Staind Finally Unleash 'MTV Unplugged' After Setbacks, Success

Home video finally overcomes shooting difficulties, release conflicts.

The wait that Staind fans endured for the release of "Staind MTV Unplugged" was annoying. For frontman Aaron Lewis, it was excruciating.

"It was f---ing killing me," the soft-spoken singer said of the home video that faced more setbacks than a fourth-grade flunkie.

Recorded during their July 16, 2001 performance on the acoustic concert series, the 16 months in between then and its Tuesday (November 12) street date was simply an unfortunate byproduct of their success. Staind's third album, Break the Cycle, was still selling well and spitting out singles several months after its May 2001 debut, so the video resided in release limbo so as to not divert attention from the LP, which has sold more than 4.8 million copies, according to SoundScan.

"Nobody who looks out for us in this business felt that it was in our best interest to take people's focus away from the record," Lewis said. "Although I didn't think that would happen, you gotta listen to the people that know what they're talking about."

Now that the delay has subsided, fans can expect more than 72 minutes of videos, backstage interviews, the making of the "Fade" clip and Staind's "Unplugged" performance — parts of which had never been broadcast, according to Elektra Records.

Although it's not evident from the footage, shooting the "Unplugged" episode was a painstaking process that had to be filmed twice. The first time Lewis was, as he delicately puts it, "freaking sick."

"It was like 14 days straight that we had played," he said. "It was right at the end of [the tour]," he said. "No, it was actually more than that. It was right at the end of our whole press thing ... We had probably done close to a month's worth of grueling [work,] beating ourselves to death on tour and doing press all at the same time."

Lewis' voice was admittedly shot on the first taping, so another was

scheduled a few weeks later. Only problem was that R.E.M. was scheduled to tape their "Unplugged" episode on the same day. Staind will play immediately afterwards, went the reasoning. However, no one was counting on Michael Stipe being a perfectionist.

"I sat there and listened to R.E.M. play their songs all night, perfectly," Lewis remembered. "I'd be listening to a perfect take and Michael would just stop and say, 'Nah, I didn't like that. Let's start over.' "Staind wound up beginning their set close to 1 a.m. They had arrived at the MTV studios at 4 p.m. Lewis hasn't heard an R.E.M. song since that day.

Lewis and his bandmates Johnny April (bass), Jon Wysocki (drums) and Mike Mushok (guitar) are working on the follow-up to Break the Cycle in a Los Angeles studio with producer Josh Abraham (see "Staind's Aaron Lewis Cheers Up For New Album"). Most of the music is done, and Lewis has tracked his vocals on roughly six songs, according to band's Web site.

Mushok described the new, as-yet-untitled album as filled with "really heavy songs and really soft, pretty songs, and everything in between," in a post. Staind hopes to have the LP completed by the end of the year and released in the spring.

"Staind MTV Unplugged" track list, according to Elektra Records:

  • "Home"

  • "Me"

  • "Pressure"

  • "Excess Baggage"

  • "Suffer"

  • "Waste"

  • "Epiphany"

  • "It's Been Awhile"

  • "Can't Believe"

  • "Fade"

  • "Outside"

  • "Mudshovel" (video)

  • "Fade" (video)

  • "Outside" (video)

  • "Epiphany" (video)

  • "Fade" (behind the scenes)

  • "Interview"