Creed (band)


Creed (band)
Creed

Creed returning for an encore in Salt Lake City,
October 2009
Background information
Also known as Naked Toddler
Origin Tallahassee, Florida, United States
Genres Hard rock, post-grunge
Years active 1995 (1995)–2004, 2009–present
Labels Wind-up
Associated acts Alter Bridge, Tremonti
Website creed.com
Members
Scott Stapp
Mark Tremonti
Brian Marshall
Scott Phillips

Creed is an American rock band formed in 1995 in Tallahassee, Florida. Becoming popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the band has released three consecutive multi-platinum albums, one of which has been certified diamond, and has sold over 28 million records in the United States,[1] with an estimated 40 million records worldwide,[2] becoming the ninth best-selling artist of the 2000s decade.[3] While often criticized and parodied, Creed is often recognized as one of the prominent acts of the post-grunge movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s and is one of the most commercially successful rock bands of all time, with vocalist Scott Stapp and guitarist Mark Tremonti collectively having been noted as one of the most prolific songwriting teams in the history of rock music.[4] Billboard ranked Creed as the 18th best artist of the 2000s.[5]

Along with founding members Stapp and Tremonti, the band also consists of bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips. Creed released two studio albums, My Own Prison in 1997 and Human Clay in 1999, before Marshall left the band in 2000 to be replaced by touring bassist Brett Hestla. Their third record, Weathered, was released in 2001 with Mark Tremonti handling bass before the band disbanded in 2004 due to increasing tension between members. Tremonti, Phillips, and Marshall went on to found Alter Bridge while Stapp followed a solo career. After months of speculation, Creed reunited in 2009 for a tour and new album called Full Circle. The band will reconvene in early 2012 for a fifth album and another tour.

Contents

History

Early years (1993–1997)

Creed's origins lie in 1993 in Tallahassee, Florida. Founding members, vocalist Scott Stapp and guitarist Mark Tremonti had been classmates in high school and friends at Florida State University.[6] Upon reuniting, Stapp and Tremonti realized that they had a mutual love for writing music and performing. After several discussions and times spent writing songs, many of which addressed themes of Christian theology and spirituality due to Stapp's religious background as the stepson of a Pentecostal dentist, the duo held auditions which led to the recruitment of bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips to complete the quartet. Originally known as Naked Toddler, the band changed its name to Creed at Marshall's suggestion, after a band Marshall had previously played for called Maddox Creed.[6] Brian Brasher was also briefly a member in 1995 when the band was known as Naked Toddler.[7] These five musicians had already written and collaborated four of the songs that would go on to become tracks on Creed's chart-topping debut album, My Own Prison. The band found local success and began to play shows in bars and small venues throughout Tallahassee.

My Own Prison and rise to fame (1997–1998)

With a new name, a new sound, and several new songs written, Creed began playing locally. Initially struggling to secure gigs in their hometown because at that time no one wanted to book rock bands, they resorted to playing unlikely music venues such as family restaurants like T.G.I. Friday's.[8] Wanting "a real show at a club" they managed to convince the owner of a bar in Tallahassee to book them by claiming that they could guarentee an audience of 200 people.[8] Owner and manager Jeff Hanson later told HitQuarters that the band had played mostly cover versions, but two original songs stood out and impressed the manager so much that he promptly signed them to his management and promotions company and set about developing their act.[9] For their first recordings he matched the band up with John Kurzweg, a producer and friend of Hanson's who he felt was an appropriate fit. Together they recorded their debut album for $6,000, which was funded by Hanson.[9] The album, titled My Own Prison, was initially self-released on their own label, Blue Collar Records, selling 6,000 copies throughout the state of Florida.

"My Own Prison" had been circulating around the music industry for a while when, in May 1997, Diana Meltzer from Wind-Up Records heard the album for the first time and decided almost immediately that she wanted to sign them to the label.[10] She later said that she heard "an arena band".[10] Within the same week Meltzer, together with Wind-up president Steve Lerner, CEO Alan Meltzer and MCA A&R Joel Mark, flew down to Tallahassee to see Creed perform live and decide for certain whether to offer them a contract. "Seeing the energy in the room when Scott Stapp stepped up to the mike, and hearing his powerful voice fill the room, alongside Mark Tremonti’s now legendary guitar riffs and that big Creed anthemic rock sound, was all I needed," she told HitQuarters.[10] According to Hanson, before Wind-up signed Creed, fourteen labels had already passed on the band, and at one point he was tempted to take charge of them himself.[9]

