Staind (/ˈsteɪnd/ STAYND) was an American rock band, formed in 1995 in Springfield, Massachusetts. The original lineup consisted of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Aaron Lewis, lead guitarist Mike Mushok, bassist and backing vocalist Johnny April, and drummer Jon Wysocki (who left in May 2011). To date, the band has recorded seven studio albums: Tormented (1996), Dysfunction (1999), Break the Cycle (2001), 14 Shades of Grey (2003), Chapter V (2005), The Illusion of Progress (2008), and Staind (2011). The band has sold over 15 million records worldwide.
Staind formed in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1995. The band started covering Korn, Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam, Tool, and Alice in Chains, among others, and played at local clubs (most commonly playing at Club Infinity) for a year and a half. Staind self-released their debut album, Tormented, in November 1996, citing Pantera and Machine Head as their influences. During this time, Staind acquired a concert slot through Aaron's cousin Justin Cantor with Limp Bizkit. Just prior to the performance, Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst was appalled by Staind's grotesque album cover and unsuccessfully attempted to remove them from the bill. His perception changed, however, after being impressed with their performance.
On April 13, 1999, Staind released its major label debut Dysfunction on Flip Records. The album, which was co-produced by Fred Durst and Terry Date (who also produced acts like Soundgarden, Deftones, and Pantera), received comparisons to metal giants Tool and Korn. In particular, Aaron Lewis was lauded for his vocals, which were likened to those of Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder.
The album achieved slow success, reaching the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Heatseeker Charts almost six months after its debut. In the same week, the album jumped to No. 74 on Billboard's Top 200 Album Charts. The nine-track LP (with one hidden track, "Excess Baggage") produced three singles, "Just Go", "Mudshovel", and "Home". "Mudshovel" and "Home" both received radio play, cracking the Top 20 of Billboard's Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts. In promotion of Dysfunction, Staind went on several tours, including the Family Values Tour with acts like Limp Bizkit and The Crystal Method, as well as opening for Sevendust's headlining tour.
Staind toured with Limp Bizkit for the Family Values Tour during the fall of 1999, where Aaron Lewis performed an early version of "Outside" with Fred Durst at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. Staind released their third studio album Break the Cycle on May 22, 2001. Propelled by the success of their first single "It's Been Awhile", the album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top 200 Album charts, selling 716,000 albums in its first week. The album's first week sales were the second highest of any album that year.
The album saw the band retaining their previous nu metal sound from their previous album. Despite the album having a lot of nu metal sounds, the album saw the band going further into their post-grunge sound which is evident in the smash hit song "It's Been Awhile" and the song led critics to compare the band to several of other post-grunge bands at the time. "It's Been Awhile" (which hit the Billboard Top 10), "Fade" (which has been featured on a number of movie soundtracks and television shows), "Outside", "For You", and the acoustic ballad "Epiphany". "It's Been Awhile" spent a total of 16 and 14 weeks on top of the modern and mainstream rock charts, respectively, making it one of the highest joint numbers of all time. In 2001, Break the Cycle sold four million copies worldwide, making it one of the best selling albums that year. Break the Cycle would go on to sell seven million copies worldwide, making this Staind's best selling album.
In early 2003, Staind embarked on a worldwide tour to promote the release of the follow-up to Break the Cycle, 14 Shades of Grey, which sold two million albums and debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200. The album saw a departure from their previous nu metal sound and the album mostly contain a lighter and more melodic post-grunge sound. The album provided two mainstream hits: the lead single "Price to Play" and "So Far Away", which spent 14 weeks on top of the rock chart. In addition, two other singles were released; "How About You" and "Zoe Jane". The band's appearance at Reading Festival during the 2003 tour had another impromptu acoustic set, this time due to equipment failure. The singles "So Far Away" and "Price to Play" came with two unreleased tracks, "Novocaine" and "Let It Out", which were released for the special edition of the group's Chapter V, which came out in late 2005. In 2003, Staind unsuccessfully sued their logo designer Jon Stainbrook in New York Federal Court for attempting to re-use the logo he had sold to the band. They re-opened the case in mid-2005.
