They may have been one of the most successful US bands of the nineties, with sales of over 40 million albums worldwide, but Creed hardly played in Europe during their heyday, and not even one show following their 2009 reunion.
Frontman Scott Stapp is aiming to put that right as he picks up his solo career again. But we ended up covering much more than his new record Proof Of Life and the band he put together to tour it when we talked to the singer ahead of his live London return.
The album, new live band and tour mark a new beginning for Stapp after his past problems with addiction, as well as a polarising reputation in the press. Here he speaks with stark honesty about his experiences, reflecting on his highs and lows with Creed and his enthusiasm for a new era in his career.
It’s been a long time since you last played in the UK…
“It has. The last time I was here was in 2008, but I was doing military bases so it wasn’t open to the general public. Since Creed didn’t come over on the Full Circle run I didn’t want to come over unless I had a new record so this was the plan; to get this record [done] and then come over. To basically start over, reintroduce myself and my music.
"Fortunately, I have the Creed history so it’s opening doors that I think a new artist would have a harder time with. It’s a real benefit to me and I really appreciate it. I really love the UK and their attitude; their depth with new artists and their music. What [the UK music press] focusses on is so refreshing, to be honest with you.”
So is there the possibility for more UK dates to follow, later this year?
“Yes, absolutely. Right now we’re talking about October, November and December. It’s not confirmed yet, we want to; the booking agent wants to, I want to. So it’s a matter of getting it hammered out with the promoters and the routing… all that stuff. As soon as we get things confirmed I’ll make that announcement. But I want to do six to eight shows strictly in the UK and go to cities and then do that all over Europe. Spend a good amount of time here.”
What’s the setlist looking like for these solo shows?
“I play nine or ten songs off the new record every night. A couple of songs off [first solo album] The Great Divide, and then every other song is a Creed hit. Again, I’m blessed to have that history and I know that my fans want to hear it, and I want to make them happy. But I also want them to embrace my new music so it’s worked out really well doing every other song. I think when they’re happy, they’re open to where I’m at today.
“And I’m proud of the work Mark Tremonti and I did. Those songs are my personal journals and my personal experiences. They’re my story and it wouldn’t make sense, it wouldn’t feel natural to me not to play them. It’s probably a little different than Mark because I was the lyricist so they’re very personal to me. And I know they’re personal to him, but you know what I mean? They’re like my stories. Torn [the opening song from Creed's 1997 debut album My Own Prison] is a song that Mark wrote the lyrics and the music to, so he would probably feel that way about that song because that’s his core. But I think that’s what makes it more natural for me to do it and why he doesn’t feel comfortable doing it.”