New album almost tore Staind apart

Posted by ADDICTEDtoStAiND on May 13, 2012 at 3:30 AM
New album almost tore Staind apart
By Alan Sculley

Staind singer Aaron Lewis says the band has had its difficult moments in making its CDs in the past.

But the group's current self-titled CD was a whole different struggle.

"We weren't even finished with jamming the songs and figuring out the skeletons (of the songs) and everything before it had completely fallen apart," Lewis said in a recent interview. "It had never gone this far sideways before, and it was the most grueling, almost unenjoyable, stressful, it was just friggin' horrible."

How bad did things get? The CD nearly didn't get finished, and the band itself almost came apart.

Looking back, Lewis feels the wear and tear of years of recording and touring cycles already had the band in a less-than-great place coming into the project. And this created the right environment for further problems.

"It's been a long road and a long process, and there's a lot of water under the bridge," Lewis said. "I think that it was more, you know, the studio stuff, and what was the final straw that broke the camel's back was just that. It was just the final thing in a long 13 years of being out on tour. We just had to, something had to give, and it gave."

What gave in particular was the band's relationship with drummer Jon Wysocki. He was dismissed after recording the self-titled CD.

But that was hardly the only issue that arose during the project. Once the band convened for initial rehearsals and recording, it became clear that the band lacked its usual fire.

Producer Johnny K. quickly suggested that the band members record their parts separately — to the point that the songwriting team in the band of Lewis and guitarist Mike Mushok weren't even in the same location recording their parts.

Progress got made, but not swiftly enough to avoid the sessions eventually reaching a crisis level.

Now, Lewis can see plenty of signs of the studio struggles in the music and lyrics themselves.

"I don't think the record would have come out the same if that wasn't the situation," he said.

Indeed, "Staind" is the heaviest, darkest and most agitated album by the band since its 1999 sophomore release, "Dysfunctional." The aggressive, metal-tinged sound of that CD, though, got softened a bit as the band worked its way through its next four albums, culminating with a 2008 CD, "The Illusion Of Progress."

A main reason was Staind enjoyed its biggest success with ballads and softer material. The first such success came essentially by accident after Lewis and Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit decided to do an impromptu acoustic performance of an early Staind song, "Outside," during a fall 1999 show.

Radio latched onto the song and it became a hit. Then after another ballad, "It's Been Awhile," became a big hit from the 2001 CD, "Break The Cycle," Staind became known more for its softer side than the hard rocking material that remained at the core of its sound.

Going into the new CD, Staind decided to set things straight and stick to heavy, aggressive material.

"Our musical journey, so to speak, had taken us so far away from what we got together originally and started out as," Lewis said.

Now Staind gets to takes its music to the people. It is starting its first full-fledged tour behind the self-titled CD with a run of co-headlining shows with Godsmack. Lewis said the shows will follow the lead of the new CD.

"I think that the set list this time around is going to be very new-record heavy, like there are going to be a lot of songs off of the new record in the set and the heavier side of the old stuff," he said. "And you know, there are a couple of songs that we just have to play."

What: Godsmack/Staind with Halestorm and Brook Royal.

When: 6:30 p.m., May 16.

Where: Verizon Wireless Arena, 555 Elm St., Manchester, N.H.

ickets: $49.50 and $39.50. Call 603-868-7300 Ticketmaster or

Categories: May 2012, Staind News

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