Aaron Lewis does not hide the fact that Staind nearly crumbled during the recording of their self-titled release, which dropped on Tuesday. Frontman Aaron Lewis chatted about the album before the band's New York City benefit show last night for the families of the first responders of the 9/11 terror attacks whom Lewis described as heroes who headed into "the belly of the beast and didn't make it out." The singer did not deny that he and guitarist Mike Mushok were in a bad, bad place.

When Loudwire mentioned the tension and state of dysfunction between the two, he nodded, saying, "Uh huh. It was hard to watch." He did not sugarcoat the unraveling of the interpersonal relationships. What brought the band back to a functional level? Finishing the album itself.

"Once we finished it and were able to walk away and decompress ... that's when we could listen to it," he added. "When we were in the thick of it, we couldn't see how good it was." The irony that surrounds 'Staind' is the fact that drummer Jon Wysocki split after 'Staind' was recorded, despite having been vocal about wanting to return to heavier style they played in the late 1990s. The band finally got there and Wysocki is no longer around to enjoy it.

Lewis, who enjoyed a sojourn into the country scene while Staind were off cycle, has always "blurred the line for a heavy band" with his acoustic compositions, which helped Staind earn a whole other measure of radio success in the early '00s. The country world has a tightknit nature similar to metal and Lewis acknowledged that his solo album helped his acoustic, not-quite-Staind songs "find a home of their own."

Other interesting facts we learned about Lewis during the chat? He still doesn't own an iPod. He, along with Mushok and bassist Johnny April, keep fighting the good fight with Staind because they don't have a choice. "A lot of other people made a s---load of money but we're the same as any of you. I have to work to pay my bills." He joked if he stopped making music for a living, he'd have to start selling things off or declare bankruptcy.

The members of Staind also said that they still live in relative obscurity in New England, with Mushok still flying out of the Hartford airport, where TMZ doesn't exactly station paparazzi. They're not dating Paris Hilton-like celebutantes. Lewis can go into town and not be recognized and that's how he likes it, while Mushok can enjoy a dinner at Chilis with his kids without incident. It's this "regular dude" nature that connects Staind with millions of regular fans out there!