Few bands can straddle the fine line between hard rock and heavy metal -- or underground credibility and commercial viability -- as well as Stone Sour.
The band has released five studio albums, each of which has challenged and exceeded the band's -- and its fans -- expectations. Stone Sour has earned three Grammy nominations (all for Best Metal Performance) and has sold more than 4 million albums worldwide in the process.
The band goes deep into heavy breakdowns and fragile ballads and dips into ferocious live performances and mainstream success. At the same time, it eagerly digs into instructional DVDs, comical yet gripping memoirs, deep concept albums, and comic book creation, the latter two shown in Stone Sour's two most recent albums, House of Gold & Bones Part I (2012) and House of Gold & Bones Part 2 (2013). The albums reflect the internal dialogue of a man's grappling between what is right and wrong and living life as though it doesn't matter what that life may be.
Since 2011, the group has consisted of Corey Taylor (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Jim Root (guitar, keyboard), Josh Rand (guitar), and Roy Mayorga (drums, percussion). Original members Joel Ekman (drums, percussion) and Shawn Economaki (bass guitar) left the group in 2006 and 2011, respectively.
Taylor and Root also are members of the deranged musical presence known as Slipknot, and as they wish Stone Sour and Slipknot were evaluated as separate entities, the bands often get compared despite their lack of similarities.
Like many, I grudgingly accepted the fact that Taylor had plans that did not include the screaming, masked seven-piece Slipknot. It should be noted Stone Sour was established in 1992, three years before the better-known Slipknot.
Now in the middle of an American tour with Pop Evil and Stolen Babies, Stone Sour is coming through the Valley. And for the first time, the band seems content just touring without oozing Stone Sour plasma wherever it goes. Each member is deeply involved with his own ventures, and they push themselves to be better artists and musicians in attempt to constantly improve. At least we hope.
For example, Taylor has a lot on his plate between Slipknot and Stone Sour, but that's par for the course. He has been in the news lately, assuring fans that Slipknot is still in a solid place since the departure of beloved drummer Joey Jordison a few months ago. Taylor and the band say they are looking for a replacement.
One particular side project has been a long time in the works: a horror movie. A while back, Taylor and bandmate Shawn "Clown" Crahan launched a production company called Living Breathing Films, which is adapting the House of Gold & Bones albums into a fantasy movie, much like The Wall.
Now Taylor is going to make his big-screen debut opposite original Freddy Krueger Robert Englund in a new horror film called Fear Clinic, reportedly based on Englund's 2009 TV series of the same name and due for release around Halloween.
In 2013, guitarists Rand and Root released instructional DVDs/tell-all documentaries, each consisting of 90-minute lessons and never-before-seen looks at the musicians' dramatic life stories. Rand's includes overcoming cancer and a run-in with the law that put him back on track to finding his identifiable guitar style, while Root's details his deeply integrated inspiration from childhood.
Meanwhile, Mayorga was brought on board as the drummer for Belgian metal band Channel Zero after that band's drummer died. He also works as a producer and engineer at his L.A. studio.
That's the thing about Stone Sour: They will never cease to influence, surprise, and evolve.
Stone Sour is scheduled to perform on Sunday, February 9, at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
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