Older and wiser, Creed front man Scott Stapp says a lot has changed since the band went on hiatus in 2004.
Now back together, he said the group is sounding better and heavier than ever, both in the studio and out on tour.
“They say that most rock artists tone it down as they get older, but for me I find it the opposite,” Stapp said. “We’re getting heavier, we’re getting groovier, I think, in our old age.”
Creed played The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel on Sunday night.
Stapp described the live show as being “like the WWE with intense rock ‘n roll music played with passion and feeling. It’s a huge production and it’s awesome.”
“It was a long journey to get here,” he admitted. “I think we needed to take some time apart. … We were all going through some ups and downs, and mine were highly publicized.”
The lead singer has traveled a rough road and developed a rather unsavory reputation before finally hitting rock bottom.
He nearly committed suicide in 2003 and in 2005 was involved in a highly-publicized scrap with fellow rockers, 311 band members SA Martinez, Chad Sexton and P-Nut.
The following year, Stapp said, “I went into my darkest hole.”
He still remembers the day that changed his life: “11/18/06,” he said, declining to elaborate but conceding that on that day, he “made some leaps of faith.”
“I’ve chosen to live love as a lifestyle,” he said.
That new lifestyle means more time with his wife and two kids back home in Florida.
“I think having children and a family … has made us more honest and more sincere,” he said.
Still, there’s more to it than that.
He said the secret to his newfound happiness is simple: “Keeping clarity and not getting drunk, to be honest.”
He paused for a moment before adding, “I guess I wasn’t a very nice drunk.”
The reformed alleged egomaniac seems to have been rehabilitated. “It just came down to ego and humility,” he said, sounding incredibly humble.
Stapp’s faith has also played a big part in his transformation, though he said that aspect of his life is separate from what Creed represents.
“We were never a Christian band with an agenda to make people believe in something we did,” he said. “In fact, (Creed drummer) Scott Phillips, at one point, was an atheist.”
“Truly, we’re just a rock band and live life as such,” he concluded.
Still, it’s not hard to find religious undertones in Stapp’s lyrics, and he acknowledges that his musical journey has been a spiritual one, too.
“Early in my career I was really searching to find, really, who I was,” he said. “I was raised in a Christian home and a lot of those lyrics on the first three records were me trying to figure out, within me, do I believe in this because my parents instilled this in me since I was born, or is it my choice?”
Now 36 years old, he said he has found both his place, and peace.
“The way I searched on other records is over,” he said. “This record is just about life, man, and what’s gone one in the last six, seven years.”
The record he is referring to is the band’s first full-length studio album since 2001’s Weathered. (The group also released a greatest hits album in 2004.) The new disc, Full Circle, is scheduled to drop on Oct. 27, though two singles have already been released, “Overcome” in August, and “Rain” last week.
“We’re real excited to get this new record released in October and correctly reintroduce Creed and Creed’s brand of rock n roll and who we are,” Stapp said, noting, “I think it’s the most honest record that I’ve ever written and I also think it’s the most clear to understand, lyrically.”
Sunday night’s show at The Joint was a combination of Creed past, present and future, with both new songs and old hits on the set list.
While the band have been playing some of the songs, including “Torn,” “One” and “My Own Prison,” for over a decade now, Stapp said the old tracks have “really taken on a new life” for him and his recently-reunited bandmates.
“We’re playing the older stuff with a new vigor,” he said. “It’s almost like they mean so much more, now.”
While he resents being called a born-again Christian, Stapp is fine with his born-again rocker status.
“We’re having a great time,” he said. “I just feel so blessed to have a second chance to make a first impression.”