Slipknot is about image as much as music. A shroud of mystery surrounds the band, whose members wear masks on stage and refer to each other by number instead of name.
Stone Sour, a band that includes two Slipknot members, couldn’t be more different.
When Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor, guitarist James Root and bandmates take the stage, expect the power, emotion and revelation behind songs like “Through Glass” and “30/30-150” to make the real impression.
Talking by phone from his home in Atlantic Beach, Fla., guitarist Root says, “At the end of the day, we have to look at ourselves in the mirror every day, and be comfortable with the decisions we’ve made … 99.9 percent of our ideas are our own.”
Root talked with Weekend before Stone Sour’s performance Saturday at the Leach Amphitheater in Oshkosh.
Weekend: Out of what need or drive for something different did Stone Sour arise? Why stretch yourselves between two bands?
Root: Well, basically Corey and I were in Stone Sour before we joined Slipknot. There was all this stuff we wanted to continue working on that we’d never really gotten to record right away … We all got together, just writing songs and jamming, and revolved to Stone Sour again. We were going to do it a little bit for fun, but the first album really took off, and we’ve always wanted to keep it going.
Weekend: It’s hard enough to get one act off the ground running, to get multiple nods from the Grammys. How do you make two hard-rock projects succeed?
Root: It’s a lot of work. We basically kiss friends and family at home goodbye, live on our bus, get aggravated and wonder why we do it sometimes. When you get home and you’re able to take a break and settle down, you realize you’re really lucky and fortunate to be doing what you’re doing.
Weekend: Being on the road so much, is it a pretty tight group of guys?
Root: Yeah, it is. I mean, the thing is, it’s weird because we all get along really great, we’re all really great friends. But we don’t necessarily write together because of the fact we’re juggling two bands. The chemistry really doesn’t come together until we start playing live shows.
Weekend: You’ve been touring, what, some 10 years? Do you look out into the crowds at both kinds of shows and see a lot of familiar faces, Slipknot and Stone Sour crossover fans?
Root: Yeah, I think definitely there’s a lot of fans that are fans of both bands, but there’s also a little bit of everything. People that like Slipknot that could care less about Stone Sour, people that like Stone Sour that don’t know a lot of Slipknot. You do see people with Slipknot shirts showing up; you can tell who the Slipknot fans are.
Weekend: Songs like “Through Glass” have really made waves on radio stations around the country. What is it like knowing fans have gotten so behind this band?
Root: It’s very flattering. To be well-received in such a fickle industry nowadays, it’s definitely a really cool thing. I think at a time when you can turn on active rock radio and every band sounds the same, we can take a little pride that we managed to achieve something and not finish like everybody else.
Weekend: A lot of artists seem jaded when it comes to mainstream music and the industry nowadays. How do you view the rock scene?
Root: I think rock ’n’ roll, in a way, has been dead for a long time. I think everything’s become so oversaturated and packaged and homogenized, the vibe isn’t real anymore. There’s such an energy and emotion to rock music, which is a lot of the reason I go back to ’60s and ’70s bands and look at some of the fire they had.
By Sarah Owen
Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers