“New York Times” Spearheads Creed Rehabilitation Project

noah | October 19, 2009 7:00 pm

It’s often fun to play the contrarian in arts journalism, to champion the artist who might have been lost to the discount bin or the unfair corporate machination. So it was probably inevitable—hey, tickets to their concerts are going for less than a dollar with service charges—that someone would try to paint recently reunited post-grungers Creed in a sympathetic light. But would you have put money on the possibility that said rehab project would result in a full-page feature in the New York Times‘ Sunday Arts section? David Peisner’s article on the Creed comeback starts with a description of frontman—and popular whipping boy—Scott Stapp shaving off his head, despite the protestations of his wife: “What are you doing? That’s Creed!” she apparently protested over the whirring of the electric razor. It goes on to talk about the tribulations Stapp had with his drug addictions and his shipped-platinum, shipped-back-gold solo effort The Great Divide. It discusses the band’s forthcoming reunion album Full Circle in a manner that isn’t reflexively rock-critic contrarian; adjectives like “surprising” and “infectious” are used. And most crucially, it discusses why a Creed reunion tour was seen as a viable endeavor in 2009, despite the “Even Jesus Hates Creed” t-shirts still being sported by other, “cooler” bands:

“He’d done so much damage to my life, I didn’t want to speak his name for a long time,” Mr. Tremonti said. “Since I was 11, this is all I’ve worked for. I finally built up a huge band and watched it destroyed by one person.” Nonetheless, in late 2008 he, Mr. Phillips and Mr. Marshall met with Mr. Stapp, who apologized for his past misbehavior. The reconciliation was satisfying, and given the more moderate scale of their separate projects, the idea of resurrecting Creed was appealing. “When you go from two or three people on a bus and nice hotels to everybody on the same bus, staying at a Holiday Inn and playing a club that has a closet for a dressing room,” Mr. Phillips said, “you sort of long for those days when you had nice catering.” According to Mr. Tremonti and Paul Geary, who manages both Alter Bridge and Creed, Alter Bridge had also taken on significant debt, which a Creed tour would help alleviate. Mr. Geary also recognized that Creed’s superstardom was a precious commodity. “Over the last few years new bands that go from zero to multiplatinum are scarce,” he said. “Technology has changed everything. It’s making it more difficult to permeate publicly. It makes bands like Creed that much more valuable.”

Oh, the Internet! So much to answer for. But of course, one era’s “valuable” commodity can turn into another’s remainder-bin fodder. (Anyone want to buy some Pogs?) Which makes one wonder: How did that 75-cent show go?

When the group arrived in Birmingham on Friday for a 9:15 p.m. show at the BJCC Arena, the lowest rung of ticket prices had slid to 75 cents per seat, plus a couple of bucks in service fees. Basically, the promoters were giving the tickets away, in an attempt to rustle up a crowd. No denying that it must have been awkward for Creed, especially considering the band brought along a full-scale arena set-up: flaming pyrotechnics, smoke plumes, showers of sparks, an elaborate light show, a stage extension and large, clear video screens. Someone obviously spent money on the mechanics, assuming Creed would return to its former stature and pack’em in. That didn’t happen here – not even close. Audience members were distributed into two smallish groups on the floor, and scattered amid the lower and upper tiers. Not a disastrous showing, just a rather sad one.

On the comeback trail and underappreciated? Well. Expect a Slate piece on how they’ve always been underrated any day now! The Whipping Boys Are Back [NYT] Creed fans no longer have arms wide open [AL.com] Earlier: Would You Go See Creed If You Only Had To Pay 75 Cents For The Privilege?