Aaron Lewis, heavy rock band front man turned country star, has been making quite a buzz since the release of a seven-song EP in 2011. The former Staind singer was accepted by the country music community come award season. The first EP featured “Country Boy,” which earned him two Academy of Country Music nominations and two CMT nominations for the song’s official video. That fall, after no longer having contractual obligations with Staind’s record label, Lewis began work on a full album.
Although the vocals on this new venture still sound like Staind’s lead singer, the purpose and feeling behind the lyrics are very different.
“In the sense, I’m more trying to tell a good story [with country songs], rather than purge myself of torturous inner feelings like I tended to do with Staind. Country certainly has a time where it goes dark. Something tells me as time goes on I’ll eventually find a way back to my comfort zone,” he said with a laugh.
Now on tour, Lewis will be playing a sold-out show at the Lucky Eagle Casino in Rochester on Nov. 1.
Musically he has always liked many different genres, he said. The most important part of any type of music is that there is a good song. For Lewis, this means there is a truth behind the song that brings up feelings for both the performer and the audience.
“It seems like recently the song has been forgotten about. Now it’s all about this bubble gum crap they stuff down people’s throats because it’s easy,” he said. “It’s not about a good song anymore.”
And Lewis has always found music in his life. At 5-years-old, Lewis became interested in playing music.
“My dad got me a bass for a first instrument, because you only play one string at a time and there’s only four of them,” he said.
This satisfied Lewis until he was 7, when he received his father’s old guitar.
“He showed me two chords at a time and I’d have to go off and practice it. If I could show him that I could play it back and forth and with my eyes closed, I would be given two more,” he said.
In order to achieve this, the young Lewis would often practice with the lights off, so he wouldn’t accidentally look down at his fingers. Lewis said he can now make a semblance of music with many different instruments including the piano, bass and drums. However, he said he often has no idea what he’s doing and just plays the instrument until it sounds good.
The future is a busy one for Lewis, who will finish up his fall tour in early December. Then it’s off to travel through casinos in January and February before most likely going back into the studio to work on his next solo album.
“There’s also some really cool talks going on about me traveling everywhere with Corey Taylor. We’ll be going everywhere else in the world except the states, but it should be a good show,” he said.
Staind is currently at a standstill with the band taking a break after putting out numerous albums over the past 14 years. While Lewis is working on his country music, Mike Mushok, Staind’s guitarist, is touring with Metallica’s Jason Newstead and his new band.
“It’s time to take a little break and let people miss what we have to offer again,” he said. “Me and Mike’s paths will cross again.”