My Own Prison was remixed, given a more radio-friendly sound, and re-released by Wind-up Records. Four singles were released from the album: "My Own Prison," "Torn," "What's This Life For," and "One." Each of these songs reached #1 on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks charts, making Creed the first band to accomplish such a feat with a debut album.[6] With little MTV exposure, media coverage, or label support, My Own Prison sold extremely well, moving over six million copies (six times platinum). Creed continued to top year-end charts and was recognized as the Rock Artist of the Year at the 1998 Billboard Music Awards. My Own Prison was also the highest-selling heavy music record of 1998 on Nielsen SoundScan's Hard Music chart.[11] The band's hit song "My Own Prison" was also featured as a live performance on the charity album Live in the X Lounge. The band covered Alice Cooper's song "I'm Eighteen" for The Faculty soundtrack in 1998.[12]

My Own Prison was met with mostly favorable reviews. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic gave it four out of five stars and said that Creed "work well within their boundaries" despite "basically [falling] into the category of post-Seattle bands who temper their grunge with a dose of Live earnestness."[13] The album lyrically deals with themes of questioning and struggling with faith and spirituality. Because of this, some mistake Creed for a Christian rock band. In response, bassist Brian Marshall said that Stapp's use of religious imagery "doesn't mean we're religious. He uses it as a metaphor. That's different. He uses the symbolism, but that doesn't mean we're Christian rock." Stapp said that his lyrics were spiritual but not religious, emphasizing the difference between the two: "For me, religion was about 'what not to do.' Spirituality opens you up, sets you free."[14]

Human Clay and Marshall's departure (1998–2001)

With money made from My Own Prison, the band started to write for their second album, Human Clay. The album's first single, "Higher," spent a record-breaking 17 weeks on the top of the rock radio charts.[6][15] In 2009, "Higher" was ranked as the 95th greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.[16] The album was released in 1999, when My Own Prison was still doing reasonably well.[17] However, Human Clay was an instant and overwhelming success debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 and selling over ten million copies over the next two years, allowing it to become one of the few rock albums to be certified diamond by the RIAA.[6] The album was the band's first to hit #1 in the U.S., where it debuted with first week sales of 315,000, and stayed on top for two weeks.[18] After the album's release, follow-up singles were released: "With Arms Wide Open," "What If," and "Are You Ready." The first three of those topped radio charts, giving Creed a total of seven chart-topping singles.[6] The band would later go on to win their first, and to date only, Grammy Award for "With Arms Wide Open" for Best Rock Song in 2001.[19]

Human Clay was met with largely positive reviews. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic said that the record "does make it clear that there is an audience for post-grunge hard rock, as long as it's delivered without pretension and as long as it meets the audience's desire for straight-ahead, hard-hitting music."[20] Another reviewer called the record "a triumph of songwriting."[21] The lyrical content of Human Clay is a slight departure from that of My Own Prison, touching on subjects such as lucid dreaming ("Higher"), fatherhood ("With Arms Wide Open"), as well as darker, more violent themes such as sexual abuse ("Wash Away Those Years"), and hostility ("What If"), albeit in done in a "substantial, mature" manner.[22]

Bassist and founding member Brian Marshall, who left the band in 2000.

During the summer of 2000, bassist Brian Marshall criticized Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder in a radio interview with KNDD in June 2000, claiming that Scott Stapp is a better songwriter, and criticized Pearl Jam's recent albums for "having songs without hooks."[23] Stapp later distanced the rest of the band from Marshall's comments and stated, "Yes, we get tired of the PJ question, but there is no excuse for the arrogance and stupidity [of Marshall]. I ask you all not to judge Creed as a band, because the statements made were not the band's feelings, they were Brian's. I'm sorry if Brian offended anyone, and he has already apologized for his comments."[24] Marshall left Creed "on friendly terms" soon after the controversy and formed a new band called Grand Luxx with his old Mattox Creed band mates. Marshall was temporarily replaced by touring bassist Brett Hestla of Virgos Merlot.[6] Stapp stated Marshall's leaving was his choice and was unrelated to the Pearl Jam controversy.[25] Around the time of Marshall's departure, Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit caused further controversy when he insulted Stapp at New York's K-Rock 92.3 Dysfunctional Family Picnic Concert where both bands were performing. In response to this, Scott Stapp invited Durst to an open boxing match.[26] However, nothing came of the incident because Creed had returned to the studio to record their third album.[6]

