Nominee – 1996 6th Annual LA Music Awards
Staind (/ˈsteɪnd/ staynd) is an American rock/metal band that was formed in 1995 in Springfield, Massachusetts. For 17 years, the band consisted of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Aaron Lewis, lead guitarist Mike Mushok, bassist Johnny April, and drummer Jon Wysocki (who left in May 2011). To date, the band has recorded seven studio albums: Tormented (1996), Dysfunction (1999), Break the Cycle (2001), 14 Shades of Grey (2003), Chapter V (2005), The Illusion of Progress (2008), and their self-titled album (2011). The band has had five chart-topping singles and sold over 15 million records worldwide
Early years and Tormented (1995–1998)
Staind formed in Springfield, Massachusetts. The band met through friends and started covering Korn, Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam, Tool, and Alice in Chains, among others, and played at local clubs (most commonly playing at Club Infinity) for a year and a half. Staind self-released their debut album, Tormented, in November 1996, citing influences Pantera and Machine Head. Until recently, the album was difficult to obtain, as only four thousand copies were originally sold.
During this time, Staind acquired a concert slot through Aaron’s cousin Justin Cantor with Limp Bizkit. (Justin had managed them and was a rising star in the entertainment industry)..Just prior to the performance, Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst was appalled by Staind’s grotesque album cover and unsuccessfully attempted to remove them from the bill. His perception changed, however, after being impressed with their performance.
On April 13, 1999, Staind released its major label debut Dysfunction on Flip Records. The album, which was co-produced by Fred Durst and Terry Date (who also produced acts like Soundgarden, Deftones, and Pantera), received comparisons to metal giants Tool and Korn. In particular, Aaron Lewis was lauded for his vocals, which were likened to those of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.
The album achieved slow success, with the album reaching the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Heatseaker Charts almost six months after its debut. In the same week, the album jumped to No. 74 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album Charts. The nine-track LP (with one hidden track, “Excess Baggage”) produced three singles, “Just Go”, “Mudshovel”, and “Home”. “Mudshovel” and “Home” both received radio play, cracking the Top 20 of Billboard’s Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts. In promotion of Dysfunction, Staind went on several tours, including the Family Values Tour with acts like Limp Bizkit and The Crystal Method, as well as opening for Sevendust’s headlining tour.
Lewis performs at the Rolling Rock Town Fair on August 4, 2001.
Break the Cycle (2001–2002)
Staind toured with Limp Bizkit for the Family Values Tour during the fall of 1999, where Aaron Lewis performed their first mainstream hit “Outside” with Fred Durst at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. Staind released their third studio album Break the Cycle on May 22, 2001. Propelled by the success of their first single “It’s Been Awhile”, the album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album charts, selling 716,000 albums in its first week. The album’s first week sales were the second highest of any album that year, a significant achievement for a hard rock band at a time when music charts were largely dominated by hip hop and teen-pop acts.
The album saw the band retaining their previous nu metal sound from their previous album. Despite the album being a mostly nu metal record, the album saw the band going further into their post-grunge sound which is evident in the smash hit song called “It’s Been Awhile” and the song led critics to compared the band to several of other post-grunge bands at the time. “It’s Been Awhile” (which hit the Billboard Top 10), “Fade” (which has been featured on a number of movie soundtracks and television shows), “Outside”, “For You”, and the acoustic ballad “Epiphany”. It also included a track called “Waste”, devoted to two teenage fans who committed suicide shortly before the album was released. “It’s Been Awhile” spent a total of 16 and 14 weeks on top of the modern and mainstream rock charts, respectively, making it one of the highest joint numbers of all time. In 2001, Break the Cycle sold four million copies worldwide, making it one of the best selling albums that year. Break the Cycle would go on to sell seven million copies worldwide, making this Staind’s best selling album.
14 Shades of Grey (2003–2004)
In early 2003, Staind embarked on a worldwide tour to promote the release of the follow-up to Break the Cycle, 14 Shades of Grey, which sold two million albums and debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200. The album saw a departure from their previous nu metal sound and the album mostly contain a lighter and more melodic post-grunge sound something that was used in Staind’s last two previous albums but wasn’t the most dominant sound in the band. The fourteen-track collection was the band’s most mainstream yet, and showed Aaron Lewis writing songs about his daughter, as well as moving on with his life and forgetting his past, hence the title representing uncertainty for the future and forgiveness. The album provided two mainstream hits: the lead single “Price to Play” and “So Far Away” (which spent 14 weeks on top of the rock chart and was featured on an episode of Smallville); in addition, two other singles failed to crack the Hot 100—”How About You” and “Zoe Jane”— but “How About You” was a fairly popular song on modern rock radio. Their song “Price to Play” was the official theme song of WWE’s Vengeance pay-per-view event in July 2003. In addition, their song “So Far Away” was featured on an episode of WWE Raw as part of a video tribute to hardcore wrestling legend Mick Foley. The band’s appearance at Reading Festival during the 2003 tour had another impromptu acoustic set, this time due to equipment failure. The singles “So Far Away” and “Price to Play” came with two unreleased tracks, “Novocaine” and “Let It Out”, which were released for the special edition of the group’s Chapter V, which came out in late 2005. In 2003, Staind unsuccessfully sued their logo designer Jon Stainbrook in New York Federal Court for attempting to re-use the logo he had sold to the band. They re-opened the case in mid-2005.