Staind's fifth album, titled Chapter V, was released on August 9, 2005, and became their third consecutive number one. The album opened to sales of 185,000 and has since been certified platinum in the U.S. The first single "Right Here" was the biggest success from the album, garnering much mainstream radio play and peaking at number 1 on the mainstream rock chart. "Falling" (the video of which does not feature the band members at all) was released as the second single, followed by "Everything Changes" and "King of All Excuses". Staind went on the road when the album came out, doing live shows and promoting it for a full year, including participating in the Fall Brawl tour with P.O.D., Taproot and Flyleaf, a solo tour across Europe and a mini-promotional tour in Australia for the first time. Other live shows included a cover of Pantera's "This Love", a tribute to Dimebag Darrell. Staind appeared on The Howard Stern Show on August 10, 2005, to promote Chapter V. They performed acoustic renditions of the single "Right Here" and Beetlejuice's song "This is Beetle". In early November 2005, Staind released the limited edition 2-CD/DVD set of Chapter V. On September 6, 2006, Staind performed an acoustic show in the Hiro Ballroom, New York City that was recorded for their singles collection. They played sixteen songs including three covers: Tool's "Sober", Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" and Alice in Chains's "Nutshell".
The collection The Singles: 1996–2006 was released on November 14, 2006. It included all the band's singles, the three covers performed at the New York show and a remastered version of "Come Again", from Staind's first independent release Tormented.
On August 19, 2008, Staind released their sixth album, The Illusion of Progress. Prior to the album's release, the track "This Is It" was available for download on the iTunes Store, as well as for Rock Band. The album debuted at No. 3 on US Billboard 200, No. 1 on the Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums Chart, No. 1 on the Top Digital Albums Chart, and also No. 1 on the Top Internet Albums Chart, with first week sales of 91,800 units. The first single on the album, "Believe", topped Billboard's Top 10 Modern Rock Tracks on September 5, 2008. The band also supported Nickelback on their 2008 European tour. The second single was "All I Want", and came out on November 24. The single also became Staind's 13th top 20 hit on the rock charts. In Europe the second single was "The Way I Am", released on January 26, 2009. The final single released from the album, "This Is It", was sent to radio stations across the country on May 4, 2009. The single was also included on the successful Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – The Album released in late June 2009. Staind embarked on a fall tour with the newly reunited Creed.
In March 2010, Aaron Lewis stated the band would start working on their seventh studio album by the end of the year. Lewis had finished recording his country-tinged solo EP and had started a nonprofit organization to reopen his daughter's elementary school in Worthington, Massachusetts. Guitarist Mike Mushok stated in a question and answer session with fans that the band was looking to make a heavy record, but still "explore some of the things we did on the last record and take them somewhere new for us". In a webisode posted on the band's website, Lewis stated that eight songs were written and that "every one of them is as heavy or heavier than the heaviest song on the last record".
In December 2010, Staind posted three webisodes from the studio, which featured the band members discussing the writing and recording process of their new album. They announced that as of April 20, the band had completed the recording of their untitled seventh album and would release it later that year.
On May 20, 2011, Staind announced that original drummer Jon Wysocki had left the band. Drummer Will Hunt filled in for a few dates, while Wysocki's drum tech Sal Giancarelli filled in for the rest of the tour. Three days later, it was reported that Staind's new album was originally called Seven, but was renamed Staind. It was released on September 13, 2011. The first single "Not Again" was released to active radio stations on July 18. The song "The Bottom" appeared on the Transformers: Dark of the Moon soundtrack. On June 30, Staind released a song called "Eyes Wide Open" from their new record. "Eyes Wide Open" would later be released on November 29 as the album's second single. On July 12, Staind released the first single "Not Again" through YouTube and was officially released/available on July 26.