Weathered and dissolution (2001–2004)

Creed worked on their third album for most of 2001, with Tremonti choosing to play bass on the record himself instead of Hestla to "[preserve] the band's initial core," although Hestla remained in Creed's touring lineup. Weathered was released on November 20, 2001. Six singles were released from the album: "My Sacrifice," "One Last Breath," "Hide," "Don't Stop Dancing," "Weathered," and "Bullets." The album, despite being harshly reviewed by critics, was a commercial bestseller.[27] The album was certified platinum six times over and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200. It remained at that spot for eight weeks, a record which Creed notably shares with The Beatles.[4] The tour to promote Weathered was met with considerable controversy; it was delayed in April 2002 when Stapp suffered a concussion and vertebrae damage after being involved in a car accident. As a result, in addition to his growing addiction to alcohol, he became addicted to Percocet and began taking a host of other medications while on tour, including steroids and Xanax.[6]

This, along with other events, led to a considerably controversial concert on December 29, 2002 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, which ultimately led to the band's disunion. Four disappointed concertgoers filed a lawsuit against the band, claiming that Scott Stapp "was so intoxicated and/or medicated that he was unable to sing the lyrics of a single Creed song."[28] Creed later issued an apology on Stapp's behalf,[29] although Stapp would later deny the claims. Ultimately, the case was dismissed.[28] Stapp later confirmed that he was intoxicated during the concert.[25]

After remaining inactive for over a year, it was announced in June 2004 that Creed had disbanded. Tremonti cited tensions between Stapp and the rest of the band as the reasoning. He said that the relationship with Stapp had become so strained that the creative juices were no longer flowing.[30] Almost simultaneous with the announcement of Creed's break-up, Stapp opted for a solo career. On November 22, 2004, Wind-up Records released Creed's Greatest Hits, after which Stapp released his debut solo album The Great Divide in 2005 with Roadrunner Records recording artist Goneblind. Stapp confirmed that the later reformation of Creed will put work on his second solo album on indefinite hiatus, though he is back in the studio recording the album, titled Between Lust and Love.[31] Meanwhile, Tremonti and Phillips had reunited with Marshall to form a new band, called Alter Bridge with singer Myles Kennedy, formerly of The Mayfield Four and the current frontman of Slash's latest project. Alter Bridge, who continues to tour and record today, has released three studio albums: One Day Remains (2004), Blackbird (2007), and AB III (2010).[32]

Reunion and Full Circle (2009–2010)

From 2004 onward, Tremonti promised that Creed would never return.[33] However, on April 27, 2009, Creed's website announced that the band had reunited for a new tour and plans for a new album. According to Tremonti, "We're all very excited to reconnect with our fans and each other after seven long years."[34] He later added that being in Creed again was "the last thing [he] expected." Phillips also stated: "Our career as Creed came to a very abrupt and unforeseen ending. After reflecting on some of the greatest personal and professional moments of our lives, we've come to realize that we are still very capable of continuing that career and our friendship on a grander scale than ever before."[34] In an interview for People magazine, Stapp elaborated on the reunion, saying, "We never felt like we weren't together. We're not looking at this as a reunion. It's more of a rebirth."[35]

In June, Creed performed with Marshall on bass for the first time in nine years on Sessions@AOL, showing the band playing four of their hits.[36] In addition, the band performed live on Fox & Friends on June 26, 2009.[37] Creed's reunion tour, with touring guitarist Eric Friedman, kicked off on August 6, 2009 and concluded on October 20, one week before the release of the album.

Full Circle, Creed's first album in eight years, came out on October 27, 2009. Stapp elaborated on the title, which is also the name of a track to appear on the album: "It really defines and articulates, melody-wise and lyrically, what’s happened with us. We've come full circle and it's a great place to be."[38] The first single from Full Circle, "Overcome," was posted on the band's official website on August 19, the same day the radio premiere started along with its release as a digital download on August 25. The second single, "Rain," was released to radio stations on September 23 and became available on October 6 as another digital download. The band's first live recording, the record-breaking concert film titled Creed Live, was released on December 8, 2009. It was also confirmed by drummer Scott Phillips that Full Circle will not be the band's final album. The same announcement confirmed that Creed was to go on a world tour in support of Full Circle in April 2010, starting with an Australia/New Zealand tour, followed by South America, Europe, and North America.[39] The tour was called The 20-10 Tour. Tickets for the tour were ten and twenty dollars to stand up against rising concert ticket prices. The first 2,010 tickets purchased for every concert were not include any service fees.[40] Due to poor ticket sales one venue started selling tickets for the price of seventy-five cents.[41] The tour kicked off on July 26 in Nashville. Skillet joined the tour as main support.

