Ten years ago, Creed was one of the biggest bands in North America, selling tens of millions of records and tens of thousands of concert tickets. But by Christmas 2002, everything had gone horribly pear-shaped. Zonked on a combination of prescription drugs and JD, singer Scott Stapp turned in a horrible performance in Chicago that resulted in four fans filing a lawsuit.
Mix in the Holier-than-thou attitude, the perceived hypocrisies (including a leaked sex tape), the car accident, the broken hip, the thoughts of suicide and the very public fights with other bands — including an actual brawl with members of 311 — and you have the very definition of “downward spiral.”
Things finally bottomed out for Stapp on Nov. 18, 2006, when his wife told him enough was enough. That date is now tattooed on his forearm as a reminder. Since then, he and the rest of Creed have slowly plotted their rehabilitation, a test that begins in earnest Tuesday with the release of the band’s fourth album Full Circle.
Stapp sounds humbled, chastened and in search of a second chance. “In 2002, it was definitely time for us to take a break … The time was very well spent, most importantly establishing a firm foundation with our families. And for me, my faith.”
The new tracks are more muscular than With Arms Wide Open and those other singles that achieved popular acclaim and then critical scorn. And not just scorn — Creed was despised. Stapp now concedes that the band — and he in particular — deserved that.
“We’re sorry for the ignorant, youthful chip we had on our shoulders back then … I hope we get a second change to make a first impression.”