Very few artists could even imagine the rollercoaster experienced by Scott Stapp over the last 15 years. As the iconic front man for the Grammy-winning rock band Creed, Stapp was recognizable on most continents due to global tours and album sales over 60 million strong. With 11 No. 1 hits including “With Arms Wide Open” and “Higher”, Stapp was standing on top of the musical world.
Unfortunately, the mountaintop experience provided Stapp the highest place from which to fall. Band tensions and other factors precipitated the band’s break-up in 2004, and Stapp says everything spiraled out of control from that point on. From a documented suicide attempt to serious drug and alcohol addiction, Stapp’s emotional turmoil and physical behavior brought him to his lowest point. It was a hole Stapp thought might become his grave.
The good news is God was just beginning His redemptive work in Stapp’s life. Years later, Stapp has turned his life around and committed himself to telling the story of it all. In 2012, Stapp released his autobiography entitled Sinner’s Creed, a tell-all that describes his downfall and how faith in God brought him back. Proof of Life is his brand new solo album, a musical accompaniment to the content in the book.
“It definitely wasn’t easy to get to this point,” says Stapp, “To get through the book, to get through this record, to get sober and clean, to bring healing and repair the chaos and the hurt and the pain that not only I experienced, but that alcoholism and addiction can bring to those that you love. It holds them hostage in the torment that it can bring to their lives, and through all the destruction that follows.”
Stapp says he’s finally sober after going through rehab, and his faith community has helped restore his family life as well. Stapp says he’s both appreciative and anxious of the chance to share the message of getting on and off the destructive ride that led him to this point.
“I made it out,” he says. “I survived. It’s a miracle and I’m just thankful to God and by the grace of God that I’m alive, and I’m really, really excited about this next season in my life. As a Christian, I’m excited about what God’s doing in my life and what I’m going to be blessed to have the opportunity to do.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to give this back and share this in the hope that others who are going through some situations that are similar to what happened to me—whatever they’re going through, anything that’s holding them hostage and that they’re a prisoner to—that there is hope. I can tell you because I lived it.”
Stapp says that despite the hopelessness around him, the music was always there waiting to come out. Now his gifts have become the very vehicle for finding hope again.
“When I talk about the season being over—that season of all the negativity, the addiction, the alcoholism, the abuse—I don’t classify music and creativity as a season because that’s who I am and that’s going to be a part of me whether that’s professionally or privately, so that’s one thing that will remain constant.
“But this season in my life of going to that place where I went, I can never go there again. I can speak for certainty and by the grace of God and only through God’s help and His strength and His love and compassion, I can speak with clarity today that there are certain things in my life I have overcome that I will never go back to again.”
Longtime fans of Creed or Stapp’s solo work might be surprised by the variety on Proof of Life. It’s a testament to Stapp’s new lease on life. He’s a free man now, in more ways than one, which means the rock and roller might indulge other tastes if that’s what he’s interested in.
“I felt like I had no boundaries,” Stapp says of recording Proof of Life. “I felt like I was 100 percent free to create the platform, sonically, exactly based on that moment of inspiration and not be confined to a box. I didn’t feel like, ‘I have to write music this certain way because that’s what I’m supposed to do.’ Mainly I felt that before because of being in a band and knowing how other people feel. To be able to not have those constraints frees me to just be the artist that I am who loves a variety of music, from hard rock to country to pop.”
While Stapp gives God the glory for saving him from his despair and depression, he also credits his fans for their steadfast support along the way. In fact, Stapp says his fans have often been the vehicle through which God has spoken to him to lift him up.
“My fans have been the most loving, supportive angels in my life,” he says. “They’re always there to say something at just the time I needed support, and they didn’t even know what was going on behind the scenes. And then when things went public, they had my back. They didn’t turn on me. They were there with compassion and understanding.
“I just have so much love for my fans, and it’s genuine because it’s a real relationship,” he continues. “We’ve gone through a lot together and they’ve stood by me. At times they’ve almost been like instruments from God to me, to speak truth into my life and to speak love and support into my life when I needed it most. I just hope I can give back to them through this music what they’ve given to me.”
For more information visit scottstapp.com.