After releasing The Illusion of Progress last summer, Staind frontman Aaron Lewis is taking a short breather to return to how he spent most of 2007 — as a solo performer, with a half-dozen gigs lined up in Nevada, California and Florida (the tour is currently underway). The acoustic shows are a mix of Staind hits, songs slated for his solo album, assorted cover tunes, and whatever fans might happen to shout out. "I've never made a set list once, I never had any clue as to what I was going to play when I went out there, I just winged it," Lewis says of his solo shows. "It creates a very fun atmosphere, it's very loose. People yell out requests, and if they yell out the right song, I might play it."
As a father of three girls and in acknowledgment of many of his fans now having children of their own, Lewis has also been known to bring out a nugget for the younger demographic. "What six-year-old little girl isn't a fan of Hannah Montana?" he says. "I've even busted one out every now and again at an acoustic show: 'Best of Both Worlds.' Not the whole thing, though, just a chorus."
Lewis will return to the road with Staind later this month, but he remains excited about his first solo record, which he plans to release once the current touring cycle winds down. Prior to the release of the last Staind album, Lewis had "seven or eight" songs fleshed out enough to perform live, and while the album will likely be mostly acoustic, he's still tinkering with a few new ideas.
"How carried away I get with it remains to be seen," Lewis says. "I look forward to sitting down with my drum machine and Pro Tools and doing maybe a male vocal-to-Portishead vibe on a couple songs. There might be a song or two that has a cool beat programmed behind it, then acoustic guitars and all the other instruments that I have in and around my house that I tinker with."