Singer performs June 27 at Seneca Niagara Casino
Preview by Joshua Maloni
Scott Stapp doesn't hold back on his solo album, "Proof of Life." He readily admits his past substance abuse could've prematurely taken his life.
In "Slow Suicide," the album's rousing rock anthem, Stapp sings, "'It's no secret. ... I can't pretend/I can't forget. What I've done. ... Everyday I live with the consequences. I let it beat me/let it kick me/let it throw me to the floor."
Yet, he also sings, "Those days are over. I'm moving forward. It can't hurt me. Now I believe." And, "I can't let this life pass me by."
"Proof of Life" is Stapp's evidence, his testimony, that better days - and better actions - await him.
On "Dying to Live," Stapp sings, "What I thought was all of my life story/turns out it was only just one page. It's a new beginning. I have got so much left to say."
In a recent phone interview, Stapp said, "Things are going great.
"It's been an interesting journey. And I think, just being human, it has its struggles and its dark times, as well as its times of light and happiness. It's awesome to be coming out of a dark period in my life and starting to live in the light, and in this new change and new season in my life."
"Proof of Life" follows Stapp's 2012 memoir, "Sinner's Creed," which, likewise, served as a means to clear the air and inspire others to beat addiction.
"You know, I think there have been times when it's been very challenging (to share)," Stapp said. But when he would offer half-truths or "candy-coat" what was happening in his life, "I found that wasn't working for me."
"It was important for me as a human being, and what I do, and who I am, to be authentic. To be real," Stapp said. "And I found that, as I began to do that, it affected every area of my life, and helped me be free to be who I am.
"Also it's helped in giving my life more of a purpose than just rock 'n' roll music. That purpose is to share my experiences - the good, the bad and the ugly - and seeing that it connects with others.
"In sharing that, not only does it connect, but it's given strength, and other people have been helped by that. So that makes me feel like I'm doing more than just playing in a rock band."
Talking about his past, and meeting fans who've experienced their own struggles, "it also keeps me accountable," Stapp said. "It adds another level of thought process before I may go down a road. It's also a level of responsibility.
"I'm far from perfect, and I'm far from having arrived. I just try to live my life 24 hours at a time."
"I'm real and authentic about the fact that I'm human, and I'm sure I'll make more mistakes," he said. "But that's just life. That's what we all do."
Stapp, of course, rose to fame at the turn of the century with his Grammy-winning band, Creed, and their mega-hit songs "My Own Prison," "What's This Life For," "Torn," "One," "Higher," "With Arms Wide Open" and "My Sacrifice."
While fame and fortune were welcome, Stapp said the spotlight amplified his own inner struggles.
"Success, sometimes, can just magnify our core issues, and our core struggles, and our core frailties," he said. "I think that, in coming up in the business, you know, at least for me, I was very passionate, and dedicated, and worked really, really hard - which is a requirement to make it in this business.
"And then, you know, when you get there, you're still that same person, except everything you do is magnified on a stage and kind of surreal and not real. Whatever things in your life that were out of balance and not right just get magnified, in my opinion, times 100."
When Stapp was at death's door, it was his Christian faith that brought him back to life.
"In every way possible it has (helped me)," he said. "I think I experienced years in my early 20s and all the way up into my early 30s where I still had remnants of doubt. I would still ask questions about certain things.
"All that has been wrapped up. Through this process that I went through at this period in my life, the doubt was removed. My faith and my beliefs are firm - they're strong. There's no question, because I've seen it manifest in my life. I've lived it. There's no questioning or denying that."
Today, at the age of 40, Stapp is touring in support of "Proof of Life," a rock album that boldly declares he is bigger than his past.
"This album symbolizes so much to me personally," he said. "It's like the ending of a period - a long period in my life - and the beginning of a new one. It really symbolizes that transition and the start of the next chapter in my life. And so, yeah, it definitely, definitely felt good. ... It's kind of like taking a step forward. It was a definite sense of accomplishment and also just relief."
Stapp will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, June 27, at Seneca Niagara Casino's Bear's Den Showroom. Tickets, starting at $45, are available at the venue and through Ticketmaster.
"It's an anthemic rock sound, and it's also very much a journey of emotions and moods and feelings and experiences with peaks and with valleys," Stapp said of his live show. "It's interactive. It pulls on the heart and soul of the band, and those in the audience - however they want to tap in.
"It's rock 'n' roll. ... It's just a rock 'n' roll where its themes are a little deeper - not only deeper into the emotional realm and the psyche of being human, but also into the spiritual, and everything in between. It's different from the rock that proceeded it because (of) the themes and the peaks and valleys of where the emotions go. It runs the gamut of the human experience. It's not just stuck in anger, or sex and drugs. It's the full spectrum of being human, in all of our senses, as well as our spirit."
Stapp works hard to present a live show fans won't soon forget.
"One thing that's always been very, very important to me is being an entertainer and being in the now within each song, and connecting with that material with passion - with feeling - and then letting the music overtake me and almost possess me with the vibes. And bringing every bit of energy and feeling that I can to every song and performance, and connecting that with the audience," he said. "In terms of sonically, it's got everything that you could want in a rock show. It's got power, emotion, the electric guitars, the big drums, the technical expertise ... the mood, the vibe, but also a performance.
"It's not just, you know, you see a band that's just standing there kind of banging their head. It's an experience. It's a performance. It's a show in every sense of the word, with drama definitely involved in that.
"It's definitely unique in that regard. And it's powerful. I think that everyone who comes will be able to see, feel that. I'm excited to bring that there."
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