Congratulations on the new album. Were you relieved when it was met with such a positive response considering all of the troubles that came with putting this album out?
Aaron: I’m delighted people liked it. I was kind of surprised at how well it sold because of everything that happens these days with downloading and shit, but we were right up there on the Billboard chart and I think we broke the top 100 here so the album has done really well.
We all talk about how downloading affects sales and how it then affects your career but it is rarely addressed at a more personal level. Have you or do you still need to make sacrifices today because of what is happening or does the fact that you are still able to sell a good amount records allow you some breathing room compared to other artists?
Aaron: Well record sales make the machine go around and within the machine, nothing is free. It costs us a lot of money to go make the record but that’s when we also make our money. We get a little piece of money up front to go and make the record and what’s left over is what we get as an advance; that’s really the only money we will ever see from the record and sales. The machine will not be able to work without record sales funding the labels who then help us by contributing to the costs of recording. Nothing is free, we have to spend our money effectively to make this album but people are not prepared to purchase the album and attain it. They don’t care about the money, blood, sweat and tears that were invested into the process. The kids these days just don’t understand the market and how it works. The biggest sacrifice I’ve had to make over the years is how much time I can spend with my family. I need to work constantly now and if I don’t then how can I support them. It annoys me that I have to leave my family so much now and with everything that happened during this album, I think the fact we went back to a heavy and aggressive sound really helped me just get rid of a lot of that anger.
How it did feel to go back and unleash again and really give it all of that aggression?
Aaron: It goes very well with the solo stuff that I’ve put out which is country and the complete polar opposite of this. They work very well together because on one side I can express the feelings that I did on this record but then on the other side, I can take a step back and tell stories. I need the two different ways of expressing myself, these two avenues that let me unleash all of the creativity within me. This record was completely inspired by what we were going through.
I think a lot of people who don’t know the story that lead to this album might be a bit surprised with how heavy it is compared to the last album because it does hit you right away.
Aaron: Yeah and instead of allowing all of that anger and frustration get in my way, I took it and used it to my advantage by using it to fuel everything that I was doing.
The two styles gives you an outlet for expression as you said but as you have been focussing more on your solo work, do you still feel the same passion for hard rock?
Aaron: Honestly, I think I have even more passion now than I ever did before because I have that second outlet. Staind can now go back to being that heavy band it always was. Things didn’t get blurred in between the lines of whether we were a heavy band or not a heavy band until I started bringing songs to the table like ‘Outside’, ‘It’s Been A While’, ‘So Far Away’, ‘Everything Changes’, ‘Epiphany’, ‘Zoe Jane’ and ‘Tangled Up In You’. These are all songs that I brought and the band then put their finishing touches onto them, the stuff that I can’t do, but I wrote those songs on an acoustic guitar just like I did with my solo record. The only difference was that instead of taking it to the band which always blurred the lines, I took it to Nashville and had the best session musicians in Nashville play on it instead of my band.
How well does that process of working songs on an acoustic guitar work for you first?
Aaron: To the extent that in the studio, even on the last record and this record, we sat down and broke the songs completely down to an acoustic guitar song and played them in an acoustic manner and sometimes that is all it takes to click melodies for me. Once you have simplified it and brought the song down to its basic core then you can analyse it in a lot more detail.
How do the other guys work off that, can they build the song in the same way you do or do they have to wait until you have found what it needs and then piece it back together?
Aaron: Well usually at this point they have already tracked their parts and it is just me who is waiting to come in and record my vocals and add a little something. Once they have everything done then that’s when I come in and start to take it apart brick by brick and work out what I need to do. I’ll write the melodies with my acoustic guitar and then apply them to the actual song.
Do you think this album would have not been so heavy if everything that occurred in the studio had not happened? I know you have said that ‘The Illusion Of Progress’ was meant to be a heavy album but in the end it just went another way.
Aaron: That was my thought process going in [to ‘The Illusion Of Progress’] but we just couldn’t ignore the songs that were coming out and being brought to the table. It wasn’t our heaviest but it was our most experimental as we had all of these vintage amps and vintage guitars and lots of different layering, I mean we had a gospel choir [laughs]. I think we just changed our thinking and we wanted to have something that was nothing like the record before it.
