|Stonesour is one of those bands that will never get the respect they deserve. They are dragging around more excess baggage than the sum total of New York City's bag ladies. But in this case, the baggage is not material goods such as old socks, ripped stuffed teddy bears and garbage bags full of thrown-out clothing, the baggage Stonesour carries is success. Success of Corey Taylor and Jim Root from Slipknot.
"I think that stigma is always going to be with the band, and we just have to do what we do best, which is play music. We can't control anything beyond that," says Stonesour's drummer Joel Ekman. "I think even in the beginning with Roadrunner, we were facing that. No offense to the label, but I think when Corey went to them about this band, they agreed and thought, 'Let's just let him get it out of his system.' But then they heard our music and our now behind us 100 percent. But we have that battle every day."
Stonesour's first single, "Bother," is a great song showing a side of Corey that most people don't even want to think exists. In fact, just the night before the Columbus, OH show, a caller phoned a radio station and said Stonesour's was Corey's Nickelback, figuring since Slipknot couldn't get airplay, this band would. But rest assured, Stonesour is not Corey's whore as he pimps around in Slipknot. This band was actually formed in 1992, years before Slipknot was even thought about, and because of Corey's and Root's success, were they able to bring Stonesour back to life.
"I quit playing drums. I had to get a real job and support my family. Then one day my wife calls me and says Corey called and he sounded serious. Next thing I know, we are playing together again. But the one thing my wife said was, 'I am glad to hear Corey sing again,'" recalls Ekman. "She was a big fan of our music back when we started and a big fan of Corey's singing voice and a lot of people don't realize that Corey can sing because his growl has become so distinct with Slipknot."
Live, Stonesour was tight, raw and emotional. When I talked with Corey before one of the first Slipknot tours back in 1998, he said being in Slipknot was like having each day equal to a year. That what they go through every day was like taking a year off of his life. But this "old" man proved to be a great frontman with or without masks and jumpsuits. And the band was as tight as most around. It is hard to believe that this band has only been together (again) for only a year or so.
"It was like magic when we got back together," says Ekman. "I mean, we were not as tight as we were or anything, but the emotions and energy just kicked in as soon as we got back together, and only like four songs on the record are old songs. We wrote a lot of new material when we got back together. That was what is cool about this band. Even after all this time, we still clicked."
For those who are Slipknot fans and think Corey and Jim sold out like a PS2 during Christmas, forget about it. They are the Nintendo 64 of 2002; functional, practical and guaranteed to not be the flavor of the month. Stonesour is an extension of themselves, not a copout. In actuality, Stonesour shows more balls and guts than Slipknot. Because they allowed themselves and the rest of the band to be free in expression, and although with Slipknot, Corey can act as freaky as he wants to, no one can tell me that is tougher than standing center stage under spots, by yourself, and play guitar and sing "Bother."
I was more than surprised at Stonesour's music and live performance. Even I wanted to fault Corey and Jim about the band, but that's just not possible. Fans of Slipknot and metal ought to listen to each and every song on the record before jumping to conclusions off of one single, and fans of the single ought to strap their PVC mini-skirts and thigh-high boots on, because Stonesour's self-titled debut is no picnic at the park. It's a rave at a haunted house, and come prepared. But at least they give you a flashlight to see.