After taking a two-year hiatus, one of the most successful groups of the post-millennium is back and ready to rock.
Selling more than 15 million albums worldwide and dominating the Billboard Top 200 charts for almost two decades, the highly anticipated hard rock return of Staind is upon us.
Staind will appear at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 8, at The Pool at Talking Stick Resort.
Mike Mushok, Staind’s lead guitarist, spoke to GetOut to discuss the band’s return to the road, their hardcore following, and why making new music is a challenge to established groups.
Q: How does it feel to be back after a two-year hiatus from the road?
MM: Honestly, it wasn’t something that we needed to do but something that our lead singer, Aaron Lewis, wanted to do because he wanted to pursue a solo career in country music. Artistically, he felt the need to do that, and we all understood. It was a nice period for me to be with my family, but I like work and need to work. During those two years, I wrote a lot of music, scored a couple of documentaries, wrote music for ESPN, and Jason Newsted, the former bass player for Metallica, asked me to be in his band. I did a record with him, and we toured around the world last year. So even though Staind had a two-year hiatus, we all stayed busy.
Q: Has your fan base changed as Staind grows older as a group?
MM: We don’t approach things any differently than we have in the past. Has the fan base gotten older? Probably. Everybody gets older. I notice that our playing gets better as we get older, especially the shows on this tour. The crowds are also into it a bit more, too. So even though we’ve all gotten older, we’re not getting any mellower. The response has been great, and we’re feeding off of that.
Q: Your fan base consists of hardcore loyalists. You rarely see that these days with bands. What is it that you think you’re tapping into?
MM: A lot of it has to do with Aaron’s lyrics and how people relate to them. It’s almost surreal in a way, because when we made that first record, which was basically in my basement, you don’t think as you’re making it that millions of people will somehow relate to it and then latch onto it. It’s an interesting transition, because you’re in this bubble when you create it, and then you perform, and thousands are singing along. It’s great.
Q: As part of my research, I watched the Staind documentary on the making of your last album. I don’t mean this to be derogatory, but Staind seems to be like the Who and The Police, in the sense that it’s a tough band to be a member of.
MM: Let me just say making that record ‘Staind’ (Atlantic/Roadrunner 2011) was very difficult, and it just so happened to be captured on film. That was perhaps the most difficult record this band has ever had to make. ... When you’re dealing with creativity, personalities and people who want things to go a certain way, then it gets hard.
I have a saying: ‘You can make a joke about my mother, but if you say anything about my music, then we have a problem.’ That’s how I truly feel. Music is very personal, and for years I’ve tried not to take it personally. I’ve probably come a long way from when we first started. I could play a riff for Aaron and think it’s the best thing in the world, and he’ll say, ‘Nah, I’m not really into that. I’m over it.’ (laughs). I used to really get mad, too, but as I got older, I just say, ‘Not everybody’s going to like it.’
Q: I noticed that Staind hasn’t released an album in three years. Are there any plans to come out with any new material?
MM: It’s an interesting dilemma that Staind and other established bands face these days. When we first started, there was an actual music business. Today, fans are fans of particular songs and older material. Nobody buys records any longer. ... People are always going to make music, but we just have to figure out how it’s going to be done. Going into the studio to cut a new album seems to be antiquated. You can make music in your bedroom now if you have Pro Tools and a hard drive. ... It seems like there has to be another way, especially if you’re a band that’s established.
Q: Any special memories of Phoenix?
MM: Tons of great memories. Paul Yaffee Choppers is based in Phoenix, and my friend’s brother worked for him, introduced us and there were a few times he’d let us into the showroom and pick out whatever bike we wanted. We’d drive through the desert for hours, stop in a couple of saloons along the way, and have a nice afternoon. Those were some amazing times.
If you go
What: Staind in concert
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 8
Where: The Pool at Talking Stick Resort, 9800 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale
Information: (480) 850-7734 or TalkingStickResort.com
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