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Scott Stapp coming back to the Machine Shop; playing Uncle Sam Jam

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After hitting the Machine Shop earlier this year, Scott Stapp is headed back to the venue in Flint for a show on Saturday, June 28 and then will be hitting Woodhaven on Saturday, July 12 for the Uncle Sam Jam festival at Civic Center Park.

Stapp is out touring behind his second solo album, Proof of Life, which is a companion piece to his uncensored 2012 memoir, Sinner's Creed.

The Creed front man has had a number of highs and lows since the Grammy-Award winning band first formed in 1993 and through his memoir and music, he was able to sit down and take an honest and brutal look at his life from his fundamentalist upbringing to the rise of Creed and his battle with addiction and finally, his rediscovery of his Christian faith.

The Proof of Life album is an inspiring tale interwoven with his love of life, family and God and shows how much his experiences have shaped his maturity, spirituality and musical direction.

After a successful round of touring in the winter, Stapp is ready to head back out for the summer and will be kicking this leg off on June 13.

Yesterday, Stapp took the day to do a round of interviews from his home in Florida and I had a chance to talk to him about the upcoming tour, the album, the memoir and what is next for him and for Creed.

Q: How are you today?

Scott: I am good. I am doing interview after interview and they're going great. Everything is good; I can't complain.

Q: Yeah, it's a beautiful day here in Detroit. Summer has definitely sprung.

Scott: Yeah, nice. What's the temperature like there now?

Q: It's around 80 degrees here. I think we're all enjoying it more this year after the brutal winter.

Scott: Yeah I was there a few times in the winter and it was cold!

Q: You played the Machine Shop during that bitter cold didn't you?

Scott: Yeah, yeah it was freezing. Great show though and a great venue.

Q: And you are coming back there this month?

Scott: Yeah, the first one was a sold out show so hopefully more people can get in for this one.

Q: What can people expect from this leg of the tour and what else do you have going on right now?

Scott: Well, you know, continuing to play stuff from this record Proof of Life. From a live show standpoint, I'm definitely going to be mixing it up in terms of the songs that I play live from my Creed work as well as from the solo albums. So they can expect not to see the same group of songs that they saw on the first U.S. tour. Also, I'm in the process of finishing up some songs that I probably should have put on Proof of Life that I didn't quite finish up or that didn't get chosen for the record but kind of in hindsight wish I would have put on there. So I'm finishing those up here shortly and I'm going to put those out. We're talking about a new music video. So there's a lot of stuff going on. We're also talking about some live show footage on dvd and that kind of stuff so we're working on multiple things. People should just stay tuned to my website and Facebook and Twitter for all the details.

Q: How do you feel the first part of the tour went? Did you see a positive reaction to the new songs?

Scott: Oh yeah! It was awesome. It's crazy. I thought that when people were coming up to me to talk about songs they wanted to hear that I was going to hear all Creed songs but to be honest with you, it was the opposite. It was fans telling me that they loved the new record. There was a couple of songs that I didn't play consistently off the new record and every night the fans would come up and tell me I wish you would play this one or that one and they were from Proof of Life or from The Great Divide [first solo album]. So I'm excited about that. From my perspective live in performing the songs, I really feel that the new material not only stands up to the work I did in Creed but on some level takes it to a new and fresh place. So I'm excited about that and how they flow together in terms of the musical journey that the show is on and how it connects with the fans. That's been really exciting for me and in all honesty is something that I challenged myself to prior to making this record. I think it's something that my fans would expect. You know, to have music that was not only at the level that they were used to and if not better than at least something new and fresh with that same connection and I accomplished that. It's very gratifying.

Q: Because of the personal nature of the album, do you see a new level of connection with the audience in terms of being able to relate to the themes of the album and relating it to their own lives?

Scott: Yeah, absolutely. I think that what I wrote about on this record and how it came out is true in that it is connecting in some way with them in some way. You know, whether it was something that they walked through or they know someone who has or even the sentiment applying to something totally different but the struggle and the thought process are the same. It's human experience. I mean we've all been through so much of the same things so I think that's one thing that fortunately inspires me to make music and to tap into. It started with Creed and it's now continuing with my solo work.

Q: Do you find the whole process easier or harder when it comes to working on your solo stuff compared to working with Creed and having so many different voices and ideas?

Scott: No, you know it's the same. When we write a Creed record, me and Mark [Tremonti, lead guitarist] will get our acoustic guitars and go off for two or three weeks away from the band and just write and it's the same process that I do when I write no matter who it's with. It's the best way and the most comfortable way for me to just be one on one with a buddy of mine and a couple of acoustic guitars and just create. I think one of the differences that initially was a little uncomfortable was the fact that I've known Mark since he was 14 and I was 14 so we had that friendship and so I think the only real difference was just a little bit of nervousness of getting together a few times with different guys that I had never written with before. You know, someone I didn't know, but they are amazing artists and just real people and so there was an instant connection so that nervousness quickly went away after hanging and jamming with them.

