Grunge was very popular in the mid- and late 1990's, with a lot of MTV hits exploring the genre. It wasn't one for longevity, though; many of those same acts didn't survive into the first few years of the noughties. Unlike many of its fellow grunge bands, Staind stayed on like a grease stain on a clean shirt and thrived well into the current decade.
In November 1995, common friends brought Aaron Lewis, Mike Mushok, Johnny April and Jon Wysocki together to form what would eventually become Staind. The fledgling band initially did gigs in and around their home base of Springfield, Massachusetts doing covers of Korn, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. A year and five days after the band was born, they released their independent debut album Tormented in 1996.
Tormented gave the band its first taste of success with their first hit single Mudshuvel. And while just 4,000 copies of this first release were made, that entire number was quickly snapped up by Staind's growing fan base. It was also the controversial album art on Tormented that caught the attention of Limp Bizkit vocalist Fred Durst, who almost tried to get them off a show. Durst eventually grew into a close friend of the band and one of its strongest supporters.
Spreading the Stain
Meeting Durst proved to be a turning point for the band's career. After watching them open for Limp Bizkit in October 1997, he gave Staind its first record label deal and helped them produce Dysfunction, the band's 1999 sophomore album. Critics slammed the new release, but fans liked most of the content, particularly the reworking of Mudshovel from Tormented.
The band joined the annual Korn-orgaized Family Values Tour later that year, where it seemed that they were on their way to big-time success. Aaron Lewis and Fred Durst did a live performance of Outside, the band's first major mainstream hit. It paved the way for the success of their next album Break the Cycle, which was released two years later.
Critics once again couldn't agree on what to make of Staind's sound, which had by then moved to a more alternative instead of heavy metal rock route. The fans, however, all seemed to agree because It's Been Awhile, one of the singles from the album, even hit the Billboard Top 10.
Fast forward another two years, and the band had just released their new album, 14 Shades of Grey. It was Staind's first album to debut at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, and many critics are known to have said that it was their most mainstream production up to that point.
Their songs also began to get widespread commercial attention. Price to Play, for example, was used as a theme track for a WWE event in 2003. So Far Away was used in a tribute video to Mick Foler, another WWE icon.
Chapter V, their next album released in 2005, was another chart-topping record thanks to all the media attention that they'd begun getting at the time. They had toured the world from Australia to Europe, and had made one notable appearance on the Howard Stern Show, where they performed covers and acoustic versions of their top hits.
The band's covers were apparently very successful because there were three cover tracks in their next album, The Singles: 1996-2006, released in 2006. All the tracks were recorded at a live September 6 performance in New York City's Hiro Ballroom.
In 2008, the band released its sixth album, The Illusion of Progress, with many gimmicks for their fans. The release included limited edition copies and signed units for people who had reserved the album beforehand. The album itself hit the top of the charts when it came out.
Staind has been spreading itself and its music all over the world. Even a decade after the band's original genre has 'died' and become passé, Staind just keeps on going strong.
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