It's fun catching up with artists mid tour or after a small break. I was recently given the opportunity to chat with Scott Stapp regarding the recently completed first leg of his tour and the upcoming second leg. It's always a great time getting inside the head and heart of this rock and roller. Scott seems to enjoy not only the stage and studio, but his fans and the press...
Toddstar: Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule today. We really appreciate you letting us run some questions through you today.
Scott: No problem, man. Thanks for your time.
Toddstar: I was lucky enough to speak with you back in February (Interview HERE) when you were ready to kick off the first leg of your tour. How did the first leg of the tour go for? How did you like being back on stage?
Scott: It was awesome. It was definitely a time to reconnect with the fans and play the new record with the passion and conviction and energy of something that you're proud of and that's new. Then, also, a time for the band to continue to gel and grow together.
Toddstar: You mentioned you played the new album. I believe on almost every tour stop, here in Flint, Michigan, certainly, you played almost the whole album in addition to some of your other hits that you had to sprinkle in there. What was it like taking an album like "Proof of Life" that is so strong and converting it to a live setting?
Scott: There wasn't much worry that it would translate because I write everything initially on acoustic guitar. If something sounds good on acoustic, from my experience in rock 'n' roll, it translates very well electric, and electric just makes it more dynamic. So there was never a question in terms of how it would translate from the album to live. I think with us being new, it was more of an equipment thing. Are we getting the front of the house to sound right? Are our tones and our settings on our amps and whatnot, are they matching the tones on the record? That's something that we're continuing to improve on and try to get better all the time. The other thing is that I don’t do, that I found out being on tour, that it seems like all these new bands and even some old bands are doing is they use computers and pro-tools to play backing tracks to add, basically, make it sound exactly like the record with music that they're not playing that's recorded. I just don’t feel like that's part of what the live music is. I think anything that deviates from the sounds of the record, I think is what makes it raw and makes it rock 'n' roll and makes it live music. But still, we're going to keep trying every night to play it and make it better than the record.
Toddstar: You've got a band that's very tight. You have Chad back there on drums. Are you bringing the same band around this leg?
Scott: Yeah, definitely.
Toddstar: Cool. I mentioned that you guys played nine of the eleven tracks off the disc when you came through on the first swing, the bonus for me was you actually pulled out "Justify" from your first solo disc. Then, of course, you had to give the Creed fans their tracks, and you went everywhere from all the way up to "Full Circle" and put tracks in there. When you're going out and doing this again, are you going to stick to the structure, or are you going to mix it up a bit? What are you thinking?
Scott: There will definitely be some changes, some mixing ups and adding some tracks that I didn't play before, that after speaking with the fans that I found that they want to hear. Most definitely in the places that I've been before there'll be additional material. Even in places I haven't been, just hearing the voice of the fans, and three or four songs that have consistently I've heard the fans wish I would have played, definitely adding those.
Toddstar: Cool. I was lucky enough to see you as part of Creed back in 2002, and listening to you earlier this year, twelve years later, your voice is stronger now than it's ever been. Have you been constantly and consciously making it a goal of yours to make sure that your tool, your instrument is in the best shape it can be?
Scott: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. I've learned to properly sing with the right technique, number one. I never had any technique or training in that during the Creed years where we were out on the scene. So that really opened up and transformed my voice and my consistency as a singer. Then just how I take care of my instrument and my body and myself. Back when I was younger, it was rock 'n' roll and everything that that entails. It's not really conducive to my instrument as a singer. Now just living a healthy life and not doing things that make it more difficult, but that actually keep my body and voice in the best possible shape has made a dynamic impact on my voice and actually made me better today than I've ever been.
Toddstar: I'd totally have to agree with that statement. Your voice sounds stronger than it had in years that I'd seen you. Something you're doing on this tour that not a lot of artists aren't so bold to do is you're actually swinging back through Flint. You're going to hit The Machine Shop (http://www.themachineshop.info/) just a matter of months after your first performance there at The Machine Shop. What is it about The Machine Shop that made you think, I have to go back and play this place?