Did you ever worry that people may have interpreted it differently, as a misrepresentation of who Staind are?
Aaron: No, not really. That was just where we were at, at that time but in the process of trying to grow and trying not to repeat ourselves from record to record, that process had took us quite far away from where as had started as a band. With this record it was time to bring that big journey around full circle and get back to doing what put us on the map in the first place.
Do you think it had an effect on your fan base, opening the band up to people who were not dedicated hard rock fans and introducing them to what you are doing?
Aaron: I don’t think it necessarily did but then I don’t know, it may have, I don’t pay that much attention to that sort of stuff. What it did was take us that final big step away from where we were that the next step could only be going back to what are our roots effectively.
I don’t want to rehash over the documentary as most people by now will have saw it or at least read the comments regarding the video and understand what happened. Before Christmas there were 18 songs put together, I believe it was from what Mike said, so at that point where you all on the same page at that point with the music and personalities in check?
Aaron: Before Christmas it was more so eighteen ideas that we had. Me, Mike [Mushok], Jon [Wysocki] and Johnny K had all sat down and decided that these were the ideas that were worth pursuing and the ones that I could write melodies for. By the time December was over with, we decided that we would focus on ten songs and once the drum tracks were done, everything went downhill from there. When we got those ten songs done, and amazingly enough for the first time in our career since our very first record, when we handed in the record to the record label, this was the first time since then that they didn’t ask us to go back and do more songs or change anything. That’s record label 101, it’s the standard record label statement that they don’t hear the first single and they want you to go write a few more songs. They are just pushing you to see if they can get another good song or two out of you but they didn’t, they accepted it and that is kind of cool because the first major label record [‘Dysfunction’] that we put out, it was accepted the way it was and this is the last in our contract and it was accepted just the same. Have you seen all of the DVD or the documentary online?
Yeah I have.
Aaron: Well you know this then but I was trying to put out a solo record [‘Town Line’] which came out in March and that was all right in the middle of trying to record vocals and everything else.
That’s where the stipulations on the contract really started to come into play wasn’t it?
Aaron: Yeah. Having my solo record come out when it came out was really the only time for it to happen because otherwise I would have had to wait until the end of this whole Staind cycle to release it. It had been delayed so many times and I kept trying to do it but this time I had it fully recorded and ready so we were putting it out. I was then promoting that, doing solo shows on the weekends but it wasn’t really a weekend because I’d had to leave on the Thursday or sometimes on the Wednesday because I had a Thursday show. I’d be playing Thursday, Friday and Saturday or Friday, Saturday and Sunday every week then fly home and try to be in the studio and with my family. On top of that I’m trying to film for my hunting TV show.
Did you think during it that something had to go or were you such a bind that everything had to be done then and there?
Aaron: Well I did it, it did come down to the wire but I did it. It came down to two windows of opportunity left. It was two weeks in a row with the evening of Sunday and then the Monday and Tuesday, two weeks in a row. When I came back for that first window I was meant to have five of the songs written and all I had to do was record them but creativity just doesn’t happen when you want it to, not for me anyways. It just didn’t happen, I came back and I had absolutely nothing. In that two and a half day window I wrote and recorded four songs and then I went and did what I had to do. Again, nothing came to me while I was doing what I was doing and in the second window I wrote and recorded another four songs because there were only two done by the time we had got to that point. I finished and it was the final take, I took my earphones off, grabbed my cigarettes and collected my stuff and said “okay guys, I’ll talk to you later.” That gave me forty five minutes to go and be with my family before I had to leave for the airport and go perform the shows I had booked. There wasn’t even an opportunity for me to catch my breath and say “oh that’s done, oh my god”, it was straight to the airport and on the plane and straight into a solo show.
You said at the start that it annoys you that you have to sacrifice so much of your family life so how do you try schedule your time so that you can give it more priority?
