The band started out being this project that we just did for fun. And the next thing you know, you’re making the record.”
Wikimetal (Nando Machado): Hey, Josh.
Josh Rand: Hey, how are you?
W (NM): Hey, I’m Nando, how are you?
JR: How are you? I’m doing good.
W (NM): Let me start asking what were your main influences that made you decide to become a guitar player?
JR: Well, my main influence to become a guitar player was actually Paul Gilbert. I started out playing bass guitar, probably about 14, 15, influenced by Jason Newsted, and Cliff Burton, and Dave Ellefson, basically the Thrash Metal guys. After playing for a couple of years, I started to listen to more of the virtuoso type rock bass players, like Sheehan, and working in that type of stuff, and then with Billy Sheehan… Listening to his work and “Mr. Big” kind of introduced me to Paul Gilbert and that whole style, I kind of went back, checked out his tracks, and then I absolutely loved his style and his approach to the guitar, I decided to switch to guitar.
W (NM): That’s interesting. And did you ever think of recording the bass lines for Stone Sour once you had Rachel Bolan from Skid Row recording the last two albums?
JR: I’ve written a lot of stuff on bass over the years. You know, there was talk about it, but we really wanted to have somebody else come in and play the bass parts, not myself. Because the problem with that I might approach it more from a guitar player’s point, and we wouldn’t want to have that. We wanted to take the music to a different level, and Rachel is a phenomenal player. I knew that he would do that.
W (NM): Do you remember when and how you were invited to join Stone Sour?
JR: Well actually, I started this band in 2000, with Corey. And we worked in a band, in a project, just recording demos, just the two of us, for about two years before it basically reformed as Stone Sour.
W (NM): And right after you formed the band, Stone Sour released the self-titled debut album and was nominated for two Grammy awards in the following years. Did you have any idea that the band would become so commercially successful when you recorded the album?
JR: No, absolutely not. The band started out being this project that we just did for fun. And the next thing you know, you’re making the record. It was kind of a crazy record for us, because we really didn’t have a producer, and we were still pretty green as far as recording aspects, but we had a great time back then.
W (NM): On the second album, you had Godsmack’s Shannon Larkin recording one of the biggest hits of Stone Sour, “30/30-150”. How was that?
JR: Cool. That’s one of the tracks that I’ve worked on… Shannon was brought in to play, and he knew Corey and Jim very well from his days, and he added a whole different vibe to the song than what I initially had going on at the time.
W (NM): Great. Changing the subject, Josh, we have a classic question on our show, one that we ask every single guest: just imagine you’re listening to maybe a rock radio station, or maybe your mp3 player on shuffle mode, and a song starts that makes you lose your mind completely, and you feel like head banging wherever you might be. Which song is that so we can listen to it on the show now?
JR: Oh, it would have to be “South of Heaven”, by Slayer.
I think because all of us write, that allows us to have the diversity that we have”
W (NM): Great choice, “South of Heaven”, by the great Slayer, on Wikimetal! When did you decide that “The House Of Gold & Bones” would be a concept album and when did you realize it would have to be a double album?
JR: Well, Corey had come up with the short story, and initially he approached me about what I thought about doing a concept record, and I thought it was a great idea. And as the material came in, because all of us write musically, the next thing we knew, we had 24 tracks, and I was pretty certain that I wanted it to be split up. I know at the beginning it wasn’t a very popular choice for a little bit… I just felt that there were several of reasons, number one: that’s a lot of material to put in one album to put out nowadays. I thought it made sense to be able to break it up, and release the other one 6 to 9 months later. Because of it being a concept and a story, I thought it kind of set up really well.
W (NM): It was a really cool idea, and I personally love both albums, so it was great that you didn’t leave any song out of the album. I see that all the songs from both albums are credited to the band, so how is the writing process of Stone Sour?
JR: As I said, each one of us musically contributes, and then Corey usually writes the lyrics to it, or maybe asks us to make changes as far as chords or keys, and once we kind of get a rough of it, and when all of us get together, than that’s when it kind of really show itself as a Stone Sour song, so I think because all of us write, that’s what allows us to have the diversity that we have, and not having that song that sounds like the same song over and over again.
W (NM): Were all the songs already written when you started recording the first part of “House of Gold & Bones”, or did you record both parts all at once or did you have some time between both recordings?
JR: No, we recorded both records at the same time. It took us three months to do it, we went six days a week, about 10 to 12 hours a day. And we really just went down the list, once we figured out what the track listing was going to be, we had this chart up, with things that needed to be recorded, and we just went straight down the list.
