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Staind Frontman Goes Solo

Of the Oakland Press

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Staind frontman Aaron Lewis promises that he has “no intention of leaving the band, in no way, shape or form.”

But he does have high hopes that the solo work he’s doing will benefi t the hard-rocking quartet as well as himself.

Lewis is on the road playing acoustic shows, performing the mellow end of Staind’s catalog — including hits such as “Outside” and “It’s Been Awhile” — as well as some new songs that may end up on his fi rst solo album.

The goal, he explains, is “kind of a separation of the two styles,” which Lewis and the rest of Staind hope will bring more focus to the harder rocking aspect of the band’s personality.

“I think the singles that have been released give kind of a skewed representation of what we are as a band — not a false representation, just kind of skewed,” says Lewis, 34, a threetime Grammy nominee who co-founded Staind in 1995 in Massachusetts, after meeting Mike Mushok at a Christmas party. “They’re the minority of what we do, but it’s been the focus.

“So my (solo) thing will go more in the direction of the songs that I’ve always written — ‘Outside,’ ‘It’s Been Awhile,’ ‘So Far Away,’ ‘Everything Changes.’ That’s more in the line of what the solo project will be, and let Staind go back to being the heavy band that you get to see if you come and see us live.”

Lewis says that he and his bandmates — who released a compilation, “The Singles: 1996-2006,” last fall — have been frustrated by the popular perspective of Staind as a ballad band. He does, however, feel that status was an “accident,” after an acoustic version of “Outside” from “The Family Values Tour ’99” album — with Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst guesting — got heavy airplay and set up the subsequent “It’s Been Awhile” for Top 5 success.

“At that point the record labels had something that they wanted,” Lewis notes, “and we couldn’t really break the cycle.”

He predicts that the next Staind album will be a harderhitting affair — but it may be awhile before we see it. Mushok’s wife gave birth to twins in the fall, while drummer Jon Wysocki got married. Consequently, Lewis says, Staind is “gonna take some time off. Everybody needs some time off. I like to try to make sure the surface is clean. You’ve got to let all the build-up from being on tour and playing the same songs over and over again go away and have a clean slate to start over with so we don’t repeat ourselves.

“And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with slowing that down just a little bit and giving people a little bit of an opportunity to miss what we have to offer.”

Lewis, however, isn’t slowing down at all — although he says reports of an imminent solo album are overstated.

“It’s there in concept and thought,” he explains, “but there’s a lot of things that have to fall into place for me to bring it to the table.”

Also on his plate “The Crew,” a reality show about rock ’n’ roll roadies that’s currently in development.

But his primary focus is writing new material, and primarily for himself.

“It seems like, lately, every time I sit down with an instrument I come up with another song,” Lewis says. “I don’t want to sound like I don’t enjoy working with my band, because I do; we’ve had a great time of it and a very successful run.

“But at the same time, I very much look forward to doing something that I don’t necessarily have to take anybody else’s input on. I really look forward to doing something that, at the end of it, everything on the record I can call my own. It’s not really a

selfish thing. It’s a creative thing.”

Aaron Lewis of Staind performs at 8 p.m. Thursday (March 1st) at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak. Tickets are $29.50-$47.50. Call (248) 399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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