Scott speaks to MTV
Two months ago, Scott Stapp refused to talk to MTV News. When Mark Tremonti and Scott Phillips announced the breakup of Creed from Tremonti's Orlando, Florida, home, Stapp bagged on telling his side of the story just days before the interview was to take place. He says now that he didn't feel the breakup should have even been revealed.
As Stapp prepares to demonstrate what he can do apart from the guys he's called friends and bandmates for the past decade, with his first solo offering, the single "Relearn Love," and a full album on the horizon, the singer opens up about what really happened on the last Creed tour, the ailments that almost ended his music career, starting over, and why he's not ready to turn off the lights on Creed just yet.
MTV: For your solo album, you've written a few songs with hip-hop/R&B producer 7 Aurelius. That's about as far from Mark Tremonti as it gets.
Scott Stapp: Once you reach a certain point, you kind of want to venture off and work with other people. I think that's totally normal. When a band breaks up — and I put "breakup" in quotation marks because it's something that didn't even really need to be said; we could have both gone off and done our solo projects without ever [announcing the breakup of Creed] ...
MTV: Is that why you canceled the interview we had scheduled in June?
Stapp: I just didn't agree with making the announcement, and I didn't want to be a part of the mind-set that was behind it. It happened, and it is what it is. People want to find drama and figure out what happened, so you feel like you have to give people an explanation. My explanation is that it's just natural to want to go and [work on solo material] at a certain point.
MTV: Mark and Scott Phillips said your differences were personal as well as musical. No one could get along with you.
Stapp: That's not true. There wasn't a fight. There was just no communication [between us]. I had all these health problems, and I isolated myself, and to be honest with you, I didn't feel like anyone cared about anything but making money and touring.
I have a son and my goals have changed. I didn't want to tour 280 days a year. I wanted to spend more time with my son. I'm divorced and his mother's not involved in his life, so that's what's important to me.
MTV: You had health problems beyond the injuries you sustained in the car accident in 2002?
Stapp: I was basically on [anti-inflammatory] Prednisone for the last six months of the Weathered tour, and it bloated me up like a beached whale. I looked like fat Elvis. I had a nodule on my vocal cord, too.
MTV: What is Prednisone?
Stapp: It's like a steroid. It reduces all inflammation in the body. Without those shots I couldn't sing. And without putting the blame on anyone, I was put under a lot of pressure, regardless of my health issues. I didn't want to let anybody down. I'm a team player, and I was taking one for the team.
I found out later that you're not supposed to take it for that long. Afterwards [one doctor] said I risked damaging my voice forever and ending my music career. Quote unquote "rock doctors" do what they need to do if they're making money off you. It also made me very depressed and made me feel isolated to the point where all I did was sit in the bus and go onstage.
MTV: Didn't you think your bandmates would've understood your situation?
Stapp: I'll take the blame for not bringing those guys in, and saying, "Hey, look at my X-rays." I didn't do that. I should have, but at the end of the day, that's not why the band broke up.
MTV: Besides musical differences and health issues, what else led to the split?
Stapp: As Mark and I were moving in different ways creatively and exploring other options, certain people surrounding the band, but not in the band, took that situation and put a negative spin on it and used it for their own benefit. It's crazy what certain individuals will do. They want to get so close to someone in the band that they will drive a wedge between them and someone else in the band in order to be closer friends with them.
MTV: Who are you talking about?
Stapp: Just many people. I don't want to really point any fingers. I can take the blame and say I didn't do enough to fix it.
MTV: Did all this come about on the last leg of the Weathered tour?
Stapp: Mark and I started moving in different directions artistically after [2000's] Human Clay tour. When you're young guys and you don't know how to deal with what you're feeling inside, it's easy to focus on other things that are pulling you apart. I bet that every friend in the world, if they wanted to focus on the negative, they could.
MTV: Mark said that the Chicago show in 2002, the one that resulted in concertgoers suing the band for a bad performance, was the last straw in your relationship.
Stapp: I've heard the rumors that I was whacked out on drugs, and I can tell you what I was whacked out on ... Prednisone. I was exhausted, but I sang every song. I performed as hard as I could. Basically, the people who sued just wanted the press and attention and money. Everybody didn't sue; it wasn't a class-action suit. I think what got Mark upset was that it was his hometown and two people in the newspapers were bashing his band.
MTV: It wasn't just Chicago papers that covered the story. It made headlines everywhere.
Stapp: We were the most successful band in the world for the last eight years. There wasn't even any contest. I don't mean to sound arrogant — I'm not an arrogant person, and I never thought we were better than anyone. I think I was perceived that way because of our lack of experience. I came across as this pious, holier-than-thou person.
MTV: How do you mean?
Stapp: Sometimes when you're nervous, you're quiet. Five years ago, I never would have been speaking to you like I am now. I'd be too afraid of saying the wrong thing. And I'd be so afraid of you writing something bad. We were so worried about certain things that we clenched up and got nervous. We didn't show our personalities, who we really were. That's just lack of experience and the fact that we were just four nervous guys.
MTV: Now that you said that, was it media inexperience that caused bassist Brian Marshall to lash out against Pearl Jam after he heard what had to have been the umpteenth comparison between the two bands?
Stapp: Actually, that Pearl Jam thing had absolutely nothing to do with why Brian left the band. Brian left the band because if he didn't, I don't know if Brian would be here right now on this earth. I can't elaborate, but it was for his best interest at the time that he took a break. We always loved Brian and that was the hardest thing we ever had to do. We did that because we cared for him. I'm glad that he's all right now and everything's going good for him now.
MTV: Then what's an example of the inexperience the band had with the media?
Stapp: The whole Christian [rock] thing. That was thrown on us, and we didn't even talk about it. And that kind of affected how the media looked at me. Like, "That guy thinks he's better than everyone."
Also, I don't think some people got my sense of humor. Like that whole Fred Durst thing, that was a joke. When I sent him that anger-management book [after Durst dissed Stapp onstage for not talking to any other bands at a New York radio festival in 2000], I put a note in there that said, "Just to let you know God loves you." It was supposed to be a joke. Because I didn't understand why he did what he did, I was trying to be a smart ass. People took it like I was being serious.
I didn't come out of my dressing room because I was sitting backstage next to a humidifier. I had to gear my whole day around getting onstage. I couldn't talk all day. I was made to feel like the only thing that mattered was doing the show.
Do you know how many times I wanted to let the press and public know about my health issues and I was adamantly told not to?
MTV: You had health issues even back then?
Stapp: Ever since I was a baby, I would catch everything. I was a sickly kid. I have bad allergies. When you have to travel so much and you're a singer with allergy problems, that stinks. I was put on isolation and voice restriction a lot. After really focusing on what I need to do to stay healthy these last couple years, hopefully I have that under control now.
MTV: Why didn't you just ask for some time off to get healthy? I think your fans would have understood.
Stapp: I was advised not to. I don't want to say by who, but it's whoever advises you as an artist. Here was the logic: Do you think the public would demand that I perform knowing that I have pneumonia, two tumors and a nodule on my vocal cords? Why would someone not want me to tell the public? Only if they were benefiting from me staying on the tour.
Continued in the second post...