Aaron: I really, really, try to make sure I have a good amount of time at home. There has to be time at home, no musician can expect to go out on the road for two years and their family to sit happily waiting for your return. There has to be dedicated time for my family because that’s what makes doing this all worthwhile. If you don’t balance it then when you do come off the road then there will be no-one there for you and I don’t want that, I’ll never let that happen as they mean more to me than this. I’m trying to do what I’m meant to do as a husband and father and provide for my family. I’m doing better than what my dad did and he was trying to do better than what his dad did and that cycle goes on. It’s hard but my family will always be first. I want to go home now [laughs], let’s move on from that topic before I just walk out of the door and go to the airport.
Back to what you were saying about the label just accepting this record as it was when you submitted it and the pressure you had within those two windows, was this the first time you had ever been set a deadline?
Aaron: Yeah, that came into play because of my solo release. They didn’t want that to get in the way of recording and the only way to guarantee that was to put a deadline in the contract.
Was that what really started to cause things to become heated because of that added stress or were there some underlying issues already?
Aaron: The fuel was already there, it was starting to boil but the deadline and the stress that came from it just ignited it.
What were you set to lose if you didn’t meet the deadline?
Aaron: It would have been very hurtful financially if we had not made that deadline. They would have pulled the other half of our money if we had not met that deadline. The first half was for the recording process and then they have another half sitting in wait for us to meet that deadline so as soon as we gave them a copy of the songs, we met the deadline and we were paid. They would have taken back the other half, the part for recording. We would have been forced to have paid that back to them because of this deadline and the rules that came with it. It was extremely important.
I take it then that if they ever mention a deadline around you again then you will be walking straight out of the room.
Aaron: [Laughs] Oh God yeah, I’ll never allow that to happen again were the two releases are coinciding together like that. I’ll never get into a contract that puts a deadline on me like that either, not just for me but the other guys also. It was way too much.
Have you thought about your future outside of a record deal now that your contract is over?
Aaron: I don’t think there’s enough money in a record labels budget these days to be able to sign me a cheque big enough for me to return to a record deal. This interview started on the downloading fact and how it relates to personal well being and I don’t think there will ever be enough money for any label to keep putting out records they way they used to. The business of the record labels is built around a shiny piece of plastic and when they had the opportunity to embrace the fact that people were backing Napster, when there were 41 million people on there with around 85% willing to pay a monthly fee to use the site, the record labels turned round and said “no, shut it down.” Instead of seeing the way the average consumer was willing to spend their money, they ignored them. Back in the day when the record business was good, people on average were buying two and a half CDs per year, and with the monthly charge that the majority of the people on Napster were prepared to pay, it was two months and they had already covered those two and a half records. Then there was the rest of the year were people would continue paying towards the service and this just accumulated as more CD sales on average than they were before. The record companies missed it, they are still built on a failing and almost dead structure and there are just different ways for us all to do things now. The way that labels now make up for it is by putting bands on the 360 deal, you know what that is?
Yeah, basically labels have the ability to take a large chunk of everything that you earn, not just the money from record sales.
Aaron: Yeah, they rip apart the money you earn from merchandise and touring, it is a bad way to be.
Have you ever been in a deal like that or anything similar when you were starting out?
Aaron: I think we are literally one of the last bands out there who are not on a 360 deal. We refused every time they tried to renegotiate with us and the deal kept heading in that direction. Every time they renegotiated with us it was progressing to a 360 deal or they just laid one out in front of us and I told them, there is no way in hell we will sign a deal like that or even remotely close to that.
It is very dangerous for up and coming bands these days, especially ones who may be able to make something of themselves but for these deals.
Aaron: Sadly it is there only option. There are no doubt many bands out there who could have been huge but the fact that their record label takes so much money from them then they had to quit and go work normal jobs because they can’t afford to survive.
Do you see a way forward right now?