Chapter V (2005–2007)
After extensive promotions, including an appearance on Fuse TV’s 7th Avenue Drop, Staind’s fifth album, titled Chapter V, was released on August 9, 2005, and became their third consecutive number one. The album opened to sales of 185,000 and has since been certified platinum in the U.S. The first single “Right Here” was the biggest success from the album, garnering much mainstream radio play and peaking at number 1 on the mainstream rock chart. “Falling” (the video of which does not feature the band members at all) was released as the second single, followed by “Everything Changes” and “King of All Excuses”. Staind went on the road when the album came out, doing live shows and promoting it for a full year, including participating in the Fall Brawl tour with P.O.D., Taproot and Flyleaf, a solo tour across Europe and a mini-promotional tour in Australia for the first time. Other live shows included a cover of Pantera’s “This Love”, a tribute to Dimebag Darrell. Staind appeared on The Howard Stern Show on August 10, 2005, to promote Chapter V. They performed acoustic renditions of the single “Right Here” and Beetlejuice’s song “This is Beetle”. Their rendition of “Beetle” is immensely popular with fans and listeners alike and became a staple of the show. Staind also performed a version of “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd. Kevin Lofton, who does all the animation for the Howard Stern website, created a black-and-white animated video for the song. During a January 2006 episode of WWE RAW, a tribute video to then WWE Champion Edge featured the band’s song “Right Here”. In early November 2005, Staind released the limited edition 2-CD/DVD set of Chapter V. The set included several rarities and fan favorites— music videos; a complete, 36-page booklet with exclusive artwork; an audio disc with an acoustic rendition of “This is Beetle”; the original, melodic rendition of “Reply”; the previously released B-side singles “Novocaine” and “Let It Out”; and live versions of “It’s Been Awhile” and “Falling”, among many others.
In 2006, Staind performed an acoustic show in the Hiro Ballroom, New York City on September 6 and the songs played were recorded for their “Greatest Hits” album. They played sixteen songs including three covers: Tool’s “Sober”, Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” and Alice in Chains’s “Nutshell”.
The title was later renamed to The Singles and finally The Singles: 1996–2006. The album had most of Staind’s singles (including “Everything Changes” which was recorded at the New York show), the three covers performed at the New York show and a remastered version of “Come Again”, from Staind’s first independent release Tormented. It was released on November 14, 2006.
The Illusion of Progress (2008–2009)
On August 19, 2008, Staind released their sixth album, The Illusion of Progress. A limited edition of the album was also made available to fans, which included three bonus tracks and a year membership in the Staind Fan Club, along with other items (the first 200 fans who pre-ordered the album through Atlantic Records received a signed copy of the album by the band). Prior to the album’s release, the track “This Is It” was available for download on the iTunes Store, as well as for Rock Band. The album debuted at No. 3 on US Billboard 200, No. 1 on the Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums Chart, No. 1 on the Top Digital Albums Chart, and also No. 1 on the Top Internet Albums Chart, with first week sales of 91,800 units. The first single on the album, “Believe”, topped Billboard’s Top 10 Modern Rock Tracks on September 5, 2008. The band also supported Nickelback on their 2008 European tour. The second single was “All I Want”, and came out on November 24. The video continues the story of first single and was available on Staind’s MySpace on December 12. The single also became Staind’s 13th top 20 hit on the rock charts. In Europe the second single was “The Way I Am”, released on January 26, 2009. The final single released from the album, “This Is It”, was sent to radio stations across the country on May 4, 2009. The single was also included on the successful Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – The Album released in late June 2009. Aaron Lewis stated in an interview that he began writing for his upcoming solo album, which was set to be released later that year. Staind embarked on a fall tour with the newly reunited Creed.
Staind and departure of Jon Wysocki (2010–2012)
Staind at Uproar Festival 2012
In March 2010, Aaron Lewis stated the band would start working on their seventh studio album by the end of the year. Lewis had finished recording his country-tinged solo EP and had recently started a nonprofit organization to reopen his daughter’s elementary school in Worthington, Massachusetts. Lewis was able to get her school reopened thanks to the benefit concert Aaron Lewis and Friends, which featured performances by Seether, 3 Doors Down, Lo-Pro and more. Guitarist Mike Mushok stated in a question and answer session with fans that the band was looking to make a heavy record, but still “explore some of the things we did on the last record and take them somewhere new for us”. In a webisode posted on the band’s website, Lewis stated that eight songs were written and that “every one of them is as heavy or heavier than the heaviest song on the last record”.
