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John Lamb, Published August 15 2012

Creed comes around - this time to Fargo

FARGO - Think of the biggest-selling independent label rock acts and you’ll likely tick off names like Nirvana (for their Sub Pop catalog), early Black Keys and Arcade Fire.

You may not think of the group Creed. Yet the hard-rock quartet rose from the Tallahassee, Fla., scene to sell more than 30 million albums worldwide, helping make Wind-Up Records the biggest independently owned label in the world.

The group returns to Fargo on Saturday night, playing The Venue at The Hub. It’s not only a different location for the group, but they are in a completely different place professionally than when they played here in the summer of 2002.

Then Creed was one of the biggest bands in American music, with each of its first three albums selling more than 6 million copies and “Human Clay” on its way to selling 11 million.

The group’s appeal was a mix of post-grunge heaviness, a knack for hooks and melodies and an earnestness that members, particularly singer/lyricist Scott Stapp, wore on their sleeves. Stapp’s faith rose to the top in the group’s biggest hits, “Higher,” “With Arms Wide Open” and “My Sacrifice.”

The group was scheduled to play the Fargodome in April 2002. But when singer Scott Stapp was injured in a car crash before the show, things started to crumble.

Already a drinker, Stapp got hooked on Percocet and started consuming other drugs. The effects showed on stage when the group finally played the Dome in August. The normally charismatic singer hit the right notes, but appeared sluggish.

It had already started slipping for the group. The April date was expected to draw 20,000 when it was booked and the Dome had to refund 11,000 tickets when the show was postponed. Less than 6,000 showed up for the August date.

Things bottomed out for the band late that year at a show in Rosemont, Ill., that was so unsatisfactory, four fans sued the band, citing Stapp was unable to perform. The group apologized and the suit was dismissed, but the damage was done. After a yearlong hiatus, the group split in 2004.

Stapp continued to struggle with substance abuse despite a platinum-selling solo album. Meanwhile the other members, guitarist Mark Tremonti and drummer Scott Phillips brought back bassist Brian Marshall, who quit Creed in 2000 after disagreements with Stapp, to form Alter Bridge.

While each of these projects was moderately successful, none were as big as Creed and in 2009 all four original members reunited for an album, “Full Circle,” and a tour.

Another album is in the works, but fans should expect a set that draws heavily from the first three discs.

Fans should be excited that Stapp is recommitted to the group, though he’ll release a tell-all memoir, “Sinner’s Creed” this fall.

“If we never get back to that level of success, I think we’re all OK with that. We did it once, we were there, and it was cool,” he told the Chicago Tribune earlier this year, “but I think that the key for us now is to get back into the music and let the fans decide on that stuff. We’re just so appreciative that we’re allowed to be artists and still able to play in a band and that people want to come see us. That’s a gift.”

If you go

What: Creed, Eve to Adam and Like a Storm

When: Doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday, music at 8.

Where: The Venue at The Hub, 2525 9th Ave S., Fargo.

Info: Tickets range from $38 to $58 for this ID-only show. (866) 300-8300.


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533