Pollstar Live! Coverage: Scott Stapp Praises MusiCares And Wife For Helping Save His Life And Career, Promises A ‘Killer Rock Show’

Scott Stapp and OVG
Black Coffee – Scott Stapp and OVG’s Ray Waddell in conversation at Pollstar Live! 2020
Scott Stapp teared up on stage at Pollstar Live! Wednesday as he reflected on how far he’d come and how thankful he is for the support he’s received since being in the depths of a crisis brought on by addiction and depression about six years ago.


“I was headed for three places – jail, a mental institution or death. Those were the only three options on my plate, if MusiCares and my wife hadn’t stepped in and intervened,” the frontman for Creed said during a one-on-one conversation with Ray Waddell, President of Media and Conferences for Oak View Group.
“The true definition of love is loving someone that’s not loveable,” Stapp said, giving another shout out to the non-profit organization MusiCares, which provides assistance for musicians in times of need.  
As for his wife Jaclyn, Stapp compared their relationship to the Osbournes, as far as Sharon’s role in keeping Ozzy around: “She’s my rock. She’s stuck by me. She rides me. She’s the boss lady. Everyone needs that – that person in their life who holds you accountable, who speaks truth in your life.”
Gratitude and community were constant themes during the panel, including Stapp mentioning several times how he now truly understands how important relationships are in the music business. The discussion began with Waddell asking the singer/songwriter what the title of the Q&A session, “Back In The Game,” meant to him. 
“It means quite a bit to me,” Stapp said. “There was a time where I thought that I’d never be making music again, where I thought I had lost my family, where I had hit rock bottom in my life, that everything I’d built personally and professionally was gone forever. 
“To be back in the game is the culmination of five years of hard work, recommitting to my health and family and sobriety, making a new record … my first charting record since 2005.” 
Stapp talked about the whirlwind of ups and downs he’s been through over the course of his career, including the thrill of seeing his “wildest dreams come true” as Creed’s albums hit the top of the charts in the late ‘90s and early 2000s and the band was playing arenas (and even a few stadiums).
When Creed became one of the biggest rock bands in the world, fame – and the pace of life that comes along with it – took its toll on Stapp as he and his bandmates would go to bed at 2 or 3 a.m. after performing, then wake up at 6 a.m. to do morning radio shows, followed by another radio station appearance at lunch and then off to soundcheck. 
“You’re young and you’re chasing your dreams and everything is so exciting so you’re not really thinking about longerm, you’re just in the moment.” Stapp said. But around the end of the touring cycle for the band’s sophomore album, 1999’s Human Clay, is when the “wheels started to fall off” for the musician for a variety of reasons, some caused by his own decisions and others out of his control, as he went into a dark depression and began to self medicate. 
Stapp explained that after Creed broke up in 2004 and reunited in 2009, he went through stints where he was working on his recovery (including a period in 2010 in which he received treatment at the Betty Ford Center and the support of weekly phone calls from Steven Tyler) but he hadn’t found true sobriety until now. 
This time around, he entered a dual diagnostic facility and then put his career on hold so he could focus on his recovery. 
“I see a lot of artists after they come out of rehab, they make a new record and jump right back on tour,” said Stapp, who has been sober for more than five years. “I thought it was important to get grounded. Also, I had a lot of amends to make and a lot of amends are not by what you say, it’s by what you do. It’s your actions.”
After a few years of commiting to changing his habits, he says that organically “the creative juices started coming back.”  Stapp reached out to Scott Stevens and Marti Frederiksen, who he had written songs with before, to produce his latest album.   
“They’re not only tremendous collabors but producers,” Stapp said. “I wanted to go into a situation where it felt like a band, hammering out songs, being real with one another and calling out crap. I didn’t want ‘Yes men.’ I was tired of that in my life. I appreciate people speaking the truth and I wanted it in the creative process.”
Though he had previously released two solo albums, Stapp says he considers 2019’s The Space Between The Shadows his first solo record because he was present in his “mind and body and soul. I was stable in my life. I had a purpose and I had a band again.”  
Speaking of bands, naturally the question of another Creed reunion came up during the audience question portion of the discussion. 
“Right now I’m focusing on my solo record, which has been out for seven months,” Stapp says. “We’re getting ready to launch my second single. My bandmates in Creed are focusing on their music, but it’s never out of the question, when the time is right.”
Stapp wrapped the discussion for thanking the audience and the music industry for the opportunity to share his story and looking ahead to his upcoming, yet-to-be-announced tour in support of his latest album. He added, “We’re going to work together and bring a killer rock show. The best is yet to come.”