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Stone Sour: Sour Cream

Originally published in Guitar World, July 2010

Jim Root and Josh Rand rise to the occasion for Stone Sour’s forthcoming album.

Before sitting down to write for their yet-untitled third album, Stone Sour guitarists Jim Root and Josh Rand did some serious homework. Root (who is also in Slipknot) spent countless hours dissecting passages from classic psychedelic and prog-rock albums, and Rand began taking master’s degree–level music theory courses on the Berklee College of Music web site.

“I’m learning about all these guys I never paid any attention to when I was only into metal,” Rand says, “like John Coltrane and the Weather Report. It’s opened up a whole new world to me.”

Even if such explorations have filtered into Stone Sour’s new songs, that doesn’t mean the follow-up to 2006’s commercially successful Come What(ever) May will be a free-form jazz blues odyssey. “Some of the new stuff is more dreamy sounding, but we also wrote probably the heaviest songs we’ve ever done,” Rand says. “It’s a really diverse record.”

“All of the things we’ve explored have really just gotten us excited about playing music again,” Root adds. “We’re getting more experimental maybe, but the album is still gonna sound like us.”

Stone Sour entered Nashville’s Blackbird Studios in February with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Coheed and Cambria, Rush), and Rand and Root recorded their parts together over Roy Mayorga’s drum tracks. “We sat in the room right next to each other and just jammed out,” Root says. “It’s the first time we’ve done that, but I think it made our sound more organic and helped Josh and me lock in with each other.”

With new influences, a different recording technique and songs played in seven different tunings, the new Stone Sour album may prove too challenging for mainstream audiences that liked the Come What(ever) May radio ballad “Through Glass.” But that’s not Stone Sour’s problem. “We didn’t start doing this to be some giant radio band,” Root says. “We did it to be able to make any kind of music, whether it’s heavy metal, something cerebral and proggy or something very poppy. We wanted to do it all and we still do.”