» Roy Mayorga - Stone Sour
« back

Interview conducted June 8 2018
Interview published July 1 2018

"For years I'd been chasing that dream and just been a hired gun."

American outfit Stone Sour showed up for a performance at Sweden Rock in June and Metal Covenant was given some time to talk with the band's drummer Roy Mayorga.

Tobbe: In regards to Stone Sour's albums being so versatile, what could possibly be the next step for you guys music-wise?

Roy: I don't know. We're all just gonna have to find out when that time comes. You know, honestly we don't really think too hard before we write a record. We just kind of get together and see what comes out. Nothing's really pre-planned or anything like that. Like this record [Hydrograd] wasn't pre-planned at all; we just kind of went with it.

And just by getting together when we did all the cover EPs, we were writing things in between, and playing together in a room, like at the same time, definitely lent a lot of that to this new record and we just kind of went with that, you know.

Tobbe: Will the band ever kind of feel that you've been putting out the perfect, or the near perfect, record, considering the style of songs is ever changing?

Roy: What record is perfect? There is no such thing as a perfect record. All the imperfections is perfect to me, you know. I like a record that has imperfections. Our record has a ton of imperfections on it. First off, we didn't even play to a click track. We didn't auto-tune anything and basically we just recorded the record old school style. Just recorded it from top to bottom, did several takes of each song and went with one take and …hope for the best.

And then, you know, built on top of those tracks and keep the human feel in there, you know what I mean? So I love all the imperfections in a record, from any bands. It's personality, you know.

Tobbe: Could there ever perhaps come a day when the band has kind of made everything within your range and needs to make a more direct album instead of being so versatile over a record?

Roy: I don't know. I mean, I think this is the way we write. Every record we have has a little bit for someone, you know. Like there's some softer songs on it, there's heavier songs on it. That's just how we write, you know. There's 5 individuals in this band that bring in their personalities and each of us build on top of that person's individual personality in the song that they brought in and it turns into a Stone Sour song. So our records aren't exactly genre specific and I'm fine with that. That's okay, you know. It'll allow us to play anywhere and have a nice audience that will dig it, you know what I mean?

Tobbe: I just gotta ask this: Who came up with the idea of starting the record with "Hello you bastards."?

Roy: Actually that was my voice and how that happened was I got an e-mail from someone. I'm not sure where, but somewhere here in Europe, and the e-mail started with "Hello you bastards" and it was to me. Basically it was, like, a threatening e-mail and at first it was a little bit alarming, then I was kind of like "This is kind of a joke.". So the voice that came up in my head of this person's e-mail was that voice and I remember reading it to the guys and Corey [Taylor, vocals] was like "You should make that voice in the beginning of the record.". So I did 3 takes of that voice and we went with the second take.

At the same time the idea of that also was inspired from the beginning of Machine Gun Etiquette by The Damned with Love Song. It's like "Ladies and gentlemen". You know, they're kind of same thing. So Corey was saying to me "We should do that. It would be kind of cool to pay homage to The Damned with that.".

Tobbe: When you get to a certain high level in your career, is it easy to take some stuff for granted sometimes?

Roy: You know, I'll tell you this: I wake up every day, thinking "I'm fucking lucky to be doing this.". So no, I don't take any of this for granted. I take it all in and I'm very appreciative for what I have and what I've achieved over the years and definitely thankful and grateful that I'm able to play music and do something I love and make a living from it, you know.

For years I'd been chasing that dream and just been a hired gun. I've been touring since 1985, since I was 15. You know, being in punk rock bands and try to make ends meet and working 3 jobs. Luckily the jobs that I've had were cool with me leaving every now and then for a month or two to go tour, and I'd come back broke, but it was worth it to me 'cause I got the experience of life on the road, touring, you know. It would be in a van, or in a car, or sleeping on somebody's floor, playing some shithole club, but walking out of there really satisfied, you know. And I still get the feeling of anxious anticipation and nervousness, but in a positive way, before walking up on stage, still to this day.

The day that feeling is gone, it's gonna be sad, but I don't think that feeling will ever leave. I'm like that right until I count the band in. Just 2 hits, and since I start to hit, then it's all gone. It's a great feeling, man. I'm definitely lucky to be here doing this, for sure.

Tobbe: As Josh [Rand, guitar] went into rehab some time ago, will there from now on always be some concern in the band about his condition?

Roy: Yeah, he's doing great, man. He's doing awesome. It's a day-by-day process, you know what I mean? What he did… you know, it took a lot of courage to let the world know what's going on. He took it by the horns and he championed it. It took a few months and he went and got help for what he needed and now he's doing great. Now we have him back, yeah. He's fucking kicking ass.

Tobbe: But didn't you guys ever take the least notice of him not feeling so well? Usually there are some signs, you know.

Roy: A little bit, yeah. I mean, there was times when he was pretty subdued, towards the end, leading up to when he took off from the band for a minute. That's when we started noticing things, you know.

Tobbe: When looking back at what you've personally accomplished to this day, what makes you most happy when you think about it?

Roy: Well, everything. Everything that I've experienced in my last 30 years of my career. All of it makes me happy; I have no regrets on anything. The paths I had to take to get here, a lot of things along the way, my musical journey… I mean, it's all good. It's a lot of uphill/downhill, a lot of grinding, a lot of blood, sweat and tears, really. I wouldn't change any of it.

Tobbe: You've been playing with a few bands before and you joined Stone Sour about 12 years ago and if you would try to compare being part of some of those bands with being in Stone Sour, what would come to your mind then?

Roy: Well, Stone Sour: I was made a member of this band in the day I joined. Like, pretty much a week after I recorded on the record [Come What(ever) May]. Before: I was just a hired gun, though I had influence in the bands I was in. It's great, you know. But the bands I was in before… I mean, I'm not gonna take anything away from that. I'm proud of being a part of Soulfly, those first couple of records. I was proud of being part of bands like Shelter and one of my first punk bands, Nausea, who I first came to Europe with, in 1990. I mean, I'm proud of all that stuff. No regrets.

Tobbe: And in your own opinion, in what way have you been adjusting your drum playing style when going through these bands?

Roy: That's the art of adaption, isn't it? I adapt to every situation. I try to, you know, as people are asking me, like, "What kind of drummer are you?" I'm like "I really don't consider myself a specific type of drummer.". I was in a punk band, so I'm gonna play that kind of drumming, but with whatever influences with me before. I'll drag that with me to the next band and then I'll drag whatever I learned from that band to the next band.

So now, with Stone Sour… I mean, my drumming really hasn't been limited, but if anything I'm doing a lot more now than I've done before and basically every influence, inspiration and experience I've had before I bring it in to this band now. I started listening to soul music; that kind of drumming. Clyde Stubblefield from James Brown; I listened to that in the beginning. My parents listened to that stuff. And then I got into rock, and then I got into John Bonham, I got into Bill Ward in Black Sabbath, after that I got into punk and electronic music. You know, all that shit; that's in my head when I play.

Tobbe: Besides your drum play, what is your own most important asset to the band?

Roy: Just be a brother, be a good dude to your friends. Be a good friend, you know. That's the first and foremost thing. You need that off stage. Like the brotherhood, the friendship needs to be there. You know, that chemistry needs to be there. If that's not there, then what's the point?

Tobbe: It's very hard to work with people that you can't work with.

Roy: But it's not a job either. I mean, this is something we all love to do. We all love to be here, we all love being around each other. We're a family, you know. We're a family away from our own family. So we have each other. 'Cause it is hard to leave your families for such a long time, you know. This is what we do for a living; gotta deal with it, you know. Luckily, in these days we have iPhones and we can have FaceTime and we can see them when we want. As before, like 20 years ago, when we didn't have any of that, it was, like, a collect call, you know, or phone cards.

Tobbe: Charging $100.

Roy: Yeah, you were at the mercy of that. That was horrible, man. It's so much easier these days. But still, you get a little bit depressed sometimes. You know, you miss your family. I'm okay now, but usually by the third/fourth week I'm just kind of "Man, I miss my daughter.", you know. But, you know what? This is only for a year and a half or two years. It's not like it's forever, so at least after this I know I'll be home for a couple of years and I'll be able to have that time. But you don't get any of this time back, which is horrible, but it is what it is.

Tobbe: Have you ever felt like throwing your drum sticks away and do something completely different than being part of a band?

Roy: Well, actually that did happen to me. Like in 2005 I kind of gave up playing because I just didn't feel like I was gonna really go anywhere. I was trying different bands and doing session work and I just wasn't having fun anymore. So I did put my drum sticks down and I joined my wife in her hair salon and started doing hair. And then one day I got a phone call from Dino Cazares from Fear Factory and he was doing the Roadrunner United compilation. He was one of the music captains there with, like, Joey Jordison [In Slipknot at that time], Robb Flynn [Machine Head] and Matt Heafy from Trivium.

So he called me to be his drummer for his songs, and to write songs with him, which was great because at the time… like, there was, like, 5-6 months where I wasn't playing with anybody. I was already done with drumming and I'd go "I'm 35 and I don't think anything is gonna happen anymore, so fuck this!". He was like "No, man. I need you to play drums." and he pretty much opened that door for me again, back into the whole metal/Roadrunner world and then next thing I know I find myself in New York City in 2005 playing live with, you know, all those guys.

You know, everyone from Slipknot to Machine Head and Andreas [Kisser] from Sepultura, which led me to play drums for Igor [Cavalera]. When Igor took off I ended up playing drums for Sepultura for a few months and that's when I got the call to go and do Stone Sour.

Tobbe: Isn't it strange how life takes turns?

Roy: It's insane, yeah. Because just months before that I was like "Fuck! I'm done trying. I think I'm gonna go into doing hair or working in a recording studio.", which was where my mind was gonna go until Dino called me. So, you know, I owe him a lot for that, for what he did. I'm glad he made that call.

Tobbe: But maybe that off-time gave you some energy too?

Roy: It did. Absolutely. I realized how much I loved playing drums and how wrong I would be doing myself to not play anymore. I think back on that and "How the fuck could I have done that to myself and stop playing?". I mean, I live to play drums; I've been playing drums since I was 6 years old. The first day I started playing drums I knew for the rest of my life that was what I was gonna do.

Related links: