Kicking its sophomore album off with the track “Lost” was one thing for Los Angeles hard rockers Stitched Up Heart. But having Godsmack’s Sully Erna guest on the song, premiering exclusively below, was something else altogether.
Singer Alecia “Mixi” Demner and company became friends with Erna some years ago, and he actually did some songwriting with her for the album. “We didn’t end up using those songs, but he agreed to be on (‘Lost’) when we wrote it at the end of the record,” Demner tells Billboard. “I just think he put a really cool spin on this song. His take on the bridge portion is just great; He’s that evil entity in your head that tells you that you can’t do this or you’re not good enough, that you’re not worth anything, all the horrible things you can spin out of control without realizing it’s just your thought processing.
“That’s a little deeper than just being lost in your own head.”
Like “Lost,” the rest of the album — produced by Matt Good of From First to Last and D.R.U.G.S. — was culled from nearly 70 songs Stitched Up Heart created while looking for the right sound and producer. The 13 tracks mine similar personal and psychological issues, getting closer to the bone than Demner feels she ever has before. “A lot of it is very introspective,” she says. “Your brain is a machine, always working and thinking. If you let it spin out of control it can spin into depression. So a lot of these (songs) came from just in my head; I didn’t realize how far I was gone until I listened to my own words. We get trapped in our minds and sometimes we forget to be here and present.”
Sonically, Stitched Up Heart mine different territory on the new album than it explored on its 2016 debut Never Alone, implementing electronic elements alongside plenty of guitar crunch. “We did a lot of throwing paint on the wall, trying totally different things than we’re used to,” Demner says. “Trying to innovate and change our sound but not lose your identity is kind of hard; You don’t want to alienate people that already love the band for what you are, but you also want to grow as an artist. We wanted to push the boundaries to see how far we can go. Ultimately it came down to us being happy with what we created, and I think we found a lane that felt right and was comfortable.”
Stitched Up Heart will be spending time, appropriately, on the road with Erna and Godsmack this month, playing five dates with Godsmack and Volbeat starting April 16 in Nashville. “We can’t thank Sully enough for going to bat with us on that and for what he’s doing. He really wants to help us out and pay it forward and give us a break,” Demner notes. “This is the biggest thing we’ve ever done. I’m having every emotion I can have. I can tell my grandchildren one day that, ‘Back in the day, when I was your age, I was rockin’ and rollin’ with Godsmack on this arena tour.’ It’s just a mind-blowing opportunity.”