It seems like only yesterday, but it’s been more than a decade since Staind first exploded onto the hard rock vanguard. In that time, the Massachussetts-based quartet has staked a claim as one of modern music’s most powerful and provocative outfits, combining aggressive hard rock energy with singer/songwriter Aaron Lewis’s raw, heartfelt lyricism and gift for undeniable melody into a magnificent, multi-platinum career. Marked by 15 million album sales worldwide, eight top ten singles across multiple formats with three songs hitting number one, and the most-played rock song of the past decade, “It’s Been Awhile.” Staind has solidified their name as a top hard rock act, with three out of seven albums—Break the Cycle, 14 Shades of Grey, and Chapter V—debuting at #1 on the Billboard Top 200.
Lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Aaron Lewis, guitarist Mike Mushok, and bassist Johnny April united as Staind in February 1995, and since then have ridden an endless wave of continual artistic growth and escalating success; all accomplished without the petty personal dramas and ego-driven power plays that traditionally mark such an incredible career. Staind’s self-released 1996 debut, “TORMENTED,” along with near-constant shows throughout the New England area, spawned the birth of the band’s fervent fan following. Word about the band spread like wildfire through the music industry, ultimately attracting the attention of Flip Records, who in 1999 unleashed Staind’s initial breakthrough, “DYSFUNCTION.” Fueled by tracks such as “Mudshovel” and “Home,” the album proved a true sensation, going on to achieve double-platinum certification for sales exceeding 2 million.
In 1999, Staind hit the road as part of the Family Values Tour, joining a line-up that included such stars as Limp Bizkit, Korn, and Primus. The band’s energetic and original sets quickly became the highlight of each night’s show, due especially to a poignant new song performed by Lewis and headliner Fred Durst. “Outside,” as eventually included on “THE FAMILY VALUES TOUR 1999” companion CD, launched Staind to the head of the hard rock pack. 2001’s “BREAK THE CYCLE” sealed the deal, entering the Billboard 200 at #1 with first week sales of over 700,000.
The RIAA gold-certified “MTV Unplugged” DVD was released in 2002, followed the next year by the critically-acclaimed “14 SHADES OF GREY.” The album was Staind’s second consecutive #1 debut, going on to double-platinum status via the success of the singles “Zoe Jane,” – written for Lewis’ first daughter – “Price To Play,” and “So Far Away,” which topped Billboard’s “Mainstream Rock” chart for 14 weeks.
Staind toured hard behind “14 SHADES OF GREY,” playing sold-out shows around the world long into 2004. After a brief – and well-earned – break, the band hit the studio and in August 2005, unleashed “CHAPTER V,” their third consecutive release to arrive in the pole position on the Billboard 200. Their most evocative and inventive work to date, the album spawned yet another “Mainstream Rock” #1 hit in “Right Here,” along with further radio smashes in “Falling” and “Everything Changes” (a new acoustic version of which is a highlight of “THE SINGLES: 1996-2006”).
“CHAPTER V” was followed by hard touring, including headline treks and Aaron Lewis solo shows that featured a number of compelling new songs and provocative covers of artists which inspired Staind from the very beginning. With the release of “THE SINGLES: 1996-2006,” Staind closed the book on their amazing first decade.
Staind’s sixth studio album “The Illusion Of Progress,” contains an array of Staind “firsts” that earmarked the release: It’s the first album where guitarist Mike Mushok solos, as well as the first album that he wrote and recorded on a standard guitar rather than his customary baritone. Despite the band’s heralded run of ten Top 10 hits at radio – including four No. 1 singles – it’s the first time that they have recorded a song that they almost feel can be classified as a pop song, and it is also the first time that frontman Aaron Lewis has taken a political stance lyrically. On that same lyrical front, Mushok is proud to point out (with a laugh) that “Consciously, I don’t think Aaron says the word ‘pain’ once throughout the record!”
For their seventh studio album, the band decided to dive into bleaker recesses than ever before and surfaced with their heaviest and most hypnotic album to date – the self-titled, STAIND, which debuted at #5 on the Billboard Top 200 charts.