Gulf Coast natives 3 Doors Down have been trying to give Hurricane Katrina victims in Mississippi a “better life” for the past two years.
The Escatawpa band has raised $800,000 through its charity, the Better Life Foundation.
“It is the right thing to do, pretty much the only thing to do,” lead guitarist Matt Roberts told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Orlando, Fla., where the band is working on its follow-up CD to 2005’s “Seventeen Days.”
Last July, the multi-platinum selling group did the first concert since Hurricane Katrina at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. On Thursday, it’s playing another opening event as the inaugural performers at the new Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Resort Biloxi.
The Better Life Foundation began as a charity for underprivileged children in 2004. Since then it has raised $1.2 million.
“What we did was move our efforts to help hurricane relief. Everybody was impacted,” Roberts said.
The group — lead vocalist Brad Arnold, guitarists Roberts and Chris Henderson, bassist Todd Harrell and drummer Greg Upchurch — purchased a fire truck and three police cars for the city of Waveland, which suffered severe damage after the storm. The fire department lost all its vehicles.
“Without the purchase of that fire truck, we don’t know what we would have done at the time,” said David Garcia, the city’s fire chief.
The band did not go away after Katrina, returning several times, including on the anniversary of the storm.
Roberts said the foundation is now starting to turn back to its original focus.
“Now that everything is getting on the up and up on the coast, we are setting our focus back on the original goal which is underprivileged children,” Roberts said. “Hopefully the storms will stay away and we won’t have to divert.”
3 Doors Down had its first radio friendly hit with the single “Kryptonite” in 2000.
Since then the band has scored multi-platinum success with albums “The Better Life,” “Away from the Sun,” “Here Without You” and “Seventeen Days.” Their notable singles have included “Here Without You,” “When I’m Gone,” “Let Me Go” and “Be Like That.”