Neil Sanderson

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Neil Sanderson
Sanderson in 2009
Sanderson in 2009
Background information
Birth nameNeil Christopher Sanderson
Born (1978-12-17) December 17, 1978 (age 44)
Peterborough, Canada
OriginPeterborough, Canada
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • Drums
  • Vocals
  • Piano
Years active1992–present

Neil Christopher Sanderson (born December 17, 1978)[1] is the drummer, backing vocalist, and co-founder of the Canadian rock band Three Days Grace.[2] He cites his influences as John Bonham, Danny Carey, and Stewart Copeland.[2] He is also the co-founder of the American record label Judge and Jury.

Early years[edit]

Neil Sanderson was born on December 17, 1978 in Peterborough, Canada.[3] Sanderson took up the piano before he started school.[2] He had an avid interest in music and worked with different instruments while he was in elementary school. He became enamored of drums and started playing it at the age of 12.[2][3]

He entered Norwood District High School in 1992. Before that, he attended Adam Scott C.V.I High School in Peterborough, where he met Adam Gontier when both of them were in grade 9. With bassist Brad Walst, they practiced writing and playing instruments. They created the band "Groundswell" with Phil Crowe and Joe Grant.

Sanderson was also the drummer for the band Thousand Foot Krutch[4] from 1995 to 1997.

Groundswell reformed as Three Days Grace in 1997.


Under the name "Three Days Grace" the band played various concerts and locations in Toronto and eventually signed a recording contract with the American label, Jive Records.[2][5][6]

The band's first album, the self-titled Three Days Grace, was released in 2003. Three singles from the album, "I Hate Everything About You", "Just Like You", and "Home" became hits, each reaching No. 1 on the US Rock charts. This album has been certified "Platinum".[2][6]

The band released a second album, One-X in 2006.[6][7][8] That album reached fifth place on the US Billboard 200.[2] Three singles from that album "Animal I Have Become", "Pain", and "Never Too Late" also reached first place on the US Rock charts. This album has also been certified "Platinum".[2][9]

In 2006 Three Days Grace won an American Billboard "Song of the Year" award.[2]

In 2006, Three Days Grace served as the opening act for the Rolling Stones in Saskatchewan. Three Days Grace has toured in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Europe, and Japan.[2]

Sanderson performing live with Three Days Grace in 2015

Speaking of the band's comeback from problems in 2007 (when a band member spent time in rehab[6]) Sanderson said, "Now it's all about maintaining that communication, and it makes [touring] so much easier and a so much more enjoyable experience."[10]

Sanderson was thrilled by the success of Three Days Grace. Speaking in Greensboro, North Carolina during their 2008 tour, he said: "We get to blow stuff up onstage now. We like to put in as much production and lights as we can. The seizure factor has gone way up."[11] Speaking of the band's move to larger playing sites, he continued "It's great to be able to see everybody in a smaller place. But the same people who were there in the early days are still there for us."[11] Speaking of fan response to album songs, he said: "[W]e also play a lot of album tracks, and the crowd sings along just as much for those. These days, you have to make an awesome album. I think we're getting back to where people want to hear real stuff, since so much is contrived these days."[11]

In 2009 the band released the album Life Starts Now. It was initially listed at number three on the US Billboard 200.[7][8][9]

Sanderson, along with Canadian songwriter Casey Marshall, were part owners of an artist development company and songwriting collective, Püblicwürks, based in Toronto and Nashville.[citation needed]

Sanderson is also working with Lukas Rossi on a project called King City.[12]

Sanderson is the co-founder of the record label Judge and Jury along with producer Howard Benson.[13]

Critical reaction[edit]

Sin Lucas, writing in The Silver Tongue said "It's hard to pick a highlight ... but the drum solo by Neil Sanderson was nothing short of spectacular."[14] A reviewer for Electric City wrote of Sanderson's "impressive chops and accuracy."[15] But Nikki M. Mascali of The Weekender wrote of the same performance "Though an interesting concept, it was an unnecessary lull in the show."[16]


