Hitfix Interview: Creed's Scott Stapp: 'I was killing myself'
After a long hiatus, Creed reunited in 2009 for a world tour and a new album, the appropriately named “Full Circle.” Fans welcomed the return of the hit makers, who have sold 35 million albums, back with arms wide open (pun intended). The new album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and single, “Overcome,” was a hit at rock radio.
Now, Creed -- composed of vocalist Scott Stapp, guitarist Mark Tremonti, drummer Scott Phillips and bassist Brian Marshall -- is embarking on its “20-10 Tour.” Acknowledging the troubled touring season and in an effort to give fans a great deal, Creed is selling the first 2,010 reserved seats at each show for $20 with no additional service charges. The remaining seats on the amphitheater tour are either $20 or $10, plus ticketing fees.
Before the July 28 kick off in Washington, D.C., the band will play a Hard Rock Café in Nashville in a benefit for flood relief. Additionally, Creed is giving away a motorcycle and guitar, both of which will be on display at each tour site.
HitFix talked with Stapp, who called from his Florida home. The singer was very candid about his troubled past and gave us some exclusive details about his new solo album. He was also fairly glowing about the birth of his brand new baby boy, Daniel Issam (D.I.), who was born July 4.
Congratulations on your new son. Your three children range from two weeks old to 11 years old. How do you balance fatherhood with being away?
Well, I’ll tell you what, they’re going to have to understand if daddy doesn’t work, they’re going to eat me out of house and home. It may be harder for me, but knowing I’ve got a family to feed and put through school makes it real easy to go, “All right guys, Daddy’s going on tour,” because I know the goal: Just outside of loving music and being an artist and doing what I do, it is my job and I have to support my family. Although it’s tough, it’s what I gotta do.
The new tour starts July 28. What happens right before you go on tour? Are you up all night packing like most of us before we go out of town?
I have to check everything and make sure my daughter hasn’t crawled into my road case. My son Jagger is 11 now; he’s coming out with me. He’s going to be Daddy’s tech on this tour. It’s time for some father-son time as well, so I’m still going to be a daddy even on the road and it’s a good time we can spend together. As soon as D.I. gets the clearance that he can be exposed to the world, my family’s going to come out although that probably won’t be for a little while. I’m sure my wife will want to come out and leave the kids at home with her mom for a few days so we can have some quality time and enjoy each other. It’s good to have my family out and I love to have them all the time. It’s awesome. Thank god my son’s old enough now to help daddy remember everything to pack.
Does Jagger understand that “With Arms Wide Open” is about him and your joyous reaction to the news that you were becoming a father?
He does understand and I tell you we’ve had some really great moments watching “American Idol” or something like that and one of the contestants will sing something like “With Arms Wide Open” and you see him sitting there and his whole face turns red and he just smiles and I think he really does love and accept he’s “Arms Wide Open” boy. He has a lot of pride in that. It’s great for him. I hope my daughter will get the feeling when her song comes out, “Milan’s Song.” I have a song that I’ll be putting out when the time is right for my wife, called “Crazy in Love” and I just finished up with Desmond Child.
Is the song with Desmond Child for a new Creed album?
Right now, it’s going to be for a solo album, but we’ve got a lot of Creed stuff on the table. We’ll make another Creed album next year, an acoustic album. I’ll be doing some touring, kind of presenting the Creed songs in a different way after this Creed tour, and playing stuff from my first solo album, “The Great Divide.” The other guys will be doing some things with their band, Alter Bridge, and then we’ll get back together and do another Creed album and keep everything going.
How did the idea for the “20-10” tour come about with the discounted tickets?
[Co-manager] Paul Geary called with the concept and we were like, “Yeah, man!” [We got] Live Nation and Ticketmaster and all the people involved to cut their fees too to really make this affordable for the fans. It’s all about connecting and making where families and fans can come out and have a good time and not have to skip a month’s rent.
You’re clearly making less on the road as well at those prices. Are you scaling back production?
