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Stone Sour - a chit chat with Shawn Economaki

At the Wâldrock festival I got the chance to talk to Stone Sour’s bassist Shawn Economaki, a very kind and funny man with a very cool beard. As we hid ourselves behind a tent for some peace and quietness (which we didn’t get, because inside the tent there was Motörhead and some others watching the World Championship soccer and England was playing… and they lost) we talked about the new album, Korn, fierljeppen and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

So, how are you guys doing, how’s the tour?

Excellent, and we’re doing good.

How would you describe the new album?

The new album is everything we ever wanted in an album. We wanted an album that was heavy on production, getting the right sounds, getting the tones the way we want them, we got that. We wanted to work with a good producer that could help guide us into the right direction, I feel like we’ve done that. To me, the first album and this one are a difference of night and day. Every aspect of it, the songwriting, I guess the production, the emotion that each one of us put into the songs. Everyone stepped up and did exactly want they were meant to do on this album.

Ok, that’s good! So what can you tell me about the recording and writing process for this album?

Ok, we’ll start with the writing process. We all write, all five of us write, and there’s two bands going on. With Slipknot, when they’re on the road we will write by ourselves, riffs and full songs, Josh likes to write full songs, the whole band mix in there. Drum machine, guitars, bass, everything. And then he’ll bring it to us and says ’what do you think?’ Yeah lets go with this! Corey and Jim do the same thing, we all got little recording set-ups. And we just get together and piece this and that together and make full songs out of them. Not one song is written all-together. I’ve never done that. Some songs that were written in the past were like, in the jam room, writing as a band, and when something’s not going right you get pissed off and you leave. That’s how it goes. With this one, it was all there, the parts were all there to pick the tunes from. So that aspect was good.
Now the recording, that was different. The first album was recorded live, it’s basically a live album. With this one everything was isolated. The two guitarists and myself recorded to a click-track, with no drums. The drums were done after this, so that he would have a perfect performance out of us. We didn’t have to worry about breaking strings, or being out of tune or whatever. So first the guitars, then the vocals and then the drums. I’ve always been used to doing drums, bass, guitars and then vocals. Now you’ve got the guitars and the drums, drop the bass in to find any holes that need to be filled up and it works, I love recording that way. Our producer did an excellent job on keeping us focused, and making it fun at the same time. He put himself in harms way, just so that we would be happier with the project.

Sounds good. So have you ever drank that amaretto stone sour?

Yes, it’s horrible. God awful, do not drink one. It’s like amaretto, some orange juice and whiskey and it sucks! IT SUCKS!!! But it was stone sour or ocean green. That was the other cocktail.

Sounds like you made the right choice then. How do you feel about doing the Family Values tour this year?

Hate it! No I’m kidding. Psyched actually. Never seen Korn and Deftones before, oh no, I saw them at Rock Am Ring or Rock In Park, I don’t know which one. One of the first festivals we did over here.

I was supposed to see Korn at Graspop and in Amsterdam, but Jon is in a hospital now.

Wow, yeah blood poisoning or something I heard. But he’s gonna be alright. But yeah I’m really excited about that. It’s a long tour, like two months or so, but it’s also a ten dollar ticket which is amazing because it means that everyone can afford to go see it. I think that’s the coolest thing. We did a little warm up, every band on that tour played one day in one city, we did Kansas City, Deftones went to Sacramento, Korn was in Chicago and who knows what else. So everybody was playing at the same time, Korn sprayed 50.000 dollars in ten dollar bills into the crowd at the end of their show. We were all supposed to do that, but at the last moment they cut that for insurance reasons, they were afraid there’d be a riot and people would get hurt. Very true. But it’s very cool. Corey got up at Download during Korn, he did two or three songs. That made all the Korn fans go, oh yeah that will be cool to watch too. I’m really looking forward to it. Korn’s first album fucking blew me away, amazing. Some of the later albums were not that cool anymore…

But have you heard the last one?

What’s the last one?

Uh…. (thinking long and hard)

Well there you go!

See you on the other side!

Nope haven’t even heard it. I’ve heard a couple of singles like that Twisted Transistor and another one. I don’t like Twisted Transistor, I like the other song. It was basically Issues where I started to drop off. But I love the first ones.

Okay, so we agree on that! Next question then, what the fuck is 30/30-150?

I’d love to tell ya, I wish I could, but Corey will kill us. I know what it means, we all know what it means, we just can’t say anything because Corey will kill us. I don’t even know why we can’t say anything. Hahahaha!

Is it sexist or something?

No. It’s not sexist and it’s not a shotgun shell. It has nothing to do with a firearm. I’ll just put it this way, it has to do with Corey’s past. That’s all I can say, I can’t tell you what it means. Hahaha! I’ve got guys in the crew going ‘what does it mean?’ Sorry can’t tell ya. Corey wants to sell the answer on Ebay, in like thirty years. Like anybody even cares then.

Indeed, we’ll see. And why was it drummed by Shannon Larkin?

Okay, Roy came into the project, late in the game. We were already in the studio. He was actually rehearsing by himself to get ready for that Sepultura tour, and we gave him the call. We said come in, listen to this shit and play on it. He did all that in six days and then he went off on that tour. Now the song, 30/30-150, we were gonna leave Joel’s original drum tracks over it, but there was a big inconsistency with Roy’s play and Joel’s play so we were like we can’t do this. But Roy was already gone so we couldn’t let him come in. And Shannon was in Las Vegas, and we’ve known him for years from his days in Amen, before he got into Godsmack. So we gave him a call if he was interested, he absolutely was so he came in and played on it. That’s basically how it came to be with Shannon. We were just trying to match Roy’s sound. Trying to make the album sound cohesive.

