MIKE MUSHOK: Why Now Is The Right Time For New STAIND Album
May 9, 2023
STAIND guitarist Mike Mushok spoke to Lou Brutus of HardDrive Radio about the band's upcoming album, "Confessions Of The Fallen". STAIND's first new LP album since 2011 was produced by Erik Ron (GODSMACK, PANIC! AT THE DISCO, BLACK VEIL BRIDES) and will arrive in September via Alchemy Recordings/BMG.
Asked why now was "the right time" to release a new STAIND album, Mike said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We've talked about it, and it just seemed right. Aaron [Lewis, STAIND frontman] has been doing his country career for a while now. And we got back together in 2019 and were able to do some shows, which was great. And then we had a whole 2020 planned, but as with a lot of people, that kind of went away. In the meantime, we did that tour with KORN in 2021. And that's where a lot of the stuff for this record kind of came up; I was kind of writing every day on that and was actually able to get together with Aaron and play him some ideas. That's kind of where this all started, really, for this record. I kind of got some direction of what he wanted, what he liked, and that's how we moved forward with it."
Regarding the songwriting process for "Confessions Of The Fallen", Mike said: "I had a lot of songs, and they were all demoed. So it was basically just instrumental songs. I would take something that I liked, and I would just play it for him. Aaron would listen. And [he would say], 'Oh, I like that verse. Maybe we could try this. Maybe change the chorus a little.' So it was just really kind of getting ideas of where he was at, what music that I had that he was wanting to sing over and really kind of taking those notes, going back and reconstructing the songs, if need be, changing parts, rewriting stuff. And finally when we decided we were gonna do it, and I kind of had a pretty good group of what I thought would make up the record, and Erik ended up being the producer, Erik and I kind of went back and did the same process through the music. Kind of refining the songs, demoing them. And he'd take it to Aaron and they would work on the melody and the lyrics."
Last month, STAIND released the first single from "Confessions Of The Fallen", a song called "Lowest In Me".
In an interview with Billboard, Lewis said that it took him "a long time to be ready to do another STAIND record. I got really burnt out on digging into the dark corners of my psyche every night to deliver those very deep, dark songs in a manner that was believable and authentic," he explained. "I needed to step away from it for awhile and do something different. It just came back together naturally."
Regarding the lyrical inspiration for "Lowest In Me", Aaron told Billboard: "Everybody has got people in their lives that don't bring out the good in somebody. Just with what's going on in the world right now, there's so many things, so many people that are like, 'You bring out the lowest in me.' There's a lot of factors out there that could fall under the 'you' category."
When "Confessions Of The Fallen" was announced last month, Lewis stated about the LP's musical direction: "I did want to modernize the sound and bring us up to date. You can certainly recognize the band but at the same time you can hear that we've been paying attention and understand what kind of sounds and approaches we can use that maybe weren't around the last time we did this." Added Mushok, "It's undeniably Aaron's voice, and same for the songs. We got together and spent a lot of time focusing on direction, and we really like how it turned out."
Last December, Mushok told the Loaded Radio podcast about the musical direction of STAIND's new material: "It's a little bit more modernized, I think. I think that was something we kind of wanted to do. There's a little bit more of an electronic element on there, which is something new for us, but I feel like everybody is kind of doing that. But I think it's cool. It's not overused. I think the songs are really good. I'm really happy with it. I can't wait for people to hear it."
Mushok also talked about his working relationship with Lewis, saying: "We've been doing it for a long time. It's great to be back and doing that… I think that we definitely respect each other. It's kind of always been that. I think that STAIND's really kind of been… For the most part, I bring some music in and he decides what he likes and what he wants to write to, and we kind of take it from there. That being said, he's come in, obviously, with some amazing songs as well. So it's been a really good writing partnership, I feel."
Last September, Mushok told Atlantic City Weekly that both he and Lewis will continue to pursue other projects — Mushok with SAINT ASONIA, the band he co-founded in 2015 with former THREE DAYS GRACE singer Adam Gontier, and Lewis with his country solo career — alongside their long-running outfit.
In 2021, STAIND supported KORN on a U.S. run of dates.
STAIND has released seven albums since 1995, the latest being 2011's self-titled effort. The band has had a number of hit songs during its first two decades, including the Top 10 smash "It's Been Awhile" from the No. 1 album "Break The Cycle". Follow-up LPs "14 Shades Of Grey" and "Chapter V" also topped the Billboard chart.
STAIND released its first album in nine years, "Live: It's Been Awhile", in May 2021 via Yap'em/Alchemy Recordings. The "Live: It's Been Awhile" album was accompanied by "The Return Of Staind", a two-part global streaming series in partnership with Danny Wimmer Presents. The series launched with STAIND's "Live: It's Been Awhile (From Foxwoods)" concert, which streamed globally on May 1, 2021. The "Live: It's Been Awhile" album and concert were recorded at the band's comeback show at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut in October 2019. The never-before-seen concert celebrated the band's reunion after a five-year hiatus. STAIND also performed its iconic multi-platinum 2001 album "Break The Cycle" in its entirety for a May 8, 2021 streaming event, exactly 20 years after the album's release. The "20th Anniversary Of Break The Cycle, Performed In Its Entirety" took place at Mill 1 in Open Square in Holyoke, Massachusetts, bringing the band back to their Western Mass roots.
STAIND played its first full live show in five years in September 2019 at the Louder Than Life music festival in Louisville, Kentucky.
STAIND and GODSMACK recently announced a 25-city co-headlining 2023 tour, produced by Live Nation. The trek kicks off on July 18 at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis, Missouri, with stops across the U.S. before wrapping up in Austin, Texas at Germania Insurance Amphitheatre on August 31.
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