By his own admission, former Creed lead singer Scott Stapp has been to hell and back, a difficult and circuitous trip to be sure. Yet, you won’t hear the 40-year-old Stapp complaining about the pain and difficulties he endured on the way to becoming one of the world’s top rock ‘n’ rollers. He sees his trials and tribulations — the cuts, bruises and road rash he experienced — in the rearview mirror of his life: None of the hardships wasted, all of them working to bring him back to a strong faith in God. It is a message he shares with all who will listen, knowing he has been given a second chance to get his life right with God.”With the lifestyle I was living,” he said, “I’m really blessed and thank the Lord every day that I made it past the age of 27.”
Stapp, who won fans the world over in the late 1990s and early 2000s with his gritty, powerful vocals as the frontman for the multiplatinum-selling hard rock band Creed, is currently touring the US in support of his new album “Proof of Life”. In a recent phone chat, Stapp said he was glad to be getting back on the road. “I’m really looking forward to it,” Stapp said. “Looking forward to getting out, sharing some stories and playing these new songs.”
Make no mistake about it — Stapp has plenty of stories to share. Born and raised in Florida, his stepfather was a strict Pentecostal preacher who literally tried to beat the Gospel into young Stapp, who ended up running away from home in his teenage years. A period of rebellion followed. “The electric guitar was seen as the devil’s instrument,” Stapp said. “You couldn’t be a Christian and play rock ‘n’ roll.” As he reached young adulthood, Stapp chose the path that led to rock ‘n’ roll. While at Florida State University, he was a founding member of Creed, which hit the big time in 1997 with the release of its debut project “My Own Prison,” which sold 6 million copies. The band found similar success with follow-up projects “Human Clay” in 1999 and “Weathered” in 2001.
Stapp received a Grammy Award for the Creed song “With Arms Wide Open.” In the midst of his newfound fame, Stapp immersed himself in alcohol, drugs and sex, which he saw as some of the perks of being a bona fide rock star. Even as he strayed from his religious upbringing, Stapp continued to wrestle with his Christian faith, and many of Creed’s lyrics reflected that struggle. In some circles, Creed got the reputation as being a Christian band, though that never was the case.
Some of Stapp’s bandmates began to resent the spiritual references and allusions in many of his songs. Dissension within the band’s ranks grew and finally led to Creed’s breakup in 2004. Stapp then launched his solo career with the album “The Great Divide” in 2005, but all wasn’t well in his life or career. His addictions cost him a marriage, and in 2006 led him to a suicide attempt in which he plunged some 10 stories off a hotel balcony, landing on a section of the roof designed to catch droppings from seagulls.
His life not over, as it easily could have been, Stapp said he endeavored to change his ways. Still wrestling with spiritual issues, he returned to the faith he knew as a child. Much of the credit to his return to Christianity goes to his wife, Jaclyn, Miss New York 2004, whom he married in 2006. They have two children, and Stapp is now that rare family man who is doubling as a rock ‘n’ roller. The trials and pain, the suffering and anguish were all part of the journey, Stapp has found out. Nothing was wasted. Now, he said, he takes what he has been through and uses it to God’s glory, in the hope he might be able to help someone else along the way.