{mosimage}Mike Mushok, lead guitarist for Staind, doesn’t believe in standing still.

Mushok promises an “evolution” on the group’s new, though as-yet-untitled CD, which the band is touring in support of. The band will visit the Crown Coliseum on May 16 for the front leg of its tour.

“We should be finished with the CD by the time we get to Fayetteville,” said Mushok. “It’s definitely a step ahead for us. The songs really came together.

“And even though it’s different, it still rocks,” added Mushok, “and I don’t think our hardcore fans will be disappointed.”

Mushok cites the presence of producer Johnny K. for the slightly new direction of the CD; this was the first time Johnny K. produced Staind, though he has worked with a diverse group of musicians, including Disturbed, 3 Doors Down, the Plain White T’s and Finger 11.

“He brought some innovations to the studio,” said Mushok.

One should expect innovation from Mushok, who definitely breaks the preconceived idea of the guitar hero when you learn that he graduated from Western New England University with a degree in electrical engineering, which makes him perhaps the first or second most educated rock guitarist in the world č when you throw Queen’s Brian May and his degree in astrophysics into the mix.

Mushok started Staind when he met current lead singer Aaron Lewis at a Christmas party in 1993.

“It was fate because I’d been trying to find a lead singer for so long,” said Mushok. “Of course, it was like, ‘Here’s a another guy at a party who thinks he can sing,’ but obviously, the kid could, and can, sing his ass off.” 

Mushok brought in drummer Jon Wysocki and Lewis knew a bass player (who has since been replaced) and Staind was off and running.

Or rather, Stain was.

“Yeah, our original name was Stain,” said Mushok, “but we found out there was another band with the same name, so we added the ‘d.’”

Four years after that 1993 meeting between Mushok and Lewis, Staind began building its rep in the music world ... thanks in large part to a would-be showdown between the band and Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit over the choice of cover art employed by Staind on their first, self-released CD, Tormented

Staind was opening for Limp Bizkit in 1997 when Durst became irate at what he called the “satanic” cover art and threw the disc at the band and walked away.

But after he heard them play a 45-minute set, Durst changed his tune and helped get them a record deal and a spot on the Vans Warped Tour. Their first album for Elektra, Dysfunctional, was well received when it was released in 1999, but the band’s real breakthrough came with the 2001 follow-up, Break the Cycle, which hit No. 1 on the charts and produced such hit singles as It’s Been Awhile, Fade, Epiphany and For You.

Since then, the group’s 2002 MTV DVD Unplugged went gold and two subsequent albums, 4 Shades of Grey and Chapter V, both topped the charts.

Local fans of Staind are lucky in that they are catching the band at the very front of its tour, before the group gets worn down by the constant touring č touring which Mushok says can last between 18 and 20 months.

“After awhile, all the towns we play become one big blur,” Mushok said. “And even though I know Fayetteville is in North Carolina, because I have a friend who lives there č his dad is in the military č and we’ve played there twice, I got a little confused when someone mistakenly told me we were playing in Fayetteville, Ala.

“I’m looking forward to playing in the North Carolina version of Fayetteville,” said Mushok. “I think we’re going to give the fans a great show.”

The concert is May 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35, $42 and $45; members of the military get a $5 discount with ID.

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