Interview: Staind – Aaron Lewis

That is part of the big struggle for upcoming bands is that they don’t know how to structure a deal so they will be bled dry but lead to believe they are being given the best start to their career.

Exactly and it is only the independent labels who give a fuck about these bands and make sure that they are aware of the pitfalls of becoming a full time musician. Not every independent is going to be the same, some will have that major label mentality but the right independent labels are run by good people who want to see you achieve your goals.

As most musicians state that touring is the only way to earn money, I take that you are well structured so that mainly you only have the overhead cost of touring to worry about?

Touring and merchandise yeah but again for younger bands they can’t get a deal without that being included by the label. Luckily we only have to pay management and business management, those people, but the main overhead of the tour like you said is the main worry. You have all of the employees, the 18-wheelers carrying the lighting and all of the equipment and sometimes the stage. The buses, those fucking buses are like $10,000 a week on gas, per bus. So a six week tour is $60,000 per bus and then that is without hotels, food or anything, that is just fuelling the bus and driving down the road.

Are you still profiting heavily from each tour or are you sometimes walking away with just a little bit of money?

We’ve always been a band that operated like a business and you don’t see a crazy stage setup or crazy lights at our shows. We keep it clean and neat with cabinets and our instruments. It’s all about the music. So yeah it is still profitable, not as profitable as it once was but the more tickets we know that we have sold then we know how well we are doing. You just hope that there is a swell with the release of a new record and with how this record has been doing then I think we’ll be fine. We will always be fine, we’ve been doing this too long now that we know how to keep this going. I make a very good living doing the solo thing because there are no overheads except the bus. I mean we show up, I’ve got three guitars, a stool, a couple of microphone stands, the guy who plays with me pedal steel, a dobro which is basically a lap slide guitar and that’s it. It all fits in the bus.

Then the great part knowing that you don’t have to split the money equally four ways.

Yeah everyone still gets their share but when it comes to the final pot then there are not three other guys taking their share.

On the note of touring, what is it like after 16 years to turn around and no longer see Jon there?

The guy who is sitting there, every time I ever turned around and saw Jon, I saw Sal [Giancarelli ] too. He was Jon’s drum tech for twelve years so he knows the material inside and out and he is fucking solid as a rock. The one thing that there isn’t, is the drama that followed like a dark cloud.

I know you had mentioned in an interview that if he wanted to return then you would listen to what he had to say and he responded by stating “never say never,” so do you think if he were to approach you and attempt to clear the air that something could work out or was there a lot more drama behind the scenes over the years which all came to a head during the documentary?

I can absolutely assure everyone that is has been a very long and difficult road to get to where we are today and I’m not trying to throw that all in Jon’s way in any shape or form, we’ve all had our shit over the years but it all came to a head on this album. Sal is the new drummer, as of now and we can see how it is at the end of the year. I’m certainly not going to replace him with someone else, unless it was the situation were Jon was wanting to come back but I don’t know if he wants to come back.

He did seem on edge during that interview when asked about Staind but he did state he was happy to hear you say that the possibility was there but now he has joined Soil for touring and that was his only priority right now. Only time can tell.

We’ll see what happens.

I’ve seen a few requests on Facebook for one song to appear in your set list recently and it appears that a lot of people want to hear you perform ‘Wannabe’ live. Have you performed it yet or planning to during any tours?

We have performed it; it has to be on YouTube [laughs].

Song: Wannabe

I don’t think anyone ever expected you to rap on a Staind record so they are now waiting to witness it live.

[Laughs] Well I don’t think anyone was ever expecting me to do a country record either. I don’t like to be told what I can and can’t do but at the same time it was a complete accident. You’ve seen it [the documentary] so you know we were just sitting there, probably two hours into just listening to the track over and over and over again and it was the last song I had to do, the very last song. It was stress; it was so many things [laughs].

But as soon as you hit that first line it was there.

[Laughs] It was just as soon as I said “I’m selling records” and I looked up at Johnny [K], with a funny look on my face, “what is it that you do, sitting in your mama’s basement with a shiatsu” and it was just hilarity for the rest of the time. It was the only time in the entire recording process that we laughed and had fun and it wasn’t an uncomfortable laughter because of the stress that was in the air.

And it took until the last song to finally get to that point.

Last song.

What was the thinking when you started writing it because if we go through the entire first part it continues “Peanut butter on your dick/Right hand going click/With your left hand giving you a rim job/So now you wanna talk about me/Who’s name in on the marquee.”

I was just…

You don’t even look sure.

[Laughs] I was just trying to sink the dagger in a little bit in the other direction. I was painting a very disrespectful picture to those who feel the need to be disrespectful to me and the band.

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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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