Q: Did you find that having that experience of sharing your thoughts and feelings with your lyrics in Creed and in your solo work helped when you sat down to write your memoir?

Scott: Well, you know I think I was definitely at a place in my life with circumstances that led me to writing that. I was doing it for me. I was at a place where I was trying to sort out my life. I wasn't in a good place. To be honest, it actually began in rehab and during a really dark time and I was trying to figure out how did I get here and what is wrong with me and what is going on? Someone there challenged me to go back to my room and write my story and be a hundred percent honest and go back to the beginning and start with, "I was born Anthony Scott Flippen on August 8, 1973..." and just roll from there and that's what I did. You know, three-hundred plus pages later I had really worked through a lot of stuff and I think for the first time in my life really addressed it from a fresh perspective and pulled everything out of the closet. It helped knowing that it wasn't for anyone else but for my clarity and for me to try some things out. Then, I had agreed that I would share it with this one individual and then we would burn it afterwards so we could let it go. Of course I ended up sharing it with my wife and that's when the idea came to pay it forward. My wife really gave me the confidence and the idea that you should really share this and put it out there. That's when it turned into a memoir.

Q: With the album as a type of companion piece or extension to the book, have you seen the process that you went through in writing the memoir and working through so much stuff having an effect on your music and your approach to lyrics?

Scott: Absolutely! First of all, being able to work that stuff out saved the music within me. It gave me my life back, my muse back and my songs back. It gave me love back. From that point, everything else after that just came.

Q: What do you want people to remember you for?

Scott: Wow...that I'm just a regular guy; a regular human being that feels and thinks and goes through everything just like everybody else and wanted to use his love of music and gift for music to connect with people and share a common story that we all face and at the end of that story found God and he's real. I say that from the most authentic and honest place because I've earned it. I started out questioning like everybody else and went down every road good and bad and at the end of it all, through my doubts and life processes, all my questions were answered. If you seek that, I promise you, you'll find it.

Q: I had a Goo Goo Dolls interview last summer after the release of their Magnetic album and we were having a conversation about how positive the songs on the album were and how that was something that the music world needed. I get that same feeling when I listen to Proof of Life. Would you agree with that sentiment?

Scott: Yeah, you know I think that I've always had some elements of hope and positivity in my music because in looking back in hindsight that was what was getting me through the dark times and the negativity everyday that would come our way. So most definitely I think that there will be more and more of that coming through my music and I think it's exactly what the world needs. We have enough coming at us everyday with negativity and with pain that we can and can't control. You know, we can control what we watch on tv but our interactions with people in every other medium that communicates into our mind and into our soul, we can't control. You know, just people we run into and situations and just life and tragedy and sickness and pain and all of that. I know that I wallowed in all of that stuff and got to the other side so I know that any other way to find peace is not going to work. I think there's a time when that negativity and pain is there for growth and for us to endure and just make it through and it helps create the people that we are. There's always going to be that voice of love and positivity. In turn, I call that God so most definitely I think we need that positivity. God is love man. You can write it that way, never have we needed love more than we need it now.

Q: What is your biggest goal now moving forward with your music?

Scott: I tell you, to continue to grow as an artist and to continue to be able to connect with people on the most human level. I think the number one priority in my life, which affects everything else in my life, is staying sober and to work at staying connected in my spirit and my faith because the lack of sobriety and being in addiction and in that darkness is all based on your spiritual condition. So for me, I guess that translates just in talking to you that the most important thing moving forward is my spiritual condition. If I maintain that, everything else will take care of itself. That's where I'm at and that's my goal.

Q: In the past you've said that you can see there being new Creed music down the line. Have you spoken about it or is it a wait and see kind of thing?

Scott: Well I think all of us want it to be organic and real and want to feel a really creative pull and a passion to get together and make a Creed record and to create with each other. Our fans deserve nothing less from us so I think we're still in that place where we're not quite ready to make a new record. I'm sure that we will make a new record one day but there's no specific time. There's no set plan. We did get together a couple of years ago and write a bunch of songs and realized that although we were excited about the new material, our hearts just weren't in it and we were being pulled in different directions so we'll get there. It'll take some time but I think the fans should go on this journey with us and I think it'll make down the road if and when that day comes that much sweeter.

Q: Finally, is there still something that your fans would be surprised to learn about you?

Scott: Wow, that's a great question! That I'm really, really shy and have been my whole life. I'm real anxious and nervous around people and every single night even though I've been doing it for seventeen years, I have nervousness about going out on stage. I think a lot of times my shyness has been mistaken over the years for something different. I think sometimes we can think someone's being a jerk or arrogant or whatnot when really they're just kind of shy. I don't think my fans would know just knowing me based solely as a performing artist that I'm a really shy person.

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