Stapp was born as Anthony Scott Flippen on August 8, 1973 in Cherokee, North Carolina, to his mother Lynda, a school teacher and his biological father, about whom little is known. He was adopted by Steven Stapp, a dentist who married Scott’s mother, and decided to take his stepfather’s last name. However, upon realizing that his initials would spell out the word “ass,” he took his middle name as his first and took the name he is now known as, Scott Alan Stapp. Stapp grew up in a very religious household because his stepfather was a Pentecostal minister; when punished, he would be forced to copy passages from the Bible. At one point, he grew so desperate to seek freedom from the strict rules of his religious stepfather that he sneaked out of his home in the middle of the night and stayed at a friend’s house for a month before leaving again for Houston, Texas where he lived in a squat with eight other runaways doing heroin and sniffing glue before finally returning home. In an attempt to impress his stepfather, he attended Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, but he was expelled for smoking marijuana. He subsequently attended Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida, Tallahassee Community College, and finally Florida State University.
1995–2004: Creed and early mainstream success
Stapp is a founding member of the American hard rock band Creed. After developing an acquaintance with his then-future band mate Mark Tremonti at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Stapp reunited with Tremonti while both attended Florida State University, and they quickly developed a friendship based on their mutual passion for music. Stapp formed Creed with Tremonti in 1995 with fellow members Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips joining as bassist and drummer, respectively. Rhythm guitarist Brian Brasher was also briefly a member in 1995 when the band was known by its original name, Naked Toddler. While often criticized and parodied, Creed is recognized by many as one of the major acts of the post-grunge movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Tremonti and Stapp have been collectively recognized as one of the most prolific songwriting teams in all of rock music.
The band released their debut album My Own Prison in 1997 to mainstream success, selling over six million copies. Four singles were released from the album: “My Own Prison,” “Torn,” “What’s This Life For,” and “One.” Each of these songs reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, becoming the first band to do so with a debut album. The album was then followed in 1999 by Human Clay, which was an immediate success and certified diamond and eleven times platinum by the RIAA. Tension between Stapp and Marshall began to increase during this time, leading Marshall to ultimately leave the band to pursue other interests. He was temporarily replaced by touring bassist Brett Hestla, with Tremonti handling the bass parts in the studio. After a tour, the band released another multi-platinum selling album, Weathered, in 2001. The tour to support this record was overwhelmingly successful but ended with a considerably controversial concert in Chicago that ultimately led to the band’s breakup. The band announced that they had disbanded in 2004, citing tension between Stapp and the other members. Creed released their Greatest Hits in November 2004.
2004–2009: Solo career beginnings and The Great Divide