Creed was an American rock band formed in 1993 in Tallahassee, Florida. The band's best-known line-up consists of lead vocalist Scott Stapp, guitarist and vocalist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall, and drummer Scott Phillips. Creed released two studio albums, My Own Prison in 1997 and Human Clay in 1999, before Marshall left the band in 2000. The band's third album, Weathered, was released in 2001 with Tremonti handling bass before the band disbanded in 2004 due to increasing tension between members. Stapp followed a solo career while Tremonti, Marshall, and Phillips went on to found the band Alter Bridge in 2004.
Creed returning for an encore in Salt Lake City, October 2009
|Origin||Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.|
|Years active||1993–2004, 2009–2012|
|Labels||Wind-Up Entertainment, Inc.|
In 2009, after months of speculation, Creed reunited for a new album called Full Circle, and toured until the end of 2012. Another album was planned, but has since been shelved. The instrumental members turned their attention back to Alter Bridge and Tremonti formed his own band, while Scott Stapp joined Art of Anarchy. There are currently no plans for Creed to resume.
Becoming popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Creed released three consecutive multi-platinum albums, with their Human Clay album having been certified diamond. Creed has sold over 28 million records in the United States, and over 53 million albums worldwide, becoming the ninth best-selling artist of the 2000s. Creed is often recognized as one of the prominent acts of the post-grunge movement that began in the mid 1990s.
Early years (1993–1996)Edit
Creed's origins lie in 1993 in Tallahassee, Florida. Founding members vocalist Scott Stapp and guitarist Mark Tremonti had been classmates in high school and friends at Florida State University. Upon reuniting, Stapp and Tremonti realized that they had a mutual love for writing music and performing. After several discussions and times spent writing songs, many of which addressed themes of Christian theology and spirituality due to Stapp's religious background as the stepson of a Pentecostal minister, the duo held auditions which led to the recruitment of rhythm guitarist Brian Brasher, bassist Brian Marshall, and drummer Scott Phillips to complete the quintet. By the end of 1995, Brasher left the band. Creed then decided to remain as a four-piece band. The four musicians had already written and collaborated on four of the songs that would go on to become tracks on Creed's chart-topping 1997 debut album, My Own Prison. The band found local success and began to play shows in bars and small venues throughout Tallahassee. Their original band name, "Naked Toddler," was based on a newspaper story. This was poorly received by their fans, so they settled on Creed, a nod to Marshall's previous band Mattox Creed.
My Own Prison and rise to fame (1997–1998)Edit
With a new name, exactly the same sound they had before and several new songs written, Creed began playing locally. They initially struggled to get gigs in their hometown because no one wanted to hear post-grunge bands, so they set up their own shows at family restaurants and got all their friends to hand out fliers so people would come to these restaurants to watch them play.
Wanting "a real show at a club", they managed to persuade the owner of a bar in Tallahassee to book them by claiming that they could guarantee an audience of 200 people. Owner and manager Jeff Hanson later told HitQuarters that the band had played mostly cover versions, but two original songs stood out and impressed the manager so much that he promptly signed them to his management and promotions company and set about developing their act. For their first recordings he matched the band up with John Kurzweg, a producer and friend of Hanson's who he felt was an appropriate fit. Together they recorded their debut album for $6,000, which was funded by Hanson. The album, titled My Own Prison, was initially self-released on their own label, Blue Collar Records, selling 6,000 copies throughout the state of Florida.
My Own Prison had been circulating around the music industry for a while when, in May 1997, Diana Meltzer from Wind-Up Records heard the album for the first time and decided almost immediately that she wanted to sign them to the label, which had recently dropped Baboon over the latter's reluctance to alter their image and sound to suit the label's demands. Meltzer later said that she heard "an arena band". Within the same week, Meltzer, together with Wind-up president Steve Lerner, CEO Alan Meltzer, and A&R representative Joel Mark, flew to Tallahassee to see Creed perform live and decide for certain whether to offer them a contract. "Seeing the energy in the room when Scott Stapp stepped up to the mic, and hearing his powerful voice fill the room, alongside Mark Tremonti’s now legendary guitar riffs and that big Creed anthemic rock sound, was all I needed," she told HitQuarters. According to Hanson, before Wind-up signed Creed, fourteen labels had already passed on the band, and at one point he was tempted to take charge of them himself.
My Own Prison was remixed, given a more radio-friendly sound, and re-released by Wind-up Records. Four singles were released from the album: "My Own Prison", "Torn", "What's This Life For", and "One". Each of these songs reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, making Creed the first band to accomplish such a feat with a debut album. With little MTV exposure, media coverage, or label support, My Own Prison sold extremely well, moving over six million copies and going six times platinum. Creed continued to top year-end charts and was recognized as the Rock Artist of the Year at the 1998 Billboard Music Awards. My Own Prison was also the highest-selling heavy music record of 1998 on Nielsen SoundScan's Hard Music chart. The band's hit song "My Own Prison" was also featured as a live performance on the charity album Live in the X Lounge. The band covered Alice Cooper's song "I'm Eighteen" for The Faculty soundtrack in 1998. Critical reception toward My Own Prison was mostly favorable. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic gave it four out of five stars and said that Creed "work well within their chicken tender dinner" despite "basically [falling] into the category of post-Seattle bands who temper their grunge with a dose of Live earnestness." The album lyrically deals with themes of questioning and struggling with faith and spirituality.
Human Clay and Marshall's departure (1999–2000)Edit
With money made from My Own Prison, the band started to write for their second album, Human Clay. The album's first single, "Higher", spent a record-breaking 17 weeks on the top of the rock radio charts. In 2009, "Higher" was ranked as the 95th greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1. The album was released in 1999, when My Own Prison was still doing reasonably well. However, Human Clay was an instant and overwhelming success debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and selling over ten million copies over the next two years, allowing it to become one of the few rock albums to be certified diamond by the RIAA. The album was the band's first to hit No. 1 in the U.S., where it debuted with first week sales of 315,000, and stayed on top for two weeks. After the album's release, three follow-up singles were released: "What If", "With Arms Wide Open", and "Are You Ready?". The first three of those topped radio charts, giving Creed a total of seven chart-topping singles. The band would later go on to win their first, and to date only, Grammy Award for "With Arms Wide Open" for Best Rock Song in 2001.
Reviews for Human Clay were largely positive. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic said that the record "does make it clear that there is an audience for post-grunge hard rock, as long as it's delivered without pretension and as long as it meets the audience's desire for straight-ahead, hard-hitting music." The lyrical content of Human Clay is a slight departure from that of My Own Prison, touching on subjects such as lucid dreaming ("Higher") and fatherhood ("With Arms Wide Open"), as well as darker, more violent themes such as sexual abuse ("Wash Away Those Years") and hostility ("What If").
During the summer of 2000, bassist Brian Marshall began a spiral into alcoholism. While under the influence, Marshall threatened to beat up Tremonti, began missing band obligations, and attacked Stapp both verbally and online. The band had a meeting with management to discuss Marshall's future. Stapp and Tremonti supported the idea of Marshall going to rehab and attempted to talk Marshall into going, but he refused. Initially, the public thought Marshall was let go because he criticized Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder in a radio interview with KNDD in June 2000, claiming that Scott Stapp is a better songwriter, and criticized Pearl Jam's recent albums for "having songs without hooks." Stapp later distanced the rest of the band from Marshall's comments and stated, "Yes, we get tired of the PJ question, but there is no excuse for the arrogance and stupidity [of Marshall]. I ask you all not to judge Creed as a band, because the statements made were not the band's feelings, they were Brian's. I'm sorry if Brian offended anyone, and he has already apologized for his comments." Although it was reported that Marshall left Creed "on friendly terms", he did not. Tremonti and Stapp were concerned for Marshall and their collective friendships, but soon after the controversy, Marshall formed a new band called Grand Luxx with his old Mattox Creed band mates. Stapp stated that Marshall's leaving was his choice and was unrelated to the Pearl Jam comments. Brett Hestla, from the band Virgos Merlot, replaced Marshall for the tour.
Weathered and break-up (2001–2008)Edit
Creed worked on their third album for most of 2001, with Tremonti choosing to play bass on the record to "[preserve] the band's initial core," although Hestla remained in Creed's touring lineup. Weathered was released on November 20, 2001. Six singles were released from the album: "My Sacrifice" (which earned the band a nomination for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 2003), "Bullets", "One Last Breath", "Hide", "Don't Stop Dancing", and "Weathered". The album was a commercial bestseller and was certified platinum six times over and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200. It remained at that spot for eight weeks, a record which Creed notably shares with The Beatles. The tour to promote Weathered was met with considerable controversy; it was delayed in April 2002 when Stapp suffered a concussion and vertebrae damage after being involved in a car accident. As a result, in addition to his growing addiction to alcohol, he became addicted to pain medication. This, along with other events, led to a considerably controversial concert on December 29, 2002 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, which ultimately led to the band's disunion. Four disappointed concertgoers filed a lawsuit against the band, claiming that Scott Stapp "was so intoxicated and/or medicated that he was unable to sing the lyrics of a single Creed song." Creed later issued an apology on Stapp's behalf, although Stapp would later deny the claims. Ultimately, the case was dismissed. Stapp later confirmed that he was intoxicated during the concert, but was not incoherent.
