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Now, and in interviews over the last few years since then, it’s striking how honest you are and you don’t shy away from awkward questions. Were you hesitant at first to be that open with the press, especially after being burned by critics in the past?
“There was a long time in my life when I really was bitter with the press and I didn’t understand what was going on. In the part of my rock n’ roll dream that was coming true, the press was supposed to embrace [Creed] and not do what the majority of them did. So I think me and Mark were hurt, it definitely affected us.
“Then, to take it even further, I felt that it just got to a point where I was intentionally getting set up and taken advantage of. Then I created situations that perpetuated that; I made it even worse for myself when I was fighting depression and alcoholism. I made the mockery even worse and even validated certain things that weren’t valid at the time, but gave the appearance that it was valid later on because of what was going on in my life.
"Basically, part of the walk in sobriety is honesty, and being comfortable in your own skin. I just realised that I can’t live my life trying to paint different pictures and being clever with this; being on guard 24/7. I threw in the towel on that, man. I’m just going to be real. Not that I wasn’t real before, but I got to a point where I was just so guarded and bitter. I just had to let that go and just say it is what it is. And I think humility, and feeling broken – like I had lost everything – helped me get to that point.
“And you never have to really worry about how you’ve answered questions or what you’re saying if you’re telling the truth.”
Is there a misconception that your addiction problems were the reason Creed split up in 2004?
“I think that being the sole reason is definitely a misconception. Because that really kicked in heavy after the breakup. My depression and me not understanding it; me isolating myself and the guys not understanding it either, I know that was one of the top three reasons that we broke up. Most definitely. But I also definitely think my depression and having a couple of drunken experiences, it helped initiate – be the catalyst – and a good excuse to use for what was already beginning to happen for other reasons. It made it safe.”
There was a period when you didn’t tour for a while and, from a vocal perspective, there’s obviously a condition a singer needs to get their voice in to handle the strains of the road. How did you go about that? It seemed like your voice really got back to form on the 2012 Creed tour when you revisited the My Own Prison and Human Clay albums…
“I noticed [that] too. It was really getting the experience back, and then going and actually working with a couple of vocal teachers to finally learn the proper way to sing. I’d been shooting from the hip my entire career. Also, when you’re having a few drinks before the show that’s not helping.
"But really, technique was important and I saw [renowned vocal coaches] Renee Grant-Williams in Nashville and Seth Riggs in LA. They really taught me the proper techniques to sing and it really changed my whole life in terms of the enjoyment I have from performing now. And now I have the lack of worry that I used to carry about blowing my voice out. Just practicing too; warming up, warming down after the show and all that. It’s definitely had an impact on my voice and it’s expanded my range, and really opened up a lot of things for me.”