It’s been a little over a year since Staind’s fifth album, Chapter V, landed in record stores, and now frontman Aaron Lewis has some frustrations to air and the future on his mind.
A few months ago, the band shot a video for “Everything Changes,” which depicts the last day of school for a bunch of high school seniors, and the graduation bash that follows (see “Staind: Comedy Pros? Band Re-Creates High School Graduation Party For New Video” ).
“I thought it was a really good video, but I don’t know what the hell happened to it,” Lewis said, noting that he hasn’t spotted the clip much on television. Staind, who’ve watched their last three releases debut at #1 on the Billboard album sales chart, have — in Lewis’ estimation — fallen by the wayside as the trends and tastes of this generation of music fans continue to ebb and flow.
“I think nobody cares [about Staind] anymore. No one wants to see videos from us anymore. We’re not the hip flavor of the moment. We don’t wear jeans that are our sister’s, and we don’t wear our hair purposely messed up and spend more time making it look like it’s messy than it would have taken to just comb it and make it look neat. And because we don’t hit our snare drum 500 times in one song.
“So, we’re not what’s cool right now,” he concluded. “Maybe we never have been.”
Despite his distaste for the current musical landscape, the band will plunge back into it by recording its sixth LP, although Lewis doesn’t know when yet. For his part, he said he hasn’t written a single note for the effort.
“I try to keep it all bottled up so when it’s time to do it, there’s the proper setting and scenario and it all comes out then,” he explained. “It’s better that way, so when it’s time to write it, it’s all there, instead of having ideas slip through my fingers because they came out of my head too early.”
Lewis also has plans to hit the road soon for a run of solo shows that includes a five-night stand at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun that starts December 27. He also plans to record his first solo album shortly and does have some material written for that. “I don’t want to have to put it out on a particular label because I have to,” he said. “I want the same fair shake as everyone else, and have anyone who’s interested in it, be interested in it, and be able to paint the best picture I can paint. I’ve been writing songs over the years that never came to the table with Staind.”
Lewis is also working on his next venture: a reality-television series called “The Crew” on which he’ll serve as an executive producer.
“It’s actually a watchable and true reality-TV show,” he said of the collaborative effort with Craig Piligian, who executive produced “Survivor” and “American Chopper: The Series.” “It’s not the reality TV we’ve become so accustomed to. It’s actually almost documentary-esque. It’s about the crew that sets up the show every day, and makes sure the lights work, that our guitars are tuned — the 16 hours a day that goes into making sure that each show goes off correctly. Instead of looking for everyone’s quirks and faults and pointing out their shortcomings, it’s actually giving them the credit they deserve for what they do. They’re the soldiers in the war.”
Lewis said his TV team shot footage on the road using Staind’s own road crew, and will be shopping “The Crew” to all of the networks in the coming months. If and when the show gets picked up, cameras will tail a band’s crew for months, but it’s unlikely that band will be Staind.
In fact, sometime next month, Staind will issue a retrospective collection called The Singles, featuring tons of bonus material that Lewis said should tide fans over “while we go away for a minute, and begin working on our next album.” The disc will boast all of Staind’s singles, as well as a DVD featuring the companion music videos for each track.
Some of the bonus material that’s likely to make the package’s final track list will be live, acoustic tunes the band recorded last month during a private concert at New York’s Hiro Ballroom. Members of the band’s fan club were invited to the gig, during which Staind performed a number of covers, including Tool’s “Sober” and Alice in Chains’ “Nutshell.”