Recent events and future plans (2010–present)

Tremonti, Marshall, and Phillips are on tour with Myles Kennedy as Alter Bridge to promote their new album, while Scott Stapp is in the studio recording his second solo album.[31] In addition to this solo album, Stapp is also playing sporadic shows with a backup band. Notably, with Kiss, Down with Webster and Fefe Dobson in Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada in July.[42] 93.3 WMMR reported that Creed has plans to release an acoustic album in 2011.[43] The band was said to record a new single,[44] but details have yet to surface. Tremonti has also mentioned that a tour and fifth studio album are possible for the summer of 2012. Tremonti confirmed via Facebook that the band along with Stapp have begun writing and recording for the new album. Tremonti also said that a tour with Creed is to take off April 2012.[45]

Musical style

Creed's music is generally considered to be rock. According to Rolling Stone magazine, Scott Stapp's vocals have been influenced by the late Jim Morrison of The Doors.[46] Andrew Leahey and Steve Huey of Allmusic describe Creed's music as hard rock and post-grunge.[6]

Creed is sometimes labeled a Christian rock band due to the fact that their first three albums focus on questions of faith, Christianity, and eternity. The band was never signed to a contemporary Christian music label, nor did it perform in Christian music venues or get any widespread regular play on Christian radio. However, the band's name itself refers to the religious concept of a creed. Also, themes within their musical titles such as "My Own Prison," "Higher," "My Sacrifice," "What's This Life For," "With Arms Wide Open," and "One Last Breath" contain allusion to Christian theology, though it has not been confirmed that the songs were meant to be Christian songs. Band members have stated that while they may be Christians, the band as a whole is not.[47] Bassist Brian Marshall, who named the band, said that singer Scott Stapp uses spiritual imagery as a metaphor.[14]

Reception and controversy

Creed was one of the most commercially successful rock bands of the late 90s and early 2000s, having sold an estimated 35 million records worldwide.[6][34] Their first three studio albums, My Own Prison, Human Clay, and Weathered, have all gone multi-platinum in the United States, selling 6 million, 11 million, and 6 million copies respectively.[48][49] The band won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song for the song "With Arms Wide Open" in 2001.[19]

However, in spite of this enormous commercial success, Creed was poorly received by professional critics, such as Robert Christgau.[50] Although Jonah Weiner of Slate has tried to make the case that the band was "seriously underrated,"[51] that "most people hate Creed’s combination of overwrought power-balladry and Christian-infused testosterone."[52] In a 2004 Guitar World reader's poll, Creed was voted second worst band of the year.[53] Criticisms towards singer Scott Stapp in particular have become widely known. In addition to later controversies, arrests, and allegations, he contemplated committing suicide sometime in 2003 after drinking a bottle of Jack Daniel's whiskey. As reported by Rolling Stone, he was convinced that anyone involved with Creed wanted him dead so he would become a "Kurt Cobain martyr-type" to up record sales. "I had crazy thoughts going through my head," he said.[54] He has been compared to Eddie Vedder by many, leading others to criticize Creed for being too derivative of the Seattle grunge band Pearl Jam;[6] Yahoo! Music stated that "Creed was an unremarkable, plodding muscle-bound reworking of Pearl Jam, with all of that older band's warmth and psychological intensity replaced by chest-beating bravado and blandly messianic lyrics."[55] Bassist Brian Marshall quickly became tired of these comparisons and criticized Vedder in a radio interview, causing controversy.[23]