Aaron: Right now nothing will happen with this industry until record labels begin to embrace the changes. A lot of these new services and such will work more in favour of us to get out of the record deal we’ve been in for six records but we are now an established band, people know who we are so we can take advantage of something like that and use it but new bands can’t. The last time we worked with Johnny K, he brought all of his equipment in a trailer to my studio and we set it all up and it sounded amazing. The last record [‘The Illusion Of Progress’] and this record were recorded in my barn. We didn’t waste any money converting it into a studio, we just moved everything in. This time, instead of him bringing his stuff, we just gave him a credit card and he bought everything that he had brought last time like all of the vintage compressors, plug-ins and all of that stuff, amps, everything, he just went out and bought it all again. This time when we had all of it, he built a studio and now it is there, it is ours. We have all of the studio equipment we could possibly need, we have everything that we need for recording and we’ve done two records there, in that exact same spot using that exact equipment which sounds as good if not better than any record we have done in a high-end studio. You could go to NRG in Los Angeles which is $3,000 a day or you could invest some money and have something that you can use over and over again.
The best thing now is that if you ever have something you want to record then you can waste no time and have a top quality recording in minutes by just going out of your front door.
Aaron: Exactly, as soon as I have something now that I would like to try out or keep a recording of then I just leave me house, walk across the field and look at the bass in the pond as I walk by and I’m at the studio.
Another positive regarding the studio is that you can also now use it to make money if bands wish to record there.
Aaron: Yeah, it can really help in so many ways.
Did you already have a home studio or was this the first time you had properly set something up?
Aaron: I have a travel studio. Basically the smaller couch that is in the lounge of an American tour bus, we just pull that out and the whole rack unit slides perfectly in and it is everything that you need to do something acoustically or some rough demos that you can later clean up.
So is the plan now, for Staind and maybe your solo albums, now that the record deal is over, invest some time looking into all of the services that are out there and now starting your own DIY label and just handling all of the business yourself?
Aaron: That is the plan moving forward, I don’t really see any other way. When all of the record labels dissolved and merged and that whole thing that happened a couple of years back, a lot of good people, people who were incredible at their jobs, lost their positions due to consolidation but what those people did was take their speciality and created the independent labels who do everything exactly the same as a major label without taking all of your money and screwing everything up. These people who lost their jobs saw the cracks in a failing industry and started labels which looked to take advantage of areas that major labels refused to because they were just stuck with this shiny piece of plastic. The whole structure of a record deal is insane. Where we’re at, with the renegotiations that we’ve been able to do and the success we’ve had over the years, we probably see 25 cents on the dollar after the record label is done taking all of their stuff and then management takes their piece and business management takes their piece, lawyer takes their piece and then what is left over we have to give to the record label to pay them back for the advance they gave us in the first place which is the only way we get paid in the whole grand scheme of things. So really you need to hope that you sell a lot of records so that you can get a big advance for the next record because that is the only money that you see.
That is part of the big struggle for upcoming bands is that they don’t know how to structure a deal so they will be bled dry but lead to believe they are being given the best start to their career.
Aaron: Exactly and it is only the independent labels who give a fuck about these bands and make sure that they are aware of the pitfalls of becoming a full time musician. Not every independent is going to be the same, some will have that major label mentality but the right independent labels are run by good people who want to see you achieve your goals.
As most musicians state that touring is the only way to earn money, I take that you are well structured so that mainly you only have the overhead cost of touring to worry about?
Aaron: Touring and merchandise yeah but again for younger bands they can’t get a deal without that being included by the label. Luckily we only have to pay management and business management, those people, but the main overhead of the tour like you said is the main worry. You have all of the employees, the 18-wheelers carrying the lighting and all of the equipment and sometimes the stage. The buses, those fucking buses are like $10,000 a week on gas, per bus. So a six week tour is $60,000 per bus and then that is without hotels, food or anything, that is just fuelling the bus and driving down the road.
Are you still profiting heavily from each tour or are you sometimes walking away with just a little bit of money?
Aaron: We’ve always been a band that operated like a business and you don’t see a crazy stage setup or crazy lights at our shows. We keep it clean and neat with cabinets and our instruments. It’s all about the music. So yeah it is still profitable, not as profitable as it once was but the more tickets we know that we have sold then we know how well we are doing. You just hope that there is a swell with the release of a new record and with how this record has been doing then I think we’ll be fine. We will always be fine, we’ve been doing this too long now that we know how to keep this going. I make a very good living doing the solo thing because there are no overheads except the bus. I mean we show up, I’ve got three guitars, a stool, a couple of microphone stands, the guy who plays with me pedal steel, a dobro which is basically a lap slide guitar and that’s it. It all fits in the bus.
