“Outside”

“Outside”

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song

Aaron Lewis
“Outside”

Written by Aaron Lewis
Recorded by Staind

We (Staind) went out with Limp Bizkit on their Family Values ’99 tour, which they were recording live. There were five acts on the bill, so we were only performing five songs as the “nobody” first band. We were essentially walk-in music but it turned out the arena was full when we came out to perform at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi. Fifteen minutes before the show, I went into Fred Durst’s dressing room and asked him if I should come out and do an acoustic song at the end of the show. It was Fred (lead singer of Limp Bizkit) who actually “discovered” us.

I suggested that I sing “Black Rain” which Fred had heard when I recorded it in the small studio in a house where he had lived in Florida. He said, “No, do the other song you did at my house and I’ll come out and sing the chorus with you.” He thought that “Outside” was finished, but actually all I had was a chord progression and a chorus, which is what he heard and remembered. I wasn’t going to say no, since performing this song was a bonus both on stage and a bonus track on the CD. This song was really natural and accidental. Staind, after returning from the tour, recorded the full band version which was on Break the Cycle, our third CD.

I went on stage, in front of 14,000 people, and whatever came out of my mouth was what the audience heard — and that is the song that ended up on the radio. If they hadn’t been recording the show, the song never would have survived. I made up the words to the verses as I went along, accompanied by my acoustic guitar. Fred came out and sat next to me on the steps on the stage singing the choruses with me as they came around. I couldn’t have bought a better insurance policy.

On the original video, you can see how I’m sweating uncontrollably and shaking like a leaf; the camera doesn’t lie. At first no words came out. In between verses, Fred must have seen my panic and screamed out to the crowd, “Biloxi! This is the real deal, y’all.” He was killing time to allow me to compose some thoughts. He looked as nervous for me as I was, but it worked and I was able to carry on. I could have crashed and burned. He smiled more widely than I did when it was over. I don’t know if he was more proud or relieved.

We came back from tour and the song was on the radio everywhere in heavy rotation. It was crazy. Clearly, none of this was planned.

The best part is that I can’t tell you what the actual song is about. Those are just the words and phrases that came out as I sang that night.

“Outside”

And you can bring me to my knees again

All the times that I could beg you please — in vain

All the times when I felt insecure for you

And I leave my burdens at the door.

But I’m on the outside

I’m looking in.

I can see through you

See your true colors

’Cause inside you’re ugly,

You’re ugly like me.

I can see through you,

See to the real you.

All the times that I felt like this won’t end

Was for you

And I taste what I could never have

From you.

All those times that I’ve tried

My intentions were full of pride

But I waste more time than anyone.

But I’m on the outside

I’m looking in.

I can see through you

See your true colors

’Cause inside you’re ugly,

You’re ugly like me.

I can see through you,

See to the real you

All the times that I’ve cried

All this wasted, it’s all inside

And I feel all this pain.

I stuffed it down, it’s back again

And I lie here in bed

All alone, I can’t mend

But I feel tomorrow will be okay.

But I’m on the outside

And I’m looking in

I can see through you

See your true colors

’Cause inside you’re ugly,

You’re ugly like me.

I can see through you,

See to the real you.

Lyrics and Music by Aaron Lewis. © 1999 WB Music Corp/ Greenfund Music

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