This, along with other events, led to a considerably controversial concert on December 29, 2002 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, which ultimately led to the band's disunion. Four disappointed concertgoers filed a lawsuit against the band, claiming that Scott Stapp "was so intoxicated and/or medicated that he was unable to sing the lyrics of a single Creed song" and that he "left the stage on several occasions during songs for long periods of time, rolled around on the floor of the stage in apparent pain or distress and [finally] appeared to pass out." Stapp's band mates, managers, and concert promoters were named as co-defendants because they allegedly knew that Stapp was in no condition to perform. The suit asked for a full refund of the tickets and parking costs for all 15,000 attendees, at a total cost of about $2 million.[28] Creed later issued an on Stapp's behalf.[29] However, three months after the incident, Stapp defended his actions, telling the Orlando Sentinel that he had not passed out and denying that he was drunk. He said that his lying on the floor was "a symbolic, personal gesture." He explained, "It was a symbol that I didn't think anybody had my back at the time. Some people get it. Some people don't." He also stated that the let-down fans did not deserve a free show because the "allegations are a lie." On July 8, 2003, Creed's attorneys filed for a motion to dismiss the suit, which was granted.[28] Stapp later confirmed that he was intoxicated during the concert, stating that he was "whacked out" on prednisone.[25]

In an interview with PopMatters, Alice in Chains guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell described being on tour with Creed as "stale". Cantrell stated, "I was on tour with them for fuckin' ever and I still hadn't even met 'em. When you spend two months together, you generally find some time to fuckin' say hello or whatever. It was really kinda weird in that respect. I'd never been on a tour that was that fuckin' stale on a personal level." Interviewer Michael Christopher derided Creed's neglect of Cantrell throughout the tour, stating that "the arena rockers owe a major part of their existence to the influence of Alice in Chains."[56]

However, Creed has had its fair share of praise. The band's live shows from throughout their career have been critically acclaimed.[57][58] They have been established as one of the best bands seen live in concert.[59] In 2011, Creed was listed in Hard Rock Band Bracket's best rock bands of all time.[60]

Awards and accolades

RIAA certifications

These statistics were compiled from the RIAA certification online database.[61]

Studio albums
Compilations

Grammy Awards and nominations

Creed has been nominated for three Grammy Awards resulting in one win.[62]

World records

On September 25, 2009, Creed performed a concert in Houston, Texas that was recorded, broadcast via a live internet stream, and released on December 8, 2010 as a concert film titled Creed Live, the band's first live recording.[64] The performance broke four world records, including the world record for the most amount of cameras used at a live music event (239). The previous holder of this record was Justin Timberlake. The performance also featured the very first usage of the "big freeze" technology, popularized by The Matrix, in a concert environment.[65]

Band members

Current
Former
Touring

Discography

References

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  53. ^ "Poll: Limp Bizkit, Creed worst bands of year". CNN. January 1, 2004. http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/Music/01/01/sprj.yir03.music.poll.reut/index.html. 
  54. ^ Gustavo Turner (November 4, 2009). "Just Shoot Me: Creed's Scott Stapp's Martyrdom Fantasies Vindicated by Billboard Chart!". Rolling Stone. http://blogs.laweekly.com/westcoastsound/2009/11/creed_billboard_200_chart_mich.php. 
  55. ^ David Marchese (May 4, 2009). "Who Cares About Creed's Comeback?". Yahoo! Music. http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/spin/5975/who-cares-about-creeds-comeback/?page=2. 
  56. ^ Michael Christopher (December 26, 2002). "Degredation [sic] Trip: An interview with Jerry Cantrell". PopMatters. http://www.popmatters.com/music/interviews/cantrell-jerry-021226.shtml. 
  57. ^ TJ Jennings (August 4, 2010). "Creed @ Darien Lake Darien, NY July 31, 2010". Backstage Axxess. http://www.backstageaxxess.com/index.php/concertreviews/344-creed-concert-review-2010. 
  58. ^ Andrew Selbst (August 7, 2002). "Creed: Earth, Rock, and Fire". The Tech. http://tech.mit.edu/V122/N30/creed.30a.html. 
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  60. ^ Hard Rock Band Bracket. sports.espn.go.com. 29 March 2011
  61. ^ "Gold and Platinum database". Recording Industry Association of America. http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?table=SEARCH. 
  62. ^ "Awards for Creed". MetroLyrics. http://www.metrolyrics.com/creed-awards-featured.html. 
  63. ^ "GRAMMY AWARDS:BEST ROCK VOCAL PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP". Rock on the Net. http://www.rockonthenet.com/grammy/rockgroup.htm. 
  64. ^ Larry Riggs (September 15, 2009). "Creed's Online Concert Is Going For World Record". Digtriad. http://www.digtriad.com/life/entertainment/article.aspx?storyid=130341&catid=204. 
  65. ^ "Creed Announce First Live DVD". Guitar World. November 24, 2009. http://www.guitarworld.com/article/creed_announce_first_live_dvd. 

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