Why Scott Stapp isn't really around anymore

Whether they want to admit it or not, '90s kids remember the band Creed and probably enjoyed their music at least briefly. Their brand of Pearl Jam-esque hard rock combined with spiritual lyrics just vague enough to reach the mainstream without seeming overly preachy propelled them to the top of the charts. Singer Scott Stapp became a major star through the band, though his fame was ultimately fleeting thanks to a brutal combination of inner demons and terrible life decisions.

But what really happened to Scott Stapp since Creed's turn-of-the-millennium heyday? What caused the public to go from embracing him with arms wide open, to saluting him with middle fingers high in the air? What's he been up to since his level of fame went from mega-star to just another washed-up "that guy" we only sometimes remember? Here's the true, surprisingly dark story of Scott Stapp after the world stopped caring.

He wound up homeless and penniless

Plenty of celebrities lose money as they become less relevant. Few, however, wind up with literally nothing to their name, and yet as Rolling Stone reported, that's exactly what happened to Scott Stapp several years back.

In 2014, he posted a video to his Facebook page, letting fans know what's been going on in his life. In a nutshell, it wasn't good. He said he was currently living at a Holiday Inn and not because he was a busy rock star living on the road. Rather, he was homeless and had nowhere else to go. Unbelievably, this was actually an improvement for the singer, who claimed he had previously been living in his truck and didn't have money to buy gas or food. The one-time millionaire rocker was completely penniless.

How could this happen? According to Stapp, he had recently audited his finances, only to discover he had nothing. Various unnamed people supposedly stole everything from him, plus an audit of his record company uncovered how he had seemingly not received royalties he thought he had. In short, not only was he out of money, he had been spending money he never had. No matter who you are, that's a recipe for financial disaster.

Thankfully for his sake, Stapp is no longer homeless and actually has cash to his name. Even if he never again becomes the world-dominating ultra-celebrity he was during the "Higher" days, at least he can afford to eat now.

He had a series of psychotic breakdowns

To put it mildly, Scott Stapp has behaved oddly over the years. Turns out there was a legitimate reason for his behavior: He has bipolar disorder. However, this wasn't discovered until after some truly psychotic breakdowns that made witnesses wonder if Stapp had completely lost his mind.

According to the Chicago Tribune, before his diagnosis Stapp was taking medicine he shouldn't have been taking. He was also self-medicating with alcohol, another no-no. This culminated in a series of delusional breaks, and Stapp believed he'd been coerced into a mind-control experiment; declared Alcoholics Anonymous to be a CIA creation; announced a mysterious connection between the DEA, Nashville, and Palm Springs; and accused his wife of stealing money from him. Perhaps he thought she was the reason he was penniless and stuck in a Holiday Inn.

But the episode that had the most potential to get him in severe trouble was when he told his wife he was on a CIA mission to kill President Obama. Understandably, his wife called the cops, who notified the Secret Service. They visited Stapp and grilled him, but eventually concluded he wasn't a national security threat and left him alone.

Shortly after, Stapp checked into a mental hospital, where he was diagnosed as bipolar, something that would've been nice to know years ago. He finally got on the right meds and, presumably, hasn't threatened to assassinate anyone since.

He considered (and later attempted) suicide

When you've been through what Scott Stapp has, truly dark thoughts will naturally creep into your head. In the singer's case, those thoughts turned to suicide at least twice, which almost became tragic, irreversible reality.

As Stapp recounted in an interview with Spin, he first had suicidal thoughts in 2003, going so far as to grab a gun and load it up. Luckily, the healthy part of his brain convinced him not to follow through with his plan, so he instead fired a few rounds into his garage wall. The wall may not have liked it, but it was definitely the better decision.

In 2006, however, Stapp actually attempted suicide. According to his memoir, Sinner's Creed, Stapp was stuck in a "prison of alcohol and drug addiction" that he tried to escape by jumping from his hotel balcony to a ledge 40 feet below. He fractured his skull and broke his hip, laid there alone for over two hours, but somehow didn't succumb to his injuries. He can thank the rapper T.I. for that. As T.I. told Billboard, he was staying at that hotel and heard "moans and groans" above him. He went to investigate and found Stapp, whom he did not recognize at the time. He simply knew it was somebody who needed help, and so he helped, keeping Stapp awake until medical help could arrive.

Whether you like Creed, T.I., both, or neither, a life was saved here, and everyone can be happy about that.

Got so smashed at a Creed show that the band got sued

By the end of 2002, Creed was still a superstar band, although not quite as successful as they were even two years prior. However, that didn't stop them from ending the band abruptly, because when your lead singer has a complete breakdown in front of everybody, no sales can save your career.

On December 29, 2002, Creed was playing a show at the Allstate Arena in Chicago. It was, to put it as nicely as possible, an unmitigated disaster. According to fan accounts, Scott Stapp showed up in absolutely no condition to perform, slurring and mumbling lyrics while repeatedly stumbling and falling over. He also slammed his mic to the ground, walked offstage for minutes at a time, or simply lay around on the stage like it was naptime. The clearly embarrassed band members were forced to jam while their franchise player made their band look terrible.

As the Chicago Tribune reported, several fans were so angry at Stapp's performance they attempted to sue the band for over $2 million. The suit claimed Creed failed to deliver the show fans paid for, and so they owed everybody a refund. That lawsuit went nowhere, since the judge (according to MTV) wasn't about to set a precedent where artists were legally obligated to not suck. That said, when your singer is so smashed out of his gourd that people sue, fans were probably right to send his booze-addled butt packing.

