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Third Day - Time Bandits

  • Updated Feb 01, 2002
Third Day - Time Bandits

First things first. Before {{Third Day}}'s gravel-voiced lead singer Mac Powell settles down to talk about the band's brand spanking new album, ==Time==, he regales me with tales of diaper changes, 3 a.m. feedings and spit-up. Err, he's not actually talking about any of the band members. Mac and his wife Aimee are the proud new parents of a baby daughter, Scout. Young Scout was just a few weeks old when we chatted, but she was very polite and didn't make a sound until the final seconds of my 90-minute conversation with Powell and Third Day bassist, Tai Anderson. As the conversation turned toward the just-released ==Time==, I wondered why the band chose to record the album "live" in the studio, with very few overdubs or "fixes."

"We've always wanted to record this way," Anderson emphasizes. "There were great individual performances on ==Conspiracy #5==, but overall, it doesn't have some of the magic the first album did. What I think makes Third Day neat is that it's just guys making music, uncontrived, unpretentious. We've only made three albums, but we've probably played over 1000 live shows, so live performance is much more natural for us. And we wanted to capture the energy that represents our live show that we haven't captured on our records before.

"I don't think we're boxed into any particular sound," adds Powell. "We've got everything from total Southern rock with gospel background vocals, to more modern rock stuff to Americana/folk to "Your Love, Oh Lord," which is not like any worship I've heard. And in that live environment, it always has the element of Third Day playing together."

A full range of rock, pop, blues, gospel and even country influences are evident on ==Time==. Powell feels the diversity of sounds should certainly help Third Day escape the curse of comparison to modern rock icons Pearl Jam and fellow Southerners Hootie and the Blowfish.

"We've sought a lot of counseling about that!" Powell chuckles. "But I can't be mad about comparisons because I do the same thing. What I hate about comparisons are people assuming that you're trying to copy whoever it is they compare you to. ==Conspiracy== was about trying to prove we could rock and that we weren't Hootie. I think we did that, but at the same time, we weren't really true to ourselves. We really feel ==Time== best captures the personality of the band."

Powell says Third Day intentionally wanted "to capture people off guard with the first song," "I've Always Loved You," which is also the project's first single. Anderson says the final mix was actually toned down from the track's country origins. "We had a full-on country mix for ('I've Always Loved You.' When we mixed it, we pictured this band playing in this saloon, and it's 2 a.m., and there are only a few people left in the place. Then we were reminded that this is Christian music, and we play at churches, not bars! So the mix we settled on was a subtle hint of country."

Anderson feels ==Time== features some of the best songs the band has ever written. He says Third Day examined nearly forty potential songs, before rehearsing twenty, recording seventeen, and finishing fourteen. "The screening session for new songs was pretty brutal. But what I quickly learned is that the songs we work on together are all the more strong for collaboration. We did a lot of pre-rehearsal. We spent most of our off-days on the {{Newsboys}} tour writing. Then we had ten days of rehearsing with the band alone and another week with [producer] Monroe [Jones]. There was definitely some tension in deciding what went on the album, but we all really wanted the album to have the best material, so we put that ahead of getting our own songs on the album. In fact, I was the deciding vote on one of my own songs off the album, because I really believed there was better material."

Third Day has just completed a short promotional tour for ==Time==, and is gearing up for a full scale national trek, which will feature alternative folk band {{Five O'clock People}} and pop worship trio {{Selah}} as openers. Joining with Third Day as tour sponsor is Dotsafe, an Internet provider about whom Anderson is particularly excited. "Dotsafe is a company that provides safe, filtered Internet access and promotes a family friendly environment. There's just so much junk out there, pornography, violence and the like. Not to mention strangers looking to 'chat' with kids about the most disgusting things. Dotsafe is committed to making it possible for you to surf the net and get the info and services you want, without the garbage you don't. For us as Christians, it helps remove the temptation to look at things we ought not to. I mean, how often in our churches do we actually confront issues like pornography? So many Christians are in bondage to it. These are good people who would never go to an adult theater or bookstore. And the Internet just brings it right to your house. At concerts, fans can pick up a free Dotsafe CD-ROM and get everything they need to set up an account right away. It's great to be able to get support for a tour while helping a company like this make inroads."

[Editor's note: While we are not an internet service provider, does provide FREE internet filtering. Click here for more info!]

The songs on ==Time== range from rockers written about the world's end ("Sky Falls Down") to two superb worship songs ("Your Love, Oh Lord" and "Give") to a gospel barn-burner dealing with Christ's sacrifice on the cross ("Took My Place.") But even in the album's most raucous moments, Powell says the band tried not to go over the top. "There's a sense of urgency that we tried to convey more with emotion than with volume. I think in five or ten more years, when we look back on the beginnings of Third Day, we'll see that we really turned a corner with this album and that it pointed us in the direction that the rest of our career will take. We want to be real, we want to be men of integrity. And we want to gather up the body of Christ that's there, because we know that the majority of people who buy our records and see our concerts are Christians. We want to remind them of the faith we all have, to be encouraged to live out our faith and to be reminded that we have a loving God and Savior."