It’s the most material the band has released in years. Lewis feels this is a reasonable Plan B after everything else fell through.
“Everything went away,” he notes by phone before a solo concert in Corpus Christi, Texas. “The Foxwood gig we had in the can already; that was just a matter of when it was going to come out. And then the [Break the Cycle] performance just came out of everybody trying to think of ideas of how we can do something else, especially after we had told people we’d be around.”
The appetite for Staind is easy to understand. Between 1996-2011, the group — Lewis, guitarist Mike Mushok, bassist Johnny April and (since 2011) drummer Sal Giancarelli — released seven studio albums, four of which sold platinum or better. Its tuneful brand of sludge and angsty lyricism also notched a dozen top 10 Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart hits, with four of those reaching No. 1. The five-times platinum Break the Cycle vaulted Staind to headline status, and the group was still going strong when it announced a hiatus to take a break — but, pointedly, did not break up — in 2012.
Staind has regrouped a few times since, mostly for festivals, and for a handful of shows during 2019. Lewis has focused on his solo career for the past 10 years, with all four of his releases (three albums and an EP) hitting the top 10 on the Top Country Albums chart. Mushok, meanwhile, co-founded the all-star group Saint Asonia and played in former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted’s band.
Lewis says that reuniting Staind is not like hell freezing over. “No — I guess the comment is more that people didn’t think it was going to happen,” he explains. “It wasn’t necessarily that it would be so impossible to put it back together. I’ve kind of gotten used to it, and I kind of like not having to answer to anybody creatively. With the whole solo thing, I’m kind of the master of my own universe. So to go from that to sharing the universe with three other people in a creative situation is different, but it’ll be great.”
The Break the Cycle show in particular is a double-dip blast from the past for Staind. The group filmed it at Mill 1 in Open Square in Holyoke, Mass., the same city where the act played its first-ever show. “What you get is what you get in the sense [that] it is live,” says Lewis. “We’ve never been a band to mess with anything. We’re not going to do that. But when you see it, you’ll realize the production levels that we achieved could not be achieved in a regular live [show] where we walk out, start the set and when we’re finished, we’re finished. It wouldn’t have the same impact if we did it that way.”
According to Lewis, revisiting the album was “pretty cool, to be honest with you.” In addition to the original 13 tracks, Staind added some B-sides he guesses that band has never played live. But performing Break the Cycle in its entirety didn’t necessarily make the frontman sentimental about the set.