Music News & Reviews

Creed singer Stapp overcomes personal turmoil, returns to stage

Scott Stapp is scheduled to perform Wednesday, Aug. 17, at Ace of Spades, 1417 R St., Sacramento.
Scott Stapp is scheduled to perform Wednesday, Aug. 17, at Ace of Spades, 1417 R St., Sacramento.

As Scott Stapp begins a 2016 tour in support of his latest solo album, “Proof of Life,” he sounds ready to be on point and deliver strong performances.

“It really feels good to have direction, and I’ve made quite a few tremendous lifestyle changes over the past couple of years given my bipolar diagnosis and my health and what I have to do to treat that, as well as my recovery process,” he said, addressing where his life stands in a recent phone interview. “I’ve made a commitment to that. So between both of those, my life has changed dramatically, with a diet and exercise regimen and (maintaining) my sobriety and the work that that entails. Right now I’m just taking life one day at a time. It’s easier for me to follow that.”

Stapp is scheduled to perform Wednesday, Aug. 17, at Ace of Spades, 1417 R St., Sacramento.

Stapp’s health is a central issue for anyone who has followed the roller coaster turns in the life of the Creed singer/solo artist going back to the early 2000s.

In late November 2014, Stapp made headlines when he posted a 15-minute video on his Facebook page where he denied rumors that had surfaced that he was on drugs and abusing alcohol and in rehab. But other things he said were deeply troubling.

He reported that in auditing his record company and personal finances, he discovered a lot of money had been stolen “or royalties not paid” and he was penniless. He said he was homeless and filming his video at a Holiday Inn after being forced to live in his truck because he had no money for food or gas. Stapp also indicated he believed the CIA was watching him and that he had made “maniacal” calls to 911, the White House and his son’s school.

The video surfaced only days after his wife, Jaclyn, had filed for divorce. She said her husband was doing amphetamines, crystal meth and steroids and had become a “paranoid shell who threatened to kill himself and harm his family” before leaving home.

The talk of calling the White House and Stapp’s bizarre behavior eventually prompted the Secret Service to search for him, paying visits to his Florida home and a friend’s home in Los Angeles, where the singer had been staying.

Eventually, Stapp visited doctors who diagnosed him with bipolar disorder and prescribed medication that has helped put his life back on track. Jaclyn, his wife of nearly 10 years, dropped the divorce and Stapp said she essentially saved his life and kept their family of three children together during the ordeal.

Stapp said he was fully aware of the bizarre behavior he exhibited and is grateful that he recalls such events so clearly.

“To have that kind of clarity helps me accept how serious bipolar is because during those experiences, everything that I was perceiving felt real to me, and it wasn’t,” Stapp said. “To me, even reflecting on that, everything seemed so real. And that was really the clarity I needed to experience. It put me in a place of acceptance.”

Before his trip off the deep end, Stapp seemed to have righted his personal life ship.

He had famously fallen into a severe drinking and drug addiction during the years when Creed rose to become one of rock’s biggest bands, releasing three multiplatinum albums – “My Own Prison” (1997), “Human Clay” (1999) and “Weathered” (2001) – before Stapp’s substance abuse problems worsened, tensions in Creed intensified and the group splintered after a failed attempt in 2003 to make a fourth album.

Stapp went on to release his first solo album, “The Great Divide,” in 2005, but at points battled his drinking (which contributed to a fight with members of the band 311 in 2005 and an arrest in 2006 after an argument with an employee at Los Angeles International Airport) before he once again appeared to get his life under control.

He started work on new solo music, only to reconcile with former Creed bandmates, reuniting 2009 to make the album, “Full Circle,” followed by tours in 2010 and 2012. But then, the band fell apart in 2013, and Stapp moved on to make the “Proof of Life” album.

After the drama of fall 2014 and recovery of 2015, Stapp is heading back out on tour. He’s planning a career-spanning set, with many songs chosen based on fan requests online.

“There will be the hits and album cuts off of the Creed albums and there will be a few songs off of ‘The Great Divide’ and of course, four or five songs off of ‘Proof of Life,’ ” Stapp said.

Then Stapp said he plans to resume work on a third studio album, having already written about a half dozen songs for that project.

“I’ll be headed to the studio for recording,” he said. “And then I’ve got some more tours lined up this year. So I’ve got a pretty busy year ahead. Whenever I’m not on tour, I’ll be in the studio recording. It’s shaping up to be an exciting year.”

Scott Stapp

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17

Where: Ace of Spades, 1417 R St., Sacramento

Cost: $25