INTERVIEW: Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor

Photo by Travis Shinn

Photo by Travis Shinn

If you look in the current issue of Mixdown Magazine you’ll find my interview with Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor about the band’s new album, Hydrograd (released today). We had a great chat about the band’s incredible new album Hydrograd. But we talked about a lot more than could be fit into that article, so I thought you’d like to see some other highlights from the interview.

I Heart Guitar: One moment in the single Fabuless really made me laugh: the ‘motherfucker’ in the chorus. I have a running joke where I insert unnecessary motherfuckers in songs that really don’t deserve it. Steely Dan or the Beach Boys or something. 

Corey Taylor: [Laughs] Thats funny because I do that all the time when I’m in my car, singing. I’m always adding an unnecessary motherfucker to what I’m singing along to, where it just needs a little more, y’know? I mean I’m sure they would have gotten to the motherfucker eventually but they were too busy with the notes, so people like you and me provide the motherfucker for them.

That song is so eclectic. How did it come together? 

That song came together from Tooch (guitarist Christian Martucci) and Roy (Magora, drums) jamming together. It was one of those songs where when we heard the demo we were like ‘Holy shit.’ It took a little arranging because it was all in different spots – it originally had a totally different feel to it – but the riffs themselves all had a great vibe. I took it and did my magic on it and worked it in with the lyrics that were going on in my head and different melodies and stuff, and it came together really quickly. It was a matter of arranging the puzzle so that the song fuckin’ figured itself out.

The first few times you listen to it you don’t quite know what could happen next. 

Exactly. And that’s the cool thing. I feel like a lot of music doesn’t have that feeling any more, and you can anticipate what the next part is. With a lot of bands you can almost write the fuckin’ next riff in your head before you’ve even heard the song all of the way through for the first time. With this song it keeps you guessing right up until the last minute.

HydrogradSo this is the first record written with Christian Martucci and Johnny Chow. 

Working with those two, honestly, was so effortless. The great thing is it all starts with us just getting along. Really getting along. We all hang out, we all love hanging out and talking shit and joking, and we’re all such dorks that it doesn’t really matter. So writing together is the same thing. We just love what we do so much that we get excited when we hear what we’re doing with the music.

How’s the spine coming along after your operation? Has it affected your range? I was thinking about how when Frank Zappa got pushed off the stage and broke his neck, and after he got rebuilt his voice got lower.

Yeah, that didn’t happen to me. It’s really only a physical thing for me. I’m slowly but surely starting to get my mobility back, and that’s even after a year. It’s been pretty crazy. But luckily I didn’t lose any of my range – actually I got some back because I quit smoking over a year ago, and I’m starting to get my range back because of that. God, if I’d know that would happen I’d have quit ten fuckin’ years ago. But I’m still in the process of rehabbing all that shit, and I’m slowing but surely getting my body back. It’s a fucking pain in the ass but I’m getting there.

I don’t think people realise how physical singing is – how much of your whole body goes into it. 

Oh yeah. You can lose your chops really easily. And not only lose your chops but you can let your talent go to fuckin’ shit, and it can take you years to get that shit back. About six years ago I started to really try to keep myself in shape as much as possible, and as long as it’s worth it you just keep trying, keep going for it.

What guitars are you using at the moment? 

On the road I have three guitars that I’m using, really. I have a 2008 Gibson Firebird that has a couple of Seymour Duncan pickups in it. It has a nice chunky edge to it and a really killer clean tone. Those guitars have a great clean tone. I also have a 1987 Gibson SG out with me that smells like the dude who owned it chain-smoked around it for about 45 years! It’s got the colour, but unfortunately it’s also got the smell, so I named it Keith. So I’ve got that out with me and I’ll probably bring that down with me to Australia when we get down there. And I’ve also got a Framus and I’m thinking about working some magic with those guys. I actually have a Stevie Salas Idolmaker model that I’m using right now and they’re fuckin’ pretty dope, dude. I wanna have them use that base and make a custom for me but give it more of a hollowbody vibe, and put a couple of humbuckers in it and see what happens. I think that could be really fuckin’ cool, because it plays amazingly. It’s got such fuckin’ chunk to it. It’s really great. So those three I’m kinda rotating through, just feeling them out every night.

