Born Of Frustration, ‘Price To Play’ Is Paying Off For Staind

Aaron Lewis says single was written while 'feeling like we were underneath somebody's thumb.'

The good news for Staind is that the band has debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart for the second time in a row.

The bad news? Staind’s new album, 14 Shades of Grey, sold almost 500,000 fewer copies than their last disc, Break the Cycle, did in its first week on the shelf.

But the bandmembers don’t care about charts, so long as fans like the record.

“It’s not even about the first-week sales,” guitarist Mike Mushok said. “It’s really about being able to continue. One thing I think the record has is a lot of good songs and passionate songs, too, and that’s what kind of gets people out there to want to own the record and listen to it.”

The band’s current single, “Price to Play,” has been getting strong radio play for weeks, but while the song was the first to hit the airwaves, it was the last written for 14 Shades of Grey.

” ‘Price to Play’ came from us feeling we were really, really close to having the record out, but we had some other ideas and we wanted to record them,” Mushok said. “That was one of the songs that came out of the trip back into the studio to make the record what it needed to be.”

“Lyrically, what started the song was my frustrations with having to be back in the studio writing more songs and feeling like we were underneath somebody’s thumb,” added singer Aaron Lewis. “But it turned into a song that just applies to life in general. And it’s kind of tongue-in-cheek because life isn’t a game, but it’s the price we pay to play this game that we call life.”

From Lewis, that’s pretty revealing stuff. The author of tear-stained songs like “It’s Been Awhile” and “Outside” is usually reluctant to talk about the meanings of his songs.

“I feel like if I tell you what the songs are about, or tell you what I was feeling or thinking about when I was writing the songs, it’s like telling you what a movie’s about before you see the movie,” he explained. “It takes away that opportunity for you to make your own determination.”

Of course, that leaves Lewis’ lyrics wide open for misinterpretation.

“At least one person that I know of felt that in ‘Outside’ I said everything so perfectly that they could kill themselves to it,” he said. “That’s so not what that song was for or pertained to or anything of that nature. It was never meant for that. And that was hard for me to handle. I cried about that one.”