THE REACH FOUNDATION – ACOUSTIC ALL-STAR JUKEBOX JAM INTERVIEW WITH ADAM AND MIKE FROM SAINT ASONIA AT FOXWOODS CASINO, CT – November 10, 2016
I got to sit down and talk with Mike Mushok (Saint Asonia/Staind) and Adam Gontier (Saint Asonia) at the Acoustic All-Star Jukebox Jam at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut on Thursday, November 10th, 2016 to discuss the charity event to benefit the REACH Foundation.
The REACH Foundation’s primary mission “is to reach out to young people in need and provide, or assist in providing programs to better their environment, and to educate others on the needs of children and the barriers many of them face”. The Foundation mission is simple “If in only one life, make a difference”.
The night started out with two opening acts, Killer at Large and Otan Vargas. The charity concert especially close to Mushok’s heart had an all-star lineup of musicians playing an acoustic set of cover songs together. The band featured, Adam Gontier, Mike Muskok, Shaun Morgan (Seether), Corey Lowery (Saint Asonia), Sal Giancarelli (Staind) and Jim Comeau. The set consisted of fifteen songs featuring Prince’s “When Doves Cry”, U2’s “With or Without You”, Saint Asonia’s “Waste my Time”, Seether’s “Remedy” , Soundgarden’s “Fell on Black Days” and Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” to name a few favorites.
Side Stage Magazine – I wanted to know a little about the charity and about what drew you to want to be a part of tonight? I know it’s for the REACH Foundation.
Mike Muskok – It was started by a neighbor of mine Mark Wilson and his wife, Wendy. I have been talking to Mark for a bunch of years trying to find some way to help them out and had been to a bunch of benefits that he has done over the years also. His goal is to help under privileged children. So this concert is going to help benefit “Shop with a Cop.” When they go into communities around Connecticut through the YMCA or schools they choose families that might have some needs. A Police Officer takes a child and goes to dinner, they sit down and come up with a list of things the family needs for the holidays and then after dinner they take them shopping and fulfill the list.
It’s a great cause especially during the holidays with fulfilling kids’ needs and dreams. So I know that you are doing covers tonight can we expect any Staind covers…
MM – Yeah, Yeah You’ll hear some Staind songs, songs from every ones bands, Three Days Grace, Seether and Saint Asonia.
That’s great! Any new songs you’ll preforming?
MM – No, No, in fact opposite some very old songs that aren’t even our songs. Old other people’s songs.
Ok perfect, yeah that’s great! People love hearing those kind of things.
MM – It should be fun!
So what made you think of doing an acoustic set versus a full Rock set?
Adam Gontier – With having Shaun from Seether on board and a couple of other guys, I think it just made sense to do an acoustic thing and break it down. We have Sal playing drums from Staind, it’s just a broken down thing…
MM – It’s easier too and different from what you expect from us too and it kinda gives the songs a little different take too. Part of it is I have an acoustic guitar shop and we first did that there.
I was actually going bring up how did Shaun and Sal come into the mix? How did you think of both of them coming in?
MM – I tried to put something together, we were recording these virtual reality music videos. I had asked those guys I wanted to put together guys from different bands to come together to try to make a one of a kind experience and this was one of the ones that we did. So that’s what kind of led to us playing together and try to put this together as a show to film and everyone was down which was great, you know what I mean? We had a really great night the night we did it. Mark who runs the REACH Foundation was there that night that’s what led to this whole happening. But it was a private thing in our guitar store.
I’m glad you guys “REACHed out” literally (parenthesis in air referring to REACH Foundation event) and did this. I was excited to see you guys I am a huge fan of the album (Saint Asonia.) The debut album was really amazing and strong. It seemed to be an album that the fans just embraced from the get-go and got this big following. Did you expect that kind of response so quickly from the start of the bane even from the first single and before that?
AG – I don’t think we expected anything. We didn’t have any expectations we just kinda went into it with the mindset that this is a new band and something new people didn’t know about and yeah, we just wanted to work hard and get out and play shows as much as we can and that’s kinda still what we are doing and with another record coming soon trying still to get the name out there so people know the band.
With that in mind the albums musical and lyrical content was delivered with such forceful energy and to me when I listen to it there is such a strong and powerful message in the songs, in every song. Did you feel you were able to reach what you wanted to say with the songs and album?
AG – Yeah, I think so I mean most of the songs, a few songs were written a long time ago but most of the songs we wrote together we basically had a couple of years to write the lyrics to the songs. So yeah and there was a lot that happened in my life and in our lives and whatever since then so yeah, I think we got the point across in most of the songs. I think it’s a hopeful record it still kinda drives home a bit of what some people might call a negative vibe cause it’s kinda dark, but it not dark.
This kinda brings it back into now this term super group going around. I feel you guys have shaken the stigma and broke it down with your touring and your shows and creating your own entity so that I really applaud you for doing that. So many bands now that get the term, some embrace and some don’t but I think that with you guys doing what you did with the album you really broke it down and it wasn’t “Mike from Staind” or “Adam from Three Days Grace” that kind sound . You created your own sound that was amazing.
MM/AG – Thank you
I know we have to wrap it up, so Mike are you working on any new Staind songs. I know Aaron (Lewis) just did his own album…
MM – No, we are writing this record.
And Corey (Lowery) is doing a lot of the production or doing a lot of aspects of that?
MM – Yeah, he’ll probably do some of that. I would imagine. We are trying to get the music down now and figure out exactly where we are at.
I want to thank you so much for taking the time for the interview. I appreciate it. So nice to meet you.
MM/AG – (In response to my thanks speaking as well) Thank you, awesome, so nice to meet you.