W (NM): And what do you think, and what can you tell about the concept of the album, the story behind the album concept?
JR: It’s pretty much the human and the subconscious, making this ultimate decision that’s going to change their lives for better or for worse. Basically, it all comes down to making this ultimate decision.
W (NM): So changing the subject again, Josh, what do you remember about playing Rock In Rio in 2011? And what was it like to share the stage with Mike Portnoy?
JR: It was an amazing experience playing in front of that many people, it was truly an honor. Roy couldn’t do it because his daughter hadn’t been borne yet, his wife was due any day, so Mike… We had toured with Avenged Sevenfold for forever, for like a year, it seemed like, and luckily, Mike came in and played it. I’m a huge Dream Theater fan, so for me, since Roy couldn’t be there, it was awesome to be able to jam with Mike.
W (NM): And back to the new album, what was it like to work with producer David Bottrill?
JR: I absolutely loved it. Dave is exactly what we needed for this record. He’s not a “Yes, sir” or “Yes, man” to go record company. It’s all about creating and trying to be as artistic as possible. And he knew how to deal with everybody’s attitudes and egos, it was the perfect guy for us right now. It was awesome working with him.
W (NM): And back to the subject of the bass player, you had Rachel Bolan from Skid Row, and now you have Johnny Chaw playing the bass on tour. Have you ever considered asking Rachel to join the band? And what is it like to share the stage with Johnny in the recent shows?
JR: Initially, we did ask Rachel if he wanted to tour, but obviously, he had commitments to Skid Row, so it just made sense. We know Johnny from his playing in Systematic, and actually, him and Roy had a relationship that goes back decades, so we knew he was a great player, he would be a great fit, so we asked him to come aboard.
W (NM): How was the concert at the Download Festival last Sunday?
JR: It was good, it was good. I love playing all the festivals, it still amazes me that that many people come together and see a show. And being onstage looking out… It’s hard to explain, it’s an amazing thing.
It still amazes me that that many people come together and see a show”
W (NM): OK. I’ll ask you to choose another song now, I’ll ask you to choose a Stone Sour song that you feel really proud of having contributed so we can listen to it on the show right now.
JR: Oh, I’m going to go with “RU486”.
W (NM): How tough is it to coordinate the schedule since you guys have to share Corey and Jim with Slipknot? Do you think you can take some advantage of that?
JR: The schedule kind of just works itself at this point. We’ve been doing it long enough, that it’s not too much to handle, you know?
W (NM): And besides playing with Stone Sour do you have any other upcoming projects that you’d like to share with our listeners?
JR: I’m going to put out an instructional DVD at the end of the year, and it’s going to be me teaching all the solos that I play on both records of “Hell and Consequences”, and then there’s an exercise scale section, and then there’s going to be a bio, which is basically a documentary of myself. It’ll come out probably this fall.
W (NM): Well, that’s great. You can take a look at our website, wikimetal.com.br, and when you release it, you can count on us to promote it, so get in touch, and we’ll do whatever we can to help with that. So, we’re almost reaching the end of the interview. I saw your set list at the Download, and you played “Children of the Grave”. Did you hear the new Sabbath album, and what did you think of it?
JR: I’ve not been able to get it, unfortunately, because we’ve been touring, and the internet just sucks, and I can’t download it. I’ll probably pick it up, hopefully, in the next couple days, but congratulations to them, I mean, they’re the godfathers of Heavy Metal, it all started with them, and that’s one of the reasons why we’re doing “Children of the Grave”, as a tribute to them. I’ve heard mixed critics, I’ve heard some people say that it’s amazing, I’ve heard other people… I think the expectations were so high, it would be hard to achieve, you know? I mean, how long has it been since they’ve recorded together?
W (NM): I thought it was amazing, but I’ll leave you with your own opinion when you have the chance to listen to it. So first of all, Josh, I’d like to thank you so much for your time, and thank you for everything you’ve done with these absolutely great, unbelievable records that you guys released in the last year, I think you are really taking Hard Rock and Heavy Metal to another level, and it’s very important, because we need fresh and new bands to bring new elements to this gender. What would you say to a 15 year old kid that’s thinking on putting up a Metal band? What would your advice be?
JR: Just be yourself and stay the course, don’t listen to anybody else.
W (NM): That’s great, we really look forward to seeing Stone Sour play in Brazil soon, so whenever you do that, we hope to help promote the concert as well, so thanks a lot for your time, Josh.
JR: Cool, thank you.
W (NM): See you man. Bye, bye.