A group's immediate widespread popularity can sometimes have disastrous consequences, with constant touring and promotion taking its toll. Such was the case with Creed
, leading to conflicts of personalities, and eventually the outfit's demise. Given the circumstances surrounding the split, Creed
's return seemed a remote possibility, especially in light of the fact that its members seemed happy with their current musical endeavours. However, human beings change through time, and absence can make the heart grow fonder. Past issues can be amicably resolved, and maybe not seem as important as they once were.
On June 4th, 2004 following the issue of three studio albums, namely 1997's "My Own Prison
", 1999's "Human Clay
", and 2001's "Weathered
officially announced its split. Alongside erstwhile Creed
bassist Brian Marshall
, guitarist Mark Tremonti
and drummer Scott Phillips
formed Alter Bridge
, whereas vocalist Scott Stapp
opted in favour of a solo career. On April 27th, 2009 however, roughly five years later, a reunion of Creed
's original lineup was confirmed through the group's official website.
In Nashville, Tennessee from June to July 2009, fourth studio album "Full Circle
" was recorded with producer Howard Benson
. On August 6th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Creed
's reunion tour began, concluding on October 20th in Hidalgo, Texas and previewing the following five newly penned tracks: "Overcome
", "Bread Of Shame
", "Full Circle
", and "A Thousand Faces
". A week later on the 27th, "Full Circle
"'s North American release came through Wind-Up Records. The album charted at position two on the Billboard 200, just behind Michael Jackson
's "This Is It
" compilation, shifting 110,000 copies in its inaugural week of release. First single "Overcome
" had been released on August 25th, charting at position seventy-three on the Billboard Hot 100, while sophomore single "Rain
" was released on October 6th, also charting on the Billboard Hot 100 (at position ninety-one). In the United Kingdom, "Rain
" was issued on February 15th, 2010.
On February 4th at 18:20 GMT, a Wind-Up Records representative telephoned Hit The Lights
' Robert Gray
to put him through to Creed
vocalist Scott Stapp
, so that Creed
's reunion and the man's solo career could be discussed.
UG: Hello. How are you Scott?
I'm great, man. I just found out I'm having a baby boy. My wife and I are so excited.
So that's definitely great news. Has that changed you? Being a family man?
First of all, I'd like to talk about Creed's reunion. You were staying at the Hard Rock Hotel in Florida, and left a message on Mark Tremonti's phone for him to give you a call. What prompted you to leave that message on his phone, and tackle getting Creed back together?
"Us getting back together wasn't just an off the cuff, spur of the moment kinda thing, but was a process."
Us getting back together wasn't just an off the cuff, spur of the moment kinda thing, but was a process. There were managers, and friends of friends, and various people talking since early 2008. At that time when I called and left that message on his machine, I decided to cut through all the middlemen and expedite a relationship starting again.
How much have you changed as a person since Creed split in 2002?
There's been a lot of changes. I have the love and support of my wife, my family and my children, and we've come a long way. My faith - my relationship with Christ - has made changes in my life. I'll tell you one thing about that: there's forgiveness, and if you make mistakes again, there's grace. I just thank God and my wife for sticking by me.
Has your faith helped you overcome personal battles in recent years?
It has helped me overcome a lot of things, but thank God that today - right now - those battles no longer control us. So, most definitely.
So those old issues that caused Creed to split are things of the past?
Yeah, man. They're things of the past bro.
Was Brian Marshall's return important to Creed's reunion?
Most definitely, I think. Us coming full circle, as we did on the album, wouldn't have been complete without Brian - he started it with us.
Once the group's members decided to give Creed another shot, how did that culminate in the making of 'Full Circle'?
We had a few meetings, and began talks about what was next, and what we all wanted to do. After a few meetings, we decided that we wanted to make a record, and so we did that. There was a tour already in the works, but all of us wanted to make sure we came back and reintroduced ourselves, and brought our sound and our music into 2009, and hopefully brought Creed - thankfully it happened - into the present, and made Creed relevant today.
How much do you feel the record industry has changed since 2002?
The record industry seems to have changed dramatically with the internet, and digital distribution, and interaction betweens the fans and the artists. I'm definitely still trying to catch up, but album sales don't seem to be what they used to. I think that I have a great label behind me in Wind-Up Records, who have a young, exciting marketing team and internet team with vision and wisdom. Their staff are on the cutting edge of how it's evolving, so I can focus on being an artist, and making music, and getting re-engaged with the fans. In fact, that's something we've just discussed through email in outlining a plan for my next solo record - which'll be out this year I believe, or early next year.
What can you reveal regarding your forthcoming second solo album?
"Us coming full circle, as we did on the album, wouldn't have been complete without Brian - he started it with us."
