Aaron Lewis On His Country Music Career: "A Part of Me Was Drifting Away With Every Staind Album"

Categories: interview

Aaron Lewis Sitting - Matt Oliver
Matt Oliver/OC Weekly

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*Stagecoach Festival 2012: Top Five Performances

*Stagecoach Festival 2012 in Photos: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly 

Known for being the frontman of the chart-topping hard rock band Staind, Aaron Lewis is now showing his true colors as a country musician. Being named by Hit Parader as one of Heavy Metals Top 100 Vocalists, Lewis says, "country music is my childhood." 2011 proved to be a big year for the Massachusetts bad boy. He entered the Billboard Country Albums chart at #1 for his debut solo EP Town Line. His rebel song "Country Boy," on which he collaborated with country legends George Jones and Charlie Daniels, is nominated for an ACM Award this year for "Vocal Event Of The Year." The song was also nominated last year for two CMT Music Awards.

We sat down with the famed vocalist at Stagecoach this weekend.  

Aaron Lewis - Matt Oliver
Matt Oliver/OC Weekly
Lewis performing at this year's Stagecoach Festival
Now 40 years old, he says, "I don't really feel like the pissed off, angry young man [I was during] my Staind Career." He admits he felt a part of him was drifting away with every album they released. Debuted at the Family Values Tour in 1999, "Outside" was the first time one of his own songs was released through Staind. In fact, Lewis was the mastermind behind other acoustic-based songs including hard rock's most listened to song to date, "It's Been Awhile" as well as "Tangled Up In You" and "Epiphany."

"Life takes many twists and turns and it leads you places ... I felt like it was the best fit for me."

With such a drastic crossover, Lewis isn't trying to change himself or reinvent the wheel. "I'm just using a different set of crayons to color everything in."

"I think it is so cool that I was invited to play here (Stagecoach) this year," he says. Even with his high profile band Staind and all its popularity, they have never been invited to play Coachella. "I guess we were a little bit too heavy for Coachella," he says. 

Country music has been a part of his life ever since his grandfather was his babysitter. Naturally, he is grateful to perform on the same stage as his childhood Idol, Roy Clark. Clark has a special place in his heart, because he remembers watching Hee Haw on his grandpa's lap as a young child. "To be invited to something like this is huge. I'm thankful and happy to be here."


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