Interview: Staind – Aaron Lewis

Did you ever worry that people may have interpreted it differently, as a misrepresentation of who Staind are?

No, not really. That was just where we were at, at that time but in the process of trying to grow and trying not to repeat ourselves from record to record, that process had took us quite far away from where as had started as a band. With this record it was time to bring that big journey around full circle and get back to doing what put us on the map in the first place.

Do you think it had an effect on your fan base, opening the band up to people who were not dedicated hard rock fans and introducing them to what you are doing?

I don’t think it necessarily did but then I don’t know, it may have, I don’t pay that much attention to that sort of stuff. What it did was take us that final big step away from where we were that the next step could only be going back to what are our roots effectively.

I don’t want to rehash over the documentary as most people by now will have saw it or at least read the comments regarding the video and understand what happened. Before Christmas there were 18 songs put together, I believe it was from what Mike said, so at that point where you all on the same page at that point with the music and personalities in check?

Before Christmas it was more so eighteen ideas that we had. Me, Mike [Mushok], Jon [Wysocki] and Johnny K had all sat down and decided that these were the ideas that were worth pursuing and the ones that I could write melodies for. By the time December was over with, we decided that we would focus on ten songs and once the drum tracks were done, everything went downhill from there. When we got those ten songs done, and amazingly enough for the first time in our career since our very first record, when we handed in the record to the record label, this was the first time since then that they didn’t ask us to go back and do more songs or change anything. That’s record label 101, it’s the standard record label statement that they don’t hear the first single and they want you to go write a few more songs. They are just pushing you to see if they can get another good song or two out of you but they didn’t, they accepted it and that is kind of cool because the first major label record [‘Dysfunction’] that we put out, it was accepted the way it was and this is the last in our contract and it was accepted just the same. Have you seen all of the DVD or the documentary online?

Aaron LewisYeah I have.

Well you know this then but I was trying to put out a solo record [‘Town Line’] which came out in March and that was all right in the middle of trying to record vocals and everything else.

That’s where the stipulations on the contract really started to come into play wasn’t it?

Yeah. Having my solo record come out when it came out was really the only time for it to happen because otherwise I would have had to wait until the end of this whole Staind cycle to release it. It had been delayed so many times and I kept trying to do it but this time I had it fully recorded and ready so we were putting it out. I was then promoting that, doing solo shows on the weekends but it wasn’t really a weekend because I’d had to leave on the Thursday or sometimes on the Wednesday because I had a Thursday show. I’d be playing Thursday, Friday and Saturday or Friday, Saturday and Sunday every week then fly home and try to be in the studio and with my family. On top of that I’m trying to film for my hunting TV show.

Did you think during it that something had to go or were you such a bind that everything had to be done then and there?

Well I did it, it did come down to the wire but I did it. It came down to two windows of opportunity left. It was two weeks in a row with the evening of Sunday and then the Monday and Tuesday, two weeks in a row. When I came back for that first window I was meant to have five of the songs written and all I had to do was record them but creativity just doesn’t happen when you want it to, not for me anyways. It just didn’t happen, I came back and I had absolutely nothing. In that two and a half day window I wrote and recorded four songs and then I went and did what I had to do. Again, nothing came to me while I was doing what I was doing and in the second window I wrote and recorded another four songs because there were only two done by the time we had got to that point. I finished and it was the final take, I took my earphones off, grabbed my cigarettes and collected my stuff and said “okay guys, I’ll talk to you later.” That gave me forty five minutes to go and be with my family before I had to leave for the airport and go perform the shows I had booked. There wasn’t even an opportunity for me to catch my breath and say “oh that’s done, oh my god”, it was straight to the airport and on the plane and straight into a solo show.

You said at the start that it annoys you that you have to sacrifice so much of your family life so how do you try schedule your time so that you can give it more priority?

I really, really, try to make sure I have a good amount of time at home. There has to be time at home, no musician can expect to go out on the road for two years and their family to sit happily waiting for your return. There has to be dedicated time for my family because that’s what makes doing this all worthwhile. If you don’t balance it then when you do come off the road then there will be no-one there for you and I don’t want that, I’ll never let that happen as they mean more to me than this. I’m trying to do what I’m meant to do as a husband and father and provide for my family. I’m doing better than what my dad did and he was trying to do better than what his dad did and that cycle goes on. It’s hard but my family will always be first. I want to go home now [laughs], let’s move on from that topic before I just walk out of the door and go to the airport.

Back to what you were saying about the label just accepting this record as it was when you submitted it and the pressure you had within those two windows, was this the first time you had ever been set a deadline?

Yeah, that came into play because of my solo release. They didn’t want that to get in the way of recording and the only way to guarantee that was to put a deadline in the contract.

Was that what really started to cause things to become heated because of that added stress or were there some underlying issues already?

The fuel was already there, it was starting to boil but the deadline and the stress that came from it just ignited it.

What were you set to lose if you didn’t meet the deadline?

It would have been very hurtful financially if we had not made that deadline. They would have pulled the other half of our money if we had not met that deadline. The first half was for the recording process and then they have another half sitting in wait for us to meet that deadline so as soon as we gave them a copy of the songs, we met the deadline and we were paid. They would have taken back the other half, the part for recording. We would have been forced to have paid that back to them because of this deadline and the rules that came with it. It was extremely important.

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Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.


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