Staind’s Aaron Lewis leaving mark as solo artist |

Staind’s Aaron Lewis leaving mark as solo artist

William Ferchland

When Aaron Lewis sits with an acoustic guitar, he goes back to the days of singing at dive bars, cradling a guitar while people wouldn’t necessarily be standing up with lighters.

“It was the perfect opportunity for people to get up and go take a piss, start a conversation,” he said in a recent interview with Lake Tahoe Action.

Lewis, known primarily being the lead singer of hard-rock and multi-platinum group Staind, will be making a solo acoustic appearance Aug. 11 at MontBleu Casino, Resort & Spa.

Even though Staind has five albums, filled with songs with teeth-gnashing rifts, Lewis said always writes his songs acoustically first, so transferring songs with electric guitar and drum crescendos – such as “It’s Been Awhile” – translates well.

Playing solo also allows Lewis more flexibility in choosing songs.

“I don’t really have any sort of set plan in the solo setting and Staind is a very planned out sort of thing (in) trying to recreate how it sounds on the record,” he said. “It doesn’t lend to interludes or jam sessions or anything like that. With the solo (act) I have no plan at all.”

Lewis believes an audience for acoustic music grew with MTV’s “Unplugged” series, which featured musicians playing acoustic music and grew in popularity in the 1990s. In addition, the hit “Outside,” played acoustically with Limp Bizkit’s frontman Fred Durst when the 2001 album, “Break the Cycle,” was released, helped convince Staind fans the music can be done with just a guitar.

And Lewis’ voice. The 34-year-old from Springfield, Vt., has vocal chords rivaling King Kong’s. His words can also be delivered in tones inflicted with sorrow and pain.

It was Lewis’ upbeat look at life in Staind’s fourth album, “14 Shades of Grey,” that had some critics panning the album.

Ask Lewis about critics, and he is quick to respond.

“That’s why they’re critics and not musicians,” he said. “Ninety percent of them were musicians and now they’re bitter.”

Lewis will take his solo act into a tour for a few months early in 2007. As for Staind, which might return to Stateline’s MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa, their next album could be among the hardest-sounding yet.

“I look forward to kicking everyone right in the face,” he said. “If I have it my way it’ll be pretty heavy.”

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