NAMM 2014: Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster

Jim RootFor a few years now, Slipknot/Stone Sour’s Jim Root has been appearing onstage with a Jazzmaster-based Fender kitted out with his preferred pickup combination of an EMG 81 in the bridge position and a 60 at the neck. Now, finally, you’ll be able to get your hands on one of your very own! The Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster is a very stripped-down take on what a Jazzmaster is: the pisition markers, chrome bridge, dual tone circuits and controls have been jettisoned, replaced by a hard-tail Stratocaster bridge, a master volume control and a 3-way pickup selector switch. The body is mahogany with a comfortable contoured neck heel, satin-finish maple neck with “modern C” profile and large headstock, compound-radius ebony fingerboard (12”-16”) with 22 jumbo frets, staggered deluxe locking tuners, black hardware and pickup bezels, and a Flat Black satin-nitro lacquer finish. Includes black tweed case with red plush interior, strap and strap locks, cable and polishing cloth.

Thanks to Guitar Noize for the heads-up on this one!  Read More …

Cool Video Alert: Stone Sour – Children Of The Grave

House-of-Gold-Bones-Pt.-2Stone Sour have done it: they’ve covered the most perfect Black Sabbath song for them to possibly cover, Children Of The Grave from 1971’s Master of Reality. Check it out in the YouTube video below. There’s a soft spot in my twisted black heart for a good Black Sabbath cover, and I wrote an article about it for Gibson.com a while ago which you can see here. Particularly noteworthy is Type O Negative’s take on the song Black Sabbath, which they play even slower than the doomingly plodding original. Nobody but Type O could get away with a stunt like that. By the way, you can read my interview with Corey Taylor and Josh Rand here. We talked about Stone Sour’s House of Gold and Bones project and of course plenty of nerdy guitar stuff.  Read More …

INTERVIEW: Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor & Josh Rand

House-of-Gold-Bones-Pt.-2There comes a point in every band’s life when they start to long for something more. For some it’s an orchestral collaboration. For others it’s an elaborate narrative stage show. Maybe a film of some kind. Something that extends the creativity of the band beyond the regular album-tour-album-tour cycle. For Stone Sour that moment has come, and it’s manifested itself in the form of House Of Gold and Bones [Roadrunner], a two-part concept album and comic book project being portioned out over an extended timeframe. Musically it’s a logical progression from 2010’s brilliant Audio Secrecy but the project finds the band exploring even heavier territory, further narrowing the gap between Stone Sour and Slipknot, the band that shares two of its members (vocalist Corey Taylor and guitarist James Root). I caught up with Taylor and guitarist Josh Rand after the band’s Soundwave festival sideshow with Linkin Park. Read More …

Stone Sour hit the studio

Great to hear that Stone Sour have returned to the studio to record the follow-up to Audio Secrecy. I gave that album the ‘drag it out after about a year and see if it still holds up’ test last week, in fact, and found myself drawn to it pretty strongly (read my interview with guitarist Jim Root about it here). So I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

Here’s the press release.

STONE SOUR ENTER THE STUDIO TO RECORD FOURTH ALBUM

BAND RECORDING WITH PRODUCER DAVID BOTTRILL IN IOWA, USA

ALBUM TO BE RELEASED LATE 2012

Stone Sour, the Gold-certified, Grammy-nominated rock band, are proud to announce that they will begin recording their fourth album in March for longtime label Roadrunner Records. With most of thenew album already written, the band will soon head into Sound Farm Studios just outside of their native Des Moines, Iowa with producer David Bottrill (Tool, Muse, Staind). The album is expected in the Australian spring of 2012, two years after the band’s most recent long player Audio Secrecy, which debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard chart, No. 1 on the U.S. iTunes Rock Album chart, and scored the highest international debuts of the band’s career including Top 5 charts in Germany, Japan and Austria, and Top 10 in the U.K. and Australia.

Read More …

NAMM 2012: Squier Jim Root Telecaster and more!

Oh now this is neat! The Fender Jim Root Telecaster is an incredible instrument and it’s great to see a Squier equivalent.

PRESS RELEASE

SQUIER® BY FENDER® PROUDLY PRESENTS ALL-NEW SIGNATURE MODELS

Models honor pop-rock star Avril Lavigne, metal stalwart Jim Root, alt-rock bassist Mikey Way, and Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil and James Johnston 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Jan. 9, 2012) – Squier is excited to introduce three new artist signature models, the Avril Lavigne Telecaster®, the Jim Root Telecaster®, and the Mikey Way Mustang® Bass. The three signature models promise star-like vibe and tone at incredible Squier value.

The new lavish, black-on-black Avril Lavigne Telecaster joins Lavigne’s chart-topping signature Tele, and features several striking touches, including a three-ply pickguard, knurled black flat-top volume control knob, a black headstock with die-cast turners, and a distinctive 12th-fret skull and crossbones logo.

