A year following Stone Sour’s last visit to our shores, fans are still raving about the shows last August in support of the band’s latest studio album, ‘Hydrograd’. With the addition of a brand new festival on Australian soil this December, we sat down with guitarist Josh Rand for a chat about why the band were so excited to jump on board Good Things Festival and return to Australia much sooner than originally planned.

“Being asked to do it, to co-headline and to close a stage, it just seemed like, well, why wouldn’t we do it? It’s a great thing to be asked to do and it’s a perfect way for us to be able to end our touring cycle for this record. Initially we were stopping in November but then this opportunity presented itself. To be able to be a part of – and as I said, on top of that, to be co-headlining with The Offspring – it’s crazy. It took us forever to get down there in our career, so to be able to come down there twice on one record cycle is awesome,” he begins. Speaking of Australian festivals in general he elaborates on being able to be a part of history, playing the inaugural Good Things Festival this summer. “I loved Soundwave. I’m on record saying that of all the festivals – and we’ve done a lot around the world,” he laughs, “that it was my favourite. I can’t wait to come down and be a part of the new one.”

Asking Rand what, in his mind, sets Australian fans apart from fans around the rest of the world, he lets out an exasperated sigh. “Honestly, I don’t know anymore.” He tell us, not that that’s a bad thing. He explains by saying “I think everybody is passionate about music, period. The more technology has advanced and everybody is connected all around the world, I think it’s kind of changed the shows and how people see them. At the festivals, I think people really appreciate it and it doesn’t really matter where you’re at anymore. It’s pretty much the same everywhere. Is this fan from this country more devoted to the band than say another fan in another country? At this point I’d say we’re pretty lucky and it’s pretty much across the board. We’re successful everywhere we’ve been, you know? The band is at that level, we’re not in one of those situations where we’re a band where we can headline, let’s say The U.K., but we can’t sell a 500-seat club in the U.S. We’re lucky enough that we’re pretty much at the same level wherever we’re at. At the end of the day, I’m appreciative to everybody.”

Having not played an Australian festival since 2013, Rand tells us that while the band haven’t sat down to specifically talk about what songs we’re likely to see make the cut for their set at Good Things Festival, they do have some things planned. “Because when we were down there was the very beginning of the cycle, it’d definitely be different than what we played a year ago. Obviously some songs are still going to be the same, but there will be some new stuff because we rotate songs in and out of certain parts in the set. So what we’ll probably do it look at the setlists from a year ago and see what we played compared to what we do now, and then make those changes. Usually every time we go to a different country, especially for a second time around, we always throw in a new song that we haven’t played anywhere, so I look for that to happen.”

Speaking of new material, Stone Sour have last week released ‘Hydrograd Deluxe’, featuring an entire disc of acoustic and cover tracks which Rand explains is something they wouldn’t normally do. “When we went in to record ‘Hydrograd’ we had 19 songs and we wanted to record all of them, but we knew in the back of our minds that we wouldn’t have all of them on one record. We actually recorded the record very quickly, it only took us like a month, and we had all this extra time because we had booked and paid for the studio for like two months. That’s when we recorded the acoustic songs that ended up being the vinyl that we released for Record Store Day, and we had a couple covers and then some of the live stuff that we’d shot. Initially there wasn’t talk of doing a deluxe until we realised that we had so much content.” He mentions that he’s normally against the angle many artists take, where they release a deluxe version with an extra two songs and explains why this is different. “Talking to the label, I told them, if we do a deluxe version, I want the second disc to be able to stand on its own and I think we did that. Between four unreleased originals, we’ve done so many covers – we’re sitting on a bunch of cover songs still – we felt like it justified being able to do a deluxe version.”

If you’re now pondering what may or may not be included on their set at Good Things, fear not, despite a recent knee injury, Rand feels confident that he will be back on his feet and rocking out  the way we know and love him to by the time December rolls around. “It doesn’t necessarily hurt, it just fells weird, it feels loose and sometimes my knee will buckle, but I’m trying to ride it out. We’re touring with Ozzy, I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long time, so it’s like, I don’t care, I’m playing these shows, I’m just going to sit down.” He laughs before continuing. “We have a big enough break between the end of Ozzy and before we go to Russia that I should be able to go in and get it scoped and have proper recovery time and rehab for it. I should be, knock on wood, standing for those shows!”

With the excitement for Good Things Festival clearly brewing, Rand leaves us with a message to Australian fans. “If I were to say something to the Australian fans, it’s that your love and your dedication is the reason that the band gets to come back down there this fall. If you guys didn’t want to see us again, then we wouldn’t be asked to do it, and that’s the honest to God truth.”

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