Rock Band bands Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, and Hollywood Undead played in Lowell, MA last weekend, and I had the chance to sit down with vocalist Corey Taylor and guitarist Josh Rand of Stone Sour.
Josh Rand and Corey Taylor of Stone Sour
Stone Sour just made their Rock Band debut with three songs - “Through Glass,” “Made of Scars,” and “Say You’ll Haunt Me.” The guys told me about about recording their latest album, Audio Secrecy and the live webcast of their album release party at New York’s Webster Hall, plus chatted a bit about their Rock Band debut.
Fans that have listened to Stone Sour's hit album Audio Secrecy know the album is a rollercoaster of emotions and musical styles. Corey tells us that this wasn’t necessarily planned, but just came together that way. He says, “The members of the band play a wide variety of musical styles, so it was only natural that the album reflected that.” The band was also going for more of a live sound than on previous records. In order to accomplish that, producer Nick Raskulinecz had Josh and fellow guitarist Jim Root enter the studio and record together in the same room. Josh says, “It provided more of a live feel, even though it meant we weren’t playing to ‘the grid.’ It’s looser in places, though that seems to help the record.”
Corey Taylor of Stone Sour
We also talked about the Audio Secrecy release party - the band played a live show at New York’s Webster Hall and the show was broadcast live on the internet for fans. (If you missed it when it broadcast, you can view the recording on Stone Sour's official UStream.tv channel.) I asked the guys how this came about. Corey says, “I think it might have been our manager’s idea. But it was a small venue - we could play the bathroom in this place and it would be bigger than that place. But it kicked off an energy and a feel for the album. The show was great, and the response from fans online watching the webcast was great.” When asked if they’d do it again, Corey says, “Maybe. We just recorded one of our shows on the UK tour - in Brighton - and it’s going to be used for a live DVD. We’ve always included live stuff with the special editions of our albums, but we’ve never done a full live DVD, so this is good for us.”
Jim Root of Stone Sour
Due to technical difficulties, we kick off the audio part of the interview in the middle of Corey talking about the band’s unique music videos such as the ones for "Say You'll Haunt Me," "Through Glass," and the newly released single "Hesitate". Listen to Corey and Josh talk about their Rock Band tracks, advice for starting your own band, and what’s up next for the band (hint: it’s the just-announced Avalanche Tour).
Shawn Economaki of Stone Sour
Special thanks to Brian Baldeck of Ag Halide Images for the photography and Tommy of RockBandAide.com for question suggestions! To see more awesome images from the show - including shots of Hollywood Undead and Stone Sour - check out the full album.
Corey Taylor of Stone Sour
Corey Taylor: So we're very collaborative, but at the same time, we don't shut down ideas. If something's very cool, we're very into it, then we'll run with it.
HMXcj: So you guys just had three songs come out for DLC on Rock Band - "Through Glass," "Say You'll Haunt Me," and "Made of Scars." Do you think this is a good cross-section of Stone Sour songs if there's new fans getting into the music?
CT: I think we'd need six three-packs to really get the cross-section.
Josh Rand: Yeah.
CT: We have so many different styles and so many different types of music, that I think it's a good taste. But honestly, it's like sticking a pinky in a glass of water. I mean, you're really only just brushing the tip of the iceberg. I think it's a good way to draw people in, and when they get into the rest of our body of work and they're like, "Oh wow, look at that, oh wow, look at that. Wow." It's all linear, it's all connected as well. You can feel this band, and even though the songs are very different, you can still feel this band and see what the potential is.
JR: I agree. It's the softer side of the band.
CT: Well, "Scars" has got a good riff to it, you know. I kinda wish we would have, well, hopefully we get to do it again and we can put something like "Digital" on there, or something a little more riff-y - "30/30/150," you know. Something that represents the other, another little quarter inch of the circle, basically. But for now, we've got these three songs. I know people are playing it, because I've been getting Tweets about it. People are like, "Oh man, this is a b****!"
HMXcj: [laughs] I know the songs came out recently, but have you had a chance to play them in the game yet?
CT: I'm not a big Rock Band guy. You know, hammer on buttons.
JR: It's frustrating.
CT: Yes. The first time I ever tried to play it, I was in Best Buy. And it was very easy. It was a Ramones tune. A Ramones tune that I can play on guitar, okay? And when I failed epically, I was like "Screw you. This game is s***."
HMXcj: We actually hear that a lot from musicians, that transferring it [is hard].
CT: Three chords have never been so difficult, you know what I'm saying. I was like, "This is f***ing bulls***."
HMXcj: You mention on your website that you hope the new album makes people want to start their own bands. Do you have any advice for fans that are thinking about starting a band, or starting to play music?
CT: Well, besides that beautiful little piece of advice. My advice is the same today as it was five years ago. Learn your craft. Learn how to play. Don't cheat. Don't rely on autotuning.
CT: Don't rely on re-amping. Don't rely on cut and paste. Don't rely on any of these things. Learn your craft. Practice. Get out, play shows live. Get out there, get in front of an audience. Learn what you wanna do. Don't just cut yourself off at the knees because you wanna be the latest and greatest Facebook prodigy or...I don't even think people are on MySpace anymore. So, don't do that to yourself, because then you're limited. Then all you are is another cog in another genre. Get out, learn your craft. Find the types of music that you wanna do. Don't limit yourself to the kind of musics that you wanna play. But most importantly, be good at what you do. The music industry is flooded with people who don't deserve their f***ing record contracts. And it makes it very hard for a band like us who actually can play and we don't need Pro Tools to fix our s***. It makes us have to work a hundred times harder just to stick out. And we're glad to do it, but at the same time, when the benchmark is a turd, where do you go from there? So learn your craft, be good at what you do, and do it well. What do you think? Was that too harsh?
JR: I don't know.
CT: Or just quit. If you can't do it, quit.
CT: I guess, that's pretty much what he said, I just used eight minutes of your lives to say.
HMXcj: So what's up next for you guys? You've been on tour for a while. The new album's doing great. What's the plan after the tour ends?
JR: Tour again.
HMXcj: Just keeping touring?
JR: And then another tour.
CT: And then when we get a little bit of sleep, we'll go back on tour.
JR: We've got this run with Avenged Sevenfold, then we fly to Japan for a week. Then we fly to Australia for two weeks, come home for two weeks, and then go back out on the Avalanche Tour, which is probably going to be anywhere from six to eight weeks long.
HMXcj: That's a long tour.
JR: In the U.S.
CT: Which'll be cool. It'll be our first headlining run in America in a while. And it's gonna be a good show. It's definitely going to be geared more towards the active rock crowd, but at the same time, it's just one more thing that we can say that we've done. I mean, we've never needed anything like that to go out on our own, but at the same time, we're still building. We're still building this monster, basically. And, hopefully, we'll be able to bring out a wholly different show, a wholly different thing that will just blow people away.
HMXcj: Great. Anything else you want to say to the Rock Band fans?
CT: Josh looks really good naked.
CT: He does, I mean, you know. I'm a fan. [laughs]
CT: What more can you say after that, really?
JR: There's nothing.