Scott Stapp says life, and not all of it good, accounts for the eight-year gap between his new solo album, “Proof Of Life,” and its 2005 predecessor “The Great Divide.”
“This album has been in the cooker for a long time,” the Creed frontman tells Billboard. “It just wasn’t ready to be born yet. I thought I was working on the second solo album staring in 2006, but really my life began to be filled with so much chaos that nothing really survived. I think there were some themes on (‘Proof Of Life’) that were beginning to be born as far back as 2006 and 2007, but I don’t think I could honestly talk about them or honestly create songs from them because I hadn’t fully understood or lived it and I didn’t have the perspective I have now. I still had a lot of things to learn, personally, before it was the right time. I think the album has perfect synergy for where I am in my life today.”
Stapp’s post-“The Great Divide” turmoil included arrests for suspected intoxication in 2006 (a day after he married second, and current, wife Jaclyn Nesheiwat) and for domestic abuse in 2007 (the charge was subsequently dropped and Jaclyn has said no violence occurred). He chronicled other issues in his frank 2012 autobiography “Sinner’s Creed,” but while those troubles inspired some of the songs on the Howard Benson-produced “Proof Of Life,” which comes out Nov. 5 and available now for pre-order, Stapp feels the general resolve of the album is positive.
“I think it’s about finding a purpose within the madness, finding a message within the mess,” Stapp explains. “I think encapsulating, reaching, balance, clarity, contentment, peace and love — I think that kind of summarizes ‘Proof of Life.’ I really feel like (the album) proves that the last 10 years mattered and that all of the struggle mattered and I didn’t waste all that time. It’s a story and a journey and an education and proof that there was life in that period and that is also going to effect he rest of my life in such a profound way as to never allow me to go back to that place in which these revelations were born. That’s dynamic change and, for me, unprecedented growth.”
“Proof Of Life’s” first single, “Slow Suicide” — co-written with former Exies frontman Scott Stevens — dwells on those darker times, but Stapp is happy with songs that focus more on his current situation.
“I’m really connecting with ‘New Day Coming,’ ’cause it really is symbolic and meaning to my life right now, today, and with this record,” he says of the track, premiering today on Billboard. “I really think that this album signifies the end of a season in my life and the beginning of a new one, and I’m very excited about the next season and very glad the other one is behind me.”
Stapp says some of the players on “Proof Of Life” — including drummers Kenny Aronoff and Josh Freese and guitarists Phil X and Ken Pierce — will be part of his band when he starts “a full-scale world tour” in mid-March. He’s planning promotional appearances throughout the fall, including TV and radio appearances. He says Creed, which last toured in 2012, remains on ice for now as both he and the other members’ Alter Bridge are busy with new projects, but he’s certainly the group will be heard from again.
“I love those guys and always will and want the best for them in everything they do,” Stapp says. “Right now I think we’re all just focused on what we’re doing. When it’s organic and when it can be fulfilling and joyful and real and not so much about what managers and record companies want, I think definitely the door’s open for that. But right now, just as they’re doing what they’re doing, I’m loving what I’m doing and loving the spirit and the organic, creative spontaneousness of it. That’s what art and music’s call about. But, y’know, the door’s always open for (Creed).”