Interview: Corey Taylor of Stone Sour
Tue, 15 Oct 2013 09:35:55
When Stone Sour opened up the House of Gold & Bones, everything changed. It's a powerful, potent, and poetic statement from the hard rock leaders, showing just how deep down the rabbit hole they're willing to go and how expansive they can get. Both halves of the album comprise this unforgettable roller coaster. It's a milestone for the band…
So, ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino wanted to delve inside every nook and cranny of House of Gold & Bones and House of Gold & Bones, Pt. 2 and spoke to Stone Sour main man Corey Taylor about it in this exclusive interview...
Are both albums what you'd envisioned from the beginning? What was the curation process like for the respective track lists?
It started with some of the music and the idea for the story not completely fleshed-out, but it was the idea for the short story. That took me to the next steps. It didn't all hit me at once. As I kept compounding things with one idea on top of another, all of this stuff started coming to me like doing the comic and coming up with the packaging that fits together as the house. All of these great ideas kept coming to me. I wanted to explore the story in the videos and keep that dialogue going. It's extending further right now with trying to figure out what the best idea for the movie is. It looks like right now I want to do one movie but do it in a way that is very creative almost like Kill Bill meets Heavy Metal the movie. That's neither here nor there, because it's not done yet. To me, you have to start with the idea. If you start with all of the extra things, the idea suffers. You can't be as creative if you start with all of the crap. It's like trying to make an M&M with no chocolate. What are you left with? Just a bunch of crap that gets stuck in your goddamn teeth…it's stupid. If there's no quality in the content, there's no content straight up.
What does "Last of the Real" mean to you?
That tune has got a good bounce to it. I had those riffs for a while. I had never really sat down and fleshed it out. I had that chorus as well for a really long time, going way back before I had the story. I realized that it was the perfect not period at the end of the sentence, which would be Part 1, but it was definitely the best cliffhanger. It sets up the fact that, "Holy shit, our hero's in trouble". It was a great way to end Part 1. When I started working on the lyrics for it, I made sure that I came at it from a standpoint where the lyrics were married to the end of the story and not essentially before the end happened. You read the story and, in my head, "Last of the Real" starts. That's where it made sense to lead into "Red City" for part two. I just love that tune. It's got a good greasy riff to it. It's got a good bounce. It's got a great set of "Fuck you" lyrics.
Where did "Rumors of Skin" come from?
That one is probably one of the best things I've ever written. Musically, it was probably the most interesting and different and most I'd really tried to get outside the box I consider myself skillset basically. To be honest, the main riff came from an accident. I was sitting there playing guitar. The same thing sort of happened with "The Uncanny Valley". That came from mis-fretting an e-major chord. My finger was clear up on the b-string. I lifted it and came back to the g-string, and I was like, "That's cool as shit!" I did it again, and that's how I get the riff for "The Uncanny Valley". With "Rumor of Skin", it was kind of the same thing, I did this slide down to go to an open e-chord, and I missed it by half a fret. I built everything on top of that. I had the melody for the chorus, but I even had the chords for it. Putting that together was really awesome.
Lyrically, what's that song about?
It's basically the first meeting between Allen and The Human. When I'm hearing that, I see the moment when they're in the building. There's the smoky mess that will eventually coalesce into Allen holding the cigarette and smoking. That's what I hear in my head as that happens. As he starts to coalesce, that's where the real back and forth starts to come about. There are three different voices going on. There's one which is Allen, one which is The Human, and one in the background that's doing the melody line from "Gone Sovereign". I don't know if people really catch that.
You can hear it on headphones.
Yeah! You can definitely hear it on headphones. It's a good amalgam of trying to set up the fact that there are so many personalities going on at that moment. It's hard to grasp on to unless you read the story.
The title track on Part 2 really stands out.
That was the last song we put together before we went into the studio. Thematically, it was almost tailor-made for us to do it this way. It was basically made up of flipping certain riffs from "Gone Sovereign" and "Absolute Zero" and sort of playing them backwards in a weird way. If you listen to it thematically, you can see where some of it backwards, but you have to really listen to it. We needed the outro. We needed that moment where the human has made his decision and he's sticking with it no matter what that decision is. That's all open to the reader. You need that moment. You need the big crescendo. You need the final act to draw you in and leave you with that closure. That was the perfect song to do it with.
"Red City" has a Nine Inch Nails feel…
A little bit! It's almost like Nine Inch Nails meets Neurosis, especially the bit in the middle, which is so heavy! We haven't done it live yet. I don't know if we ever will, but hopefully some day we will.
What's your favorite Stone Sour song?