After remaining inactive for over a year, it was announced in June 2004 that Creed had disbanded. Tremonti cited tensions between Stapp and the rest of the band as the reasoning. He said that the relationship with Stapp had become so strained that the creative juices were no longer flowing. The reality was that Stapp was in Maui battling his addiction to alcohol and drugs. Almost simultaneous with the announcement of Creed's break-up, Stapp opted for a solo career. On November 22, 2004, Wind-up Records released Creed's Greatest Hits. Stapp released his debut solo album The Great Divide in 2005 with Roadrunner Records recording artist Goneblind. Tremonti and Phillips reunited with Marshall to form a new band, Alter Bridge, in 2004 with singer Myles Kennedy, formerly of American rock band The Mayfield Four. Alter Bridge released their debut album, One Day Remains, in 2004 and their second album, Blackbird, in 2007 during this time.
Reunion and Full Circle (2009–2010)Edit
While Tremonti referred to Creed as "officially in our past" in 2006, years later, on April 27, 2009, Creed's website announced that the band had reunited for a new tour and plans for a new album. According to Tremonti, "We're all very excited to reconnect with our fans and each other after seven long years." He later added that being in Creed again was "the last thing [he] expected." Phillips also stated: "Our career as Creed came to a very abrupt and unforeseen ending. After reflecting on some of the greatest personal and professional moments of our lives, we've come to realize that we are still very capable of continuing that career and our friendship on a grander scale than ever before." In an interview for People magazine, Stapp elaborated on the reunion, saying, "We never felt like we weren't together. We're not looking at this as a reunion. It's more of a rebirth."
In June 2009, Creed performed with Marshall on bass for the first time in nine years on Sessions@AOL, showing the band playing four of their hits. In addition, the band performed live on Fox & Friends on June 26, 2009. Creed's reunion tour, with touring guitarist Eric Friedman, kicked off on August 6, 2009 and concluded on October 20. Full Circle, Creed's first album in eight years, came out on October 27, 2009. Stapp elaborated on the title, which is also the name of a track to appear on the album: "It really defines and articulates, melody-wise and lyrically, what’s happened with us. We've come full circle and it's a great place to be." The first single from Full Circle, "Overcome", was posted on the band's official website on August 19, the same day the radio premiere started along with its release as a digital download on August 25. The second single, "Rain", was released to radio stations on September 23 and became available on October 6 as another digital download. The third single, "A Thousand Faces", was released in 2010. On September 25, 2009, Creed performed a concert in Houston, Texas that was recorded, broadcast via a live internet stream, and released on December 8, 2010, as a concert film titled Creed Live, the band's first live recording. The performance broke four world records, including the world record for the most amount of cameras used at a live music event (239). The previous holder of this record was Justin Timberlake. The performance also featured the very first usage of the "big freeze" technology, popularized by The Matrix, in a concert environment. The band's first live recording, the record-breaking concert film titled Creed Live, was released on December 8, 2009. Drummer Scott Phillips also confirmed that Full Circle will not be the band's final album. The same announcement confirmed that Creed was to go on a world tour in support of Full Circle between April and September 2010, starting with an Australia/New Zealand tour, followed by South America, Europe, and North America. The tour was called The 20-10 Tour. Tickets for the tour were ten and twenty dollars to stand up against rising concert ticket prices. The first 2,010 tickets purchased for every concert did not include any service fees. Due to high ticket sales, Creed was put in high numbered areas. Skillet joined the tour as main support.
Aborted fifth album and future (2011–present)Edit
Creed reconvened in late 2011 and early 2012 to begin work on what would be their fifth studio album. A tour was also announced in which the band would perform their first two albums, My Own Prison and Human Clay, from front to back over the course of two nights, with selected tracks from Weathered and Full Circle also featured. This tour kicked off with two shows on April 12 and 13, 2012, at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, with the band performing My Own Prison the first night and Human Clay the second. They also toured in South America and Indonesia.
In October 2013, Stapp noted in an interview that extensive work was done on a fifth album throughout 2011 and 2012. However, the project was subsequently abandoned, with Stapp uncertain of the reasons. Stapp also hinted that the relationship between himself and Tremonti had once again broken down, leaving the future of the band uncertain. Stapp later revealed that Tremonti was dictating to him what he wants the band's creative direction to be, and that unless Stapp agreed to his demands, the guitarist wouldn't work with him. Despite these differences, Stapp has maintained that Creed is "still a band." He also said that he's open to continuing to work with Creed when the time is right and if everyone can agree to continue.
