Staind Fractured in Studio: 'It Got So Bad'
Aaron Lewis on Staind's Upcoming Hiatus: 'We're Not Breaking Up'

Staind's hard-rocking, self-titled seventh album, due out Sept. 13, is also the toughest album the band has ever made, according to frontman Aaron Lewis.

"It was full-on falling apart at the seams," Lewis tells Billboard.com. "Everything just went completely sideways, for so many different reasons. It got so bad that we stopped working (together) and we just went to doing it on our own" in separate locations, with minimal contact with each other. "It was definitely the most difficult and trying and tumultuous record that we have made yet," he notes.

First Single Off "Staind": "Not Again"


And, Lewis adds, the entire affair was caught on film, which will be included with the deluxe version of "Staind" and may have theatrical, TV or film festival showings in the future. "It's painful to watch. It's very revealing," Lewis acknowledges. "We were an open book for the whole thing; I think the camera got shut off twice during the entire process. And it's very unflattering, but... it's real. It's what really happened."

Nevertheless, Lewis says that he, guitarist Mike Mushock and bassist Johnny April (drummer Jon Wysocki left the band after the sessions) are happy with the results of the Johnny K-produced album, which Lewis likens to earlier Staind sets such as "Tormented" and "Dysfunction."

"Going into ('Staind') we all agreed that it needed to be a heavy record," the explains the singer, whose move to a solo career (his "Town Line" EP debuted at No. 1 on the country chart in March) pruned softer material such as "Outside" and "It's Been Awhile" from Staind's ouvre. "It needed to go back to what it was we set out to do 13 years ago and go back to that vibe and that energy, and we knew that was going to be the case going into it."

Nevertheless, "Staind" -- which was initially titled "Seven" -- ends with a gentle track called "Something to Remind You." The track "The Bottom" appeared on the "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" soundtrack, while Staind's first single, "Not Again," is out now. Snoop Dogg recorded a guest rhyme for the track "Wannabe," but at this point the version that appears on the album will probably be without the rapper.

Aaron Lewis Talks Country Crossover With Billboard

Lewis says that since the album's been finished, Staind's members have pulled themselves back together as a band, though he notes that "we're business partners and we always have been. We're not friends that have known each other forever. We've known each other to start this band." Staind plans to play sporadic shows during the fourth quartet to promote the album's release but won't start touring in earnest during February in Australia before moving through Asia, North America and Europe in time for the summer festival season, with another North American leg after that.

Lewis, meanwhile, will continue performing as a solo act between Staind's tours and plans to make his first full-length album during 2012. He's also developing a new outdoors show, "Hunting With Heroes," that he expects to be on TV in the new year.