Then the great part knowing that you don’t have to split the money equally four ways.
Aaron: Yeah everyone still gets their share but when it comes to the final pot then there are not three other guys taking their share.
On the note of touring, what is it like after 16 years to turn around and no longer see Jon there?
Aaron: The guy who is sitting there, every time I ever turned around and saw Jon, I saw Sal [Giancarelli ] too. He was Jon’s drum tech for twelve years so he knows the material inside and out and he is fucking solid as a rock. The one thing that there isn’t, is the drama that followed like a dark cloud.
I know you had mentioned in an interview that if he wanted to return then you would listen to what he had to say and he responded by stating “never say never,” so do you think if he were to approach you and attempt to clear the air that something could work out or was there a lot more drama behind the scenes over the years which all came to a head during the documentary?
Aaron: I can absolutely assure everyone that is has been a very long and difficult road to get to where we are today and I’m not trying to throw that all in Jon’s way in any shape or form, we’ve all had our shit over the years but it all came to a head on this album. Sal is the new drummer, as of now and we can see how it is at the end of the year. I’m certainly not going to replace him with someone else, unless it was the situation were Jon was wanting to come back but I don’t know if he wants to come back.
He did seem on edge during that interview when asked about Staind but he did state he was happy to hear you say that the possibility was there but now he has joined Soil for touring and that was his only priority right now. Only time can tell.
Aaron: We’ll see what happens.
I’ve seen a few requests on Facebook for one song to appear in your set list recently and it appears that a lot of people want to hear you perform ‘Wannabe’ live. Have you performed it yet or planning to during any tours?
Aaron: We have performed it; it has to be on YouTube [laughs].
I don’t think anyone ever expected you to rap on a Staind record so they are now waiting to witness it live.
Aaron: [Laughs] Well I don’t think anyone was ever expecting me to do a country record either. I don’t like to be told what I can and can’t do but at the same time it was a complete accident. You’ve seen it [the documentary] so you know we were just sitting there, probably two hours into just listening to the track over and over and over again and it was the last song I had to do, the very last song. It was stress; it was so many things [laughs].
But as soon as you hit that first line it was there.
Aaron: [Laughs] It was just as soon as I said “I’m selling records” and I looked up at Johnny [K], with a funny look on my face, “what is it that you do, sitting in your mama’s basement with a shiatsu” and it was just hilarity for the rest of the time. It was the only time in the entire recording process that we laughed and had fun and it wasn’t an uncomfortable laughter because of the stress that was in the air.
And it took until the last song to finally get to that point.
Aaron: Last song.
What was the thinking when you started writing it because if we go through the entire first part it continues “Peanut butter on your dick/Right hand going click/With your left hand giving you a rim job/So now you wanna talk about me/Who’s name in on the marquee.”
Aaron: I was just…
You don’t even look sure.
Aaron: [Laughs] I was just trying to sink the dagger in a little bit in the other direction. I was painting a very disrespectful picture to those who feel the need to be disrespectful to me and the band.
You did mention Blabbermouth as one of those who are disrespectful.
Aaron: Not just Blabbermouth but that’s a good one though. Man I swear to God, Blabbermouth got more out of me talking about how much I freaking hate it then from people just going there and checking the site out.
Blabbermouth then reported on your hatred of the site and the direction of the song but they again continued it without ever realising what you meant.
Aaron: All good to me. You live and you learn and one day they will see what complete idiots they are being. Sometimes it is better to just not say anything at all. I would never intentionally go on a website just to sit and bad mouth bands I didn’t like, what’s the point in that.
Do you pay attention to a lot of what is said online by searching for reviews or do you tend to avoid it?
Aaron: In waves, it goes in cycles. When I’m putting out a record I go and see what everyone thinks, hell I probably read your review but I might not know it was yours and maybe I should have turned you away at the door [laughs] but then I just let everything go away. I’ll still pop on YouTube real quick just to see how close I am to ten million views with ‘Country Boy’ but that’s about it, and I’m getting pretty damn close if it isn’t there already.
