Interview with Staind: The Illusion Of Progress

StaindVocalist/guitarist Aaron Lewis, guitarist Mike Mushok, bassist Johnny April and drummer Jon Wysocki of New England, collectively known as Staind, began to make waves with their first CD, Dysfunction. By 2001 when Break The Cycle came out, they caught on like a house on fire, and they went from playing places like the modestly sized Birch Hill to filling stadiums and being responsible for songs that popularized catch phrases like, “It’s been a while,” “I’m on the outside, I’m looking in,” and “It’s always raining in my head.” They released a “best-of” that spanned 10 years, and are currently geared to release the latest installment of their legacy, The Illusion Of Progress, produced by Johnny K [Disturbed, Soil, Drowning Pool].

With this record, Staind’s brand of melodic hard rock continues, but is bolstered by instrumental experimentation that reveals how the band truly delved into the recesses of their minds and souls. Although they will be touring in Europe in September, Mike Mushock discussed their U.S. roadside plans. “Beginning of October we start a headlining tour with Seether and Papa Roach. I am looking forward to that, two great bands, and there will probably be another band added on also. We’ll be around the states pretty much from October until the holidays.”

Mike told the Aquarian about how it all began, Staind’s writing methods, and the meaning of The Illusion Of Progress.

What was different about being in the studio this time around?

It wasn’t that much different. We just get together, have a bunch of ideas and see what everybody likes. I mean, there are songs that we weeded through, but basically, everything that we recorded made the record. We recorded 11, 12 tunes that we had written in two weeks or so. We wrote a couple more songs later on, and the record was done.

Do you attribute coming up with new material so fast to being revved up from all the touring you do?

I think it is about having time to come up with it, and to grow in that time. There is other stuff that we didn’t pursue, because it wasn’t really working. I also had written a lot of songs before I even started bringing stuff to the band. I always look at that as the growth process, and that happens during the touring and the time off and in between records, and during that time you might stumble across a riff or that’s hip and cool.

If it’s a good idea, it just takes time to finish it. We had the drums and the bass tracks done by Christmas of last year, and we didn’t finish recording guitars, Aaron and myself, till mid- May. We spent a lot of time working on the songs, the textures, the layers and just building them up to be what you ultimately end up hearing.