Sanderson joined The Herbie Fund charity in 2007 when he met the president of Operation Herbie, Liisa Palokoski. In addition, he started a charity fund called, "Herbie Rocks".[17] In 2017, he travelled to Kenya with World Vision to film a mini-documentary raising awareness of some of the challenges accessing clean drinking water. He also created the 3DG Kenya project and Mountain of Hope to help raise funds and awareness of the needs.[18] In 2018, Sanderson opened up about his battles with anxiety at the fifth annual Friday Night Lights fundraiser for Team 55 Let's Tackle Suicide Awareness and the Canadian Mental Health Association.[19]


Other appearances[edit]

Year Artist Album Notes
2010 My Darkest Days My Darkest Days Composer[20]
2012 My Darkest Days Sick and Twisted Affair Programming[21]
2013 Tim Hicks Throw Down Composer, drums[22]
2015 Art of Dying Rise Up Composer[23]
2016 The Abrams The Abrams Composer[24]


  1. ^ Selin, Alicia (December 1, 2021). "Rock Stars Celebrating Birthdays in December". Loudwire. Retrieved April 14, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Neil Sanderson: Biography". SABIAN Ltd. 2008. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Neil Sanderson | Yamaha Artist − Biography". Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  4. ^ "Thousand Foot Krutch: Biography". Last.FM. September 16, 2009. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  5. ^ Malachowski, David (February 4, 2010). "Three Days Grace keep fame in perspective". Times Union. Albany, NY: Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation. Retrieved February 26, 2010.[dead link]
  6. ^ a b c d Jordan, Mark (February 22, 2008). "Small-town angst fuels Three Days Grace's lyrics". DeSoto Appeal. Archived from the original on February 28, 2008. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Mascali, Nikki M. (February 2, 2010). "Three Days Grace Goes Raw". Times Leader -- Weekender. Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on February 24, 2010. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Franklin, Kelly-Ann (February 11, 2010). "Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace and FlyLeaf to bring their alternative sounds to the Sun". Norwich Bulletin. Norwich, CT: GateHouse Media. Archived from the original on January 4, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  9. ^ a b Tuni, Walter (January 31, 2010). "Three Days Grace has a more upbeat outlook these days". Lexington Herald-Leader (LexGo online supplement). Archived from the original on May 16, 2010. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  10. ^ Sculley, Alan (March 13, 2008). "Musical grace period: Bands on the rise after rocky beginning". Evansville Courier & Press. Scripps Interactive Newspapers Group. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  11. ^ a b c "Three Days Grace bounds towards bigger venues". The Flint Journal. March 20, 2008. Archived from the original on November 15, 2009. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  12. ^ "King City, Lukas Rossi, Neil Sanderson". Tidal. Retrieved June 14, 2022.
  13. ^ "Judge and Jury Records". Retrieved April 12, 2022.
  14. ^ Lucas, Sin (February 24, 2010). "Live Show Review: Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin and FlyLeaf at James Brown Arena". The Silver Tongue. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  15. ^ Ear Full (February 11, 2010). "A Graceful Evening". Electric City. Scranton, PA: Times-Shamrock Communications. Retrieved February 26, 2010. drummer Neil Sanderson had the stage and the audience to himself for a five-minute solo which started with a keyboard/sampler segment followed by an intense drum solo on a riser which turned 360 degrees displaying Sanderson's impressive chops and accuracy.[dead link]
  16. ^ Mascali, Nikki M. (February 8, 2010). "Three Days Grace's night of highs and lows". Times Leader -- Weekender. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  17. ^ Karen Bliss (October 16, 2009). "Three Days Grace Gathers Goods For Herbie Rocks". Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  18. ^ "Neil Sanderson — Judge & Jury". Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  19. ^ Mike Davies (September 22, 2018). "Three Days Grace drummer shares his story at Team 55 Friday Night Lights". The Peterborough Examiner. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  20. ^ "My Darkest Days - Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved June 14, 2022.
  21. ^ "Sick and Twisted Affair - Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved June 14, 2022.
  22. ^ "Throw Down - Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved June 14, 2022.
  23. ^ "Rise Up - Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved June 14, 2022.
  24. ^ "The Abrams - Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved June 14, 2022.