At the heart of Staind's loud, angst-laden music are the confessional lyrics and introspective personality of frontman Aaron Lewis. While other post-grunge bands were able to successfully mine the dark caverns once explored by Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, Lewis allowed his sensitivity to pour freely from his words and often pensive vocals, enabling Staind to strike a balance between heavy metal bombast and thoughtful, melodic rock. Born in Springfield, VT, Lewis listened to folk music as a child. The son of divorced parents, Lewis chronicled the emotional turmoil in his childhood with Staind, namely on tracks like "Epiphany" and "For You," from Break the Cycle. Like the late Kurt Cobain from Nirvana, Lewis casts an unpretentious, no-frills image, exhibiting a brooding disposition and emotional vulnerability that troubled youths can relate to. Lewis recorded his first album with Staind, Tormented, in 1996. Staind remained on the fringes of mainstream acceptance until "Outside," a live collaboration between Lewis and Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst during the 1999 Family Values Tour, blew up on alternative and mainstream rock stations a year later. With only his acoustic guitar as his musical backing, Lewis delivered a raw, anguished performance of a song that Staind would later record in the studio for Break the Cycle. The track carved the path for Staind's subsequent commercial breakthrough.