Scott: Well, it's an awesome place to play. It's unique in that it's almost like you're one with the audience. You're right there, so there's a real connection. And also just by demand. There were so many fans that couldn't get into the show, the first one, because it was sold out that. There was as many or more that didn't get it as in that did. So we want to come back by popular demand, man, and give the fans that didn't get a chance to see it the first time, a chance to see it.
Toddstar: I'm personally looking forward to hitting it again, even though I just saw the show (Review HERE). I know that you bring every bit of energy and musicianship to this show as well.
Scott: Yeah, man.
Toddstar: A bonus for you that night was that your wife actually popped into town to see the performance.
Scott: Yeah, it was great, totally great. It's always good to have my best friend and my wife, Jaclyn, at shows, and get to spend time with her while I'm on the road.
Toddstar: Let's see, Proof of Life, again, the album's just phenomenal. We've loved it since the first spin, but, again, talking about putting this out there live, and you can see it in your performance, is it work, emotionally, and mentally for you, to put something so personal, and you're humanizing it by performing it live in front of a crowd, the songs from the disc, because it is such a personal disc. Does it take a toll on you day after day or night after night bringing this across to the fans?
Scott: No, it doesn't. It actually brings a fulfillment and a peace because it’s authentic, it's real. It's just who I am. No pretenses. No mixing of words or innuendos. It's freeing, and it's just who I am. It's a chance for me to do what I love to do, and also be who I am and be authentic, and so it's not difficult, emotionally. Sometimes it can be because of the rigors and grueling hours of the road. Sometimes it can be tough, physically, but not emotionally or mentally.
Toddstar: What kind of music would people find on your thing that would, that's been released in the last couple months? What stuff is out there you're really digging on newer stuff right now?
Scott: Oh, man. You know, I really haven't had much time to really get into anything right now. When we're on the bus traveling, we're all kind of sitting around with mandolins and guitars playing, coming up with ideas. So I can't pretend that I've got some artists that I've been jamming nonstop, because I haven't.
Toddstar: Fair enough, but that being said, you just kind of let the cat out of the bag. Is there already some inkling of new Scott Stapp tracks that we can start looking for?
Scott: There's talk of a couple tracks that we didn't finish in time to put on the record that we're thinking about mixing them and releasing them. So I can't confirm that definitely, but there are talks of it. We're also talking about doing another video. There'll be some new stuff on the horizon.
Toddstar: Cool. Now in this day and age, for a lot of artists, it doesn't make sense to go out and drop live albums or anything like that. Is that something you've contemplated with this band, because you guys do sound so tight is putting a recording out for the fans?
Scott: Yeah, most definitely. I think that we still have some work to go before I'm ready to make that investment to record some shows for live releases, but as soon as I feel we're ready, I most definitely want to do that, because it's something that the fans have been letting me know they'd like to hear.
Toddstar: Well, again, I think that you guys sound tight, and like I said multiple times, your voice is topnotch right now. Looking back through...
Scott: Thank you brother.
Toddstar: You make it fun to go to a show. You're pouring your energy into it, you can tell, but you're breaking into a sweat by the end of the first song, Scott. It’s nice to see a performer actually care about his fans and what he's doing that much to see that. So thank you.
Toddstar: Looking back through your catalog, are there any songs that you would love to play live but would be a bear or would be tough, maybe the arrangement isn't there? Is there anything you would just love to play live that you haven't?
Scott: I think some more tracks off "Full Circle." I haven't really had a chance to revisit those. We didn't play as many tracks off that album live as I'd want to. Eventually, I want to get into playing more songs off that record and really see how they are live and connect with them.
Toddstar: Well, listen man, we really appreciate you taking time out of your day for us, and we can't wait to see you tearing it up at the Machine Shop June 28...
Toddstar: ...here in Flint. We'll make sure we say, "Hello," and get you reacquainted once again with Michigan and Detroit rock 'n' roll.
Scott: Yeah, brother. We love it, baby. We love it, man. And thank you for your time.
Toddstar: All right Scott, we'll talk to you soon.
Scott: Take care.