Just a few weeks ago, Corey Taylor was onstage at music venue Park City Live during the Sundance Film Festival, singing as he was backed by members of The Sound City Players: Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and the surviving members of Nirvana, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear and Dave Grohl. Grohl assembled the historic lineup of musicians to celebrate his documentary debut, "Sound City."
Less than one month later, Taylor, 39, will return to Utah as frontman of Stone Sour, in a co-headlining tour with fellow hard-rock band Papa Roach. It’s the biggest rock show of 2012 so far — if you don’t count the Sound City concert, of course.
"There will be a lot of great surprises," Taylor promised in a phone interview.
Stone Sour, the band, has its own surprising backstory. The band, born in 1992, performed in the club scene in its home state of Iowa without much success before breaking up in 1997. That year, Taylor joined then-up-and-coming metal band Slipknot, also based in Iowa.
With Taylor on board, Slipknot shot to the top of the charts with its self-titled debut album in 1999, and since then the band (known for wearing masks) has been nominated for seven Grammys (winning one) and has sold more than 20 million albums.
In 2002, Taylor, riding the crest of success that Slipknot had created, reunited with his old friends in Stone Sour in what was then his side project. Since then, Stone Sour has grown as big as Slipknot, with its most recent three albums debuting inside the Top 10 Billboard all-genre chart.
The most recent album, "House of Gold & Bones — Part 1," released in September, was a landmark for the band. The concert double-album is about a man who goes on a journey after coming to a crossroads in his life. While the band rocks as hard as it ever has, the music offered a lyrical, thoughtful maturity that asked questions yet to be answered. (I considered including it on my Top 10 list of best albums of 2012, and now I believe I ranked it too low.)
Taylor said the album is the best the band has ever done, with the highly anticipated sequel, "House of Gold & Bones — Part 2," due April 9. After appearing in "Sound City," Taylor’s aspirations for the concept have grown, calling the album "cinematic."
Accompanying the release of the album will be a four-part graphic novel written by Taylor and distributed by Dark Horse Comics, the third-largest comics publisher in the U.S.
Co-headlining the concert is Papa Roach, the Northern California-based band that had its breakthrough in 2000 with "Infest," which reached triple-platinum status aided by the success of hit single "Last Resort." The album also earned the band a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.
The band, which became known for blending rap-rock elements into its hard rock, has been consistently successful since "Infest."
Before the writing of "The Connection," which was released in October, frontman Jacoby Shaddix, 36, wasn’t happy. "I look back at me a year ago, and it was a very dark place," he said in a phone interview.
In the past year, a career-threatening injury forced him to re-examine his life. In August, the band canceled its remaining dates on the 2012 UPROAR Festival tour (including a stop in Utah) due to emergency vocal surgery for Shaddix, who was diagnosed with a nodule on his left vocal cord.
He wasn’t allowed to speak for weeks after the surgery, and he learned an important lesson. "It was the largest silence I’ve ever had," Shaddix said. "I learned everything that I say doesn’t need to be said. Sometimes I need to keep my mouth shut."
The despair that he felt at the start of 2012 has since disappeared. "It takes a lot of energy to hate yourself for your entire life," he said. Now, "I wake up every day so grateful."
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