Grammy-nominated rock band Stone Sour has released their latest album, with a concept unlike any of their first three albums. “House of Gold and Bones” is a two-part album that also includes a comic book following the story line of the songs from the two albums.
The first album is loaded with traditional Stone Sour quality songs, ranging from the heavier style songs like “RU486” to the softer songs in “Taciturn.” Vocalist Corey Taylor (also vocalist for metal band Slipknot) proves he can tackle any vocal range with the variety of the album. Guitarist Josh Rand, guitarist Jim Root (also of Slipknot) and drummer Roy Mayorga display equal talent of their own by conquering both the soft and heavy songs. The album has already received acclaim and is on track to become the greatest Stone Sour record yet. Rand discussed the process of developing the double album and what it means to Stone Sour.
Nick Graziano: How did the idea to create a double album develop?
Josh Rand: I went over to Corey Taylor’s house and we sat down to listen to a couple tracks that he had written. That is when we discussed a short story that he had written and making the record a concept record. So over the next couple months we gathered material because all of us write musically individually and gathered material from everybody and laid it out. Because there was so much stuff and the content of the stories, we ended up with 24 tracks. That is when the decision was made to make it a double record. It made more sense to break it up, because it is pretty involved with the stuff that is tied into it like the comic book, so we thought it would be cooler to have two different release dates.
Graziano: Having a comic book coincide with the album is an awesome idea. How did the idea for that come about?
Rand: Corey is a really big comic fan, so he really wanted to do that to give the visual aspect of the story. They reached out to several comic companies and he just announced that Dark Horse Comics is going to be doing it. So basically it is going to be the visual side of the story.
Graziano: How do you think “House of Gold and Bones Part 1” compares to the band’s previous albums?
Rand: I think it is a lot more mature of a record. If I had to compare it to any of the records, to me I think it is more like the first one. It has the rawness and the heaviness of the first record, but with us maturing as musicians and as people it seems more cohesive. When we did the first record we rushed in and it was really raw. It was almost like a demo. We really hadn’t cut our teeth into what it really takes to make a great record.
Graziano: Over the years has it become easier for the band to collaborate amongst each other?
Rand: As I said, we all write as individuals musically. And that has never changed over the years. Every time we have tried to write as a band it doesn’t work. It seems like we are forcing everything. So usually everybody just brings their stuff in to go through it. It takes everybody to play on a song to make it a Stone Sour song. I write complete songs, but when I’m writing at home I am using a drum machine or some sequence, which is completely different from when Roy plays drums to it. We all bring our music in and then Corey writes the lyrics. That is one thing he does individually. Every once in awhile someone will bring up an idea like “Hey what if you did this?” or a line might be bugging somebody. But for the most part he does the lyrics by himself.
Graziano: With Corey and Jim also being members of Slipknot, is it ever hard to get their full attention just on Stone Sour?
Rand: No. For them it all started as an outlet for Corey to sing different. Now that years have passed, he started singing a lot more on some of the Slipknot stuff. But in the beginning, you go back 10 or 11 years ago and put on the first Slipknot record and then go to the first Stone Sour record, people couldn’t believe it was the same guy. It was such a night and day thing. Now over time his singing voice has bleed into both [Slipknot and Stone Sour]. So I think in this band it doesn’t take it away. He sings a couple different ways on both part one and two than he has on any Slipknot or Stone Sour record. I think he feels that he has more freedom vocally. The same goes for Jim. In Slipknot he is known for being heavy and fast, but that is not how he writes for Stone Sour. The songs that he has written for Stone Sour, I think would shock people. Because that is not his style, it is more of my style. I’ve been more of the heavier side of Stone Sour and Jim brings more of the eclectic music type because he is influenced by bands like The Beatles, Pink Floyd and all of that.
Graziano: “House of Gold and Bones Part 1” has a wide variety of songs like “Taciturn” and “Gone Sovereign.” Is it important to have that variety of songs?
Rand: We’ve always had the variety in the band. That comes from everybody writing musically and contributing. We are all open-minded enough to see everyone’s vision and try to make those songs the best that we possibly can. That gives us the diversity or variety on every record. Like with the first record— take the two singles, you have “Get Inside” and “Bother.” They are extreme from one to the other. We have always kept that. We always try to push; adding more musical directions. You will hear more of that on disc two. I am really excited because I think there are several songs on disc two that are really going to surprise people.
Graziano: So what can we expect from part two?
Rand: The important thing I want to stress is that it is not like the B-side from disc one. It is different. It is not like disc one at all actually. To me it is a darker record than disc one. It is heavier in weight, not so much in aggression like disc one is. I am trying to think of bands to compare it to or just an idea, but I can’t honestly. It is just a darker record.
Graziano: How is it playing the songs and what is your overall take on the two albums?
Rand: Right now we are actually playing quite a few songs off the record. I enjoy playing all of them. I think hands down, and I know every artist does [think it about their album], but I believe this is our best record. With that being said, I look forward playing all of it. It is literally what we plan on doing throughout the next year, is to play the albums in their entireties.
“House of Gold and Bones Part 1” was released Oct. 23, while part two is will be released early 2013.
-Published in The Oswegonian