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Earlier this year, Creed frontman Scott Stapp swung and missed with a Florida Marlins anthem proclaiming that the marine animals would "soar." After recording a track for the upcoming Santana album recently, the Boca Raton-based singer is back to his "bread and butter," using a VH1 Storytellers concept for his solo acoustic tour. And while his divisive hard rock band never actually appeared on Storytellers, Stapp performed "Light My Fire" in 2000 for a Doors tribute featuring the band's three surviving members — another love-or-hate project.
Before a trip to Wind-Up studios in New York, Stapp spoke to New Times about the origins of "Marlins Will Soar," how he wants to write like John Fogerty, and how his shorn locks relate to the only thing he ever learned from Bob Dylan.
New Times: For your VH1 Storytellers-type tour, will you take questions from the crowd?
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Scott Stapp: I may do some of that. For the first time in my career, I'm going to give a little history and background on the songs. This is revealing the core of me — myself as a songwriter, myself as a guitar player, myself as a piano player. Definitely presenting the Creed catalog, my solo catalog, and new material in a completely different way — the way they were written. I'm not really basing [my tour] on anything that I've seen or done. Just creatively creating an atmosphere conducive to creativity, and jamming with the band. Finally getting a chance to really talk and speak to some of my fans about the music and hear what their thoughts are.
How stripped-down is your band?
I have three guitars including myself, a broken-down drum kit — like a jazz kit — congas, and bongos. I'm anxious to see some of the folks that know my catalog's faces when they hear some of the heavier tunes on acoustic guitar. And see how vibe-y they are. It's really going to be, for the Creed fans and for my fans, seeing the organic and true nature of what I do when no one's looking.
What was your state of mind while covering Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" for the upcoming Santana album?
[John Fogerty]'s definitely an artist that I respect tremendously. At the time, I felt that I could relate to his story in a lot of ways. It's a song that I liked in college. That's when I got turned on to CCR. I just wanna do it justice. With the mindset of just trying to reinterpret this song, not change it. It's pretty cool. I get in the frame of mind of, if John Fogerty heard this performance, what would he think? I want him to be like, "This is not bad."
"Marlins Will Soar" was a big viral topic this year. Was it a challenge to write about sports?
I had some trepidation in the beginning. Is this going to be cheesy? Or what's this going to be? What made all of that go away was in talking with [Marlins President David Samson] and the folks in the Marlins organization. I didn't want to get paid. I said I want my son and my nephew to be able to be batboys. You make that happen and give me some season tickets and I'll be happy. That was the deal, man. I gave it my best shot, and I've seen a lot of the comments. It is what it is. I'm proud of what I did and why I did it.
Would you ever do another song like "Marlins Will Soar" for another Florida team?
The reason I picked "You Will Soar" off my solo record to redo was because of Alonzo Mourning and the folks down at the Heat organization. Pat Riley is a huge Creed fan and a fan of my solo work, and Alonzo is too. Along with my wife giving me some advice, that allowed me to pick the song to reinterpret. If I do it in the future, I'm going to write something from scratch. With John Fogerty in mind, it would be nice to get an opportunity to write something original and have it turn out to be what John Fogerty did.
You mean like "Centerfield," the "Put me in, Coach" song?
How has the hair-maintenance routine changed since you cut it all off?
It was nice when I did that. It was easy, man. Now, the hair's back. I'm trying to figure out what to do with it. I was talking to my wife last night. Maybe I should shave it off again. But there's definitely more hair products in my bathroom now that it's grown back.
So why did you do it?
That was all a symbol of — it was so organic; it wasn't planned — kind of impulsive and kinda scary. It was me literally doing something because of love and wanting to hold onto someone that I love. Trying to say OK, I get it — on the outside, I'm still someone who has hurt you because of something, and I want you to see me with new eyes. I shaved my head. It really did have an impact and let me show what was going on inside, outside. Bob Dylan once said, someone once asked him, "How do you write songs?" He said, "The first thing is be honest." And that's the only thing I ever can say that I learned from Bob Dylan, is to be honest in my music.