My second solo album is definitely inspired by my family; I have a song on the record about my daughter, and today I was inspired to begin a concept about my son who's on the way. It covers a lot of personal things, and characters if you will. I've never really approached writing songs and lyrics that way before, but actually, the songs themselves are about a character, or a demon per se, or something positive per se. I think my wife, and my family support, and my faith, has given me a deeper understanding of what real love is. I think, for the first time in my life, I'm gonna be able to really write about that from a whole new perspective, and write about it with some clarity.
How do you feel your second solo album takes a step forward from 'The Great Divide'?
It takes a tremendous step forward from the first album, in terms of content, and then, I'm kinda pushing the boundaries of my sound and evolving as every artist does. I'm a rock guy at heart, and love the guitars, and the aggressive nature of rock music. I'm also starting to really appreciate other instruments, and write on piano, and just different things. I feel really blessed to have the freedom and flexibility to really explore myself and who I am, and how the things around me push me to write songs with sounds that I've never used.
How do you juggle time between Creed and your solo career?
When we're together and making a record, that's where my heart is. In terms of the music, and when we're on tour, that's where I'm at. When we're not, I work with other artists, and focus on the music that I'm creating. Just recently I got a call from Carlos Santana, and I was completely blown away that he asked me to do a song with him - I was just humbled by it. That's another project I have going on, and I think that's kinda how the band's evolved. We get together and make a record now, and do a tour, and when we're not together, we continue growing as artists and exploring new territory with other projects.
How would you describe this song you're due to record with Carlos Santana?
The song is called "Fortunate Son" by John Fogerty (as a part of Creedence Clearwater Revival, from 1969's 'Willy and the Poor Boys'), and I think it's a really, really great track. Carlos' guitar playing is amazing. I think it's a step in a slightly new direction for me, but it's still a good rock track man. It's not finished yet - I'm still working on my final vocals - but definitely, having his guitar playing on the track now is inspiring. I can't wait to finish it up.
Does Carlos Santana have a forthcoming album in the works which that track might feature on?
Yeah. I hope that the track makes the record, and I know that Chris Cornell is working on a track, or has completed a track with him as well. Some other artists have done that as well, like Chris Daughtry and a whole list of artists. I'm just happy to be a part of it.
How has Creed's style evolved since 2001's 'Weathered'?
I think 'Full Circle' is a more accurate representation of the band today. I think we're a guitar-driven rock band, as we always were, but I think that there's tremendous balance on the record. I think the musicianship and playing is amazing, and I think we've all become better at what we do. It definitely reflects the talents and passion that each member of the band share with their instrument.
Were there certain experiences you had when recording 'The Great Divide' that you might've incorporated into 'Full Circle'?
Most definitely, in terms of trying to wait somewhat until we've really composed the music, and then seeing how that inspired me, instead of putting together things I had written prior. There was kinda more of a flow, based on certain inspiration, and then I learnt a lot of things not to do. I think every record is a learning experience, and I'm glad that I learnt the lessons that I learnt on that record, and brought them into recording 'Full Circle'.
What musical direction would you like to take on future Creed albums?
I think we should just keep our foot on the gas, and do what we just did with 'Full Circle', and keep the attitude of no rules or boundaries or limits to what we can explore. We'll see what happens.
Creed issued a live DVD ('Creed Live') in December 2009.
"There's been a lot of changes. I just thank God and my wife for sticking by me."
Yeah - it was awesome. We're very excited about it. 'Creed Live' is our first live DVD, and it was done by Dan Catullo at DC3. It was an amazing experience, actually, and with the band's inspiration and vision we got a world record with the amount of high-definition cameras used to film that. We used some pretty cutting edge technology, and you can really see the band up close and personal from all different angles, so it really, really blew my mind. 'Creed Live' entered the Guinness Book of World Records, so I tell you what: it was a pretty blessed year (laughs).
When performed live, how does Creed's new material sit against Creed's old material?
I think our new material sounds like a natural progression of the band. I think it sits really, really good, and the audience reacts well. I think we'll get a better testament to that when we tour again after our fans have had 'Full Circle' to sleep on, and digest.
In the United Kingdom, Creed will release a new single in mid February, namely "Rain".
I'm very excited about that song, and I think it just speaks where Mark and I and the band were, and what we've been feeling away from each other and together. There's a lot of hope in that song, and I think that's a feeling and a mentality that we all share inside, which pushed us for so long - hope, and the belief that no matter what happens in our lives, we can keep moving forward, and by keeping faith, we can overcome everything.
And finally, what do you feel the future holds for Creed?
I think the future is bright, and I have high expectations.
Ok. Thanks for the interview - it's really appreciated.
Thank you very much for your time.
And all the best with Creed, your family, and your solo career.
Oh, thank you very much man. And all the best to you and your family.
Take care. Bye.
Interview by Robert Gray