I’ll plug that in if it isn’t at ten million by the time I put this online.
Aaron: It’s really not far. The record with no single being worked or anything is climbing the country charts like a bullet right now and I don’t even have my second single released. Only thirty nine of the one hundred and forty country stations actually played the song and there are ten million views of it just about on YouTube. So it’s obviously getting through to people and they obliviously like it but the machine just hasn’t embraced it yet.
When we look at the things you were saying about the machine and the sort of contracts bands are now being tied to, how hard do you think it is to find a band these days who can last for the same amount of time as Staind. Ten years is now regarded as the lifespan of any band.
Aaron: Ten years is the longest lifespan you can really expect from most bands today. Ten years is really a lot for a band to survive.
Do you think it requires that passion that you feel right now to continue to go or is it completely built on the back of a fan base who can afford to keep you going?
Aaron: We have a great fan base which I think has come through the lyrics I have written over the years. I have been writing to get things off of my chest but I think I have connected with so many people in their own life and their own situation. Making a real connection with fans is something that might give you a little more time in this career. It’s raining outside but I’ll be out there in the rain tonight for anyone who waits for a picture or an autograph or just to say “hello.” You bet your ass I’m going to be out there until that last person says they have to go home or it becomes so late that I’ll miss the next show if I don’t leave now [laughs]. I’ve done many times before and I’ll keep doing it. If one person or one hundred people are waiting outside at the bus tonight, I can assure you that I will be there to meet with them.
Coming off that last question, up until this year Staind had kept the same line-up from ‘Tormented’ so how important is it for bands to not just build a bond regarding music but also that special connection which keeps you there for one another?
Aaron: There will always be the special connection of what we accomplished as four individuals working as a unit, absolutely. When we put the band together we didn’t know each other. I met Mike at a party at his house that I ended up being the guest of someone who was invited and I knew a bass player [Pete McEwan] who wasn’t Johnny April and Mike knew Jon. We got together and we played and the first thing we did as a band was to write an original song to see how it would come out if we tried to do it as a band. That song is ‘No One’s Kind’ from ‘Tormented’, the first song we ever wrote and played together. About a year into it, the bass player that I knew [Pete McEwan] had drank himself out of the band and Old School [Johnny April’s nickname] joined the band with the stipulation that we would only play covers. He had just gone through a nightmarish ordeal with having a record deal and two days before it was suppose to hit the shelves the plug was pulled on everything that this particular guy was responsible for. He had been fired from the label and every band that he was responsible for had been canned so he didn’t want anything to do with trying to be a band that got a record deal again. He said “I’ll play covers and have a good time and make a pay cheque every week” and here we are sixteen/seventeen years later with fifteen million records sold into it; I case he kind of caved on the idea of covers only [laughs].
He must have been happy with the decision after you started making so much more money as an original band.
Aaron: We made a shit load of money as a covers band because we had a fan base, people would show up to every show we played in the area just to hear us play covers. At the end of the show the bar had always gone through so much alcohol that they wanted us to come back and every time we played the place would be sold out and at the end of the night, no matter how much they ordered, they were sold out of beer every single time we played. We were making $2,500-3,000 a night just to play as a local cover band. We were killing it and Old School was happy with that.
Least you know that if it becomes hard to make money through original material then you can go back to being a cover band.
Aaron: [Laughs] We’ll start playing Bar Mitzvahs and weddings [laughs].
You used to actually go on and perform a Korn song when you toured with them.
Aaron: Yeah we got to go out and play ‘Need To’ every night because we used to cover it as a band and they wanted to hear what the sound system sounded like. At the time they had some world record indoor stadium sound system that was just louder and bigger than anything that had ever been out and they wanted to go out and hear how it sounded every night. So while we played ‘Need To’, they would literally walk around the outside and pop up at the soundboard and watch the song then come back.
Are you still big fans of Korn’s music?
