GEEKWEEK Exclusive: Staind Singer Aaron Lewis Discusses Being "Country," Writing Solo Songs and Music That'll Bring a Tear to His Eye


Staind's Aaron Lewis can get loud.

On hits such as "It's Been Awhile," "Mudshovel" and "Believe," Lewis's powerful and poignant pipes oscillate from sensitive and soaring to gruff and tough. He's got the kind of range that few performers have, and it's what made Staind an incredibly power hard rock force. At the same time, his ability to belt out a ballad separated them from their immediate contemporaries and placed them up there with the likes of Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam. However, there's nothing louder than one Lewis sits alone with that acoustic and bares his soul every night by himself during his annual winter tour. Bouncing from venues all over the country with nothing more than a guitar and mic, he'll spend this January cranking out Staind favorites, rarities, original solo tracks and a cover or two.

Aaron Lewis sat down with GEEKWEEK writer and Dolor author Rick Florino to discuss his solo acoustic tour, what it means to be country and what music can even make him cry in this exclusive interview.

You've got the soul of a country performer. Do you think being "country" isn't restricted to the North or South?

No, it doesn't have to be North or South. I've lived in New England my whole life, and I'm as country as it gets [Laughs].

Do you see similarities between country and hard rock? The approach and mentality are truly comparable in essence.

For me anyways, I think that there's a little bit of a correlation there because I tend to have a deeper effect lyrically on my fans than your average rock song does—just in the words that I put in the music. I could be driving down the road listening to a country song, and it's the one genre of music that will bring a tear to my eye. Here I am a 37-year-old man, and I'm driving down the road crying like a little girl over a song. Country music is usually the one genre that'll do that to me—not cock rock.
Country and metal tend to reach the listener's soul in the same manner.

That's a correlation that can be made for sure!

What's the thought process like behind writing solo material? Does it differ from Staind?

No, the solo songs aren't being written any differently than "Outside," "It's Been Awhile," "So Far Away," "Everything Changes," "Zoe Jane," "Epiphany" or any of the songs over the years that I've sat down and written on an acoustic guitar.  It's a lot easier of a show day when I play solo [Laughs]. There are three guitars, a stool and a microphone, period. There's no production. There's no setup. There's no big sound check. There are no trucks. The three guitars come off the bus, and the stool comes out from underneath the bus [Laughs]. There's one suitcase with cords and a microphone, and one suitcase turns into a guitar station. That's it.

When you strip away the Staind songs, they have the same power as they do on their recorded versions.

I've heard from many people that there's more because there's nothing to distract you from the words.

By: Rick Florino (
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