We caught up with guitarist Josh Rand at UPROAR festival
in the fall to discuss the band’s current album and their upcoming
You guys have a new album?
Josh Rand: Yes, It came out Sept. 7 in the U.S. It’s called Audio Secrecy.
Cool. What’s the story behind the title?
JR: Actually Corey came up with the title and it’s basically all themed together, like a "Secret Society.”
Are there clues throughout the album?
JR: Yeah, there is going to be. Well, the first video we shot has codes in there that will give you a secret message. There will be all these secrets throughout the whole cycle of the record: in the videos, the special edition of the record. Yeah, we're going to have a lot of fun over the next year doing cool stuff, as far as codes and all that.
CB: I saw that you recorded in Nashville. I think you guys were there recording during the flood, right?
JR: I was not but the rest of the band was down there. I was at home. I had traveled back to Iowa for the week when the floods actually broke out. But the rest of the band was down there. At its worst point, I was actually at the airport and the guitar tech called me and said, "We can’t even get back to the house, there is no sense in you coming down." So I ended up staying in Des Moines for another five days, and then traveled down there and saw a little bit of what had happened. But I wasn't down there at its worst point. But you know Des Moines has had bad floods. Actually about a month ago, we went through it, so we know the devastation that it can bring. I mean in 1993, we lost the water supply for 18 days which no one had fresh water. We know how bad it could have been. In Des Moines, we have two rivers that connect basically, so it’s going to happen.
I know you have been playing music forever growing up, so what was the name of your first band?
JR: Criminal Mischief. Actually, Corey was in that band and so was Sean. I played bass and Sean actually played guitar.
So you just flip-flopped?
JR: Yeah we did.
JR: Yeah. It was pretty bad.
How old were you?
Josh: I was 15. Actually, I started playing later than most people.
So what made you switch from bass to guitar?
JR: I got influenced by a bunch of technical players on bass. Billy Sheehan, who at the time was Mr. Big, and Cliff Burton from Metallica — just trying to play what those guys played really made my hands really strong, and then just goofing off one day I picked up a guitar, and all the sudden I could do all this "shredding" type stuff because of playing on the bass and working so hard to be able to do that stuff. And I was like, "Man this is easy." And it freaked everybody out. Everybody was like, "Dude, you have to play guitar not bass." So then it just made sense, and I switched. At the same time Billy was playing in Mr. Big, and I had checked out a band he was in prior to Mr. Big called Racer X, and I heard some of that stuff and I was just like, "That’s what I want to do." So I still spent tons of time practicing and be able to speed pick and stuff like he does.
I interviewed Fieldy from Korn
in the summer, and he is a bass player and plays guitar, and I asked
him what was the one thing he wanted to do, and he said, "I just want
to shred on the guitar, I can’t do it." So I know it’s so hard.
JR: Well, it’s one of those things that you have to put a lot of time into it. Practicing, you have to start out slow. You’re not just going to wake up and be able to play like that. I am convinced that if you put in time and do it properly, you’re only going to go so fast, but you can still shred if you put the time into it. Just like anything, period. Just like the athletes. Everybody complains, "How can you spend 'X' amount of dollars on these guys?" But people don't realize what these guys' diets are, how strict everything is, how hard they work, and they have been doing it since they have been kids. It all takes practice. With anything, you just have to put the time into it.
So, with that, who has been your biggest inspiration?
JR: Wow, there is a ton of people. There has really been like five bands that have really influenced me from being a little kid to today, and I would start out with KISS, that’s really what got me going when I was a little kid. Actually I went and saw my first concert with them, right before Peter left, I was 5 years old. After KISS came Motley Crew's Shout at the Devil and Iron Maiden's Life After Death, then Metallica and Dream Theater. It’s probably those five bands that did influence me and still influence me today.
I saw KISS for the first time in August.
JR: For the first time?!
Yeah, I know. I saw them, and it was, “How could I have not done this my whole life?” And they have still "got it." It’s amazing!
