Aaron Lewis’ iconic career with Staind made him an alt rock idol but he’s proven he’s the “Country Boy” behind the hit song. Town Line, Lewis’ five-song country debut, is slated for release this spring. Lewis has been on an acoustic tour during which he plays several of his country tunes such as “Forever” and “Grand Daddy’s Son,” plus some of his Staind hits including “Outside” and “It’s Been Awhile.” As Lewis and Staind start the countdown to the band’s massive tour, which begins next month, and look ahead to a new album release this summer, Lewis took time to talk to OurStage about his career, his music, and just what he see ahead.
OS: What do you plan to play on your next solo dates?
AL: I’m just going to play my normal set that includes the five songs on my country release. The whole rest of the evening is the [Staind music]. We’ll see how that goes and we’ll see what the [audience] enjoys. There will likely be a lot of Staind fans.
OS: What song from the new album do you most remember writing?
AL: “The Story Never Ends”— the first song off the record. It came to me in a beer stand in Paducah, Kentucky [when I was on a hunting trip]. I looked up at my [friend] and asked him if he had a pen and paper. I got back to the camp and sat down with the guitar and went to the studio that day and was bouncing back and forth between the hunting camp and recording.
OS: How did it come together?
AL: I kind of played a cord progression and half figured it out. The rest of the guys were sitting there and I was just thinking about what we were doing. Within an hour, I had it recorded.
OS: That’s amazing that it came together so quickly.
AL: The problem is that I don’t have any control over it! It can happen that easily or not at all!
OS: A lot of fans are surprised that you have recorded a country album. What brought you to that?
AL: I grew up with country. I spent a lot of time with [my] grandfather, especially a lot in the summertime. He lived twenty-five minutes from our house. I stayed there all summer [when I was young] and he was a country music fanatic. It was always on, always, always, always.
[Not long ago when] I heard Kid Rock playing old country music, it brought back all sort of memories. It kind of is the soundtrack of my childhood and I haven’t really been able to escape it since. Now I’m always listening to country. I love “Willie’s Place” [on satellite radio].
OS: So what was the first country song you wrote?
AL: “Country Boy” was my first attempt at writing a country song. It’s heavily laden with stereotypical country lines about whiskey and granddad, don’t tread on me. A lot of that was very cliche, but a lot of it was [written in a] very tongue-in-cheek manner. I was trying to write a country song that when it was finished and people started hearing it, they could [relate]. It really got me to thinking about country [music] more. It’s really in my brain now.
OS: What has the reaction been from your band mates and fans who enjoy your rock?
AL: Everybody is very supportive of me doing this. It has affected things a little bit [for Staind] especially in the recording process. I wanted to record a Staind album when my solo was released. This was the first time in my career that I ever had a deadline [as I did to finish the Staind album for a release this summer]. I never had this kind of stress where it had to be finished by this date or we will be severely financially punished. That caused some inner turmoil.
OS: What does your country debut mean for Staind?
AL: By contract I will tour behind the new record I put out and at the end of that I probably will have found time within the touring schedule go back into the studio in Nashville. When we are done with [tours for] Staind, I will take time off and be with the family and start into the solo cycle and a new record and tour.
I have never been opposed to making music with Staind but as I get older and life goes on, I am missing things—I never can rewind and get them back. There will come a point that I never want to do it like this anymore.
Find out more about Aaron Lewis’ music and tours on his Web site.
Don’t miss Lewis’ “Country Boy” video below that includes Charlie Daniels, Chris Young and George Jones.