While the tallest letters on the
marquee for this summer’s Rockstar Energy
Drink Uproar Festival might have been
reserved for big-name acts like Disturbed
and Avenged Sevenfold, somebody had to
whip the crowd into a raging metal frenzy
before the big boys took the stage. That’s
when up-and-coming bands like Stone Sour,
HELLYEAH, and Halestorm came in. It didn’t
matter if they were playing for nine or
9,000 people, these three bands brought the
heavy like there was no tomorrow. And given
a good enough reaction, there could be a
tomorrow—in the form of a headlining slot
on next year’s tour.
Stone Sour may be new to some, but they
have actually been around for more than 17
years. Though the lineup includes Slipknot
guitarist Jim Root and vocalist Corey Taylor,
the band precedes Slipknot and never
really went away, just sort of hibernated a
few years at a time. With Root, Taylor, and
Josh Rand on guitar, there have been three
Stone Sour albums including the latest,
Audio Secrecy [Roadrunner], which was
released in September 2010.
Jim, are you using your Fenders on the new
record, or are those strictly for Slipknot?
Root: I’ve been switching guitars for
each song. I’ve had a Gibson Flying V fetish
for years, so they’re all over the album. I
don’t get to use them much with Slipknot.
I’m tall and they feel good because they’re
a bit bigger, plus I dig the access to the upper
frets. There’s no horn in the way and the
balance is great for me. The shape, feel, and
the sound are unique. I recorded with my
white Tele that I used on the last Slipknot
album, too. There were about 90 guitars in
the control room.
Rand: The crazy thing is that they were
all personal guitars, not the studio’s guitars.
I’m not as out of control as Jim is. At
one point I was, but I realized I didn’t need
so many guitars. The maintenance sucks.
You still have to take care of them, even if
you’re not playing them. I was spending so
many days going through all my guitars
every month, dressing the frets and all that.
I’m just over it.
How did you decide which ones to use?
Root:We’d just listen to a track and play
along with it on all kinds of different guitars.
For the third guitar tracks, tone wasn’t as an big issue because they had so many
effects on them. For those, I’d grab
whichever one felt good, or if I wanted to
make sure a particular guitar made the
Rand: I mainly used a PRS Custom 24
that was built for Jim in 2001. During
recording I fell in love with that guitar and
signed on with PRS. I used other guitars
for layering and ear candy, but it was mainly
So you are doing more leads this time?
Rand: Not really. Two of my leads are
on B Sides and one is a song that’s never
going to be released. That bums me out,
because it’s the best solo I ever did. It’s the
heaviest Stone Sour song ever recorded,
but it didn’t fit the rest of the album.
It sounds like you already had specific guitars
or tones in mind to use with each track.
Root: After doing a lot of recording I
know how certain guitars will sound.
Granted, a tone I thought might sound
great on a song won’t, or something that
worked in the past might not this time. In
some cases I’ll dial up a combination that
worked on past albums.
Have you ever found that multiple layers of
guitars can actually sound thin?
Root: It’s case by case. Two guitars
together with a third track will make a completely
different tone than just the two.
But sometimes too much layering is just
too much layering. The straightforward
heavy songs are usually no more than three
guitar tracks, but for some of the more
ethereal songs, where we aren’t using distortion,
you can just keep layering until
you have like 17 guitar tracks.
A super group is intriguing. Take a guitarist
from one band, toss them in with a new
batch of musicians with diverse backgrounds,
and you may get to hear a Mister
Hyde-style personality switch that you
didn’t anticipate. Changing creative ingredients
and the desire to play music for a
good time brought Mudvayne guitarist Greg
Tribbett and Nothingface guitarist Tom
Maxwell together with Pantera drummer
Vinnie Paul to form HELLYEAH. With
Mudvayne vocalist Chad Gray and Damageplan
bassist Bob Zilla onboard, Tribbett
provides their mission statement:
“HELLYEAH is about a good time. We’re
trying to bring that back. I think that’s
what’s missing in the rock and roll scene
today. Everybody is so serious! What happened
to the actual rock star? We want to
play music that’s just a party, with no apologies.
With us, every night is Friday night.”
HELLYEAH released their latest album,
Stampede [Epic], in July 2010.
Greg, the difference between your sound in
Mudvayne and HELLYEAHis pretty remarkable.
Tribbett: It took me five Mudvayne
records to figure it out. I needed a different
outlook. Mudvayne is very intricate and
had a real thought process behind it. I
wanted something more down the middle.
Vinnie Paul came along with this band and
I couldn’t say no to him.