Aaron: I’m a huge fan of Korn but what was so cool is that Jon got up on, it wasn’t David’s [Silveria] kit at the time it was Mike’s [Bordin] from Faith No More, Jon got up on his kit and Old School played Fieldys bass and it was through all of their rigs.
I saw a video a long time ago of it and I can’t remember if it was Mike or Johnny but they were playing it in a Korn style on stage.
Aaron: [Laughs] It was so cool. I was singing through Jonathan’s microphone, so it was definitely not one of those things that you forget.
I have to ask what you think of their move to make a dubstep/nu-metal album?
Aaron: I don’t understand this whole dubstep thing because I’ve spent the last year mainly in the country world, what is it exactly?
It’s like a form of electronic dance music which is done with drums patterns and heavy bass sounds. It is just a series of noises that appears to have taken over the world.
Aaron: Sounds terrible but I’ll give it a go because it is a Korn record and see what it is like. I honestly don’t listen to that much music these days, probably the only time is when I’m driving in my truck and it’s usually country music, if it is music I have on, and if it’s not then it’s usually conservative patriotic talk radio. That’s all I have on when I’m in the truck so I’m not listening to new music or anything. What I’m usually exposed to is what my daughters listen to.
I’m guessing that is pop.
Aaron: Yeah totally. They really like Taylor Swift and Adele so it’s not necessarily kids pop but it’s definitely pop [laughs]. I love Adele, she is amazing, and she can sing her ass off.
I think she has just cancelled her tour of the US recently due to problems with her throat.
Aaron: It’s really not easy to do what we do every night. When we are at home we play five nights a week and it’s tough. On two different occasions in my whole career we’ve had to cancel a couple of shows just to let my voice come back. Both times I went to the doctor my vocal chords looked like chewed up bubblegum and they’re meant to look like nice little ribbons right next to each other.
I can’t imagine sleeping on tour buses all of the time helps you either.
Aaron: My back is so destroyed right now you have no idea. That’s just from sleeping on the bus last night to come from London to here; I’m in excruciating pain. You got to do what you got to do. I don’t need my back to sing.
I’ve got one more question and then I can at least give you some time to relax before you go on.
Aaron: As soon as you leave Mike and Jonny will be back in so I have no chance of relaxing, you being here doing this interview has given me a break from them [laughs].
Obviously when you started out as a musician you had influences who you inspired to be and who you looked to emulate in order to have success but with the tables now turned, what does it mean to you when you see people say that Staind are their influence or Aaron Lewis influences me?
Aaron: That’s very cool, it is the ultimate compliment for bands to come out after you do and name you as one of their influences. It’s nice to be acknowledged for accomplishing something in this business. We’ve never been medias darlings and we’ve never been the cool thing, even for a minute. We’ve always just kind of stayed under the radar and very quietly sold fifteen million records [laughs]. It has been pretty quiet except from ‘Break The Cycle’ where it came out number one on the charts over here and that hadn’t happened for an American band over here for years and year before it. I remember coming over here for the first time ever and we played in Dublin to 8,500 people having never stepped on Irish soil before and we finished ‘Outside’ and they just kept singing it. They just burst into another chorus before then going into rugby chants and it was amazing, absolutely amazing. Then the following time we went over there we couldn’t fill a club. We’ve always suffered from lack of label support over here. We were with Roadrunner for the last record but it just never seemed to fit for Europe whereas this time everyone is seriously fired up. My next step is to find out who is going to represent me over here on the solo thing.
I didn’t know you were trying to break outside of the US with it.
Aaron: I played last night in London.
How did it turn out?
Aaron: It was a very small venue but the crowd were amazing. They were dead silent as I played and then out of control in between, it was fantastic. I think it was called Ruth Hall, about 240 seats.
Do you perform a lot of the Staind material during your set? Country has never translated over here.
Aaron: Yeah that’s the best thing I have going for me is that most of the set is the Staind songs I wrote over the years. I also have my bus driver who plays the dobro and the pedal steel so everything has a different flavour to it even if I had been playing acoustically by myself.
I wish you the best of luck with that and hopefully people will be open to your country material.
Aaron: We’ll see. Thanks man.