This is going to be a full-scale rock show…We make cuts like everybody else. It also has to do with a little self-belief in your band and in your art that you’re going to have staying power and be around and it’s not a money grab. And we care about the fans, man. We’re not on another planet because of the success we’ve had. We’ve got families, kids, and bills and live on budgets and have all the same issues and stresses and pressures that blue collar America has. It’s another way of us saying, “Hey, we’re in there with you.
You’re playing a benefit at Nashville’s Hard Rock Cafe on July 26 for Hands on Nashville, a non-profit spearheading flood relief efforts. What’s your connection to Nashville?
It’s where we wrote the “Full Circle” album. We spent a month there doing writing and we’ve all got friends there and other artists we know. Our record company has an office there. I’ve got a voice coach there,
Creed reunited in 2009. What do you value this time around that you didn’t see so clearly the first time?
I think I did see it clearly until I made some decisions and the stress started wearing on all of us and we all made some decisions that started rubbing ourselves the wrong way. And then I made some poor decisions and became someone that I wasn’t because of drugs and alcohol. I’ve always appreciated these guys as artists and musicians and human beings and you know, I think, being older and as time passes that that respect deepens and you don’t you know what you got ‘til it’s gone, but I never wanted it to be gone.
The one thing I can gain from that for me is during 2002, when I lost respect and just wasn’t myself and I don’t even know who I was, I obviously wasn’t respecting myself or appreciating the fans, my friends or anyone else. I was killing myself and hurting people around me. I didn’t want to do that, but it happened, and I made those decisions to do that. And now being able to just soak everything in and appreciate the guy to my left and my right and behind me and be in a place where I’m not such a rookie and naïve enough to put that stuff in my body that caused that again. I appreciate it all and respect it all and would never want to do anything to lose it.
What is your favorite moment of the night when you’re on stage?
I think it’s right at the end of the show when we all come together, arms around each other, and look at the fans and we’ve got smiles on our faces and we’re like, “Hey, guys. We’re Creed and Thank You.” We’re all there as a unit, as a band with our arms around each other and that’s a special moment for me.
Creed on tour:
MON 26-Jul Nashville, TN Hard Rock *
WED 28-Jul Washington, D.C. Jiffy Lube Live # ^
FRI 30-Jul Mt. Pleasant, MI Soaring Eagle Casino * ^
SAT 31-Jul Darien, NY Darien Lake Performing Arts Center ^
MON 2-Aug Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena # ^
TUE 3-Aug Mansfield, MA Comcast Center + ^
THU 5-Aug Orillia, ON Casino Rama Entertainment Casino*
FRI 6-Aug Cleveland, OH Blossom Music Center + ^
SAT 7-Aug Ft. Macoy, WI Constitution Park * ^
MON 9-Aug Sioux City, IA Tyson Events Center / Gateway Arena # ^
TUES 10-Aug Sturgis, SD Rock N the Rally * # ^
FRI 13-Aug Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center # ^
SAT 14-Aug Indianapolis, IN Verizon Wireless Music Center # ^
SUN 15-Aug Chicago, IL First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre # ^
TUE 17-Aug Camden, NJ Susquehanna Bank Center ^
WED 18-Aug Scranton, PA Toyota Pavilion # ^
FRI 20-Aug Gilford, NH Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion * # ^
SAT 21-Aug Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center ^
TUE 24-Aug Wantagh, NY Nikon at Jones Beach Theater # ^
WED 25-Aug Saratoga, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center # ^
FRI 27-Aug Raleigh, NC Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek # ^
SAT 28-Aug Virginia Beach, VA Virginia Beach Amphitheater + ^
SUN 29-Aug Atlanta, GA Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood # ^
TUE 31-Aug West Palm Beach, FL Cruzan Amphitheatre # ^
WED 1-Sep Tampa, FL Ford Amphitheatre # ^
FRI 3-Sep Dallas, TX Superpages.com Center # ^
SAT 4-Sep Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion + ^
*These select shows do not include specially priced tickets.
# with special guest Skillet
^ with special guest Theft
+ with special guest Red