1. Which is your favorite Staind album?

I'd have to say the illusion of progress is my favorite. I just really like the diversity on that record - I think it's a really different record for us with a lot of different sounding Staind songs that i enjoy.

2. I was curious if becoming a father has changed anything in the style of music you write, or in the way you write it?

You know, it has. It's made working at home a lot more difficult. It's really hard, after being on the road or away for long periods of time, to come home and go to my practice room and work. Especially if i can hear the kids playing in the house - I want to go join them!! It definitely takes discipline to keep focused and working.

As far as the style of music goes - it seemed like the songs on the last record (which I wrote after the kids were born) do seem to be a bit more bluesy and not as aggressive as some of the other Staind stuff. It could have just been a normal progression as a musician though. The last record to me, seems to reflect more where the band was at that time than the fact that I had became a father. I was playing riffs for Aaron that I thought were really different from anything else we had done before and he liked them. So, we went with it.

3. I caught your guys` show in Dubuque, Iowa with Shinedown last year and it seemed like you guys were bringing a lot more of the heavy stuff out of the arsenal. Is that what we can expect to hear a little bit more of when you guys go in to write/record for the new CD?

It just seems like the heavier stuff works better live - seems to go over better. I love playing some of those other songs, but i think we are really conscious about not letting the set not be overly slow.

As far as the new stuff goes - we'll know pretty soon. I do think though that this time around we're going to lean a bit more as to where we came from - more aggressive. I swear I HATE when a band comes out and says "this is the heaviest record we ever made!!!" How often do you hear that??? I really NEVER want to say that. However, that being said - we want to make a heavy record. I still (personally) would like to explore some of the things we did on the last record and take them somewhere new for us. I would like that to be a small part of what the next record is going to be. I will say that I've written a lot of pretty heavy stuff for us to work on - let's hope that everyone likes it!

4. What’s the secret of being a good guitarist?

I really don't think it's a secret - you HAVE to practice! I went through a LOT of years playing 8, 10, 12 hours a day. That's pretty much all I did - play guitar. I don't regret any of it. I'd actually like to have that come out a bit more on the new record. Maybe a few more solos. Maybe a bit of shredding. I'm enjoying doing it again.

I once read an interview by someone (maybe Al di Meola or Holdsworth - I forget who said it) and they said - learn all you can and then forget it and play. I never really got what that meant until I was in this band. I spent those years learning scales and my favorite songs, practicing solos and how fast I could play. When Staind started, I realized that writing a good song is really what's important. I think I knew that but was more concerned about showing off what I could do. I also realized what there were talking about in that interview. It was when Staind started that I first started playing around in alternate tunings and just writing riffs, really having no idea what chords I was playing or what key I was playing in. Just playing something because I thought it sounded cool. That's really what's most important - do you like it? Do you think it's cool? Yes? Then go with it. Hopefully other people will also. We were lucky that other people liked what we did.

5. Do you guys plan on getting back out on the road?

Hopefully the new record will be done this spring and we can get out either late spring early summer of 2011.

6. Tell me about your worst show!!

You really want me to bring that up, huh? Why??? Alright, here goes. We were playing the Leeds Festival in the UK, I think it was 03' or 04' - not sure. We got there and being in the band, we're always the last to know things. Turns out our gear was stuck on a freighter outside of the UK and had a problem getting through customs. It didn't show up until about 45 minutes before we were supposed to play. Anyhoo, our guys got everything together (they were working literally right up until we walked out on stage) and my tech handed me my guitar and said "have a great show". If we only knew. I can't remember whether we were opening with "raw" or "suffocate" - one of those and my rig was making this TERRIBLE sound. I could play but there was this really strange noise coming out of the speakers louder than the guitar - and the guitar was LOUD! I went back to my tech and had him give me a cable - I thought it was the wireless. Nope. Still there. We shut down the rig and restarted it - thought it was a midi problem (midi feedback - I still think this was it) - that didn't work. Tried using one amp (I run 2 always) - nope, still there. So the first song was TERRIBLE. Luckily, there were only like 50k people there - no biggie. I was FURIOUS!!! I just remember all these bands (for some reason I'll never forget all the guys in Blink 182 there) watching side stage and slowly walking away as things got worse and worse and I started smashing things. Needless to say, we couldn't go into the next song that way, so Aaron grabbed an acoustic and played "Outside". That went over great!! During that we were still trying to get the rig going but the noise was still there (blasting through the air as Aaron played acoustic). Part way through "Outside" I said "f@#* it!! Just give me my acoustic - we're playing an acoustic set." Which we did and got through it. It just SUCKED - we wanted to go out there and play this heavy set and we ended up doing a totally unplugged set. Completely opposite of what we planned on doing.

And you know what? After the set, my tech set up the rig backstage and it worked fine. To this day - not really sure what was going on - bad cable in the rack? Midi problem (that had happened before but if you unplug the rig and start over, usually fixes it)? I don't know. I do know that that was the WORST GIG EVER!!!!!

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Comment by Lukasz on October 27, 2010 at 7:05am
wow. my question!
thanks for answering :)
Comment by Zoë on October 25, 2010 at 5:12am
that worst gig was Reading Festival, i was there, and although it kinda went to pieces [sound wise], i enjoyed every minute of the accoustic set, it was like my own unplugged session.... and the next night at Brixton made up for it!! oh and it was 2003!
Comment by alfredo macedo on October 25, 2010 at 1:01am
wow!!!!! thanks!!!! thanks Mike!!!!! wow!!!
Comment by RumpleTeaser on October 24, 2010 at 9:22pm
LOL.. lucky that show was 03 or 04 or that would have been all over you-tube 100 times over

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