How do you like playing with another guitarist?
Tribbett: It’s really cool. When we first
got together we discovered we actually play
a lot alike, rhythm wise. His solos are a little
bluesier and mine are more intricate. One of us will pick who wants to do the
solo. I think we’ve done a coin toss before.
I was using Randall in Mudvane, now I’m
running two Marshall Vintage Modern
stacks, with an Ibanez Weeping Demon
wah pedal and an Ibanez Tube Screamer.
I’m about as basic as you can get.
Tom, your style is straight up rock, but a
little bluesy too.
Maxwell: Jimmy Page had a massive
influence on me, and then later on Slayer
and Metallica. I think I’ve blended the two.
I admire Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai,
but they’re way more acrobatic than anything
I’d ever do. I was never very good at
playing other people’s stuff, so I started
writing my own songs—just crappy high
school stuff, but at the time they sounded
good to me.
What’s the story behind your signature model
Maxwell: I got offers for guitar endorsements,
but I’d rather pay for a good guitar
than get crap for free. I was really impressed
with how much love Dean puts into their
guitars. I’m playing three prototypes now
and they sound kickass. I’m bringing those
prototypes with me on tour, but we’re still
tweaking the details. Dean is developing
its own pickups, and my signature pickup
will be based on a 1957 Gibson humbucker.
Those and my old Marshall JCM800 heads
stocked with Groove Tubes EL34’s. I don’t
fix what isn’t broke.
Do you use any effects?
Maxwell: I use an Ibanez Tube Screamer
for grit. It has the chunk and extra girth
without blowing the sound out with too
much midrange or bass. It gives you the
overdrive without sounding too metal, and I have it on 90 percent of the time. I use a
Dunlop 535Q wah for solos. I like being able
to adjust the degree of the sweep, or I can
have it set wide open. I’m using my trusty
old Boss Super Chorus, which is great for
chord work because it’s subtle. A lot of choruses
can actually increase the volume and
change the tone. This one just adds a floaty
kind of sound without getting too crazy.
Halestorm aren’t new to the festival circuit,
but are still in the first leg of what’s to be a
nonstop year of touring to promote their
first full-length album, Halestorm [Atlantic].
When bassist Josh Smith pointed out to
singer-guitarist Lzzy Hale that she would be
the only woman performing at Uproar, she
shrugged it off. “Part of me likes sticking out
like a sore thumb, because I can’t slack off,”
says Hale. “It forces me to bring it because
I’m representing. Another part says, ‘Hey, I
made it into the boy’s club!’ But, ultimately,
that doesn’t matter, because we’re all here
doing what we love every day. I forget about
it until someone reminds me, which they
rarely do.” GP recently caught up with Hale
and lead guitarist Joe Hottinger.
There’s a pretty comprehensive collection of
Gibsons between the two of you.
Hale: I gravitated toward Gibsons because
they are such big hunks of wood to hang
onto—and then stayed for the sound. My
Les Paul Custom isn’t chambered, so if I
have back problems when I’m older I’ll know
why. My Explorer has become my go-to guitar
because I can flip to any pickup position
and count on the warm tone, clean or
crunchy. I have a Joan Jett Melody Maker that
the guys bought me as a gift when we finished
the record. It’s small, but it can sing.
Then there’s the Firebird V, the Tribal V, and
a Reverse Flying V, which looks kind of silly,
but it plays well. I do have a Fender baritone
and a BC Rich Bich, but I can’t get away from
the Gibsons. The only mods both Joe and I
ever made to the Gibsons was to install Tone-
Pros bridges for lasting sustain. I would take
them all on the road, but there just isn’t
enough room! I don’t like to let guitars sit.
I play and exercise them all consistently.
Hottinger: I play the Flying V’s and the
Explorers, but I also use an SG. They’re all
from 2007, when Gibson did a thing called
“guitar of the week,” where they’d only make
a short run of a custom guitar. It could be a
limited edition paint job, or special electronics,
like an SG Special with EMG pickups. I
like the idea of having something that you
can’t just walk into a music store and get.
How would you describe yourself stylistically?
Hottinger: My early heroes were Jeff
Buckley and Kurt Cobain so I was minimalist—
serve the song, serve the melody. I
shunned guitar solos for some time but now
I’ve totally changed my approach. I got to
know Eric Friedman of Daughters of Mara,
who just screams on guitar, and he turned
me on to different ways to warm up, metal
riffs, and playing more leads. You know how
they say you don’t know what you don’t
know? I never got that until I started jamming
with Eric. He taught me—and Lzzy,
too—how to play all over again.
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