he says, adding that the big sing-songy chorus typically put a Daughtry stamp on any track.
Although “Leave This Town” outsold Michael Jackson in its first week on stands, Daughtry says the numbers don’t exactly have him tooting his own horn.
“It’s a weird thing to get compared to. Honourable though,” Daughtry says. “I look at the bigger picture. He’s sold more records than anybody in the world.”