Staind Guitarist Mike Mushok Discusses New Live Album “Live: It’s Been Awhile”

The rock group Staind is back on May 7th with their first release in nine years titled “Live: It’s Been Awhile”. Accompanying the album’s release is a two-night streaming event titled “The Return Of Staind: A Two Part Global Streaming Series”. Media Mikes had the chance recently to talk with Staind guitarist Mike Mushok about the release, the set of streaming performances and the bands plans for going forward.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the decision to release the bands new album now amidst the ongoing pandemic?

Mike Mushok: If this were a record with new material, we would be holding on to it like a lot of other bands are. This was a chance for us to get some material out there as we were trying to put a couple things together at one time. We had filmed the show where we got back together in 2019 at the Foxwoods Casino. We put a lot more than normal into that show and we wanted to capture all of that. Starting May 1st fans can stream that show. The album will come out May 7th and then on May 8th we will be doing another stream celebrating the 20-year anniversary of “Break the Cycle”.

AL: What was it like putting together the “Break the Cycle” show

MM: It is definitely different going out there and performing with no audience. It is almost like a rehearsal that is being filmed. It’s different but, you just get into what you are doing and do the best you can. I thought the venue we chose to film at was great and the lighting looked great as well. I don’t remember how many different cameras were being used but some of what I have seen is really exciting. To go along with the performance is a short documentary which takes fans back to where we were when the album initially was released. I also went back and found a ton of old footage from around that time is well. When I was going through all this stuff, I actually found the footage from our first gig ever in 1995.The cool thing about that was it was filmed about three blocks from where we shot this new performance There’s a lot of other things that fans will get to see besides us performing the record.

AL: How was it as a band revisiting this material?

MM: It was great to be able to go back and revisit such a good time in our career. This was our most successful record and it really changed everything for us. It was cool going back listening to things and relearning that material. There are a few songs that we had never played lived from this record so that was another that was really cool.

AL: The band had plans to go out and tour in 2020 but due to the pandemic those shows were unable to happen. Have there been any talks about trying to reschedule?

MM: We are trying to figure that all out right now. We had originally planned to go out with Disturbed as part of their 20-year celebration of “The Sickness”. That tour was recently cancelled but we are looking at some festival shows in July that we are booked for as well as some shows later in the summer. We are still waiting on confirmation of those so there is still a chance that we will be out there later this year. I think everyone is still just trying to figure stuff out as every place is different which makes things challenging.

AL: How much of an effect did the Pandemic have on the band personally being that you had just gotten back together after some time?  

MM: We had a great plan in place, and it was disappointing. I was definitely looking forward to getting back out there. I can’t complain though as other people have gone and continue to go through way worse things. During that first part of things when I was home, and you couldn’t go anywhere it was nice to be able to be with my family and not have to worry about other obligations. It was great to just be together and now things are starting to get back to the way they were and that is nice also. For the band we are looking to regroup and get things back on track. 2021 seems like it is going to be this feeling out period as more and more things change and open.

AL: Your involved with a couple other projects can you give us an update on those?

MM: I have the band Saint Asonia with Adam Gontier who used to be in Three Days Grace. We are working on some new music and hope to have an EP out sometime soon. Staind is also working on some new material as well. Aaron is finishing up a country record at the moment and once that is done, we can start digging through some of the material we have. I am part owner of the Six String Grill and Stage in Foxboro; Massachusetts and we are starting to look at being able to book shows there again later this year. Combine all of that with being a dad and a husband I am pretty busy (Laughs).

For more info and updates on Staind be sure to visit

Interview with Staind’s Mike Mushok

Mike Mushok is the guitarist for the band Staind. The band is currently part of the Mass Chaos Tour which includes Godsmack and Halestorm. Media Mikes had a chance to be a part of a teleconference with Mike to discuss the tour.

Adam Lawton: In the last couple of years there have been a lot of bands teaming up for multi band headlining tours. Is this a reality of the music business today? And are these larger scale tours something that needs be done in order to survive?
Mike Mushok: In my opinion it’s something we’ve always tried to do. I know we always try to put together the best package we can. I think in this economy it’s tough for people to have extra money to be able to go to a show. It’s kind of a luxury. The more bang for the buck you can give them, I think the more likely chance you have of getting people there and, hopefully, give them the most value for the dollars. That was really the idea for us and we had this record and we were looking to who we could play with. Godsmack was like, “That would be fantastic if those guys wanted to do it.” So, we went and put it together.