Designed in cooperation with Slipknot/Stone Sour guitar speed demon Jim Root, the Jim Root Telecaster boasts several foreboding features, most notably an elegant satin-matte finish in black or white, starkly simple single-knob/single switch control layout, black die-cast tuners and other black hardware, and two pulverizing passive humbucking pickups with black covers.

Read More …

BOOK REVIEW: The Orange Flipbook


There’s simply no way to possibly dislike Orange. Their amps sound cool. Their amps look cool. Their amps are reliable. That’s pretty much all you need to know!

Or is it?

It turns out there’s much more to the story than that. One half of The Orange Flipbook, Building The Brand, takes you behind the scenes at Orange, right back to the very formation of the company as a recording studio and musical instrument store, through to later ventures such as music publishing and a record label, all the way up to the brand’s current resurgence in the eyes of the public and in the backlines of bands like Stone Sour and Rush (and innovations like the OPC).

Read More …

CD REVIEW: Stone Sour Audio Secrecy

Let’s get this out of the way. Yeah, two members of Stone Sour are in Slipknot. No, it’s not a Slipknot side project – Stone Sour dates back to 1992. And no, Audio Secrecy as an album isn’t as radio-friendly as a few of its lighter tracks would have you believe. Unlike Nickelback, the hard rock band that it’s okay for pop fans to like, Stone Sour is the hard rock band that it’s okay for dedicated metalheads to like.

That much is evident about two milliseconds into Mission Statement (which comes after the atmospheric, piano-driven 1:43 instrumental title track that opens the album). This track is worthy of Slipknot in quality and heaviness, and it sets the tone for the rest of the album. Corey Taylor’s voice surges from clean melodicism to raging Slipknot scowl and back, while the band explores all sorts of feels – double time, half time, from chugging riffs to big open chords. Check out the tag-team shredding guitar solos too. It’s a killer album opener and it leads perfectly into Digital (Did You Tell), which is all octave riffage and Devin Townsend-esque strumming. Actually it’s not a million miles removed from Devy’sAccelerated Evolution Devin Townsend Band album.

The first single, Say You’ll Haunt Me, is one of the album’s big highlights, heightened by a killer drum performance. It’s here that the magic touch of producer Nick Raskulinecz is revealed – dude couldn’t record a bad drum sound if he tried. The interplay between Jim Root and Josh Rand is really on display here, as is a cool wandering bass line. Check out the video below. (By the way, check out my interview with Jim Root here).

Dying is probably my least favourite track on the album, and the one most likely to draw comparisons to more straightforward FM radio rock. It’s not bad – in fact it’s really good, but it feels out of place after the crushing riffage of the previous three tracks. Let’s Be Honest features another killer octave-based riff and a cool stop-start drum/bass groove leading into a monster half-time chorus and a huge Sabbath-like middle section.Unfinished continues the minor key Sabbathy vibe – actually it reminds me of the band Heaven & Hell – while some carefully placed vocal harmonies keep it from sounding too heavy yet never quite become too pretty either.

Hesitate is another radio-friendly track with a nice droning guitar part and a big chorus. Nice melodic guitar solo too. Nylon 6/6 brings back the heavy, Slipknot vibe and some Perfect Circle-like vocal vibe. Miracles has some nice bright semi-clean guitar tones and atmospheric melody lines, while Pieces kinda reminds me of a heavy version of something from Eric Johnson’s Venus Isle album.

The Bitter End kicks off with another killer metal riff which will absolutely slay live, while some textural interludes add to the tension in a similar way to Bowie’s Hallo Spaceboy. It’s a cool effect that you don’t hear in metal so often. Some great soloing here too.

Imperfect is another acoustic-based ballad, this time with a very restrained, sparse vocal performance in the first half which is augmented with overdubs and harmonies later on. Some great David Gilmour-ish guitar soloing too.

Finally the album closes with Threadbare (dig that great Geezer Butler style bass tone). This track is acoustic-based too but is much darker and heavier than Imperfect, and it kicks into a big melodic heavy chorus. Then everything gets all doomy and heavy in the middle, with some intense delay effects and overdubs before the chorus returns and lifts the whole freaking song into the stratosphere. It’s a show-stopping ending to a very diverse album, and the ideal way of tying together the heavier, lighter and moodier aspects of the band into a neat package.

Thanks to Roadrunner Records Australia