Staind Pushing Hard To Put Grey Days Behind Them

Group hopes Chapter V will rekindle its success.

There was a time — say, four years ago — when the idea of Staind rabidly committing well-orchestrated acts of self-promotion would’ve seemed, well, a bit ridiculous.

Overkill, even.

After all, hard-rock fans were champing at the freakin’ bit for the New England band’s 2001 disc, Break the Cycle, in the weeks leading up to its release, thanks to the mild-mannered single “It’s Been Awhile.” It debuted atop the Billboard albums chart, selling more than 716,000 copies during its first week on shelves.

But then came 2003′s 14 Shades of Grey, which failed to re-create the same sort of pre-release fervor as its predecessor. Although it, too, debuted at #1, Grey has sold just 1.4 million copies, compared to Break the Cycle‘s nearly 5.4 million units scanned.

The pressure is on for Chapter V, which hits stores August 9 (see “Staind Guitarist Has That Old Familiar Feeling About Chapter V ). Accordingly, Staind have been going above and beyond the call of duty, trying to get the word out that a new disc is on the way — and, perhaps more importantly, reminding people who they are.

On the band’s current nationwide tour with 3 Doors Down, Breaking Benjamin and No Address (see “Staind And 3 Doors Down Map Out Summer Trek” ), guitarist Mike Mushok said he and the rest of Staind have been staging “backstage burn sessions” — and no, they’re not what you think, you deviant.

“Through local radio stations, 20 people can come backstage and we play four acoustic songs for them,” Mushok explained. “Then these fans can leave the venue with a CD of that performance. We’ve been trying to mix it up and not play the same songs so there’s different CDs out there with different stuff on them.”

The band also recently shot a video for the single “Right Here,” which has dominated rock radio in recent weeks. Shot by Nathan Cox (Chevelle, System of a Down), the video features nothing but performance footage of Staind. But Mushok said what makes the video great is location, location, location.

“We did it at this house — ‘house’ is an understatement, this place was unbelievable — built at the turn of the century,” he explained. To be more precise, the video was staged at the palatial Crocker Mansion in Mahwah, New Jersey, a 75-room, three-story architecturally outstanding edifice, listed on the state’s Register of Historic Places. “The craftsmanship was unbelievable in the place. That added a real cool touch to the video.”

In addition, Staind have been making in-store appearances at Best Buy locations throughout the country, during which fans who pre-order Chapter V can not only meet the band, but pick up a free three-song sampler featuring two new tracks, “Right Here” and “King of All Excuses”; the third song is a remix of “Come Again,” off the band’s self-released debut, Tormented.

” ‘King of All Excuses’ is one of the heaviest songs on the record,” Mushok said. “It’s just real aggressive, like an it-could-have-been-on-Tormented song, almost. Except Aaron’s actually singing on it. It has a great melody, and the song deals with an issue he had with somebody who was the king of all excuses.”

Mushok said Staind have also been road-testing some of the 12 tracks from Chapter V on their current tour, playing “Right Here,” “Falling” (the forthcoming second single) and “Paper Jesus.” In time, the band could add “Schizophrenic Conversations” to its set list. Mushok said the track is about “talking to yourself, and the things that go on in your head. It’s a real pretty song.” Overall, audiences have been responding positively to the material, which the guitarist takes as a good sign.

“The live setting’s really not the best place to hear a song sometimes,” he said. “Even for me, to hear a band do a song live, the first time, it’s tough to gauge. It’s just a hard setting sometimes for people to hear things for the first time.”