AL: How do you think the Staind of 2012 compare with the Staind of 1995 or 1999?
MM: We have a different drummer now so that’s one big difference. I think what we did with this record was to kind of come back to what Staind of ’99 was. That was really the idea behind it, to kind of get a little more aggressive. The reason we started the band was to play more aggressive music. We kind of went on this journey and I think the last record we lost the progress. I enjoy the journey. I love some of the songs on the last record, but I think after completing that we said, “Let’s kind of go back to why we started the band,” and that’s really what the idea was behind the album. Aaron also has a solo thing going on now, so that kind of ties up his time.  It makes it a little more difficult to get all the time we need for STAIND. So, those are really the big differences.

AL: How did drum tech turned band member Sal Giancarelli end up being the new drummer for the band? and how have you seen him change both musically and personality since his promotion?
MM: Sal has been with the band since ’99 and previous to that he was in bands that we used to play with. We always knew he was a great drummer. Even during his career as a drum tech he had other bands that he tried to pursue a career in music with. Being able to be a drum tech was a way of getting out there and kind of getting some of his stuff out there. There were a couple shows where John was sick and Sal filled in. So this wasn’t the first time Sal played with us. Sal just seemed like the perfect fit to go from behind the drums to playing them. He knew all the material and we knew he could more than handle it. Personality-wise he’s the same guy. We had these web-isodes on our website where we made him seem like this big egotistical guy and wanted to name the band after him, it was all a joke. Sal’s the most quiet, down-to-earth guy you’ll ever meet, and he hasn’t changed one bit. Sometimes when you introduce someone else, it’s a whole other personality. We knew his personality. He’s been on the road with us for 12-13 years so he was already part of the family.

AL: Besides the new drummer did anything change on the last album? And are the same problems that were there before this hiatus still there?
MM: No. We made the record basically the same way we always make a record. I’ll come in with a bunch of ideas. We get together and figure out what Aaron likes and wants to sing over, and then pretty much finish them and start tracking. Making the record was pretty tough. I mean, losing John along the way wasn’t easy. We had a deadline to meet for the label. Aaron put up the solo record. As far as problems go, I mean, I don’t know. You play with somebody and you’re around somebody so much there’s always issues. Did they go away? I mean, look, we just deal with them. We’re all adults. We’ve been able to maintain this for a long time and I think that you have to pick your battles. I think between Johnny, Aaron, and I we can say pretty much what we want to each other and realize that the band is what’s important. And that’s why people ask me when we’re doing a record. They thought we were going to break up. No, we knew we had to finish the record and that’s what we wanted to do, but you kind of work through all of those things. It takes people making compromises and being able to admit sometimes when you’re wrong and being able to give in.

AL: “Not Again,” was released last summer. Do you have any plans to release additional singles and any videos from the new album?
MM: No, that’s it. We’re calling it quits. Yeah, there’s a single, “Eyes Wide Open,” is out now, and we’re trying to figure out what’s going to be next. There’s a live video that we did with “Eyes Wide Open” also. So, yeah, we’re on single number two now and I think its top ten or something.

AL: Was there any real thought process or purpose behind making this album self-titled?
MM: Yeah. We really wanted to kind of go back to where we started as far as a band, and I think that was kind of why we ultimately decided on having it self-titled. I mean, there was talk about it being called, “Seven,” because this is the seventh record and that’s what seven demons on the cover kind of represents is that. That’s kind of how we ended up incorporated that. But, no, it was really just about the fact that we kind of got back to playing with the music.

AL: Staind has been together for 15 years or more now. What would you say are the biggest reasons for the band lasting that long?
MM: I think all three of the bands on this tour know that if it wasn’t for the fans, we wouldn’t be here. They allow us to do this. Those are the ones that buy a ticket, come to the show, support the bands, and, I mean, that’s why we’re still around obviously. We do our best to write the best music we can. I know Lzzy and Sully do also and you try to put out the best product that you can and you hope that people like it and want to listen to it and be a part of it. So, we’ve been fortunate so far and, hopefully, we can continue.