Stone Sour didn’t intend to make its upcoming live album — due Dec. 13 on Cooking Vinyl Limited — in Reno, Nev. But circumstances dictated otherwise.
The quintet actually planned to record the 16-track set in Russia during a tour there last fall to promote its latest album, 2017’s Hydrograd. Guitarist Josh Rand tells Billboard that the recording gear had been flown in for Stone Sour’s Oct. 5, 2018, Reno date for the band’s sound engineer to “get his head around it” before heading overseas.
“He went ahead and recorded that [Reno] show, and we had no idea we were being recorded,” says Rand. In Russia, Stone Sour “had nothing but technical difficulties with the gear,” so the Reno recording wound up being the band’s ace in the hole.
“The beauty of it was it sounded so good to us we decided to roll with it,” says Rand. And in that spirit, he promises that Stone Sour left the performances untouched, warts and all, for Hello, You Bastards: Live in Reno. “That’s exactly how it was recorded, no overdubs or anything,” says Rand. “We take a lot of pride in being a tight band when it comes to recording, and I’m glad it transferred over to live. A lot of the live albums I love, I know they were fixed — and I love ’em, don’t get me wrong. But we’re extremely proud of the fact that we didn’t fix anything. It’s not perfect. There’s mistakes on there coming from all of us, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s us, for real.”
From the sound of it, the album isn’t just real, but raw. Billboard is premiering the official video for “Whiplash Pants” from Hello, You Bastards. The clip is as intense and frenetic as the song itself, and Stone Sour’s vigorous delivery is on par with Slipknot, the heavy metal act that takes up the rest of frontman Corey Taylor’s time. Watch the video below:
With Taylor having returned to his vocalist duties in Slipknot, Stone Sour is in the midst of downtime — but it won’t seem like that during 2020. Starting in January, Rand will be posting either a demo or an alternate version of one of the band’s songs each week, starting from the group’s beginnings in 1992 and running up through the present. “I’m pretty excited about that,” says Rand, who was inspired by Metallica outtakes. “I think it’s going to be really cool, and it’ll give an insight into how we work as a band. It’s an interesting thing to hear stuff in its raw form and not polished like you hear in a finished record. There’s a rawness to it that’s cool.”
Also coming next summer is a special release that Rand isn’t providing details for just yet. “It’s a mixture of everything — some live stuff, some demo stuff, some new material that has not been heard. It’ll be really cool, and we’re all really excited about it, but I can’t say too much yet.”
There’s also new material for Stone Sour’s next album. Rand has seven songs demoed so far, but he can’t predict when the group will begin working in earnest on a Hydrograd follow-up. “We just kind of take one thing at a time,” he explains. “Corey has a full year still left of touring with Slipknot, and he’s planning to work on his solo record. So there’s no actual timetable for us. That’s the way it always is.”