Staind (//STAYND) was an American alternative metal 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 their self-titled album (2011). The band has had five chart-topping singles and sold over 15 million records worldwide.
Early years and Tormented (1995–98)
Staind formed in Springfield, Massachusetts. The band met through friends and 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 influences Pantera and Machine Head. Until recently, the album was difficult to obtain, as only four thousand copies were originally sold.
During this time, Staind acquired a concert slot through Aaron's cousin Justin Cantor with Limp Bizkit. (Justin had managed them and was a rising star in the entertainment industry). 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 additionally 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, with the album 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.
Break the Cycle (2001–02)
Staind toured with Limp Bizkit for the Family Values Tour throughout the fall of 1999, where Aaron Lewis performed their first mainstream hit "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, making more sales than Destiny's Child's Survivor.
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 additional 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 additionally included a track called "Waste", devoted to two teenage fans who committed suicide shortly before the album was released. "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.
14 Shades of Grey (2003–04)
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 something that was used in Staind's last two previous albums but wasn't all that Staind did musically. The fourteen-track collection was the band's most mainstream yet, and showed Aaron Lewis writing songs about his daughter, as well as moving on with his life and forgetting his past, hence the title representing uncertainty for the future and forgiveness. 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 and was featured on an episode of Smallville); in addition, two additional singles failed to crack the Hot 100—"How About You" and "Zoe Jane"— but "How About You" was a fairly popular song on modern rock radio. Their song "Price to Play" was the official theme song of WWE's Vengeance pay-per-view event in July 2003. In addition, their song "So Far Away" was featured on an episode of WWE Raw as part of a video tribute to hardcore wrestling legend Mick Foley. The band's appearance at Reading Festival throughout 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.
Chapter V (2005–07)
After extensive promotions, including an appearance on Fuse TV's seventh Avenue Drop, 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 after 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 doesn't 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". Their rendition of "Beetle" is immensely popular with fans and listeners alike and became a staple of the show. Staind additionally performed a version of "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd. Kevin Lofton, who does all the animation for the Howard Stern website, created a black-and-white animated video for the song. During a January 2006 episode of WWE RAW, a tribute video to then WWE ChampionEdge featured the band's song "Right Here". In early November 2005, Staind released the limited edition 2-CD/DVD set of Chapter V. The set included several rarities and fan favorites— music videos; a complete, 36-page booklet with exclusive artwork; an audio disc with an acoustic rendition of "This is Beetle"; the original, melodic rendition of "Reply"; the previously released B-side singles "Novocaine" and "Let It Out"; and live versions of "It's Been Awhile" and "Falling", among a large number of others.
In 2006, Staind performed an acoustic show in the Hiro Ballroom, New York City on September 6 and the songs played were recorded for their "Greatest Hits" album. They played sixteen songs including three covers: Tool's "Sober", Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" and Alice in Chains's "Nutshell".
The title was later renamed to The Singles and finally The Singles: 1996–2006. The album had most of Staind's singles (including "Everything Changes" which was recorded at the New York show), the three covers performed at the New York show and a remastered version of "Come Again", from Staind's first independent release Tormented. It was released on November 14, 2006.
The Illusion of Progress (2008–09)
On August 19, 2008, Staind released their sixth album, The Illusion of Progress. A limited edition of the album was additionally made available to fans, which included three bonus tracks and a year membership in the Staind Fan Club, along with additional items (the first 200 fans who pre-ordered the album through Atlantic Records received a signed copy of the album by the band). 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 additionally 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 additionally supported Nickelback on their 2008 European tour. The second single was "All I Want", and came out on November 24. The video continues the storey of first single and was available on Staind's MySpace on December 12. The single additionally became Staind's thirteenth 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 additionally included on the successful Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – The Album released in late June 2009. Aaron Lewis stated in an interview that he began writing for his upcoming solo album, which was set to be released later that year. Staind embarked on a fall tour with the newly reunited Creed.
Staind and departure of Jon Wysocki (2010–12)
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 recently started a nonprofit organisation to reopen his daughter's junior school in Worthington, Massachusetts. Lewis was able to get her school reopened thanks to the benefit concert Aaron Lewis and Friends, which featured performances by Seether, 3 Doors Down, Lo-Pro and more. 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 a few 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 the band and long-time drummer Jon Wysocki had parted ways. 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.
A new track titled "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. A tracklist for the album was additionally released. 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 officially announced through their YouTube page that Sal Giancarelli was now an official member. The band was on tour that spring with Godsmack and Halestorm. The tour was called the MASSCHAOS tour. Staind hit the road with Shinedown, Godsmack and more as part of the Uproar Festival summer tour across North America.
Hiatus and return to touring (2012–14)
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 additionally had plans to release his first solo album The Road.
Staind played their first show in two years at the Welcome To Rockville Festival on April 27, 2014 alongside Korn, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Seether, Theory of a Deadman, and others. They additionally played the Carolina Rebellion and Rock on the Range festivals in May 2014.
Second hiatus, and uncertain future (2014–present)
In late 2014, the band went on another hiatus. Aaron Lewis continued to play solo shows and work on his next solo album. He additionally 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 supergroup 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 favourite 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 said in an interview at Rolling Stone that he has no intention or creation on going there right now and that he's focused on country music. He additionally said "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."
In November 2003 Staind attempted to sue Ohio musician Jon Stainbrook in New York Federal Court over his 1980 trademark of Joe "The Stain" Stainbrook. Staind was unsuccessful in the suit, prompting Stainbrook to pursue litigation against the band for including false statements in their application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If Stainbrook's suit had been successful, Staind would have had to change the band name and forfeit all trademark claims.
In 2005, guitarist Mike Mushok claimed throughout a deposition in Toledo, Ohio, that Staind avoided any contact with Stainbrook because they weren't made aware of promises a Geffen Records executive made to Stainbrook on their behalf throughout a 1999 licencing negotiation. After several legal confrontations, the parties settled their claims in 2006, partially re-negotiating the 1998 licencing agreement, which allows Stainbrook and Staind the right to use the trademark in certain areas.
Music and lyrics
Topics of their lyrics cover issues of depression, relationships, death, substance abuse, finding oneself, betrayal and even Lewis' thoughts about fitting 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 additionally about Staley's legacy and the effect his music had on the members of Staind, especially Aaron Lewis. Staind has been categorised 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.
- Aaron Lewis – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1995–2012, 2014)
- Mike Mushok – lead guitar (1995–2012, 2014)
- Johnny April – bass, backing vocals (1995-2012, 2014)
- Jon Wysocki – drums (1995–2011)
- Sal Giancarelli – drums (2011–2012, 2014)
- Touring musicians
- Will Hunt – drums (2011)
- Studio albums