Staind: Substance Over Illusion

Today marks the release date for Staind’s new album, “The Illusion of Progress”. I’ve heard some of the new tracks and it’s a change from some of the band’s previous works. Guitarist Mike Mushok has said that “The Illusion of Progress” marks a very different record for the band, “…better different.” I agree.

This new sound not the only evidence this band continues to grow and evolve; they’re branching into an interesting form of marketing. What spurred this idea behind the new CD campaign? The band has, over the past two years witnessed the benefits of interaction with the fans.

Lead singer, Aaron Lewis is a contrast to the likes of say, Eddie Veddar, with his long tangle of hair, model good looks. Lewis is this slightly bearish looking guy with round powerful looking shoulders and fierce ‘Colin Ferrel’ eyebrows. I mean, if you passed the guy on the street you might dismiss him as a local construction worker. That just lends to the guy’s appeal. Aaron Lewis’ beauty lies in his voice, the man possesses some of the best rock vocals in the market today. Lewis doesn’t need rely on studio production or over instrumentation to sound great, he’s absolutely dynamic when he performs acoustically.

Here’s Lewis in a video from 2006, “Outside” (Love this song.)

In a positive form of self-promotion, Staind has become a real presence on their website. They take the reins regarding involving themselves in the communication with their fans, providing that reach out and touch us experience. Their fans have responded in kind which has motivated the band to continue to do even more. Mushok says Staind is looking forward to seeing how the new initiatives play with its fan base but likes the fact that everything that’s planned “…gives a little bit more back to the fans. It gives them more options and ways of getting more from us.” Yes, give and you receive. Mushok’s a wise man.

Now what exactly is Mushok referring to in his statement? Not content to just put out a new album or offer the usual exclusive or special edition album to accompany the main offering, Staind is taking it a step further. On top of the exclusive album offering three bonus tracks, buyers also receive a free one-year membership to their fan club (Dysfunctional Fan Club). According to Dane Venable, the senior VP of pop/rock marketing with Atlantic, this offering encourages buyers to link to the group’s Web site and expose them to Staind’s online community. Involvement within the community has proven to build band loyalty as the fans are able to stay abreast of the real life happenings for the band and their music, tours. This also allows access to a special 30-minute documentary on the making of the album.

Although they have a paying portion to their website, unlike some artists, Staind’s Official website’s forum is open to view – you don’t have to be a member to read the forum. This contrasts to what is seen in some artist’s ‘official websites’, that webpage ‘gate’ that you can’t pass until you pay up.

“Believe”, is the first single released from the album, currently sitting at No. 9 on the Mainstream Rock chart after just four weeks. The benefits of having the backing of Flip/Atlantic will be felt as the marketing campaign unfolds. The label has planned an ambitious viral campaign for the launch and promotion of the album utilizing a broad range of Web sites and platforms. Outside of taking the single to radio, the new CD is for sale on iTunes, and back on July 24, released the video on AOL.

New tune, “Believe”

Aug. 28, Staind will appear on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Touring starts with two weeks of European dates with Nickelback in September, which is part of the band’s first concerted campaign overseas. Staind returns to North America, touring October through December, more dates expected after the first of the year.

As the story has it, following this new tour, Aaron Lewis will be releasing a solo album with acoustic tunes. A cover of “Turn the Page” might be on it.

Staind has definitely turned their own page, regarding maturity, growth and artistry as “The Illusion of Progress” evidences.

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7 Responses to Staind: Substance Over Illusion

  1. lwing says:

    Spin, thanks for the heads up Staind. Can’t believe I haven’t heard “Believe” yet, and look forward to checking it out later when I have a better connection. You’re so right; Aaron Lewis doesn’t need any embellishment. This dudes got it – powerful, clear and gorgeous vocals.

    I remember the first time I heard “It’s Been Awhile”… as a bassist from way back, the drop d guitar tuning blew my ass away, along with the urgency of Lewis’ vocals. Staind and Nickelback were the first two bands I heard who did their songs in dropped tuning. This is what motivated me to buy a 500 watt amp w/10 inch sub-woofers for my car (and that’s only ½ of what the young dudes ride with.) LOL. But plenty enough for me. I couldn’t wait to hear that shit cranked up proper. Of course, this meant replacing the alternator a couple of times, but it was well worth it.

    Over the years as these bands have over-saturated the market, I have grown somewhat tired of them. So I really do look forward to hearing

  2. lwing says:

    (continued) some Fresh, different Staind. Sorry, inadvertently cut the last few words out on the first post 🙂

  3. spinshack says:

    Hahaha, blown alternators, man, if the tunes sound good, it’s worth it hey? I know this guy who has some kind of special electrical hook up for his car stereo system that has its own power source separate from the car’s . Wild.

    I had fallen off listening to much of Staind for a while, they went in the Pearl Jam direction so heavily, I figured, hell, I’ll listen to the real deal. I have always loved Aaron’s vocals though. He has more range and depth and clarity than Veddar. I love the acoustic material and will be first up to pick up Aaron’s new CD when it hits.

    This new CD includes a much more musically driven backdrop and less of the hard and crunchy metal, but still dynamic, and different, ‘better different’. It’s very cool watching a band and artist change and morph, grow into a fuller direction.

  4. lwing says:

    Yeah, the amp was worth it for sure. ‘specially since I got the system for $75 from a friend. 🙂 Wish I could afford me one of them there separate power sources for the car.

    Grunge has it’s special place in history and produced some great acts, but the rock scene seemed dead there for awhile after the glut of Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden…That’s why I’m grateful for some of the great post-grunge bands like Staind, Puddle of Mudd, Godsmack, and can’t leave out them boyz from Memphis – Saliva, and their counterparts P.O.D. although I would classify them more as rock/rap, esp. in the beginning.

    With new bands on the scene like Alter Bridge, (ex Creed members less Scott Stapp + the awesome lead singer/rhythm guitarist Myles Kennedy), it seems like rock has come back full circle, with Lead guitarist Mark Tremonti bringing the real solos back to rock music. He said in a recent interview that he’s been studying the styles of old blues cats, and man does it show. 🙂

    Sorry for gettin’ a bit OT. Thanks again for highlighting a great rock band. Can’t wait to hear the ‘better different’ you mentioned.

  5. spinshack says:

    Man, I love reading talk from someone who loves some of the rock I love. Granted, I am eclectic in my tastes and appreciate anything from quality Jazz to great and crunchy metal. You seem to have a handle on one of my special faves – the grunge era and the types of sound sprung from that time period. I’m stoked that you like Staind. Their new work isn’t all hard metal but I like their direction. I just love the heart behind Lewis, man , he’s golden.

  6. lwing says:

    Yeah, good to know there are some other Taylor fans who like not only just soul and r&b. That’s one good thing about the Hicks fanbase, we’re a pretty eclectic bunch, methinks. Staind has stood the test of time, unlike some of their counterparts. Couldn’t live without my crunchy metal, but love some acoustic too. Didn’t know Staind had an ‘Unplugged” album out – got to get my hands on that one!

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