If “Jesus Was A Rockstar,” then Creed’s former frontman, Scott Stapp, is a rock and roll Lazarus. In the late ’90s into the new millennium, Creed’s multi-platinum albums My Own Prison, Human Clay and Weathered catapulted the Christian-influenced band with such megahits as “Higher” and “With Arms Wide Open.” Evolving from the pinnacle of success, Stapp departed from the band to launch his first solo album The Great Divide in 2005. The well-received solo effort proved Stapp’s musical evolution was necessary for him as an artist at the time. All the while, however, he continued with his philanthropic ventures which began back when Creed was topping the charts. The singer’s With Arms Wide Open Foundation aimed to serve underprivileged children with donations from Stapp reaching upwards to one-million dollars.
In 2013, Stapp released the single “Slow Suicide” with lyrics, “I have fallen…I have broken every piece,” perhaps, signaling the stranglehold his mental illness, coupled with substance abuse, was beginning to have on his life. Though Stapp’s memoir Sinner’s Creed seemed to channel his faith and the message of hope and overcoming, by the time the solo album Proof Of Life came out in 2013, it would be difficult to imagine what would transpire next. A prescription drug-induced psychotic meltdown became highly-publicized as the media reported irrational Facebook posts by Stapp while his wife, Jaclyn, validated the rumors and filed for divorce due to his behavior.
A lot can happen in a year. As Mark Tremonti, former Creed guitarist, once remarked in an interview with Loudwire, Stapp is intensely “driven”. Therefore, his determination to not become a rockstar cliché may have helped fuel a catalyst for change. Stapp began to seek treatment through the MusiCares program as he had been “self-medicating” his mental illness for far too long. With a correct diagnosis—Stapp suffers from bipolar disorder—sheer determination, humility and faith, he began to make positive changes that, in turn, have inspired many others. He has risen from the ashes and resurrected his career and personal life, appearing on Couples Therapy on Vh1 with Jaclyn to save their marriage, embarking on a new tour for Proof Of Life this year and sponsoring children through Child Fund International. The resilient singer-songwriter is grateful for his second chance, crediting his family, fans and God for moving him forward each day on his newfound path of purpose.
Scott Stapp is focusing on the future, even announcing a new endeavor as lead singer of the band Scott Weiland once fronted, Art Of Anarchy. Here he opens up about how his life and music poignantly intertwine:
The Proof Of Life tour is coming The Stone Pony at the end of the month. So, let me ask, how symbolic is this tour for you? What does it represent?
This tour represents a lot to me in terms of getting back up when you fall down. And I think that’s what the entire Proof Of Life album meant to me at the time I wrote the record. I made the record, and then I had some personal struggles after the record came out, and then I picked it up again. So it is a symbol for me that represents overcoming adversity and showing my wife and my children that, yes, you can get knocked down in life—you can have struggles but not to let those struggles define you. And to get back up and continue on with life, move forward. That is what this entire year of my life has meant to me. It feeds into every area of my life.
You have entirely flipped the script on your illness and turned it into a positive, which has helped a lot of people. It is apparent by the vibe from the band touring with you now and the audience that they, too, are feeling positive and hopeful…
I appreciate your comments. Yeah, there has definitely been a lot of positive energy and a lot of connection with the fans, you know, because I’m not alone, I’ve learned, in adversity, in struggles. It’s common. I hear a lot of stories every night, and it moves me, emotionally, and it helps add even more purpose to my day-to-day battles. I haven’t gotten this thing licked. I’m still taking my life one day at a time, and I’m still fighting like millions of others out there…I tell ya, it’s definitely given me motivation and purpose to keep moving forward.
Obviously the music is informing your life and vice versa. It’s exciting to see where you’ll go next with this new project. I think your honesty and sincerity is appreciated by your audiences. The gratitude you have for your fans and what you’ve overcome—how does that translate into your work with Child Fund International?
Absolutely. It’s been an important part of my being able to move forward and getting outside of myself and trying to do something for someone else. That’s been a huge part of my recovery and Child Fund fits right in with that purpose. For me to have the ability to be a part of something that can change the lives of other people, especially children in the world who are suffering, is just a great opportunity for me and completely correlates and is in line with how I’m trying to live my life…how I’m trying to stay on path moving forward.
I’ve found that when I spend too much time in my own head and wrapped up in myself, and am ungrateful, that’s when problems start. Part of this whole journey in recovery is to get outside of that and into serving others and Child Fund has been part of that mission. Taking the concepts and taking action on it. The fans have been so receptive to it, and they have joined us on this mission helping these children in need…it has been a beautiful thing. It puts my struggles and things that have consumed me at times in such great perspective because there is no comparison to the suffering that is going on with these kids.
Your lyrics and albums certainly have themes of overcoming and offer a positive message, but you actually walk the walk by taking action. For instance, you and your family sponsor children in the Philippines, correct?
Yes, absolutely. It’s a family affair—my wife Jaclyn and I, our three children, as well as our nephew, have sponsored some children, and we plan on taking a trip there some time later this year. I believe we’re trying to work it out in September when we can actually go and meet the children we are sponsoring as well as the other children that are seeking to get sponsored…to really see firsthand what’s going on and how we’re able to impact these children’s lives. We want to film it all and make sure we let the fans know who we’re sponsoring and exactly where their sponsorship money is going…to see firsthand. And, so, it’s definitely become a family mission…it’s something we’re doing as well.
What an incredible experience for your own children…
Yeah, we really want them to see and experience so they can have a deeper appreciation for how they’ve been blessed in their lives and also to teach them service…to teach them to get outside of themselves, to think of the greater good of others and really show them that they can impact someone else—all different life lessons that it teaches them. We feel it is important for them and also to make a connection to the child they are sponsoring.
That’s an excellent experience since, as we know, it is easy to lose perspective sometimes…
It’s also to teach them to give back and to make a positive difference in the world…to teach them service and giving. So there are many different things that we try to instill in our kids.
Your audiences come out for various reasons—some are Creed fans, some were turned on to your solo albums such as Proof Of Life. How important is it to you what they take away? Does it matter if they’re coming just because they just dig the music or are you looking for them to take away the message?
You know, I do have some personal desires…that my music and the performance could connect with people on a deeper level, and I think that’s what it’s all about. I think to take my journeys in life and to be able to put them to music and for other people to be able to connect with that is what it’s all about. And if, in some way, my journey can inspire, that’s great—whatever the fans take away, as long as it’s something positive…that’s what’s important to me.
Do you hear that a lot that from new fans who may not by connected to a faith but leave with a different perspective, leave enlightened in some way, regardless? Have you heard that from fans after a show?
Yeah, I really have, and that just inspires me to continue. I feel humbled by it—by faith in God and belief in what God has done in my life…is so important to me that It can’t escape the music because it is part of who I am and who I have to give credit for any successes in my life. To be able to put that in my music and then the fans connect…it sparks something in them, and that is powerful to me.
Scott Stapp’s Proof Of Life tour makes its way to The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ on May 27, the Revolution Bar & Music Hall in Amityville, NY on May 28, and the Sherman Theater in East Stroudsburg, PA on May 29. Check out Scott Stapp news and tour dates at scottstapp.com.