May 03, 2006 11:20 AM
by Christina Fuoco
Former Creed frontman Scott Stapp hears plenty of stories about how his music changed fans' lives. But, he admitted, he is tired of the ups and downs in his life that spur his confessional lyrics.
"I get a lot of deep stories, and it's hard to put in perspective for me. I got a story last night from a guy who was [stationed] in Afghanistan. He said, 'Man, without your CD, we don't think we would have gotten through it,'" Stapp said.
"Or I've had people say, 'I had a gun to my head and this song came on the radio, and I stopped.' I just hope I don't have to keep going down to the low lows, and then coming back and fighting my way out to inspire songs, because I don't know if I can handle it anymore. I'm getting old," he added.
Stapp's "lows" have been fodder for supermarket tabloids in recent months. He was arrested for public drunkenness on his way to his honeymoon in Hawaii, but charges were subsequently dropped. It was also widely reported that he was in a fistfight with members of the reggae-rock band 311 last November.
Earlier this year, a sex tape involving Stapp, Kid Rock and a host of strippers appeared on the Internet. Stapp and Rock successfully sued to block the sale of the video. Soon afterward, a woman in the video sued for invasion of privacy, unauthorized use of her likeness and infliction of emotional distress.
Stapp takes a matter-of-fact approach to his problems.
"Aside from all the other stuff [arrests, the leak of the sex tape], which I don't even concern myself with--why worry about things you can't control?--things couldn't be better. My wife and my son will be here in a couple hours. Usually they come with me on Friday and stay with me through the weekend. He had Friday off of school," Stapp said.
Before a recent soundcheck, Stapp talked to LiveDaily about his debut solo effort, "The Great Divide," playing Creed songs live, and bonding with a new band.
LiveDaily: Congratulations on your wedding.
Scott Stapp: Thank you. It was amazing. We had a perfect cool night at our wedding. We were married in Miami Beach.
How's the tour going so far?
It's going great.
It must be a lot less stressful being able to go out and do your own thing.
I haven't changed anything really. I just have different guys behind me.
Did you write the songs for "The Great Divide" any differently than you did with Creed?
I worked with different guitar players. That was the only difference. I had to kind of develop a way of communicating with them. I play rhythm guitars with open tunings, and piano to write. But I'm not, like, a master guitar player or piano player. But I know well enough to write my own songs and to show them to somebody else. I sing parts to the guys, and, once we developed a relationship, they started throwing in some ideas. I think they really contributed a lot to the music on the record. I taught them my sound and the tunings that complement my voice.
How did you meet your band?
They were in a band called Gone Blind. They played on a side stage for us [Creed] when we played around '99 or 2000. We met those guys and became friends with them, and I just stayed in touch. It was important to me to try to find a cohesive group of guys. [They've] learned how to communicate within themselves. They've been together for a long time. They'd been together like 12 years. I thought it would be easier than to mish-mash a bunch of guys together that had never worked together. Another thing was, just meeting the guys, they're such positive, good people. They do this because they love it. That's what I want to surround myself with.
Do you play any Creed songs live?
Yeah, I do. Those are my songs. I play half and half. I play my whole new album, and then I play Creed songs. It's been great responses everywhere. The album is doing well. I just heard it went double platinum.
Your album is very confessional. It seems that that would be very difficult to recreate on stage every night.
No, all my albums have been that way. It's just the way I write. My first single, "My Own Prison," [sings] "I've created my own prison," it's confessional. It's just the way I do things. Once it's released for me, it's kind of a cathartic experience. Especially on this album, in particular, I don't know why I couldn't jump back in to the feeling or the emotion that I felt when I was writing or making demos. A lot of my vocal tracks I used my demo vocal tracks. Like "Justify," for example. The first time I ever sang that song is on the record. I tried over and over and over again to capture what I had captured on the demo that I made, and I couldn't do it. It happened on some other songs, I can't recall right now. Whatever songs it did happen on, I just kept the demo vocal tracks. This album was more about feeling and capturing that feeling, and less about perfection. Also, I wanted to be even more straightforward and more clear in my lyrical writing than I had been in the past.
Were you a perfectionist with Creed?
I'm still a perfectionist. It's just it's my nature. On [Creed's last album, "Weathered"], I wanted it to be perfect--as perfect as I knew how to make it at the time with people I had around me. [Creed guitarist] Mark [Tremonti] agreed. He wanted it to be sonically that way too. With this record, my approach was just different. It probably had to do with the frame of mind I was in. I finally came back into music, and just feeling it myself. All these songs--any time there's some kind of glimmer of hope or saying "I still can go on" or "I believe" or whatnot--I'm talking to myself. I'm trying to motivate myself. I never write about what I am or have an agenda. I write about what goes on in my head--the decisions I have to make, the people around me who inspire myself, and experiences I went through and how I handle it. This is the way I know how to get out of a situation, but that doesn't mean I handled it that way. My writings are like diaries. I just share them with the world.
On his solo debut Creed vocalist Scott Stapp steps up with an album that delicately balances his past with his present but without apology for either. Songs such as "Reach Out" and "You Will Soar" appease longtime fans without serving as mere Creed retreads, but the material that breaks almost entirely from tradition (namely "Sublime") remains some of the most satisfying. With no fewer than three single-worthy tracks--"Let Me Go," "Surround Me," "You Will Soar," plus the already-released title cut--The Great Divide doesn't just find Stapp standing firmly on his own feet it also finds him, more often than not, reaching for new heights.