STONE SOUR – Roy Mayorga; Oslo, 2010

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In September 2010, Stone Sour released their third studio album, Audio Secrecy. This record is definitely mellower than what the band has done previously. It sounds more mature and gives the impression of an accomplishment fulfilled by five versatile men who have gone a long way in life and stand firmly on their feet. Singer-songwriter Corey Taylor has put it quite nicely, describing the album as “fucking gorgeous,” and we couldn’t agree more.

Stone Sour came to Norway in November as a part of their recent European tour in support of Audio Secrecy. We met with the drummer, Roy Mayorga, who has contributed his drumming skills to quite an impressive roster of artists in the past and will hopefully continue to do so in the future. We got to discuss Stone Sour’s new album, as well as various aspects that affected Roy’s life in different ways and made him the person and the musician he is today.

How did the recording process for Audio Secrecy go? I know that you were in Nashville…
Yeah, well… we all took some time; we were away from each other for the last couple of years and just wrote separately. Then we got together in December in Iowa for a brief rehearsal and then went to Nashville, as you know, [where we] did a couple months’ worth of pre-production, living in a house together- which worked out great.

So what are the perks of living in the studio? It was in the same house, right?
Well, not the recording studio, the demo studio, that was in the house. The perks: this is more convenient. Everyone’s in the same place together and it’s just more intimate, people get to know each other a little better, and it’s just a better environment for collaboration, I think, for any band. We gotta get along first; luckily we do and there’s chemistry between all five of us, so it worked out great.

Did you face any challenges while recording the album?
Of course, I mean, just trying to get the right feel and flow and vibe for each song is a challenge in itself, because every song on the record is so different and they all came from five different people – five different writers including myself. So it was a challenge just trying to replicate someone else’s vision, but [also] trying to make your own mark on top of it.

How did it feel to get back together after the break, when Corey and Jim were with Slipknot?
It was great! We basically picked up from where we left off 3 years before that. It’s like we didn’t miss a day. It’s pretty wild, you know, we’ve been apart from each other for 3 years and then walked into a studio together and came out with this record. I mean, to me it’s pretty incredible. We didn’t know each other from Adam when I first joined the band either, so that was a sign that we have natural chemistry together.

In one of the recent interviews with Jim, he said that in a way he feels that Audio Secrecy is like an unfinished record because you didn’t have enough time to work on it. Do you feel the same way?
I don’t think so. Maybe for him, but it feels pretty finished to me. We’ve had a lot of songs that we had to weed and sieve through; I think we had about twenty songs. Then we had to go down to about twelve and then added three more bonus tracks that we were gonna put on the record, but decided not to, then we had a chance to put them on anyway. So I think it’s a pretty well-finished record. I think, maybe a couple more different-sounding styles of tunes would’ve been good for the record, but for the most part, the record is pretty finished to me. That’s my opinion, you know.

Since there’s this “secret society” concept going on the record, if you could have an alias or a code name, if you were a secret agent, what would it be?
I didn’t think of it. I’d go by my old alias: Roy Batty. That’s Rutger Hauer’s character in Blade Runner; maybe I’d use that.

Where did the whole “secret society” theme actually come from?
I think it was spawned by Paul Brown, the art-director and the video director for the videos and the artwork that we’ve done for the record. We came up with the idea and he manifested the look of it all. And we just kind of rolled with it. So when we shot photos for the album, we were doing actually the “Say You’ll Haunt Me” video, so it worked out perfectly. You just want to keep the continuity throughout, so it worked out great.

You have been on tour with Avenged Sevenfold and now with HELLYEAH, but if you could choose two bands to tour with Stone Sour, who would that be?
I’d like to do something with the Foo Fighters and Soundgarden, that would be my ultimate dream tour.

Yeah, especially now that Soundgarden are back together again.
Yeah, or maybe Faith No More. I think that would be a great tour – Stone Sour and Faith No More.

If they are going to play anymore…
I don’t think so, but yeah, missed that window of opportunity. They are a band that I don’t think anyone can really open up for only because they are just who they are. I think they could just go out on their own; they don’t need another band to open up for them. No one’s gonna be interested to see another band if [Faith No More] are playing, really.

Is there any drummer who would be kind of a role model for you, someone you would look up to?
Well, two of them are dead: that would be John Bonham [Led Zeppelin] and Keith Moon [The Who]. And two of them are still alive which are Neil Peart [Rush] and Stewart Copeland [The Police]. Those are my four.

What were your motives to be in a rock band?
Just growing up and listening to the bands like Zeppelin and The Who. When I was a kid, I was more instinctively a drummer. I wasn’t really a drummer yet in my mind; I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing, though my parents knew what I was doing, so they kind of stirred me in the right direction. And my older brother, who is more of the rock ’n’ roll guy in the family, he is 10 years older. He would just show me all these records, play them, and he’d wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me, “Oh, Led Zeppelin and KISS are on TV at 11.30 at night,” and I’d watch and he was like, “That’s what you should be doing,” and I was like, “Yeah, I wanna be that.” So seeing it for the first time definitely propelled me into really wanting to go for it and be a part of a rock band when I was older. I started playing in bands by the time I was 13-14, just punk rock, hardcore bands, and then I just evolved from there. As I got older, I started getting into other things, I started getting back more into metal and rock and ended up here, you know, fast-forwarding 25-some years later.

Nowadays many bands, no matter how popular they are, seem to prefer indie labels to major ones. But you seem to be quite happy with Roadrunner.
Yeah, Roadrunner has been a part of my life for 15-16 years now. I’ve been in four different Roadrunner bands, including this one. They’ve always done right by me and what I love about Roadrunner the most is that they’re a world-class label. I mean, they are all over the world and the bands that they have, they really know how to market them everywhere. I think their bands have always had better exposure than most bands coming out of the States that are on major labels, because major labels focus on just the States and don’t give a shit about the rest of the world. But now I think it’s a little bit different, now they are starting to wise up to the situation there is, you know, more out there, especially for not so big bands. Roadrunner was the label that was more about not being indie, but being worldwide.

But they are not indie anymore, they got acquired.
No, not anymore. Now they’re owned by Warner Brothers, which is great. I mean it definitely helps us as well, so we have the best of both worlds.

As you have said yourself, you were quite a punk guy in the past, but now it doesn’t seem like it quite so much. Did you grow out of it?
Well, that’s one of the things that’s always in you, once you’re a punk rock guy, you’re always gonna be a punk rock guy.

You don’t have a mohawk anymore.
I don’t need to look like that. I can be that just in here and in here [points at his head and heart]. I’ll let someone else look that way. I already made my statement; I don’t need to keep making that statement. I’m 40 years old, I don’t need to do that anymore.

But do you still have it in your heart?
Of course I do. You don’t lose that. I’ve done that, you know. I’ve played all the squats in Europe and all over the world, I’ve toured in a car, in a van, slept on floors, didn’t wash for weeks, I lived all crazy and did this and that. I do still play that kind of music with another band called Amebix, which came out of that anarchy-punk scene. So I am still kind of in that scene, but not really. I’m in two different worlds and that’s fine, I like it that way, it’s honest.

Text: Tanja Caciur | Photo: Paul Harries, www.stonesour.com | Ed: Amy Wiseman

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