January 16, 2014 Interview – Scott Stapp of Creed
When you think back on rock music in the late 1990’s a few vocalists stand out in your memories. One of the biggest bands of the latter part of the decade were hard rockers Creed. Fronted by the powerful vocals of Scott Stapp, Creed went onto to be one of the most commercially successful hard rock bands of all-time selling over 20 million records. When Creed broke-up in 2004 Stapp remained active with his solo album The Great Divide (2005). While the road has been long and full of detours for the talented singer and lyricist, Stapp has always remained dedicated to musical creation. Now after years of self-reflection Stapp brings fans his most revealing piece of work yet in Proof of Life (2013). Continuing the journey of music and life, Stapp sat down with us for a look into the years of Creed, finding clarity through music, strength, and much more.
Crypticrock.com – You have been involved in the rock scene for 2 decades now. After plugging away for many years, the success of the My Own Prison (1997) album with Creed happened. That album has sold an amazing 6 million plus copies. Since then every album thereafter was a massive success. Could you ever imagined the ride of success you have endured?
Scott Stapp – It is completely nothing I could ever dream of. I guess I could say it is something you only dream of that it did turn into what it did.
Crypticrock.com – Yes it is an amazing ride and something you only dream of. Now Creed is obviously something you hold very dear to your heart judging by the personal revealing lyrical content. When Creed disbanded in 2004 was it something you found hard to accept, or was it a needed break to explore other avenues in music?
Scott Stapp – I think initially the way I found out, the reasons behind it really caught me off guard and were shocking to me. So it was initially hard to take because I felt betrayed by a friend.
Crypticrock.com – I understand it had to be difficult. You since went onto a solo career. A year later you released The Great Divide (2005). The album was a major success and also a very revealing album. You did work on songs for The Passion Of The Christ, but The Great Divide is your first solo record, with that said, what was it like working separate from Creed?
Scott Stapp – I think really the only difference was just not having the same guys to bounce my ideas off of. I was always very involved in every aspect of what Creed was doing. It was just unique for me at that time to not have my comfort zone to bounce my ideas off, and also not have the talent and skill that was developed in my writing relationship with Mark. I kind of knew what he was going to do and it made things a lot easier. It was a little more challenging initially.
Crypticrock.com – Yes and I imagine it helped you develop as an artist. Something rather unexpected happened in 2009 when Creed reformed to tour through 2012 and release Full Circle in 2009. How did you feel to be able to mend your relationship with Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall, and Scott Phillips to play together again?
Scott Stapp – Initially it felt really good. My personal issues never had anything to do with why Creed disbanded in the first place. They were kind of looking back at a reaction for my not being able to deal with the relationship issues after the fact. It felt good to kind of at least initially feel like we resolved that and get back to making music.
Crypticrock.com – Yes and that’s something special that you had the chance to revisit that. At the end of the touring cycle with Creed in 2012 you released a your auto-biography Sinner’s Creed. The work is very honest and at times heart breaking. How difficult was it to get these life experiences out in written word opposed to behind lyrics and music?
Scott Stapp – Initially it was difficult because I was really sharing a lot of things that I never so clearly, honestly, and directly shared before. I had to relive a lot of those emotions and really sit back and view it from a distance. I had to kind of experience some of those pains and hard times all over again. It was very cathartic to get it out. Once it was out there I felt like I had lost 1,000 lbs so to speak, the weight of the world was off my shoulders.
Crypticrock.com – It definitely helps to reveal things like that. It has to be therapeutic, and I imagine it helped you take great steps forward in life. Now clearly taking great steps forward in life, you released your latest solo album in November 2013 entitled Proof Of Life. The record is an emotional roll coaster. Speaking in metaphors in past work, this album appears to be much more straight forward. Tell me what the writing and recording process was like for this record.
