Mark Tremonti believes Scott Stapp’s descent into drug-fuelled paranoia was triggered by Creed’s success.
The guitarist says the singer travelled on a separate tour bus from the rest of the band during Creed’s 2009 reunion, which eventually saw plans for a new album abandoned.
He describes how painkiller Oxycontin turned Stapp into a paranoid mess and opens up on his feelings on the singer’s 2014 public meltdown.
Tremonti tells Loudwire: “When you’re the frontman of a band that’s always in the spotlight and on top of that, people are taking pot shots, I think it just kind of weighed on him and drinking turned to pills and turned to whatever.
“He was never really open about it. He would do his own thing and party but wouldn’t tell us what he was doing. I thought he was drinking and taking painkillers because his back hurt.
“I think the painkillers turned into just doing them when he got his hands on them. Oxycontin has got to be one of the worst drugs out there. I’ve seen lots of people, all the same. They get real paranoid and it takes them down real quick.”
Last year, Stapp suffered a breakdown when his wife Jaclyn filed for divorce. He posted an alarming video of himself claiming he was the target of a US government conspiracy and saying he was living in his truck. He has since completed a 90-day stint in rehab.
Tremonti saw the video after fans got in touch. He adds: “I knew he was using, you could tell. I shot him a text saying, ‘I hope you can get straight.’ He just texted me back saying, ‘I’m sober, these are all lies.’ But thank God he got through it all.”
Stapp and Tremonti met at high school before forming Creed, and the singer’s determination was what drove the band, Tremonti says.
“One thing that I admired about Scott in the beginning was his do or die attitude,” he says. “No matter if we were a bar band or not, he thought we were the biggest band in the world. He had that drive and wouldn’t let anything get in our way.
“He was a great poet back in college. He would constantly write this mixture between these Jim Morrison ideas and these religious type ideas.”
Tremonti last year said he had no plans to reunite Creed as he has his hands full with Alter Bridge and his solo project. He’ll release his second solo album Cauterize on June 9 and says the recording sessions produced enough material for a follow-up, which could be out within a year.