Friday, July 08, 2011

Stone Sour— Melodic and Metallic

When members of a highly successful band like Slipknot form another band, critics are quick to label the new group a “side project.” But after three Grammy nominations, two gold-certified albums and several packed tours since its debut in 2002, guitarist Josh Rand isn’t worried about Stone Sour living in another band’s shadow. In fact, he’s confident that with the upcoming release of a third album, “Audio Secrecy,” Stone Sour is continuing to cast its own distinctive silhouette. After playing the Download Festival in England in early June, Stone Sour has returned to the States to co-headline the 36-date Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival. Rand, a Des Moines, Iowa, native, said he never expected the band, or his life, to develop the way it has.

“When me and Corey (Taylor) started Stone Sour, I didn’t think it would grow into what it is,” said Rand. “If you had told me 10 years ago when we were at his grandma’s house cutting vocals to ‘Get Inside’ that we would have this conversation 10 years later, I wouldn’t have believed it at that point, because we never set out to do that. It was just us buddies getting together to cut some songs and have fun.”

Rand was a childhood friend of Taylor, who quickly rose to fame in 1999 as the singer of heavy metal band Slipknot. After the band signed to Roadrunner Records, Slipknot was playing a show in Des Moines, so while he was in town, Taylor met with Rand at a friend’s house for New Year’s Eve of 2000. Rand said he played him some music he was working on, and Taylor became excited at the prospect of playing with him again, remembering their days in a garage band together as teenagers. After a Canadian tour with Slipknot, Taylor returned to their hometown to record some songs with Rand.

Taylor was the creator and singer of a band called Stone Sour before replacing founding vocalist Anders Colsefini in Slipknot, so they found that after writing songs that included more of the clean, melodic vocals he used to sing, it was only natural to return to the name of his old band as well. Guitarist Jim Root had also served as an axman in both bands, so he and Rand formed the current dual guitar assault that has helped define Stone Sour’s distinctive but unpredictable sound, gentle and quiet on one track and brutally punishing on the next.

“We can have that 14-year-old pissed-off kid that hates the world that will listen to ‘Get Inside,’ ‘30/30-150,’ or ‘Hell and Consequences,’ but at the same time, we can have his mom, who might be a soccer mom, listening to ‘Through Glass,’ ‘Sillyworld,’ and ‘Bother.’ It’s a cool thing,” Rand said with a laugh.

He explained that this unique dichotomy served them well on their highly anticipated new album, Audio Secrecy, recorded with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush, Alice In Chains) and due to hit shelves September 7th. “’Mission Statement,’ I believe, was the first song we did, and there was just an energy there. (Raskulinecz) was just like, ‘This is sick.’ We’re not perfect in terms of looking at it on a computer screen using the track markers, but it feels good, more locked-in to each other. So we said, ‘The hell with it. We’ll do all of it like that.’”

The gamble paid off. The band recently offered “Mission Statement” as a free download on its website for a limited time, and fans downloaded the track more than 1,000 times an hour within a two-day period. While being very thankful for such a loyal fan base, Rand said that Stone Sour have never let others control the direction of its music, even if people have certain predispositions towards what it should sound like.

“We do what we want to do. It’s in our guts, and we have yet to be proven wrong,” he said. “There are no expectations except for ourselves on ourselves.”

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