Q: In tandem with your role in Staind, you’ve been touring as a solo acoustic artist for the past few years—and your upcoming solo EP takes you into the realm of country. What inspired you to take this country direction? Listening to the lyrics of “Country Boy,” it’s clear that country music isn’t a stretch for you but rather something instilled in your life.
“It just seemed like the natural progression for me. If you listen to the songs I’ve written over the years on the acoustic guitar (e.g. ‘Outside,’ ‘It’s Been Awhile’), those songs could have had country accompaniment behind them as well.”
Q: “Country Boy” has cameos from George Jones, Charlie Daniels and Chris Young…not too shabby! How did these collaborations come to be and what were your thoughts on working with these artists?
“When James Stroud, who produced the album, asked me who I would like to have guest on the song, grasping at straws I suggested Charlie Daniels and George Jones, not knowing that James was the godfather of Nashville and could actually call them and get them to do it.”
Q: “Country Boy” is a powerful autobiographical song about you proudly living your life out loud: where you come from and where you live, with your views about living independently as someone who hunts and smokes weed, steering clear of societal intervention. Can you talk about how this song evolved and how it has been received on the road in recent months?
“’Country Boy,’ as most of my songs do, evolved accidentally. Live, it seems to go over extremely well. I think it’s easy for people who hear it for the first time to really relate to it.”
Q: Which country artists–past or present–do you listen to and what do they mean to you?
“I listen to Hank, George, Waylon, Charlie, etc. etc. My childhood memories are intertwined with all of them. My grandfather always had country music playing on the radio and these guys seemed larger than life to me. The fact that George and Charlie appear on the song ‘Country Boy’ still blows my mind. If my grandfather’s looking down right now, he’s shittin’ his pants!”
Q: What did producer James Stroud bring to the recording of this EP?
“Not much (laughs). Seriously, what can you say about working with James? He’s just one of the best in the business…really not much of a resume or anything!”
Q: Can you talk about the other songs–musically and/or lyrically–on the EP?
“’Vicious Circles’ is about relationships. ‘Massachusetts’ is where I’m from. ‘Tangled Up in You’ was originally on the last Staind album but I always envisioned performing it this way.”
Q: What do you have to say to the Staind fans who may not be country music admirers?
Q: Aside from music, you enjoy spending time outdoors hunting, fishing, golfing, riding dirt bikes, etc. What value does this add to your life?
“Being outdoors is something that’s been a part of my whole life. These (outdoors hunting, fishing, golfing, riding dirt bikes, etc) are the things I live for, along with my family.”