For a while, he had trouble not getting arrested

When one's life is fueled almost completely by alcohol and psychosis, they can expect to run afoul of the law at least once. In Stapp's case, he had several run-ins with the police before finally committing to bettering himself.

His legal issues began in 2002, when (as reported by The Smoking Gun) he was caught driving recklessly in Orange County, Florida. Police saw him swerving on and off the road, and so they caught up with him and arrested him. That was enough to keep them on the straight and narrow — until 2006, when he was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport one day after getting married. As MTV News reported, Stapp and his bride were about to board a plane to Hawaii, but cops were notified he was acting strangely. They found him before he could enter the plane and arrested him for public drunkenness. No word on if he ever made it to Hawaii.

Then, a year later, Stapp was arrested at his home for domestic assault. As TMZ reported, he allegedly came home high or drunk (or both), got angry at his wife after she asked if he'd done drugs, and chucked a glass Orangina bottle at her head. Luckily, he missed, but it was still enough to get him taken to jail for yet a third time. He released a public apology to his wife and his now-very-embarrassed fans, but the real apology has been how he's managed to avoid handcuffs ever since.

Creed's 2009 reunion was a total bust

In 2009, years after disbanding, Creed decided to give it another go with a tour and a new album, Full Circle. Any hopes of actually staying together died quickly, as the reunion was a near-complete bust.

The tour failed to excite fans, even with dirt-cheap ticket prices. The Birmingham News reported that tickets for a local Creed show had dropped to just 75 cents, and even then the crowd was sparse, to say the least. As the News described it, "Audience members were distributed into two smallish groups on the floor, and scattered amid the lower and upper tiers." For a band with tens of millions of albums sold, that's just plain embarrassing.

Speaking of albums, Full Circle delivered mediocre sales at best. Billboard reported Circle sold 110,000 copies its first week, compared to the 887,000 Creed's 2001 album, Weathered, sold its first week. Even factoring in that fewer people buy albums every year, that's a depressing drop-off. By 2010, the band had effectively split up again, and an attempted 2012 album never materialized. Stapp told Billboard in 2014, "when the time's right in the next year-and-a-half, I'm expecting some new Creed music," and in 2017 Alternative Revolt reported Stapp saying "the [Creed reunion] door is not shut. I think that when the time is right, there's always something in store." Spoiler: Nothing is in store. It's becoming more and more evident that Scott Stapp is one of the only people who wants Creed Part III.

His planned double album went nowhere

Not every reason for Scott Stapp's lack of post-fame visibility is dark and disturbing. Sometimes, it's as simple a matter as the man spending tons of time on a massive musical project and then never actually releasing it.

In 2010, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Stapp was wrapping up work on a new solo album called Somewhere In the Middle of Lust and Love. It was apparently meant to be an epic double album, with one disc focusing on songs about love, while the other disc would hone in on hot-and-dirty lust. He claimed to have written 30 to 40 songs for the album, and even if you've never written and recorded a tune of your own, you can probably imagine it takes a long time to wrap everything up.

Stapp, apparently, never bothered to do so, as the album never materialized. We got a single-disc album, Proof Of Life, in late 2013, but seemingly very little — if any — of Lust and Love's material made the cut. It was an awful lot of silent time for not a ton of work.

His new band sued him

Without Creed doing anything, Scott Stapp is apparently trying his luck with a brand new act. Called Art of Anarchy, Stapp's new band (in which he replaces the late Scott Weiland as singer) features stars like Bumblefoot and Disturbed's John Moyer. That, combined with Stapp's still-powerful voice, should have marked instant success for the group.

There's just one problem: The band almost immediately slapped Stapp with a $1.2 million lawsuit, claiming Stapp refused to promote the band or even tour with them. As Staten Island Live reported, the suit claimed Stapp only performed with Art of Anarchy 18 times in 2017, but performed 80 solo shows that year. According to the band, Stapp's no-shows cost them a record contract, plus he allegedly never repaid the $200,000 the band loaned him as advance payment for services.

The lawsuit is still ongoing, but it's interesting to note this isn't the first time Art of Anarchy has sued their singer. They also sued Scott Weiland in 2015, alleging he too refused to promote the band. Weiland defended himself by saying he was never a full-blown band member — he merely agreed to write lyrics and record vocals, and the band was "a scam," getting attention by pretending they had a legend in their ranks when they really didn't. Time will tell if they're pulling the same trick with Stapp or if Stapp is simply an unreliable work partner these days.

He claims Scott Weiland's ghost spoke to him

For the past few years, Scott Stapp has focused harder on recovery and sobriety than ever before. According to the man himself, he's gotten help staying on this path from an unlikely source: post-mortem Scott Weiland.

In a 2017 GQ interview, Stapp claimed that after he joined Art of Anarchy the group rented a tour bus. Unbeknownst to Stapp, it was the same bus Weiland had overdosed and died on back in 2015. Eventually, Stapp began to feel Weiland's presence, claiming his spirit was there to warn Stapp about continuing down the same deadly path Weiland did. In Stapp's own words, "I remember … feeling like I could hear or feel him saying, 'Dude, this could have been you. And this could be you if you continue that path. Don't do what I did.'"

Stapp presumably realized how ridiculous he sounded talking about ghosts, because in a later interview with Alternative Nation, he said he didn't really hear Weiland's ghost. "Being on this tour bus that he died in created an epiphany within me," he clarified. "The way I carried on my life at certain times could have put me in that same position." He went on to say the GQ writer took him completely out of context, which might be true or not. Either way, as long as Stapp doesn't become another spirit haunting a tour bus, whatever happened that day will be worth it.