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Creed Article in Australian Tom Magazine
(Thanks to PBF)
There's a little bit more info about the next "Creed Quest"
Creed Comes Full Circle.
"A lot of things change in six years, seven years," smiles Mark Tremonti. "I think the only thing that would have made this happen again is time and change."
The guitarist is referring to the recent reunion of Creed, an event he swore would never occur in the wake of their acrimonious split in 2004.
"Back when we said it would never happen again," he continues, "if it was still the same way it was, it would never happen again. The last year Creed was together before was no fun, so now we’re all being gentlemen, grown adults, having mutual respect for one another, and that’s gonna continue hopefully and everything will be healthy."
The end result is what many Creed fans thought they’d never see: a fourth album. Appropriately titled Full Circle, it covers a wide musical spectrum, from the fire and brimstone Sabbath-esque riffing of ‘Bread Of Shame’ to the more radio friendly likes of ‘Rain’ and ‘Away In Silence’. It also benefits from the experience and maturity each member has gained working outside of Creed over the past few years - for Tremonti, who went on to form Alter Bridge with former Creed drummer Scott Phillips and bassist Brian Marshall, that manifested in him feeling comfortable enough to pepper the album with the kinds of shredding guitar solos he’d previously avoided in Creed.
"We wanted to come up with a record that people weren’t expecting us to come up with," explains the guitarist. "I think people were expecting us to come right out with a ‘Highe’r and an ‘Arms Wide Open’ [two of the band’s most successful singles], cash in and get out. But we want this record to show people that we’ve grown in the six years and took the experience we’ve gained and put it into this record."
Perhaps not surprisingly, lyrically the album draws on vocalist Scott Stapp’s experiences leading up to, and during, the band’s hiatus, as well as those of his bandmates.
"This album is a reflection for all of us, everyone in the band," he nods. "Every song applies in some way, shape or form to all of us. It tells our story."
More so than any member of Creed, it is Stapp’s story that deserves telling. At the time of the band’s split, the singer’s private life was in a shambles.
"I embarrassed myself pretty much," sighs the 36-year-old today.
Ironically, as Stapp was reaching an all-time personal low, Creed were enjoying a high point in an already monumentally successful career. Or at least they should have been. At the tail end of 2003, their third album, Weathered, was platinum six times over, making it the best-selling rock album of the year. Rather than basking in that success, though, Stapp was alienating both his band and fans, the latter making their displeasure known after a notorious show in Chicago when the vocalist was too inebriated to do anything onstage but lie down. What many on the outside didn’t realise was that Stapp was battling a crippling addiction to painkillers. The dependency took hold in 2002 when, en route to shoot a video for the song ‘One Last Breath’, he was involved in a car accident. Not wanting to halt production on the clip - each day’s delay would cost the band $100,000 - he continued the shoot with the aid of an on-set doctor who prescribed him painkilling medication.
"Then I started having some vocal problems, and I think it was because of the pain medication drying me out," he explains. "I had a doctor come out at a show and give me a shot, which reduced the [vocal cord] inflammation. And what started as me trying to hold everything together and not let everybody down turned into me putting things in my body which had dire, dire side effects and consequences, and it’s nobody’s fault but my own. I started having these side effects and I wasn’t myself. I made some bad decisions and became someone I wasn’t - under the influence of those medications and alcohol."
In the wake of Creed’s combustion in 2004, Stapp released one solo album, 2005’s The Great Divide. More importantly, he set about fixing the damage he’d done to himself and his family.
"I cut off watching TV, listening to the radio, and I just dove into my children and my wife and got up every day and got on my knees and read my Bible and tried to put positivity in my mind. I made a commitment to changing things and working on me, and I think that led to me getting an opportunity to get back in front of the guys and say some things without any expectations."
"The guys" in question were his former Creed bandmates. He wasn’t, he says, reaching out in an attempt to reform the group, but simply to put to rest the demons that ripped their friendship apart. He started by calling Tremonti to ask him for forgiveness, and to apologise for any harm he’d caused. Tremonti reciprocated those wishes, and the channels of communication were once again open.
"A couple of months went by," furthers Stapp, "me and Mark were on the phone talking about song ideas, and then the next thing you know, here we are."
Though Tremonti is keen to point out that Creed’s reunion won’t spell the end of Alter Bridge, it’s clear the guitarist is excited about reuniting with his old songwriting partner, Stapp. And to hear him talk about Full Circle is to hear a man reborn. His enthusiasm even stretches to the album’s packaging, which was designed by his brother, Dan, and features a picture of an iron lock with seven keys.
"In the insert there’s a building with, like, nine or 10 storeys, there are seven storeys missing, there are seven keys on the chain," explains Tremonti. "They’re each for one of the floors, and these floors represent the missing years in Creed’s history. [Dan] likes to tie it all into a story. He’s gonna hide all kinds of stuff in the artwork so people can go on scavenger hunts for information online and win prizes."
Stapp, meanwhile, is finding new meaning in the band’s back catalogue, allowing him to imbue Creed’s live performances with a renewed sense of passion.
"These songs mean more to me now," he enthuses. "To have lived more life and understand the depths of some of the songs, the circumstances in which they were written...let’s just use ‘My Own Prison’, for example. When I said I created my own prison when I was 21, is a lot different than I’ve created my own prison when I’m 36. So I’m singing this song with a whole new passion and vigour, and the band’s playing it that way, because they feel it too. I went through a phase in 2002 where I was on cruise control, and that was because of what we talked about earlier. And it feels so good, and I’m so blessed and appreciative, man, to be able to get out there with these guys and see their faces and the smiles and let the fans know how much we appreciate them."
Full Circle is out now through EMI Music.
One Nation. Indivisible.