The Official Creed Press/TV Thread
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07-23-2009, 01:41 PM
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Re: The Official Creed Press/TV Thread
Found this new article >>
Creed is back, really
by Ray Waddell - Jul. 23, 2009 09:10 AM
Music fans love reunions. Big bucks can flow when bands reconvene, from the Police who got back together in 2007 after more than 20 years apart - and earned more than $350 million, according to Billboard Boxscore - to this year's sold-out Phish reunion. Absence, after all, makes the heart grow fonder. But has Creed, a band whose commercial success hasn't come without its fair share of drama, both real and imagined, been gone long enough to inspire this kind of nostalgia? Creed announced in April that all four of its original members - Scott Stapp, Mark Tremonti, Scott Phillips and Brian Marshall - are back together for a summer tour and a new album on Wind-up, "Full Circle," to be released this fall. On paper, the band looks ripe for a reunion: Creed's 1997 debut, "My Own Prison," sold more than 6 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The follow-up, 1999's "Human Clay," was certified diamond for sales in excess of 10 million copies, according to the RIAA. Creed's last studio album, 2001's "Weathered," sold 6 million-plus. A 2004 "Greatest Hits" package has sold 2 million copies.
Creed also stood out as a touring act. Between November 1997 though the end of 2002 the band reported more than $70 million in grosses and 2 million tickets sold from 220 shows, according to Billboard Boxscore. When it split, even amid controversy and rumored turmoil within the band, Creed was still more than viable commercially.
But despite all this, the band is only starting to see traction on its latest efforts. The tour, the band's first in seven years, begins Aug. 6 in Pittsburgh, and ticket sales have ranged from "mixed" to "disaster," depending on whom one speaks to and, to be fair, depending on whether one is involved in the tour. It is safe to say the trek is not an out-of-the-gate home run. Has Creed been gone long enough for fans to miss it?
"We, frankly, came up to pretty erratic sales, a real mixed bag," says Creed manager Paul Geary of AGP Management. "We sold way more tickets right out of the box in some markets, and in other markets it was, Whoa, what went wrong here?' "
Once the band starts making media appearances and an impact at radio, it is conceivable for Creed to see a resurgence. The band's commercial clout during its peak was undeniable. That, of course, is one positive, both for the tour and the album. "I'm glad that we kind of went out without failures," Tremonti says. "We went out leaving some meat on the bone so people would want more later on, which I'm thankful for."
Gregg Wattenberg, chief creative officer for Wind-up, which has always been Creed's label home, calls the new album "challenging, but I would say every record I work on seems to have its challenges, so it's nothing I haven't seen before."
Having this sort of track record gives Creed a leg up, Wattenberg says, but in the end it comes down to the songs. The title single to "Full Circle" will be worked the third week of July. "These artists that come back with a lot of hype and expectation, if the song delivers it just opens all the doors that need to be opened," he says. "If the song doesn't deliver, it's an uphill battle. I told the guys, Let's keep it squarely focused on one song at a time. All the other stuff is going to follow if we take care of that.' "
When Creed split, the band was already feeling a backlash from both the media and some music fans, not uncommon for acts that experience such a rapid rise to the top. "I think when we parted ways it was kind of a good time to let people step away from Creed for a bit, once we saturated the airwaves the way we did, " Tremonti says. "It sort of seems the world has a way of building artists up, and once it reaches a certain level, when you're no longer the underdog, people sort of stop rooting for you. So it's nice to kind of step back and start fresh again."
Post-Creed efforts by band members have not scaled the heights they experienced together. But it hasn't been dismal, either, especially by today's standards. Tremonti, Phillips and Marshall launched Alter Bridge with Myles Kennedy on vocals and rhythm guitar. Alter Bridge's 2004 debut, "One Day Remains," sold more than 500,000 copies in the United States, according to SoundScan, and its 2007 sophomore release, "Blackbird," sold about half that number. Stapp's 2005 solo album, "The Great Divide," sold 394,000 in the States.
It is unfair to gauge a tour's success until Boxscore reports start coming in, but no press releases about quick sellouts have appeared about the Creed reunion, booked by veteran Creed/Alter Bridge agent Ken Fermaglich at the Agency Group. "I think they've been missed all along by a certain segment of the population," Geary says. "What's gone wrong here is not so much that they have not been greeted with open arms, more so they've been underpromoted."
Geary admits the launch left a little to be desired in terms of creating buzz. Without an album at radio and the "40,000-foot look" that national TV exposure provides, "where the band comes out after seven years for the first time, looking great performing some of their biggest hits and reminding people of why they were so big," they were limited. "Frankly, I'm amazed at how well we've done without anything," Geary says. "We basically just went on sale with surgical strikes; in each market that we went on sale we had a marketing spend, you buy print and radio and some television locally to support the tour."
Later the band nailed down a June 26 "Fox & Friends" TV appearance, and it has at least two other TV appearances in the works, according to Geary. Hopes are high that that exposure, along with a big single and an invigorated marketing push from Live Nation, which is promoting the bulk of the dates, will provide the juice to the tour.
"Live Nation agree and we agree that the launch had its shortcomings," Geary says, "but we're back with that now and we're onboard, and I feel really positive we'll have a big success in the end, now that we have a major budget put toward reaching the people."
It doesn't help that Creed wasn't the critics' darling, despite its commercial success. "Creed's never been popular with the print media," Geary says, adding, "I have to tell you that middle America, Joe Work Boot, loves this band. These songs strike a chord for so many people, evidenced by selling 35 million records and their touring being as significant as it was."
At first, Creed considered reuniting for just a tour and not make a new album. "We got together planning on just doing a tour," Tremonti says. "Then, after a few meetings, we just decided if we're going to do this, let's do it right, go 100 percent and do what we've always done: support a tour with an album and single and go out there and give it all we've got."
While the writing for "Full Circle" took place in five or six weeks, according to Tremonti, "some of these ideas have been worked on for years, so it's not like all of this stuff is coming out of thin air."
This time, Creed was able to recapture its chemistry "fairly quickly," Tremonti says. The title track "was pretty much one of the first ideas we started fiddling around with. I think that song was what broke the ice."
When the band first got together to play at Stapp's home studio, it didn't quite know how to get started, Stapp says. "So I said, 'Let's just go back to the beginning.' We played My Own Prison' and it was like we hadn't missed a beat. In fact, we played it better than ever, and we hadn't jammed together in years."
Whether it all falls into place with a blockbuster tour and a hit album, for his part, Stapp is ready to reconnect with Creed's audience from the stage. "The one thing we like to pride ourselves in is playing these songs better live than we do on record," he says. "We only know one way to do it and that's from the heart. I believe everybody who comes to those shows is going to feel it."
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