"It was probably in front of 4,000 people": Scott Stapp and Mark Tremonti reveal the surprising story of how the chorus of Creed hit Higher was written during a live show

Scott Stapp of Creed performs the tour opener at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. October 14, 1999.
(Image credit: James Crump/WireImage/Getty Images)

It's no secret that Creed managed to somehow follow-up their hugely successful debut My Own Prison with an even bigger album in the form of 1999's Human Clay. It was one of the biggest-selling albums of the '90s, no less. But the way that album came together is less well known – and dare we see, highly unusual in places.

"Scott liked to play this game where he would put the band on the spot and say, 'Were's going to write a song,' recalls guitarist Mark Tremonti in a new covers tory with Guitar World magazine about how he, vocalist Scott Stapp, bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips worked on Human Clay lead single Higher while they were still touring their debut album. 

That song was written in front of a live group of people

"In our college years, he would do that in front of a live audience at a club, and I would just start riffing out," adds Tremonti. "The band would follow me and he'd start singing. The chorus of Higher was born that way. That song was written in front of a live group of people."

Stapp remembers that night too. "It was probably in front of 4,000 people," he remembers of the audiences Creed found themselves performing to after My Own Prison's rapid ascension. "It was a freestyle. I still like to do that – I'm sure the band guys around me hate it. But it's fun and you get a flow. Mark can trigger me sith some of his licks and interludes between songs. When I heard it, I roll with it. I'm glad Mark jogged my memory on that one, because that's how that chorus was written."

Creating and road-testing material wasn't unusual for Creed then – the video above shows fellow Human Clay favourite Say I being performed by the band for the first time as far back as a hometown Tallahassee gig in August 1997  when the band were celebrating the release of My Own Prison. 

Creed were reportedly returning to their old approach and working on an album's worth of new material during their soundchecks on the 2012 tour when they parted ways for a second time, with fan-recorded audio of songs labelled 'Devil Inside You' and  'Shackle My Pride' appearing on YouTube. But now they're back on the wave of a huge resurgence in popularity, could they return to the plan for a fifth album?

Read more

Scott Stapp interview: "I felt that it just got to a point where I was intentionally getting set up and taken advantage of"

"This year's been so crazy, so we would've had to plan way ahead to have new music on this tour," Tremonti tells Guitar World. "But we've always got tons of ideas in the hopper ready to go. It's just a matter of getting it done and doing it in the proper manner before the next time we go out."

"Let's see what happens," says a more cautious-sounding Stapp about the potential for 'Creed V'. "Let's do these tours and let's see where we are. If it compels us and inspires us to take that next step and do a new record… you know what I mean?" 

Find out more about the new issue of Guitar World here

Creed Guitar World cover

(Image credit: Future)

Creed tour the US and Canada in July-December – find out more at creed.com

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.