I don’t see the word BRAND as something to avoid. I think you’re embracing a down-to-earth, generic, blue-collar and no-nonsense approach as part of your image, which to me, seem like a legitimate direction. Honestly, it’s sort of a made-up, hipsterish creation, but still, it’s headed in a well-thought-through direction if that’s your primary target audience (which you didn’t mention).
However, your choice of colors are, well, dark, dreary and depressing. It’s not even an interesting gray you’ve used, it’s a flat, lifeless gray lacking a soul, which is what I think Steve was referring to. I get it when you say you want to play up strength and stone-like qualities, but you’ve tossed out all the nuances of what you could do with subtle stone-like colors, and made it as dull, boring and monotonous as a cinder block.
From a practical standpoint, you won’t be able to reproduce this logo using four-color process printing since color shifts typically occur with neutral grays composed of process colors. If the magenta prints just one percent darker than, say, the cyan, it will cause a noticeable shift to red or the other way around if the cyan is a little off. This reduces the background to never being anything but a lifeless screentint of black ink.
And speaking of the way-too-dark and dreary background, why is it there anyway? A background isn’t normally part of a logo and controlling the background color each time your logo is used will not be practical or desirable. I mean, what are you intending to do, make a dark gray box around every instance of the logo being used — that won’t look good.
I like the industrial look of the typeface since it fits with the personality you’re trying to create, but your letter spacing is, well, not so good, as in S T ONE BR A ND.