Mike Mushok Couldn’t Be Happier With Staind’s New Album – ‘We’ve Evolved, Here We Are’
Staind guitarist and founding member Mike Mushok chatted with Chuck Armstrong on Wednesday night's edition of Loudwire Nights, opening up about the band's new song, "Lowest in Me," and their upcoming album, Confessions of the Fallen.
"It's been a long time coming," Mushok admitted to Chuck. "It took us a while to get to the end, but I'm real happy with the final outcome. Listen, it's been 12 years since our last record, but I want to say, really, things started coming together probably when we were on the Korn tour in 2021. I spent a lot of time working on music [and] I was able to get together with Aaron [Lewis] on that tour and play him some ideas and kind of go through and figure out what he liked and where he was and get some direction as to where to go. A lot of it came together on that tour and it was the following year that we hired [producer Eric Ron] and really started putting things together."
The end result is Staind's first full-length release since 2011's self-titled album. Over the course of the last 12 years, the band has shifted a bit with the addition of drummer Sal Giancarelli while the other members have expanded their own work, whether it's Lewis and his solo career or Mushok working with bands such as Newsted and Saint Asonia.
And just as the entire world faced a new reality in the face of a global pandemic, Staind had to adapt to new, sudden changes, too.
"We had a lot of plans for 2020 that obviously got put on hold and moved around," Mushok said. "Honestly, though, for me, I look back at that time—the kids were home, it was actually a really cool time as a family. We were together, going for hikes, we got a new dog. I kind of fondly look back at that time. There was nothing else to do, we were just together and made the most of what it was. It was definitely a very strange time, though, and I'm really glad we're on the other side of it."
The Next Staind Album is "Definitely Different"
As Mushok contemplates the "other side" of the pandemic, he reiterates that things began to feel "normal" with Staind's tour with Korn in '21 and continues now as they prepare to release their eighth studio album later this year, an album that packs some surprises for fans.
"[Confessions of the Fallen] is definitely different," he told Chuck. "One thing that Aaron wanted to experiment with...He had a programmer that he had worked with and he had brought a few of the ideas to him and those guys took what the songs were and kind of interpreted them with more electronic elements in them. When we finally got [our producer], he helped expand that even further. Although there's not a lot of that in ["Lowest in Me"], there are some other songs that have more of an electronic element to them. A lot of that is like a guitar part I wrote played on a synthesizer, so it’s not so far removed—it's just different textures and different sounds."
Besides the addition of some electronic elements and the incredibly heavy breakdown with Lewis in the back part of "Lowest in Me," the lead single from the new record is a fresh but familiar sound for Staind.
"It's us in 2023," Mushok said. "We've grown a little, we've evolved. Here we are."
The New and Familiar Sounds on Confessions of the Fallen
Mushok explained on Loudwire Nights that "Lowest in Me" was one of the songs he presented to Lewis while on tour with Korn and it came together really smoothly. While some writers may be hesitant to add electronics to a song they created when they're not used to that sort of thing, the Staind guitarist was totally open to the new path Lewis wanted to take.
"Whatever is going to make it better and make everybody happy," Mushok explained, confidently and comfortably. It helps that with the addition of new things, Mushok was never limited or restricted in his guitar playing. While there are new elements to the 2023 version of Staind, there are also a lot of familiar sounds, too, like his trademark harmonics in the midst of his heavy riffs.
"I actually get producers who make me add more of that in," he admitted. "Even Eric was doing that, there were parts I wasn't doing things like that and he was like, 'Oh, do some of those harmonic things.'"
READ MORE: 2023 Rock + Metal Festival Guide
At the end of the day, Mushok is happy to not only be making new music, but he's happy that he's enjoying making new music with his band. While his soon-to-be tour mates and fellow New Englanders Godsmack are slowing down on recording new music following their recent album, Lightning Up the Sky, Mushok doesn't seem ready to close the door on the studio anytime soon.
"I have no major announcement to make," he said, laughing. "For me, let's get this record out. We have these shows coming up and let's get through that and let's see where we end up. I was really happy making this record...I was on a flight the other day coming home and I just sat and listened to the whole record. I was happy it was done and happy with the way it came out and there will come a time when I don't listen to it for years. Right now, I'm enjoying that we finished it and what it is. I definitely get enjoyment out of creating something like that that I like."
With every statement he made about Staind, their new record and what the future holds, Mushok's happiness was evident on Loudwire Nights. And when Chuck asked him if he always felt that way when releasing a record, Mushok was quick to respond in the positive.
"You kind of have to feel like that on any record before you put it out," he explained. "I've always said—I've heard other people say the same thing—selfishly, you write it for yourself. You want to create something that gives you enjoyment and you're happy with and you're proud of. Over the years, we've been lucky that other people have liked what we do as well. I hope that continues."
Mike Mushok joined Chuck Armstrong for Loudwire Nights on Wednesday, April 19; the show replays online here, and you can tune in live every weeknight at 7PM ET or on the Loudwire app; you can also see if the show is available on your local radio station. Check out Staind's full tour schedule here.