In November 2011, the band announced through their YouTube page that Sal Giancarelli was now an official member. The band was on tour that spring with Godsmack and Halestorm on the MASSCHAOS tour. Staind hit the road with Shinedown, Godsmack and more as part of the Uproar Festival summer tour across North America.
It was announced in July 2012 that the band was to be taking a hiatus. In an interview with Billboard Aaron Lewis stated that "We're not breaking up. We're not gonna stop making music. We're just going to take a little hiatus that really hasn't ever been taken in our career. We put out seven records in 14 years. We've been pretty busy." Lewis also had plans to release his first solo album The Road. During such time, Mike Mushok auditioned, and was selected, to play guitar for former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted's new band Newsted. He featured on their debut album Heavy Metal Music.
In late 2014, the band went on another hiatus. Aaron Lewis continued to play solo shows and work on his next solo album. He also confirmed that the hiatus would last "for a while". Mike Mushok teamed up with former Three Days Grace singer Adam Gontier, former Finger Eleven drummer Rich Beddoe and Eye Empire bassist Corey Lowery to form Saint Asonia.
When asked in an August 2016 interview about Staind's future, Mushok stated that the current hiatus could possibly be the end of the band. He explained, "I remember '09, we stopped touring, and we did a record after that. We did the self-titled Staind record, which we did a little touring on. It was one of my favorite Staind records we had done. Aaron, I know, has another country record coming out in September. So...you know, we say we're gonna do something else, but there's no real plan for it right now. I know he's pursuing. And I know we're writing another record.". In addition, Aaron Lewis indicated that he is focused on country music while noting "Do I think there's room somewhere down the road for Staind to play shows in the summertime, radio festivals and stuff like that? Sure. Do I think I have another one of those Staind records in me? Of course I do. All I have to do is live."
On August 4, 2017, the band performed for the first time since November 2014 at Aaron Lewis' 6th annual charity golf tournament and concert. Aaron Lewis, Mike Mushok, Johnny April, and Sal Giancarelli reunited to perform an acoustic set of a few Staind songs. Three days later, Lewis announced that Staind would not get back together again, stating:
“The touring machine, as you call it, of Staind will never be again. Not like that, no. Never. I could never go back to playing six shows [a week] eight weeks in a row. I can’t do that. I have grown in my age and become very accustomed to playing Thursday, Friday and Saturday and being able to go home for a few days and unwind and try to kind of have a life aside from doing this.”
Topics of their lyrics cover issues of depression, relationships, death, addictions, finding one's self, betrayal and even Lewis' thoughts about becoming a father in the song "Zoe Jane" from 14 Shades of Grey, as well as reflecting on his upbringing in the song "The Corner" from The Illusion of Progress. Also from 14 Shades of Grey, the track titled "Layne" was written about Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley in response to his death in 2002. The song is also about Staley's legacy and the effect his music had on the members of Staind, especially Aaron Lewis. Staind has been categorized as nu metal, alternative metal, heavy metal, hard rock and post-grunge. Musically, the band is influenced by Aerosmith, Alice in Chains, Mr. Bungle, Faith No More, Pantera, Korn, Machine Head, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Pink Floyd, Helmet, Tool, Sepultura, Suicidal Tendencies, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Rage Against The Machine, Metallica, Queensrÿche, Slayer, Iron Maiden, and AC/DC.
STAIND POWER: Is the rock world ready for Staind? Staind is a band whose Flip/Elektra album, "Dysfunction," sounds like "Tool meets Korn," according to Flip president Jordan Schur. "Dysfunction" was produced by Terry Date (Soundgarden, Deftones, White Zombie, Pantera), and it's the type of music that will appeal to those who like to delve into the harder edges of rock.
Lead singer Aaron Lewis' vocals fuel the fire well. If Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder hadn't perfected the outcast rock warble first, Lewis would have done it anyway. There's no stopping Staind's determination behind the furious drumming of Jon Wysocki and adventurous guitar work from Mike Mushok.
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