Stone Sour

By Theo Lee

Last week I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Josh Rand of Stone Sour. It went like this...  

Are you looking forward to performing here again? It’s been what, four years since you guys performed over this way?

Oh yeah, it’s been quite a while so yeah, we’re stoked about coming down and you know, playing newer stuff and some of the older stuff that we haven’t played in quite a while. We’ve been looking forward to coming down for quite a while.

That’s cool, so will you be focussing more on your newer music as opposed to your more well known stuff or…?

Ah, you know it’s… it’s what everybody… I mean it’s a set built for the fans. I mean obviously we’ll play some of the newer stuff but we’re also gonna play, since it has been four years since we’ve been down there, we wanna play songs that people want us to play. We have a couple of older ones that we haven’t played for a very long time now that we’ve added to the set.

So it’s a big bunch of music that you guys think the crowd will enjoy?

Yeah, it’s a good mix of all six albums. There's a nice balance there between all of them.

You’ve been a part of Stone Sour from the beginning right? What’s it like watching your sound change from when you first started out to now? And seeing your infuences change.

Umm, I mean I don’t know. I guess I always just take every record as that being where we’re kind of at at that point in our life. Cause thats the reason Stone Sour exists. It was always about not having any boundaries and being able to play whatever we wanted to play and to push those boundaries in each record to try to top the previous one. As long as we’ve been doing it at this point the true career of this band is actually 17 years, because when the first album came out we’d already had two years writing. So I mean now as you change as a person I think that affects some of the sound and also the directions that you go.

I do think that that this record [latest album Hydrograd] is definitely the most diverse record we’ve done out of all of them - as far as the balance of everything from the heavier stuff to a punk influence, to a country song to just straight rock and roll, and ending the album with this epic track. Its definitely… I think the maturity of us as writers has changed. It's not as simple as aggression. It's just we’re in a different place and it's still fun to play those songs. And with the older stuff that’s why we brought it back because it's... there’s an energy that was true when we wrote those songs and it's still there. But at the same time we don’t want to keep writing the same song over and over again, because as a writer its not fun for us.

I have to say with Stone Sour it's all about experimentation and trying to take it further than what we have before,  and write stuff that we haven't done. If it was us just trying to redo the first album but modernise it or whatever, and if was all about just being heavy and aggressive and stuff then Corey could just do Slipknot non-stop and that’s not what it is. You know what I’m saying? It doesn’t make any sense and we’ve always said that we’re a rock band that can dab into many different things even all the way back to the first record.

I suppose it’s due to your namesake isn’t it? With Stone Sour being something heavy with a splash of something melodic and more mellow.

For a rock band that’s so general, I think that’s what we have to be labelled as. I don’t think you can sub-genre us because really, we’ve produced so many different things. There's so many different songs. I mean you listen to the songs from a stylistic standpoint, they'd sound like a playlist if we had a different singer for each one of those songs. No one would probably think it was the same band.

I've been listening to Hydrograd on repeat for the last couple of days, and its quite cool seeing the progression from songs and how they take different tones...

Yes it's still cohesive in us which is cool, so it doesn’t sound contrived like we tried to do this or tried do that it was all naturally happened. We never sat down and said we need to write any of this. It's literally that all of us write individually and come together. Then it becomes a Stone Sour song collectively, with everybody adding to it.

And it's cool because we have that diversity. We didn’t sit down and say we need to write a country song. Honestly, the song was almost all done and really what gives it that vibe is the pedal steel guitar. The only reason that got mentioned is because I heard it in my head for the guitar solo. I said 'Wouldn’t it be cool to have Derek Truck guest on this song', and our producer knew someone who played pedal steel. He played the whole track and we just loved how it sounded, it sounded cool and different and to us and to us that song almost has that old Eagles vibe to it... which we are huge fans of that band too... well I’m obsessed with the eagles especially that time period, when that song was written. I went and saw them live before Glenn Frey passed away and it was one of those bands that my parents were huge fans of so I stepped away from it for so long that when I went back and watched it, I was like this band is amazing.

When you’re in your own time do you have any guilty pleasures to listen to? 

At this point the reality is this. When I was younger I’m sure there would be stuff, but there’s nothing that I wouldn’t say at this point that I wouldn’t listen to, that there's a guilty pleasure.

You’d listen to a Taylor Swift album?

Yeah, I mean there's three women in my house - two daughters and a fiancée. So I listen to Paramore, I listen to Adele, Sia... a lot of that style of music cause that’s what they listen to. You can't always be heavy metal, and as far as myself in the last couple of years its been a lot of 70s rock,  Whether it’s the Eagles or Bob Seger or even going back an listening to a lot of Beatles. As I said it’s the stuff my parents listened to so it's not cool to listen to that stuff that your parents listened to. At least when I was younger it wasn’t. It was a lot of Metallica instead. I’ve looked back and rediscovered this stuff.

When you're coming to NZ do you get any time to look around? Anything you’d like to see?

Honestly I believe that we're in and out. It’s a bummer. I wish I could stay and see a lot of things. The reality is for me it’s a 12 hour time difference to start off. So there’s jet lag, trying to normalise so you lose a day or two with that in itself. I’m sure I’ll get out around the hotel and around the venue and try to see whatever I can. I really want to make an effort around the world with actually going out and seeing stuff. I get the opportunity to travel to all these places, so I wanna start seeing some stuff outside of the venues and dressing rooms.

Why should people spend their hard earned money coming to see you guys play?

For one, there's no bells and whistles with us. Like, there’s no smoke show. We’re just a rock band, we don’t just play the tracks and I think we’re still pretty high energy. I mean our style might have changed a bit from the metal over the years to more rock and roll, but that doesn’t mean that it’s us up there doing just singer songwriter stuff. We’re still pretty energetic. Corey really sings. Everyone is actually playing.

So you’re just an honest, real rock band?

We’re a throwback to the old school.

Stone Sour

Wednesday August 23rd: Spark Arena, Auckland

Tickets via Ticketmaster