Who is Corey Taylor? Well, that depends on who you ask, as he is many things to many different people. He is the voice of both Slipknot and Stone Sour, a best selling author, and he also owns a film production company with fellow Slipknot band mate Shawn Crahan. Corey Taylor is also a father, a husband and generally an all around good dude.
When ThisIsNotAScene caught up with him in Bournemouth, he seemed in a jovial mood. It’s the final night of Stone Sour‘s UK tour, and before we roll tape he’s happy to talk to us about his 3 years of sobriety, his love for Doctor Who and having done all of his Christmas shopping whilst on tour. He is open and engaging from the get go. It’s like chatting to an old friend in the pub.
When we finally pin him down (not literally) for the interview he is just as engaging, goofy and intelligent as one has been led to believe. We discuss how 2012 has been for him, the “House of Gold and Bones” saga, ghosts, when we may see the return of Slipknot and erm, potentially working with Justin Beiber?
Ladies and Gentlemen join us on a journey into the mind of the one and only Corey Taylor.
Finish the sentence. 2012 has been….
Between getting the albums up and going. Basically I oversaw everything: the artwork, the packaging, the story. I’m adapting the story itself into the comics, trying to get those fucking going has been a crazy tedious process, but a really rewarding one. It’s been a lot of work, it’s had it’s ups and downs.
I lost my father in law about a month and a half ago, who succumb to cancer unfortunately, so that really kind of knocks the cherry off your happiness, but I know that he would be very very proud of what’s going on. He got to see me play before he went in the hospital, just a quick little acoustic gig, but he was so chuffed. It really, really made me fucking happy. He’s the only dad I’ve ever had. I only had him for about 5 years, but I’m glad I got to have him at least.
So it’s been an extremely wonderful year of accomplishment. Seeing everyone embrace “House of Gold and Bones pt.1” the way they have makes me very happy, but obviously you can’t have the good without the bad. It’s been a hell of a year let’s put it that way.
You mentioned that you have overseen everything to do with the release of House of Gold and Bones Part 1, was it challenging for you to explain everything you had in your head to the rest of the band to get everything going?
Not really, I mean they kind of assume that I know what I’m talking about. (Laughs). The poor bastards.
I explained the idea to them, the concept of what it was essentially. That got them really excited, not only that but when I told them I wanted it to be a double album that really got them excited. Essentially we were getting into territory that we’d never done before. Not only making an album that had a narrative, had a concept, had a theme and everything, but also to rise to the challenge with that many songs. They were really stoked and I was really happy about it.
I kinda cheated a little. I played them a bunch of the songs I’d written, stuff like ‘Gone Sovereign’ and ‘A Rumour Of Skin’, that helped their excitement to say the least, so it was pretty cool. Once I really wrote it out and got it so you could read it and see it, and had it so you could see all the different halves and stuff, they really got behind it. It’s been awesome knowing that we are all on the same page, fighting for something that means that much to us.
Part 2 of the House of Gold and Bones saga has yet to be released, what can we expect from that?
“Part 2” is much darker, if I’m honest. Aside from it being a completely different album, it feels more like a soundtrack to a movie in a lot of ways man. It’s really thematic, there are themes from part 1 that reveal themselves and that come again musically, there’s actually stuff from Part 2 that you’ll hear that’s on part 1 and you’ll be like “Fucking hell!” We essentially recorded these, and this is where technology is now, that so you could have these in a playlist on your iTunes and play them top to fucking bottom and really get that experience while you read both parts.
So it’s some of our darkest music, our most intricate and complex music, some of the best fucking lyrics I’ve ever written to be honest, even writing from a narrative like that, it was so challenging. Plus, it’s got some of our best songs on it. You guys think part 1’s good, fuck off, ‘Do Me A Favour’ alone is going to kick the shit out of people and that’s going to be the first single which comes out in January, that’s going to be the first taste that people get of part 2, and people aren’t going to know what to do.
Would you rule out a House of Gold and Bones part 3?
No, it wraps up in Part 2 pretty well. I’ve gotten that question before, and the thing that I’ve realised is, essentially this is one story, this isn’t a real sequel this is just the second half of the same story. If you try and force a Part 3 and it just feels forced, that’s exactly what it would be, it would be forced. The great thing about this is that it doesn’t feel forced at all, it came so effortlessly really. It was a lot of work but it came so naturally to us and I think that’s the reason why people are responding to it so well, there’s so much good shit on it. I think we’ve done it and I don’t want to fuck with it.
