Odds are Slipknot and the word "ballad" have never been found in the same sentence. However, that's not the case with side project Stone Sour (featuring Slipknot singer Corey Taylor and guitarist Jim

Odds are Slipknot and the word "ballad" have never been found in the same sentence. However, that's not the case with side project Stone Sour (featuring Slipknot singer Corey Taylor and guitarist Jim Root) and its orchestral anthem "Bother," which is No. 3 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Root tells Billboard.com that while Slipknot fans (endearingly known as maggots) may find "Bother" bothersome and grounds for heresy, the digression was something he desperately needed to do.

"Because I need this for my sanity," says Root. "I have to stay busy when Slipknot isn't doing anything and this is like a hobby, you could say."

Formed in 1992, Stone Sour actually predates the creation of Slipknot by three years, after which Taylor and Root (respectively known as #8 and #4 in the Iowa-based hard rock band's universe) were pulled into the latter's clown-masked shenanigans. In 2000, Stone Sour guitarist Josh Rand asked Taylor to help him finish what they had started years before. The result is Stone Sour's self-titled Roadrunner debut, which spans the entire gamut of modern hard rock.

"There is so much more to music than pure aggression," says Root. "It's like an artist painting. If you are going to do a painting, are you just going to use red all of the time? You have to throw in some other colors and some other things. So, this is kind of a way to do that other thing. And as a guitar player, things are much more free. Where Slipknot is finger exercises and straight on, full on 'rawwww,' [with Stone Sour] I can hold on a note and get some feedback going and just kind of experiment a little more."

According to Root, Stone Sour's long-term future is more certain than the band's upcoming calendar. After wrapping its current tour with a New Year's Eve show in Clive, Iowa, Stone Sour will take the month of January off while the Slipknot boys begin work on the follow-up to their 2001 breakthrough album "Iowa," which Root says will be produced by Rick Rubin.

That's where things become unclear. A Stone Sour tour of Europe, Japan, and Australia is in the works, with the band returning in March so Root and Taylor can finish up the Slipknot album. A Stone Sour summer tour is likely, but Root admits that if the Slipknot sessions are prolific, it could be in jeopardy.

The one thing that is for certain is that you'll never see a Slipknot/Stone Sour bill. "Absolutely not," Root says. "I never would want to play twice in one night like that. One show a night is enough for me. After I do a Slipknot show, I'm pretty much spent."