Staind, Mike Mushok Interview – 20 Years of ’14 Shades of Grey’


Staind band photo.

Staind, Mike Mushok Interview – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Steve Thrasher

Staind, Mike Mushok Interview: The guitarist speaks with Audio Ink Radio about the band’s new album and the 20th anniversary of “14 Shades of Grey”

Post-grunge rockers Staind are coming up on the release of their eighth studio album, “Confessions of the Fallen.” It’s a major moment for the Massachusetts rockers, as the album marks their first studio set in more than a decade. This year also marks a big moment for Staind, as it’s the 20th anniversary of their seminal 2003 album, “14 Shades of Grey.” While Staind may be known for 2001’s “Break the Cycle,” the album that broke them, songs such as “So Far Away” and “Price to Play” off “14 Shades” are, to this day, massive hits.

“Confessional of the Fallen” follows the band’s 2011 self-titled release. The band took time off between albums, so there was certainly a lack of Staind for several years. Now, Staind are back, both in the studio and on the road. They spent much of this past summer on tour with Godsmack.

After the long hiatus, fans want to know if Staind is back for good. According to longtime guitarist Mike Mushok, he hopes so.

“Well, there’s definitely more touring,” Mushok tells Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio. “I know that we’re trying to figure out what next year’s going to be right now. So, there’s definitely that. I’m just kind of taking it as it goes. Listen, I love writing music in this band. I definitely get a lot of enjoyment out of it, and I’m very proud of what we’ve done. Yeah, I would love for that to happen, so we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully, right?”

Staind vocalist Aaron Lewis is one of the main voices of the post-grunge movement. Mushok has written and performed with Lewis since the start of Staind, and it’s a match that works. So, what’s it like working with Aaron Lewis?

“It’s great,” Mushok says. “I feel like we compliment each other. In writing music and coming up with things, when I’m sitting there by myself doing it, I’ll rewrite a part six times and go, what’s the best? You’ve got to make a decision as to what it is, but when you have somebody else that you respect that you’ve worked with forever and are able to bounce those ideas off off, it makes my job easier. I feel like he makes what I do better. Having that trust and respect for what somebody does is a great feeling

He adds, “Obviously, he does such a great job with melody and lyrics. It’s always exciting for me, even being a fan of what he does, when I actually get to hear where the songs ends up at the end, when the medley and lyrics are on the music. So, it’s cool. I feel fortunate that we’re back doing this again.”

As previously mentioned, this year marks the 20th anniversary of Staind’s “14 Shades of Grey” album. Mushok says the album was a “hard record to make,” due to the mammoth success of the ballad “It’s Been a While” off the band’s previous release.

“You go and make your first record, and honestly everybody left us alone. Nobody cared,” he recalls. “Then, you make the second one, and it sold a million copies. Now, people start to care, and they’re a little bit more involved. Then, after ‘Break the Cycle,’ it was a like, ‘You’ve got to try to duplicate that. We’re like, ‘I don’t know if that’s going to happen but we’ll do our best!'”

Mushok also told a rare story about the writing sessions for “14 Shades of Grey.” The story involves the DeLeo brothers from Stone Temple Pilots.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever even told this,” Mushok says. “I remember when everybody came out to Los Angeles. We’d never really used any outside writers or whatever. It had just kind of been us. I remember they brought in the DeLeo brothers to our rehearsal spot that we had, and they were like, ‘Oh, they’re going to help you guys.’ We were just like, whatever. We love those guys. We had known them. But, they came in, and I remember they were like, ‘Well, what do you guys have?’ And we played them the record, and they both went, ‘Why are we here?’ Like, I don’t know! They said they wanted you to be here! They’re like, ‘You guys are good.’ So, we’re like, oh, thank you.”

Listen to the full interview with Staind guitarist Mike Mushok via the YouTube player above, or on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify Podcasts here.

Anne Erickson
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Posted by Anne Erickson | Alternative, Features, Grunge, Interviews, Music, Rock

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