In June 2015, while promoting his second solo album Cauterize, Mark Tremonti claimed in an interview with Kerrang that he "[hasn't] been a close friend of Scott's in 9 years". He said that Stapp believed that the other members would end Alter Bridge and perform solely with him in Creed, which they didn't wish to do, as they had established a unique foundation in that band. The other members did not speak to Stapp throughout the South American Tour in 2012 and plans for their fifth studio album were shelved, and they continued to work with Myles Kennedy in Alter Bridge. In August 2015, Tremonti reiterated that there were no plans for Creed for at least the next few years, but he didn't rule out the possibility. In September 2015, Stapp appeared on the Dr. Oz Show and recounted his history with depression and drug use, and how they contributed to mental health scare in November. When asked about a Creed reunion, Stapp replied: "I can tell you what, I sure hope so. I love the guys with all my heart and if they’re watching, 'Come on guys, let’s make a record.'" He later doubled down on the statements by stating that Creed would "definitely" reunite and that he expected new material from the band within "the next two years." When asked about Stapp's statements, Tremonti clarified that he was still busy promoting his solo albums and that Alter Bridge would record and tour in 2016, making it unlikely for him to return to Creed within Stapp's proposed timeline.
In September 2015, Stapp announced that Creed would be releasing a new "retrospective" album that November. It would be three discs, one with hits, one with rarities, and the last with acoustic versions of hits. Soon after, Amazon.com created a listing for the album, revealed to be titled With Arms Wide Open: A Retrospective, as well as the cover art. However, just before the release date it was confirmed that the album would be released as a Walmart-exclusive in the United States, with a wide release in other territories. Stapp joined Art of Anarchy after the death of their singer, Scott Weiland. His first album with the band was released in March 2017, and is titled The Madness. Alter Bridge continues to tour and record, while Mark Tremonti released, with his solo metal band Tremonti, his third album Dust in April 2016.
Creed's music is generally considered to be rock. According to Rolling Stone magazine, Stapp's vocals have been influenced by Jim Morrison of The Doors. The sound of the band is a personal reworking of the sound developed by grunge bands like Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice In Chains combined with the impact power and the melodic taste of classic heavy metal.
The band was never signed to a contemporary Christian music label, nor did it perform in Christian music venues or get any widespread regular play on Christian radio. However, the band's name itself refers to the religious concept of a creed. Also, themes within their musical titles such as "My Own Prison", "My Sacrifice", "What's This Life For", "With Arms Wide Open", and "One Last Breath" all contain allusions to Christian theology. Band members have stated that while they may be Christians, they do not think of Creed as a Christian band. Bassist Brian Marshall, who named the band, said that Stapp uses spiritual imagery as a metaphor. Stapp confirmed this in 2005 in an interview with Craig Kilborn, stating that Creed being a Christian band was a misconception, and that his beliefs unintentionally come out when making analogies in lyrics.
Legacy and receptionEdit
Creed was one of the most commercially successful rock bands of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Their first three studio albums, My Own Prison, Human Clay, and Weathered, have all gone multi-platinum in the United States, selling 6 million, 11 million, and 6 million copies respectively. The band also won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song for the song "With Arms Wide Open" in 2001. However, in spite of this enormous commercial success, Creed was poorly received by professional critics, such as Robert Christgau, among others. Jonah Weiner of Slate has tried to make the case that the band was "seriously underrated," "most people hate Creed’s combination of overwrought power-balladry and Christian-infused testosterone." However, the band's live shows from throughout their career have been critically acclaimed.
In 2011, Billboard ranked Creed as the 18th best artist of the 2000s. In 2012, lead singer Scott Stapp published his own memoir titled Sinner's Creed, which details his early life and tenure with the band. In 2013, readers of Rolling Stone Magazine voted Creed the worst band of the 1990s.
Awards and nominationsEdit
- Grammy Awards
|2001||"With Arms Wide Open"||Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal||Nominated|
|Best Rock Song[a]||Won|
|2003||"My Sacrifice"||Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal||Nominated|
- American Music Awards
Created by Dick Clark in 1973, the American Music Awards is an annual music awards ceremony and one of several major annual American music awards shows. Creed has received four American Music Award from six nominations.
|2001||Creed||Favorite Alternative Artist||Won|
|Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group||Nominated|
|Human Clay||Favorite Pop/Rock Album||Won|
|2003||Creed||Favorite Alternative Artist||Won|
|Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group||Won|
|Fan Choice Award||Nominated|
- MTV Video Music Awards
|2000||"Higher"||Best Rock Video||Nominated|
- Final line-up
- Scott Stapp – lead vocals, guitar (occasionally live) (1993–2004; 2009–2012)
- Mark Tremonti – lead guitar, vocals (1993–2004; 2009–2012); bass guitar on Weathered
- Scott Phillips – drums, percussion (1993–2004; 2009–2012); keyboards on Weathered
- Brian Marshall – bass (1993–2000; 2009–2012)
- Former members
- Brian Brasher – rhythm guitar (1993–1995)
- Touring musicians
- Brett Hestla – bass guitar, backing vocals (2000–2004)
- Eric Friedman – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2009–2012)
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