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Creed lead vocalist to play Ink Life

By Nicholas Huber
Aug. 9, 2017 at 10:30 p.m.
Updated Aug. 11, 2017 at 12:37 p.m.

Scott Stapp performs during  the 2016 Journeys AP Music Awards at Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center  in Columbus, Ohio.

If one thing is for sure, the lyrics of Scott Stapp always have been a personal reflection of the man behind the iconic crooning of Creed.

With songs like "With Arms Wide Open" and "Overcome," the Florida native gave the world a glimpse inside the mind of a very conflicted — but very successful — rock vocalist. Of course, his lyrics may have been taken with a grain of salt until his troubles were exposed via TMZ in 2015.

"It's no secret that I've struggled and battled with depression," Stapp said candidly, "and a lot of times when people are suffering from a mental illness, they self medicate with alcohol or drugs, and I was no different."

In an erratic video posted to his Facebook page in 2014 (and later "TMZ"), Stapp said he was homeless and he feared for his life because of the recurring issues with his former Creed bandmates. He was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has since become an advocate of mental health awareness.

"I think that the deaths of (Linkin Park vocalist) Chester Bennington and (Soundgarden vocalist) Chris Cornell, I think the mental illness conversation is something that we all need to get more knowledgeable about and have more compassion about and less judgment, and realize it's a serious disease and treat it as such," Stapp said.

Stapp said he felt connected with the late singers because of the battles they waged against themselves in the darkest moments of their lives.

"I wouldn't say I was close (to Bennington or Cornell)," Stapp said, "but I definitely had a tremendous amount of respect for both of them and admired their work and felt connected to what their struggles were because my struggles have been the same.

"It's really not in their control," he continued. "It's a disease just like cancer. Hopefully, with the string of deaths, it just raises awareness and people aren't so judgmental and make mockery of people who are suffering whether they are celebrities, friends or family members."

In addition to mental health, Stapp has been focused on helping children through his With Arms Wide Open Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 2000 to help underprivileged children around the globe.

"My heart is really in helping children in need," he said. "I've partnered with a organization called ChildFund (International) and our goal is to get children in need taken care of all over the world by providing food, shelter, education and water. Some even need family placement, so I do that and take it everywhere that I go."

According to Samaritan Magazine, the foundation has donated more than $1 million to 85 charitable organizations throughout the years.

Aside from his charity work, Stapp has managed to keep a low profile since his infamous public breakdown. In 2016, he slightly resurfaced as rock supergroup Art of Anarchy — formed in 2011 by brothers Jon and Vince Votta on guitar and drums, Disturbed bassist John Moyer, former Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thalas — announced that Stapp would be replacing late Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland on vocals.

After a short run of successful dates with both Art of Anarchy and his solo band in 2016, the supergroup's recently released sophomore album, "The Madness," further solidified what GQ has called Stapp's "resurrection tour."

While he might not be selling out massive arenas as Stapp's done with Creed, the middle-aged rocker, now 43, couldn't care less.

"I love to play shows wherever people want to see me," he explained. "Whether it's the big arenas, or stadiums or whether it's smaller venues, it's just all part of it."

On Aug. 13, when the legendary post-grunge crooner hits the stage at the sixth annual Ink Life Tour Tattoo and Music Festival, he'll be playing an assortment of songs from all time periods of his prolific career.

"I play all the Creed hits, my Creed favorites, and I throw in some solo songs that were successful," Stapp said. "So it's a Creed heavy set. For those who were fans of Creed, it's basically like going to a Creed show with the introduction of some solo material as well."

And with that, Stapp has come a long way. Just like he wrote in his lyrics, Stapp "is entitled to overcome." Perhaps, in Longview, he will do just that.

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