In December 2010, Staind posted three webisodes from the studio, which featured the band members discussing the writing and recording process of their new album. They announced that as of April 20, the band had completed the recording of their untitled seventh album and would release it later that year.
On May 20, 2011, Staind announced that the band and long-time drummer Jon Wysocki (currently in the band Soil) had parted ways. Drummer Will Hunt filled in for select dates, but was replaced by Sal Giancarelli. Three days later, it was reported that Staind’s new album was originally called Seven, but was renamed Staind. It was released on September 13, 2011. The first single “Not Again” was released to active radio stations on July 18.
A new track titled “The Bottom” appeared on the Transformers: Dark of the Moon soundtrack. On June 30, Staind released a song called “Eyes Wide Open” from their new record. “Eyes Wide Open” would later be released on November 29 as the album’s second single. A tracklist for the album was also released. On July 12, Staind released the first single “Not Again” through YouTube and was officially released/available on July 26.
In November 2011, the band officially announced through their YouTube page that Sal Giancarelli had become their new drummer. The band was on tour that spring with Godsmack and Halestorm. The tour was called the MASSCHAOS tour. Staind hit the road with Shinedown, Godsmack and more as part of the Uproar Festival summer tour across North America.
Hiatus and return to touring (2012-2014)
It was announced in July 2012 that the band was to be taking a hiatus. In an interview with Billboard Aaron Lewis stated that “We’re not breaking up. We’re not gonna stop making music. We’re just going to take a little hiatus that really hasn’t ever been taken in our career. We put out seven records in 14 years. We’ve been pretty busy.”. Lewis also had plans to release his first solo album The Road.
During such time, Mike Mushok auditioned, and was selected, to play guitar for former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted’s new band Newsted. He featured on their debut album Heavy Metal Music.
Staind played their first show in two years at the Welcome To Rockville Festival on April 27, 2014 alongside Korn, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Seether, Theory of a Deadman, and others. They also played the Carolina Rebellion and Rock on the Range festivals in May 2014.
Return to hiatus and other projects (2015-present)
As of 2015 the band returned to its indefinite hiatus as Aaron Lewis continues his solo tour and writing his next solo album due out in 2016. Mike Mushok has teamed up with ex-Three Days Grace singer Adam Gontier, ex-Finger Eleven drummer Rich Beddoe and Eye Empire bassist Corey Lowery to form supergroup Saint Asonia, which released their first single “Better Place” in May 2015 with their self-titled debut album due to be released on July 31, 2015.
In November 2003 Staind attempted to sue Ohio musician Jon Stainbrook in New York Federal Court over his 1980 trademark of Joe “The Stain” Stainbrook. Staind was unsuccessful in the suit, prompting Stainbrook to pursue litigation against the band for including false statements in their application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If Stainbrook’s suit was successful, Staind would have had to change the band name and forfeit all trademark claims.
In 2005, guitarist Mike Mushok claimed during a deposition in Toledo, Ohio, that Staind avoided any contact with Stainbrook because they were not made aware of promises a Geffen Records executive made to Stainbrook on their behalf during a 1999 licensing negotiation. After several legal confrontations, the parties settled their claims in 2006, partially re-negotiating the 1998 licensing agreement, which allows Stainbrook and Staind the right to use the trademark in certain areas.
Music and lyrics
Topics of their lyrics cover issues of depression, relationships, death, substance abuse, finding oneself, betrayal and even Lewis’ thoughts about becoming a father in the song “Zoe Jane” from 14 Shades of Grey, as well as reflecting on his upbringing in the song “The Corner” from The Illusion of Progress. Also from 14 Shades of Grey, the track titled “Layne” was written about Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley in response to his death in 2002. The song is also about Staley’s legacy and the effect his music had on the members of Staind, especially Aaron Lewis. The genres Staind has been attributed to are nu metal, alternative metal, alternative rock, and post-grunge. Musically, the band is influenced by Alice in Chains, Mr. Bungle, Pantera, Korn, Machine Head, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Pink Floyd, Helmet, and Tool
In 2006, frontman Aaron Lewis was listed in metal magazine Hit Parader’s Heavy Metal’s All-Time Top 100 Vocalists list at No. 49.
Johnny April – bass guitar, backing vocals (1995–present)
Aaron Lewis – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1995–present)
Mike Mushok – lead guitar (1995–present)
Sal Giancarelli – drums, percussion (2011–present)
Jon Wysocki – drums, percussion (1995–2011)
Will Hunt – drums, percussion (2011)