Despite tattooed limbs and Creed-esque growls, Chris Daughtry has a sense of humor. So, in a twist from his earlier releases, the rocker's fourth studio album, Baptized, surprised fans with its poppy, synth-y and folk-y tracks, a nod to his light-hearted personality.
"I didn't want to take it so seriously," says the 34-year-old American Idol finalist. "Historically speaking, I've always written serious rock songs, or break-up tunes, and I'm not that guy all the time. More often than not I'm a jokester."
The famously bald singer-songwriter will play Saturday at Timberwood Amphitheater at Magic Springs Water and Theme Park in Hot Springs. Upbeat Daughtry is a confusing juxtaposition in a society that interprets post-grunge's distorted guitars as an S.O.S. signal from a tortured soul.
"Sometimes it's OK to be funny and still be taken seriously," he says. "I thought, 'man, people don't know that about me, because everything I've written is so doom and gloom.'"
Maybe that's why Daughtry's jokes didn't fly during a June 6 appearance on Fox and Friends, in which he sidestepped an impromptu patriotic tribute to D-Day veterans, quipping, "I'm off the clock." Later Daughtry apologized via YouTube, saying he panicked and responded with a poor attempt at humor.
The intensive public scrutiny proves what was foreshadowed when Daughtry opened for Bon Jovi in 2008: He has reached super-stardom.
The North Carolina native didn't have the luxury of a slow rise to fame. After taking fourth place in the fifth season of American Idol (where is winner Taylor Hicks anyway?), crowd favorite Chris Daughtry formed a band, which collectively took his name. A self-titled album followed in October 2006, with hits like "It's Not Over" and "Home" making Billboard's Top 100 charts.
Daughtry has toured nonstop since January 2007, from Europe to Singapore, with alternative rockers like 3 Doors Down, Nickelback or this summer's co-headliners, Plain White T's and Goo Goo Dolls (but not for the Magic Springs gig).
Initially the schedule was a shock, Daughtry says.
"Those first few [years] were really fast and furious," he says. "Sometimes we were doing more than one tour at a time. I don't actually know how we survived it. I had to figure out ways to kind of detach and decompress and actually feel like I'm having a life."
Now he's got the rhythm down. On the tour bus, Daughtry pursues his childhood dreams of comic book illustration with digital art on his tablet. He waits, semi-patiently, for the new season of Walking Dead and tries to convince his son that he is too busy to start binge-watching Game of Thrones.
And at night, he says, it's as if he blacks out.
"I'm coming from a very deep and real place with everything I'm performing up there," Daughtry says. "It's all heart and soul. Honestly, I'm just letting it come through me. I want to take people out of their ... whatever is going on. I want it to be an escape."
Daughtry continues to release hits, like the Baptized single, "Waiting for Superman," which debuted at No. 70 on the Hot 100. He said he admires artists like John Rzeznik, Goo Goo Dolls' veteran frontman, who has toured for nearly 30 years.
"No matter how tired, no matter how much you're on the road, you know that you were born for it when you're at home, and two weeks goes by, and you're wondering when the next gig is," he says. "I feel guilty sometimes with how much I do love it, but I really don't think I could do anything else with the same fire."
Weekend on 06/26/2014
Print Headline: Never idle Daughtry set for theme park splash