Well it worked out. If Stone Sour were to cover a song, which song would you want it to be?

Which song I would want it to be, wow. I would probably have to say… Children of the Grave by Black Sabbath. It’s not even my first pick, but it’s our guitar player’s… he just leaped over that ravine with a stick! He put it down and…

Yeah yeah, that’s a sport here, it’s hard to pronounce because they have a weird different dialect here, but it’s called fierljeppen.

Fierljeppen? I LIKE IT!

You have to leap across creeks and the one who gets the furthest wins.

What’s it called again?

Fierljeppen.

YEAH I LIKE THAT WORD!!! Hahaha! But our guitar player Josh, he really loves that Black Sabbath song and he wants to do that.

So you’re just being sympathetic?

Ah yeah. And we were supposed to do that song when we went out for the first tour, just bust it out here and there. Not make it part of the set or make a single out of it or anything but just play it live occasionally and have fun, but it didn’t happen. And Roy is our Led Zeppelin crazyhead, so there’s probably a chance of us playing Zeppelin in the future, and I’m fine with that.

Okay, but what is your personal pick then?

(a long silence…) I have no idea.

Blank.

Yeah, blank, by blank. Jet City Woman by Queensryche, no it couldn’t be that… Talk Dirty from Poison. Yeah, Talk Dirty from Poison.

Hahaha, ok we’ll go with that. So what have you been doing the past couple of years while Slipknot was on the road?

I was working with Slipknot.

Oh of course, I’ve seen you on stage!

That answers that question!

Hehe, I’m an idiot!

No.

Okay. The ballads on the new album, don’t you think they sound a bit Bon Jovi?

No.

Not to be negative or anything, for fuck sake Corey is my favourite rock/metal vocalist.

Oh right on! Well, it depends on which one, because I don’t think Through Glass sounds like Bon Jovi.

No no, the other one, the last one.

Zzyxx RD. With the piano?

Yeah that one.

That sounds a little eighties, I didn’t hear Bon Jovi, but I hear, eighties.

Ok, no offence though.

Oh, none taken! None at all.

Okay, here comes the best question of this entire interview.

Oh shit! Hahaha!

Hold on, in movies, who do you prefer, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone?

Schwarzenegger.

Yeah? Motivation?

Motivation? Uhm, I don’t know, he’s the Terminator man!

Haha, alright! We named our band after that, we’re called Model 101. So I ask this question to all the bands I interview.

Really, what’s the status then?

It varies a lot, there are a lot of Rocky fans and a lot of Terminator fans.

I like Rocky too, but I like Terminator a hell of a lot better. But part three, has to go!

I don’t know, I started collecting them, now I’ve got like almost thirty.

Oh really!

Do you know Mark from Chimaira? He has all of them! All of them!

Has he? You know something tells me Corey has all of them too, Corey is pushing post 5000 DVD’s.

That’s a lot…

That’s a lot of fucking DVD’s! We went to a DVD store in the States, we brought in 10.000 dollars in cash. Corey filled up two shopping carts with DVD’s , you should have seen us at the register, we pulled up the carts and they were like, haha! They couldn’t even give us a receipt, they had to give a print-out like this long. And they were like you don’t have enough you have to put some of these back. And I’m like this guy spends 10.000 dollars and you can’t knock a couple of dollars off, give me a break! Dig it, that’s life.

Okay, about the song Road Hogs, are you ever gonna play that live?

Hahaha! You know what pisses me off and you can set this straight, it’s called Road Hog, and the label fucked up. The label put that s on there, it’s just Road Hog. Will we ever play it live? Probably not.

Ah, I love that song! Hell yeah!

We had a lot of fun writing that. That was his thing if Corey was a biker.

Yeah we were thinking what is this truckdriving song? Sounds like Alabama Thunderpussy or something!

Hahahahahaha!!! Who knows, maybe we will someday. I know Roy really digs the song. We might, it would be funny hahaha!

Okay, last question then. I heard Corey took lessons from that lady that has a DVD out, the art of screaming or something like that.

Okay, I’m not gonna give you a very good answer on that I think. I can try though.

Well, do you hear a difference between his singing before and the way he does now?

I can’t, honestly.

Well, the last two Stone Sour shows that I saw, this one and Graspop he was singing way better than I’ve ever seen him do. He sounded better than ever.

He quit drinking. Well, with the tours of Slipknot and Stone Sour for the last three years, he was drinking a lot. So he was more winded, he lost his breath quicker. I’ve always thought he sounded good live, but now he does sound better. So yes, I shouldn’t have said no. I just don’t know if that’s because of her, because of the lessons, or because he doesn’t drink anymore. Could be a combination of both. And he warms up now, he never used to warm up before shows. He used to go up there cold and just do it. And now he goes brrrrrr and other vocal exercises like that. He has to do it alone though, otherwise we’ll be giving him too much shit and it pisses him off.

Haha, he’s a bit of a weird guy with Stone Sour on stage compared to Slipknot.

Oh yeah, absolutely. He’s more himself though. You can’t be happy and goofy with Slipknot, it just wouldn’t work, you know what I mean. Just like he couldn’t go up there with Slipknot and do Bother.

Right. Or Vermillion pt. 2.

Oh well, they actually did that, they had a screen come down, do it and after it the screen went back up and then Joey did the drumsolo I believe.

All right then. If you have anything else to add to this interview, the time is now.

I’m a pretty boring person, so I’m going to have to say, no.

No it is. Well, thanks a lot for the interview!

Yeah, thank you too!

We continue to chat along about Guns ‘n Roses and how fucked up that Axl must be and stuff like that, until we are brutally interrupted in our bullshit conversation by the CNR people. I had a great time doing this interview and I can’t wait to see them again in 013!