As intoxicating as the libation it was named after (1 part whiskey and a splash of orange juice and sour mix), Stone Sour is a Molotov cocktail of an album - 1 part pure rock adrenaline with a splash of melody. “We are melodic hard-rock with content and initiative,” explains Stone Sour vocalist Corey Taylor. “Stone Sour allows me to execute the writing style that I love and can't necessarily do with Slipknot.” While still embracing the heaviness true to the fundamentals of Taylor and Root's other band, Stone Sour offers a more introspective and intimate take on music, thus the absence of their masks while performing with Stone Sour.
Originally formed in 1992 by Taylor and drummer Joel Ekman, Stone Sour is the product of ten years' worth of determination, patience and creative expression. Longtime friend of Taylor's, bassist Shawn Economaki, joined the fold soon after the band's inception. With no real predetermined sonic direction other than writing good songs.
The turning point came in 1995 when guitarist Jim Root – who later joined Slipknot with Corey Taylor - found his way to a practice. This was a defining moment in that it signified the completion of a band as a unit. For five years, Stone Sour generated music for the sheer passion of it not concerning themselves with any particular genre, rather maintaining a sound based upon good hard rock, killer melody and emotional peaks and valleys.
But in 1997, disenchanted and burnt out, Taylor quit Stone Sour to join Slipknot, leaving the others to go their separate ways. Joel started a family, while Jim joined Slipknot a year after Corey. Shawn went on to be stage manager for the 'Knot. The legacy that Stone Sour had created remained a glass half full.
Or so it seemed.
In 2000, guitarist Josh Rand, another old friend/collaborator of Corey's and former Stone Sour alumni, approached Corey with some songs he had been working on. Together they would spend a year and a half writing what would eventually become Stone Sour. Upon completion, the duo determined that what they had crafted was of such high quality and so true to the roots of the original Stone Sour that it was only natural to enlist the members who initially made it happen. Almost a full decade after the band's inception and six years after they had played their last show, all of the original members reconvened in Des Moines. Lineup solidified the band faced the task of picking a name. Eventually after a few different ideas (Project X, Superego, Closure) were scuttled, the decision came quickly. With a band of members that already had the chemistry of years of playing together, one option stood out-- Stone Sour was back.
As Taylor states, “The difference this time around is that we lost the fear of trying to compete with what is popular. We are going to stay true to the type of music that we want to make, and no matter who likes it or not, I am still secure that we have produced a great album.” Boasting a surprisingly varied selection of songs, ranging from the poignant “Bother,” which can also be heard on the platinum-selling SpiderMan “Music From and Inspired By” Soundtrack, to the aggressive collage of sound that is “Get Inside”, Stone Sour is in Taylor's opinion, raw, emotive rock in its purest form. “With this band, we just go in to churn out good hard-rocking songs.”
“The intensity. The drama. The emotion. The colors. The darkness. The melodies. The anger. The honesty. The drive. The new. All of the above and more.” According to Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor, those are the things that define Stone Sour’s passionately pulsing second album, Come What(ever) May (Roadrunner). Stone Sour’s first album in four years finds the band firing on all cylinders, and primed to capture the attention and the hearts of the rock ‘n roll masses.
Stone Sour’s self-titled debut was twice Grammy-nominated and RIAA Certified Gold. It was an eclectic album, propelled by the band’s busy tour schedule, the contemplative smash single “Bother,” and a series of groovy, melodic metal numbers. In 2002 and 2003, Stone Sour established itself as a multi-faceted hard rock force of nature.
While Taylor is one of the most recognized figures in rock music, thanks to his role as the frontman for Slipknot, a Grammy winning, multi-platinum act, Stone Sour is anything but a side project. It’s a full-time band that all members are fiercely dedicated to. Taylor spent much of 2004 and 2005 supporting his other band, but will spend 2006 and 2007 focusing on Stone Sour and Come What(ever) May. Also comprised by guitarist James Root, who does double duty in Slipknot, bassist Shawn Economaki, guitarist Josh Rand and new drummer Roy Mayorga, Stone Sour is armed with an album that expands beyond the palette of its predecessor. The band was afforded more time to craft songs, and it shows. The album, produced by Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver), is tight, crisp, and full of rowdy rockers and melodic numbers.
“With Stone Sour, I loosen up and show more of myself,” Taylor reveals. “As soon as the fans hear this new record, they’ll see it’s different than anything that we have ever done. It gives me a chance to do the singing that I love to do, the type of singing that I do when I’m walking around my house.” Taylor, a self-described extrovert, may be the mouthpiece for Stone Sour, but he insists the band is a truly collaborative effort, and that’s something he thoroughly enjoys. “I’ve been able to blend into the background if needed, you know? You grow up thinking being recognized all the time will be sweet, but sometimes you just want to be one of the guys. I think I balance it fairly well, without killing people.”
Guitarist Josh Rand, who ran 3-5 miles a day during the recording process to clear his mind for each day’s highly creative atmosphere, believes that the diversity of Come What(ever) May, which features guest appearances from The Wallflowers’ Rami Jaffee and Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin, will be what hooks fans, and what keeps them. “This album’s content will fit any mood you may be in,” the guitarist says. “If you’ve had a shitty day at work, you could crank ‘Hell And Consequences.’ If you need a little optimism, you could listen to ‘Through Glass.’ If you are feeling depressed, you could listen to ‘Zzyzx Road.’”
Obviously, Come What(ever) May is a sensory experience, encompassing a wide spectrum of emotions. “30/30-150” and “Reborn” are bruisers that’ll get the blood coursing through listeners’ veins, while the first single, “Through Glass,” takes up real estate in your brain for days at a time, thanks its unforgettable melodic twists and chorus. Try and purge your brain of Come What(ever) May’s melodies, and you’ll fail miserably. Taylor concurs, “So many bands are so genre-specific these days. No bands cover the middle ground. If they try, it’s lifeless and limp. Our album has such a pulse. The cool thing is that when we write stuff, it turns out catchy whether we want it to or not. It’s just something that we do.” He’s right. Crafting melody and mixing it with metallic maelstrom is definitely something that Stone Sour does better than most.
Jim Root, who contends that “life” itself influenced this album and who claims he consumed nerve-shattering, tooth-staining amounts of coffee during the recording process, sees Come What(ever) May as a necessary evolution in the band’s sound. “We’re taking every aspect to the next level. As an artist, no matter what you do, you must evolve. That’s very important to me. Some people fear change. I embrace it. This record is a testament to where I am at, musically and spiritually. Life is a learning experience and so is song writing. As with everything I try to improve. I can sit back and listen to these songs and know that I have.”
Taylor understands that as his career goes on, he will be less and less understood and he likes it that way. “I’ve lost a little sleep over the fact that people don’t get what I do and how I do it. I do everything I can to entertain, educate and infuriate the status quo. If I give the mainstream a headache once in a while, that works for me.” It’s that attitude that attracts the disaffected youth, the kids, the anti-conservative thinker, as well as the casual rock fan to Stone Sour. “I have a conscience,” Taylor says about his songwriting style. “I have a respect for the music and I have an agenda. I have an individualistic mind to botch the ‘product’ mentality, and I am not out to further myself in a spotlight that knows no favorites. This could all be gone tomorrow. If all you’re doing is trying to build your Q points, what are you going to do when no one wants to see you anymore? At least I’ll be happy about the music I left behind.”
The songs and music on Come What(ever) May ensure that Stone Sour’s legacy will endure for a long time to come
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