Not to compare it to this but it’s the same reason that if you tried to do a sequel to The Wizard of Oz it doesn’t work. People have tried and you’re just like ‘Will you please just stop, it is what it is’, like that god awful sequel to Gone With The Wind, I was like ‘Really?, you guys are assholes’ leave it as what it is. I think that’s why it works, and is going to stand for a long time.
So no House of Gold and Bones: Electric Boogaloo then? (Laughs)
Well, once I get to Broadway it’ll be great. (Laughs). The funny thing is, this is all building towards me working on two movies. That was essentially my goal from day one, which is pretty fucked up when you think about it, but that won’t happen until the comics come out, then it’s a visual representation. Then between the music, the short story itself and the comics, I’ll be able to fashion that into two scripts. That’ll be really fucking exciting.
I wanted to ask about the comic, because we know that Dark Horse comics are the ones distributing it and its going to run for four issues. Firstly, how did it come about and secondly, how does it tie in with the albums?
It’s the short story. So what you’re reading is what you’re going to see in the comic. That’s why I wanted to do it that way, in the comic you can flesh it out a little more, you can give it that visual representation, you can paint a little bit outside the lines, because it doesn’t strictly follow what’s in the story. It’s essentially the same story, but there’s little bits here and there that you can throw in The Human’s mouth and give him little things here and there which is pretty cool.
We were talking to a couple of different comic companies because I’ve always wanted to do a comic since day one, especially once the story was done and I was reading it back. I was like, “This would be fucking brilliant as a comic,” then people started coming out of the woodwork. At one point I was going to do it with DC, they are such a big company but they couldn’t get their shit together and there was no way it was going to happen. DC fell through, well I basically told them to go pound sand, because I was tired of waiting. There’s a guy there whose a big metal fan called Ian Sattler, he’s worked with Scott Ian on some stuff, and even that took years to go through, after two months of basically sitting and twiddling my fucking thumbs, I walked away from DC, how the fuck does that happen?
But luckily there were three or four companies that were still interested and Dark Horse was one of them. They immediately got the mini series and that this could be something really special, and they immediately saw that the short story could be adapted into something really cool. They’ve been so cooperative because I’ve never written a comic strip before, so they’ve held my hand through the growing pains and now I’m working on issue 3, trying to get it hammered out. It’s going pretty well.
What is the current status of Living Breathing Films, the production company you and Shawn Crahan started together? Have you got anything ready as of yet?
We’re nearly done with the first script and that’s been a long time getting ready, but that’s part of the process, you keep going back and forth until you get something that you back. It’s going to be cool, it’s a really fucking dark script, so a few tweaks here and there and we’ll be able to break ground on that next year. I’m still fucking excited for that, if and when we do the HoGab movies they will be through Living Breathing.
There’s also a couple of other things as well, I’m working on a T.V show that I’m going to pitch to some of the cable companies next year, based around an original concept I came up with, with a friend of mine. It’s all good shit, we’re starting to get our fingers into all different cakes. I’m fucking ecstatic.
Are there any clues you can give us about the T.V show or is it too early to talk about it?
Not to get too deep into it, but it’s essentially based around Sin as a commodity. Me and my friend Paul Brown, whose a video director and a director in his own right, we were talking about Sin, and we were like “Wouldn’t it be weird if you could pay a company a certain amount of money and they could remove that Sin from you, and put it on someone else.” Almost like Sin is an energy that cannot be destroyed or created, so it’s kind of based around that. It’s kind of got an X- Files, Fringe, Supernatural sort of thing about it, where there’s a rag tag band of people fighting this huge conglomerate, it’s going to be really fucking cool.
We know you’re currently working on book number 2. What’s the deal with that, is it another autobiography or a work of fiction this time?
I will give you the official title, because I had to write it down because it’s very, very long. It’s called “A funny thing happened on the way to heaven: Or how I made peace with the paranormal, and stigmatized the zealots and cynics in the process”. Of course it was my book company that wanted the subtext and I was like “Fuck, really? Why does every book have to have a subtext?”, but then I came up with that and I was like “oh, OK.”
