A Troubadour’s Tale
By Kevin Longrie
To Scott Stapp, lead singer of the rock group Creed, music has always been an outlet through which he can better understand his faith, his life, and his ongoing struggle improving both of them. Creed provided a very public and a very visceral catharsis for the Florida-born troubadour, one that he has continued in his solo work. Currently running through dates on an extensive acoustic tour, including a stop at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside on April 1, Scott is shaping the sound of his soon-to-be-recorded sophomore solo record, Lust and Love. The double album, in Scott’s words, is about “the journey from the dark to the light” as played out through a series of coupled themes like temptation and ego, faith and struggle, and of course, lust and love.
“From a sonic perceptive, it’s a straight-ahead, groove-driven rock record,” Stapp told the Weekly in a recent phone interview. The material from Lust and Love, which will be primarily acoustic in nature, is still raw; Stapp is hoping to “use the energy, the vibe, and the feedback [from the smaller, more intimate crowds] to help the songs develop.” But he also thinks this testing is more than a fair trade-off for fans that are, for all intents and purposes, used to a much harder and heavier sound from him.
“[Acoustic instrumentation] makes it more palatable to the listener—more personal and more intimate,” he claims. “You get the details and the idiosyncrasies of the songs, musically speaking.”
The tour isn’t just new material, though. Stapp is first and foremost a showman: he knows that he’s also got a responsibility to his fans to play at least some of the hits. “I want to knock it out of the park every night,” he said, describing his enthusiasm for performance. And transposing the songs that made Creed famous—“Higher,” “My Sacrifice,” “My Own Prison,” to name a few—to acoustic was simple, given the fact that all of the songs were originally written on acoustic instruments. “It’s natural to me,” Stapp said. This comfort Stapp feels with the medium allows him to explore more deeply and get at what he calls the “very human” aspect of his music.
Lust and Love, like all of Stapp’s records and endeavors, deals with his faith and the struggles he’s encountered throughout his life because of it. “[It’s about] the hope you find when you surrender to something greater than yourself,” he explained. “For me, that’s God.” And though he’s put out other music since his first solo album—notably Creed’s most recent release—completing this record has been a four year battle. “I think it’s taken me this long,” he admitted, “because I hadn’t gotten to the resolution yet.” He needed to wait until the music and the man were honest.
And it’s with an eye on this level of honesty—“brutal honesty,” according to Stapp—that the frontman has plunged into his latest endeavor: autobiography. “I don’t want to hold anything back,” Stapp said about his intentions for the as-of-now unfinished manuscript he’s been co-authoring with acclaimed biographer David Ritz. “We’re starting from the beginning and taking a hard look,” he said. Stapp is set on not writing a glamorized version of his story; instead he intends to include “the dark days” and hopefully inspire people to learn from both his successes and mistakes. “I am blessed to be alive today,” Stapp said in a suddenly sober tone. “There are four trauma surgeons in South Miami that’ll tell you the same thing.” The book, as well as a new Creed album, is slated for release sometime next year, following shortly after the fall ’11 release of Lust and Love.
Scott Stapp at the Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, (951) 779-9804; www.foxriversidelive.com, www.scottstappofficial.com. Fri, April 1. 8PM. $24-$45.