Niclas Müller-Hansen of Sweden’s Metalshrine recently conducted an interview with STONE SOUR members Josh Rand (guitar) and Corey Taylor (vocals). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metalshrine: The whole idea of doing such a huge project [referring to STONE SOUR‘s upcoming two-disc concept album, “House Of Gold And Bones”] — did it start off like that or was it something that just grew bigger?
Josh Rand: Initially, last year, Corey recorded some tracks and I went over to his house and he explained the idea and I immediately got excited. For me, right now music’s in a weird place because the music industry is in such a downward spiral. The things that made me really excited and intrigued me was us really focusing on a full record and not necessarily one song and then we’ll throw on fucking whatever. We didn’t want any throwaways and we wanted people to have to listen from track one through to track eleven or twelve in its entirety. Everything got the same amount of attention. It wasn’t like the record company thinks, “This is the single and fuck the rest of these songs because we’re gonna focus on this.” It was like, “We’re focusing on this big, grand picture and we’re just gonna go for it.” In some ways, it’s a big “fuck you” to the industry, [laughs] I guess, if you wanna put it that way. But as I said, everybody… I loved the [riskiness] of it and maybe that’s what got me excited. It’s, like, “You know what, nobody else would do this right now. A double concept record in a world that’s all about just the single. This is fucking awesome!” It brought this enthusiasm and excitement to the band and everybody bought into it, so that’s why we did it, basically.
Metalshrine: So it is in a way forcing the listener to go through the whole album and not just pick pieces of it, like kids do today. What’s the thought behind releasing the first part now and the second part next year?
Josh Rand: There were several reasons why. One from a packaging standpoint. We’re gonna do something really special how they’re gonna fit together. I don’t wanna get into it, because it’s gonna be really cool and nobody’s done it before, so I don’t wanna give too much away. Also two, we looked at it almost like a movie, like sequences. This one’s gonna set up the characters and it leaves you on a cliffhanger with the last of the reel of what is about to happen and then everybody’s gonna have to wait [laughs] to get the rest of the story. That was the other idea and then three, we were told that in certain territories it’s actually more expensive to have a double disc made than two separate discs, which we couldn’t wrap our heads around. “That doesn’t make any sense. How does that work?” So it was about making sure that it was affordable, both the first part and the second part. We’re gonna do all this cool stuff like we’re gonna do a comic book next year, or comic books and the live show will evolve, too, as disc two comes out. We’re doing more than just putting out a singleand do the same shit that we’ve always done.
Metalshrine: What was it like working with [SKID ROW bassist] Rachel Bolan?
Josh Rand: It was crazy! We were discussing who would play bass on the record and it was more [a discussion] of a style than people first. You know, “I hear this bass being like this and this.” And one night we were at Corey‘s, and I was, like, “What if we got Rachel Bolan?” At first, to be honest, I didn’t know how everybody’s reaction was gonna be. I’m a huge fan of [SKID ROW‘s] “Slave To The Grind”, and it’s, like, one of my favorite records from start to finish. I just blurted it out and everybody bought into it. At first, there was this hesitation and then it was like, “Yes, it makes sense.” A lot of people, when you say Rachel Bolan or SKID ROW, everybody’s mind goes to “I Remember You” or to “18 And Life”, and it’s like “Slave To The Grind” and even “Subhuman Race”, they’re fucking heavy records! And he’s a phenomenal writer on top of being a phenomenal bass player and he brought this style into it that we felt had been lacking. Instead of following the guitars, he actually plays bass and it elevated all of the songs to a whole new level. He came in, a super-cool guy, and did all 24 songs in five days. It was insane! I don’t think people realize how great of a player he is. It was just insane to watch him knock these songs out. With him coming in and doing that, it just added another level of energy to the whole project and he took a lot of the songs to a different level.
Metalshrine: Will he be part of the live show?
Josh Rand: Unfortunately, not. We asked if he could do it, but with his schedule with SKID ROW, he just couldn’t take that break for a year and a half, two years, because that’s what it’s looking like this is gonna last for us. We’re gonna have a friend of ours, Johny Chow [CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, FIREBALL MINISTRY, SOULFLY], play bass.
Metalshrine: So, did you tell Rachel to let bygones be bygones and get back together with Sebastian [Bach]?
Josh Rand: Honestly, I never said one SKID ROW thing to him for the entire time he was there. That’s kinda their thing. You know, in some ways we’re kinda dealing with it ourselves and that’s the reason he’s brought into the picture. [laughs] It’s not my place… I wasn’t gonna push the issue and go, “Just suck it up! What the hell’s the fucking problem? Why can’t you guys play together?” It just didn’t make sense, so we didn’t touch base on it.
Metalshrine: If you were given an ultimatum or if this thing with STONE SOUR just explodes, could you leave one band [STONE SOUR or SLIPKNOT] for the other?
Corey Taylor: I don’t know. I’d have to kick my own ass. I mean, that’s a good question. If I was made to choose, I’d quit both before I’d have to give up one, essentially. I would never allow myself to be put in that situation. It’s me not being able to decide my own fate, not being in charge of my own reality. I would remove myself before I allowed anyone to dictate where I was going. But having said that, it’s been fairly easy to kinda balance both. Essentially, it’s about the focus, and if I can focus on one and give all my energy to that one, and then there’s still some left for the other one when it comes time. It means I’m never bored. [laughs] I’m always on the fucking road. I think the problems will come when there’s nobody around, you know, so I’ll take it while I can get it.
Metalshrine: This whole concept album, is that something that came after you wrote your book? Was the book anything that sparked something?
Corey Taylor: Maybe. I’ve had the idea for the concept for a few years actually, but I’ve never given myself the time to really flesh it out and see it clearly. It was right about the time when we did the Sonisphere shows that, for some reason, “Boom!” it fucking hit me! I saw it as clear as day, beginning, middle and end. I knew the characters, I knew the world that I wanted to create, I knew what I wanted to do. Honestly, while I was sketching it out on this piece of paper, getting the names down, getting the conflict in there, the fucking music just [makes exploding sound]. While I was on that tour, I wrote at least seven or eight songs. Then I came back home and I demoed 11, so it was fucking insane. Right there I knew, this had the potential for something amazing. Luckily, the guys really got behind it and really embraced it and we were able to make something fucking monumental.
Read the entire interview from Metalshrine.