Nearly two decades removed from the launch of their debut album, it’s mind-boggling to consider the rapid rise and descent in popularity for the rock band Creed.
Selling over 6 million copies of the “My Own Prison” album in 1997, the band followed that success with the excess that being rock stars calls to mind. But despite selling over 53 million copies of their first three albums, tension among the band members reached such a point that lead singer Scott Stapp walked away, effectively dissolving one of the most successful bands in rock.
Stapp has found a measure of success since, releasing two solo albums and securing a hit song on the Christian music charts (the #1 charting “Slow Suicide”).
But it did take Stapp some time to release the two solo records he has produced since leaving Creed. 2005’s “The Great Divide” reached double-platinum status on the heels of selling two million copies, but it took eight years for the follow-up.
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Performing at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro on Monday in support of that 2013 disc, “Proof of Life,” Stapp hints that an attempt at repeating success with Creed got in the way of his own music.
“I had a lot of things going on – getting married and having a daughter, and then we moved,” Stapp says. “Then Creed got back together in 2009 and I devoted four years to that, just making a new Creed record (2009’s “Full Circle”) and touring the world. It was a combination of those two things, really.”
Those four years spent trying to recapture success with Creed were for naught. Old tensions between Stapp and his bandmates reared again, as well as new battles with Mark Tremonti over who would dictate the creative direction of the group. What should have been the second chapter in the Creed saga ended with a shelved fifth album and threats of the band never performing together again.
“We got down to trying to figure out what we were going to do on the follow-up record, and the issues began with just Mark and I not being able to agree on the producer and what direction the band would go to on the next album,” Stapp says. “Once we kind of reached a different idea on that direction, everything just grinded to a halt.”
So Stapp returned to his solo projects.
“With Creed, there’s a collaboration between Mark Tremonti and myself on the music and direction,” he says. “The entire project is a collaborative effort. With my solo work it’s just me and my artistic vision, and everything that happens is what I want it to be. I really get an opportunity to work with a huge group of people instead of just one other guy. I get to write with various friends of mine, instead of just Mark Tremonti.
“They are both very fulfilling, if markedly different in their own way.”
Stapp’s current tour comes on the heels of several public incidents that caught media attention. A sex tape was leaked on the Internet in 2006, and the footage drew outrage from the singer’s sizable contingency of Christian music fans and also shed light on a possible issue with addiction. In 2014, Stapp released a video on Facebook in which he claimed to be completely broke and homeless.
Open about his past issues with addiction, thoughts of suicide and with being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the singer reflects upon his past with remorse.
“I have regrets in my life, and have things that I wish I hadn’t done or that I could go back and change,” Stapp says. “I definitely wish, from my standpoint and for me personally, that I hadn’t made those decisions in my life. If I hadn’t made those decisions, I wouldn’t have had to deal with the consequences. But I can’t blame anybody else; the only blame I can really place is to point the finger right back at myself.”
The newly clean and sober Stapp knows he can count on older fans to make the trek to Carrboro on Monday night to hear the songs of their high school years, but he is also in a position to gain some younger fans as well, thanks to a video he made for the Funny or Die website. The clip features Stapp delivering a humorous review of the Sylvester Stallone film “Creed.”
“I had a good time doing it,” he says, “and I was hoping that it would connect with people and that they would get a kick out of it too. It looks like that is what happened. It makes me feel good when people can laugh at something that I did that was actually intended to make them laugh.”
Who: Scott Stapp, with Rockett Queen
When: 8 p.m. Monday
Where: Cat’s Cradle, 300 E. Main St., Carrboro