The spiritually inclined band Creed (search), whose anthemic hits "Higher" and "With Arms Wide Open" helped them become one of the top-selling rock acts of the past decade, has called it quits.

Three former Creed members immediately announced they were forming a new band — minus singer Scott Stapp — but were quick to say it was not "just Creed with a different singer."

Creed's three albums sold a combined 24 million copies in the United States. While many critics dismissed them as pale Pearl Jam (search) imitators, Creed members used that as creative fuel and laughed all the way to the bank.

Lyricist Stapp grew up with a strict religious upbringing and often explored those topics in song. At one point five of the first eight queries on the "frequently asked questions" section of the Florida-based band's Web site dealt with Christianity, including "Is Creed a Christian band?"

The band always said no.

Stapp and guitarist Mark Tremonti were longtime friends and songwriting partners whose relationship soured in the past couple of years, as Tremonti explained in a recent interview with MTV.com.

That caused tension in the band. "There was a lot more drama," drummer Scott Phillips told The Associated Press on Friday. "It wasn't necessarily created by anyone in particular. It just stopped being fun."

Stapp was not available for comment, said a spokesman for Wind-up Records.

Creed took most of last year off, and reconvened in the winter to come up with new material. "The vibe just wasn't the same," Phillips said.

Still, they weren't about to casually disband such a successful unit. The band had initially figured on taking a hiatus, but a side project was working out so well they decided not to turn back, Phillips said.

The new band, Alter Bridge, features Tremonti, Phillips and former Creed bassist Brian Marshall. Singer-songwriter Myles Kennedy, formerly of the band Mayfield Four, was recruited as the fourth member. Their first album is due out in August.

Phillips described the music as edgier than Creed, with the musicians given more space to show off their chops.

"We don't want to make it seem like it's just Creed with a different singer," he said.

Stapp's first solo recording will be on a soundtrack of music inspired by the film "The Passion of the Christ." He's working on a solo album with the Canadian band the Tea Party.