Scott Stapp – It was great. I was really challenged by Howard Vincent while I was writing the record to continue along the journey that I started with my book in terms in how I approached the writing lyrically. To say it as straight forward as possible and have that clarity. It was actually more challenging than I thought because I was so accustomed to writing the way I had before. I think I second guessed myself initially during that process. Actually coming up with the melodies and the song structure was a really great process because it was really organic and spontaneous. I got to do a lot of free form, off the cuff, moment of inspiration type writing. I love to write that way.
Crypticrock.com – It worked out well with the record. It’s good to challenge yourself like that and explore different avenues.
Scott Stapp – Most Definitely, it keeps it exciting and fresh because you don’t want to do the same things over and over again.
Crypticrock.com – Definitely. Dealing with personal struggles, I imagine music has to be your best outlet for expressing yourself. Do you feel like Proof Of Life is the most therapeutic piece of work you have done today?
Scott Stapp – I think most definitely because of the clarity and hindsight from which it was written. The place in my life I was at emotionally and mentally as an artist when I wrote the record; I felt like I reached the end of a cycle. I had time to really process and digest everything. Then writing my book really put it all out there as well. I wrote for the first time knowing some answers instead of having questions. It really brought a lot of resolution into my life.
Crypticrock.com – That’s the great thing about life. You can always find resolution somehow. It’s documented that Creed was in the midst of working on a new record following the touring. It’s understand yourself and Mark have had differences over the years. Do you think that Creed will eventually be revisited and the new material will be brought to light?
Scott Stapp – I don’t know, it doesn’t look like it right now. Who knows though, that door is always open.
Crypticrock.com – In the meantime you have a great solo career going and in support of Proof Of Life you will be hitting the road this year. How excited are you to get out there and play these new songs live?
Scott Stapp – It’s very exciting. I am really looking forward to getting out, playing this new material, and seeing how it moves me as a performer and entertainer in the live setting. It’s very exciting.
Crypticrock.com – It has to be exciting because the songs are so personal to you. Tell me a bit about your musical influences.
Scott Stapp – Growing up there had been so many. From Led Zeppelin to U2 to The Doors. Even to the same song writing qualities of The Eagles that I love. Even going back to Def Leppard and the big rock songs and the big anthem choruses. There are a lot of different influences. They are the same influences that have been a part of my music since the beginning. I think they were just more defined on Proof Of Life.
Crypticrock.com – I think so as well. It’s a dynamic piece of work and very defined on this record. In the past with all the success with anything there always comes criticism. It seems like people are always looking to shoot someone down when they are riding high. With the criticism of what people labeled Creed as a post-grunge band. How do you feel about that all these years later?
Scott Stapp – It comes with the territory. I try and not think too much about it. I find my fulfillment in my artistic creativity, what I do and not put too much weight on the critics.
Crypticrock.com – Of course that is the best way to look at things. My last question for you is pertaining to horror films. Crypticrock.com covers rock/metal and horror films. I’d like to know, if you are a fan, what are some of your favorite horror films?
Scott Stapp – (laughs) I hate to say it, but I’ve never been a huge horror film fan. I guess I am just too much of a scaredy-cat and jump out of my seat. So I can’t really give any favorites there.
Crypticrock.com – That’s ok. Do you have any particular genre of films you enjoy?
Scott Stapp – I like suspenseful drama, feel good films as well. From Scarface (1983) to Forest Gump (1994). Just good quality stories.
Check out Scott Stapp on tour at the following dates:
Wed/Mar-19 Dallas, TX House of Blues
Fri/Mar-21 Houston, TX House of Blues
Sat/Mar-22 San Antonio, TX Backstage Live
Tue/Mar-25 Lawrence, KS Granada Theater
Wed/Mar-26 Chicago, IL House of Blues
Fri/Mar-28 Toronto, ON Opera House
Sat/Mar-29 Flint, MI Machine Shop
Mon/Mar-31 Boston, MA Royale
Wed/Apr-02 New York, NY Irving Plaza
Fri/Apr-04 Philadelphia, PA TLA
Sat/Apr-05 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
Sun/Apr-06 Baltimore, MD Baltimore Sound Stage
Wed/Apr-09 Atlanta, GA Center Stage