An upcoming Staind hiatus will allow frontman Aaron Lewis to immerse himself deeper in his country music pursuit as a solo artist, including his first full-length album, “The Road,” which comes out Sept. 11 on the heels of his 2011 EP “Town Line.”
After the difficult making of the group’s self-titled latest album, Lewis tells Billboard.com that the group is “all good” as it gets ready for the Aug. 17 launch of the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival. “The touring that we’ve done this year has been good,” Lewis says. “We’ve got this next tour and we might do something next year and then we’re going to take a little break for a second. 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.”
“Staind,” which came out in September and debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, marked the end of the group’s deal with Atlantic Records. A “Live From Mohegan Sun” album and DVD came out this month via Eagle Rock, and Lewis says some of the interim will be spent figuring out the band’s next move. “There’s so many options these days, and we won’t really know until that time comes,” Lewis explains. “I think it would take a ridiculous, ridiculous check for me to be willing to sign a label deal again, but there’s many other ways to do it. Everything is changing so much; every time you close your eyes and then open them again, the business has changed a little bit. So we’ll see when we get there what we’re gonna do.”
In the meantime, Lewis is prepping for the release of “The Road,” whose lead single, “Endless Summer,” is working its way up the country charts. “I’m totally stoked about this new record,” says Lewis, who recorded “The Road” in Nashville and Las Vegas during days off from touring with Staind. “Honestly, I think it’s way better than (‘Town Line’), and I certainly can’t complain about what that did. I think it surprised a lot of people. It certainly surprised me.” “The Road” was, in fact, supposed to be another EP, but Lewis says he “just kept coming up with songs and recording them and before we knew it we had enough for a full-length.”
Lewis will be touring solo until Aug. 10, including shows at the Sturgis Rally in South Dakota and the Illinois State Fair. He plans to visit country stations during the Uproar Festival and plans to tour more on his own to promote “The Road,” possibly even opening for another artists — Eric Church, Craig Morgan and Jamey Johnson are on his wish list.
“(Going country) hasn’t been dauntingly and terrifyingly difficult, but I wasn’t given a free pass for selling 17 or 18 million records in my career already (with Staind), that’s for sure,” Lewis notes. “I guess I knew it was going to be a fight because I was starting over. I just didn’t think that people would be as close-minded as they were about things they had issues with. There was a lot of am I country enough? Am I dipping my toes? Am I really committed to the format? Am I just testing the waters to see what I can do? If it was garbage that I was offering, I could understand that, but it wasn’t and isn’t and it hasn’t been.”