Staind Single Out Music Biz On ‘How About You’

Third 14 Shades of Grey single addresses control issues.

UNIVERSAL CITY, California — While Jonathan Davis signed CDs a couple of dressing rooms down, Staind’s Mike Mushok explained Korn’s new single, “Y’all Want a Single,” to Aaron Lewis backstage at KROQ-FM’s recent Almost Acoustic Christmas.

“[It's a response to] ‘Y’all don’t have a first single yet. You guys need to go back and come up with a single,’ ” the guitarist said of the tune (see “Korn’s Attempt To Not Write A Single Backfires” ), imitating a record exec.

“Holy smokes,” Lewis responded. “That sounds really familiar.”

The scenario is so familiar to the band, in fact, that Staind wrote a song about it too. Titled “How About You,” the tune is the third single from 14 Shades of Grey and the follow-up to “So Far Away” (see “Staind’s Second Single ‘So Far Away’ Comes Into Focus” ).

“The song’s kind of to the people in the [music] business,” Lewis explained. “They think they can just sit behind a desk and tell us all how to do it. If they knew how to do it, they wouldn’t be behind a desk.”

“When you do a record, it seems that toward the end of it everybody in the world puts on a producer’s hat and is a songwriter all of a sudden,” Mushok added. “And the more success you get, the more people decide to put on a hat and put out an opinion, and ['How About You'] addresses that a little bit. Mind your own business.”

“How About You” never exactly says “Mind your own business,” but the song opens with the verse “If someone else showed you the way/ Would you take the wheel and steer?/ It hurts me that you’re not ashamed/ Of what you’re doing here.”

“All it is, is them putting pressure on you to see what you come up with,” Mushok mused. “I’m not even sure they listen to what you give them. It’s just Record Exec 101. When a band turns in a record, first they go, ‘I don’t think I hear the first single. Why don’t you guys write some more songs?’ It always seems to happen, and they just put you right under the thumb and see what they can squeeze out of you.”

Staind have no plans to make a video for “How About You,” but that’s a different problem the band has with the music business. “It just doesn’t seem like videos are getting played much these days,” Mushok complained.

The Massachusetts-bred rockers will continue to promote 14 Shades of Grey in a more preferable manner — by touring. The band postponed three shows, and canceled five others, when Lewis developed throat polyps and severely swollen vocal cords in November (see “Staind’s Aaron Lewis Develops Throat Polyps; Band Cancels Shows” ), but he has since recovered.

“I had to learn how to re-sing a little, using some proper technique rather than just going out there and ripping at it,” said Lewis, who saw a vocal coach. “I was doing a couple of key things completely backward, so I stopped doing that and started warming up and warming down. It seems to be working just fine.”

Staind will headline a show on Thursday at the Warfield in San Francisco, after which they’ll open for Nickelback on a Canadian tour beginning January 19 in Kelowna, British Columbia.

“We chose the wrong two months to cover Canada,” Lewis said, complaining about the cold. “But there’s no better band for us to play Canada with.”

After that outing, the band will return to the studio to start work on its fourth major-label release.

“We’ll try and get together, throw ideas around and take it from there,” Mushok said. “That’s pretty much how we’ve done it for the last two [albums]. Maybe we’ll try to get some pressure from executives telling us we don’t have a first single.”