JR: My youngest daughter is a closet KISS fan.
There were so many kids there! They were
doing this promo where you buy one ticket and get all your kids for
free, just a whole family affair now.
JR: Yeah, I took her to it, and I had seen them multiple times since I was 5 years old, and I was really impressed at how good they sounded and the fact that they still put everything into their show. It’s still awesome. I walked away and, for me, it’s just kind of weird not seeing Peter in the band. But Tommy and Eric do a wonderful job. Actually, it might even be better with those two playing, if that makes any sense. It’s just spot on. It was awesome.
I was researching your work to prep for the interview and there is actually a magician named Josh Rand.
JR: Yeah, I have had that come up a couple of times.
So if you weren't doing this, what do you think you would be doing? Magic?
JR: Definitely not magic. That would be interesting. When I grew up, my dad was a truck driver. And I did a little bit of that before Stone Sour started, so I would assume that I would be a truck driver at some point. Whether it be over the road, or a delivery job somewhere, something like that. I actually have my CDL.
Can you drive the bus?
JR: I can’t drive the bus because I don't have the passenger piece yet. Yeah, I can’t take passengers, but I do know about air brakes and all that stuff. I think that it would be really funny if everybody woke up and would freak out about how I'm driving the bus one day.
You should try that.
JR: I might just to see the reaction of everybody.
Just for a few miles, just for the morning wake up time.
Josh: I'll get everybody up early, swerve all over the place on the interstate, everybody in their bunks will be going, "What the hell is going on?" Oh there’s a pothole. But, yeah, I would probably be a driver.
So what do you do in your down time?
JR: For me, I'm married with two kids, married for 12 years. My oldest daughter is 11 and the youngest is 7, so a lot of family time and, of late, I have been working on my home and my yard.
You still live in Iowa?
JR: Yeah, and I am a little bit of a control freak, no hiring of workers, because everyone makes fun of me because I will do everything myself. I enjoy doing it and I am a picky person. I feel like the other people just don't care. So nobody is going to put the love into it that I am going to. I just remodeled my daughter's room earlier this year. It took me four days to properly sand the room. If I would have hired it out, it would have been done in a day and it would crack out in like five years, but I did it old school and the way I felt like it should be done.
What do you do on the road during the down time?
JR: I go crazy. Right now, Madden just came out which is the only game that I play, so that has kind of been a lot of my time. I had the family out last week. Practice, interviews, and then work. On this tour, we are doing two meet-and-greets each day. We are also doing a thing with Best Buy.
This is crazy today. I don't know if you saw
this outside, but there are kids. I mean, I guess nobody went to school
today because the kids are lined up for four blocks down the street. I
guess that’s why they had to move to the arena, because they sold so
many tickets. It’s going to be a good day.
JR: Yeah, it’s going to be awesome.
Any music you're listening to right now other than the album?
JR: I just picked up the new Iron Maiden that just came out, but I haven't listened to it yet. What else have I picked up? The new Avenged Sevenfold.
One of my favorite albums is Halestorm. Just something about it, I love it.
JR: It’s just straight Rock & Roll. She's just almost got a Joan (Jett) voice to me. She's really good. I don't know what else. I usually just buy stuff and listen to it once and it sits in my iTunes. I have like 1,700 records in my iTunes. It’s ridiculous.
I forget what I have. I usually just set it on shuffle and let it go.
Josh: I have been listening to some Jazz stuff actually.
I always find it interesting. Most of the Metal people I talk to don't listen to Metal much anymore. It’s crazy.
Like, Country, or Lady Gaga, or you know, crazy stuff.
JR: I would never listen to that. I mean I listen to Metal but it’s not like that’s all I listen to, and maybe that’s because I'm doing it and listening to it all day. It’s refreshing to hear other genres of music. I really like the Jazz. All the old guys: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, stuff like that. It just relaxes me and it’s cool. As far as the Metal stuff, I just need a break. I have really started moving away from listening to that stuff except for the bands that I grew up with.