Book 2 is essentially my adventures with ghosts, and all the things I’ve seen over the years and the places I’ve been, the places that I’ve also lived in and stayed at. It’s also kind of the same concept as the first book, where I kind of played Devil’s Advocate for the sins. Where as, this is me basically trying to figure out how I can believe in ghosts so purely yet I don’t believe in god, it’s very very weird. I’m an atheist and still butt heads with fellow atheists who don’t believe in things like spirits, no matter what. So it’s me telling stories and making arguments.
I’m also getting into a little Science and Maths as well, there’s two chapters where I actually use scientific laws to try and explain the existence of ghosts, it’s very weird. I got into the laws of thermodynamics and the E.P.R Paradox, which is so strange. I got deep with it, and I came up with an equation to explain this idea that I have which is called Intelligent Energy, which is that all of us are basically walking engines. We give off so much energy, pure energy basically, and between the mind and that energy that’s what the soul is, so why couldn’t a powerful personality emboss themselves on that energy, since energy can neither be destroyed or created, so if it’s not reincarnated where does it go? And maybe that explains the existence of spirits, I get a lot deeper with it than that
It was really cool to flesh out those ides because I’ve had them for a very long time, and even if they’re bollocks, fuck it, at least I got them down. If somebody can prove it to me that that is not how it works then fine, but I still have all these things that I’ve seen and that I’ve experienced, so tell me I’m wrong to my face.
You’re heading back into Slipknot mode next year, we all know this. I wanted to ask what the current feeling is in Slipknot and whether you guys have a clearer idea of your future?
We’re getting there, you know it’s still those baby steps. We’re talking about starting to get some music together in 2014, I’m still going to be on the road with Stone Sour, but we’re just kind of getting the demo’s together, seeing where we’re at. There’s people in the band that are still trying to get healthy, that are still trying to figure a bunch of stuff out, so we’re just trying to be there for each other in that respect.
We’re doing the four shows next year which will be really cool. Hopefully that gets us to that next level where we’re ready to walk in a studio as we are, it’s still really weird, it’s still very strange to think of on my end. I think once we go in, it’s going to be something pretty incredible to be honest, because there’s going to be a lot of emotion involved.
Both Slipknot and Stone Sour are playing the Download Festival next year, but as we all know Download is a three day event, will you be donning the flat cap and acoustic guitar on the other day?
Negative. You’re not the first person to ask me that, I mean god-dammit, isn’t two shows enough, you get me two out of the three days, greedy cunts. (Laughs). No, but I will be there for Iron Maiden so you will see me walking around. Knowing Scuzz TV they will probably grab me and have me doing another roving reporter thing, that’ll be great.
If you could erase one song from your back catalogue which one would it be?
None. Not one, I back everything I’ve done, because even if it’s a weird tune,you learn from mistakes. If you could hear some of the stuff I wrote in 91′-92′ you guys would lose your minds.
If you could pick one band to cover one of your songs, who would it be and which song?
That’s fucking great. I would love to hear what Ray Lamontagne would do with Through Glass, he is so amazing.
Which three songs would you pick to sum up your career?
Surfacing, Bother and I haven’t written it yet.
Is there any truth to the rumour you want to work with Justin Beiber?
(Laughs). No, that was something I threw out in an interview because I’ve got a lot of respect for him. No matter what anybody fucking says, he goes above and beyond for his fans. You’ll never hear me say a bad word about him, but it will never ever happen.
Of all the times you’ve played the Download Festival which has been your favourite experience?
I’ve got to be honest, this year was pretty fucking amazing, just me out there doing my own thing and having Lzzy (Hale, Halestorm) get up and do AC/DC with me. Honestly, we put that together in literally 10 seconds, I’ve never played that song before and it was really really cool. Then getting the Metal Hammer award as well, I just lost it, it was really heavy duty.
In closing do you have a message for all your fans out there?
Without casting aspersions on your sanity, thank you I guess. It’s weird, I try not to look back too much, but I look back on my career and I’m blown away that I even have one. So to me this is all extra, it’s all fucking icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned. The fact that people are supporting me after nearly 15 years, I must be doing something right or at least I look sexy when I try to dance. (Laughs).