Corey Taylor: A Man Of Many Talents
As we find out, Stone Sour is more than keeping Taylor busy...
Corey Taylor is a man of many talents. He is, of course, the singer in metal titans Slipknot – but also the frontman of Stone Sour, one of hard rock’s top vocalists and in addition, his outward personality has endeared him to many. The death of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray this summer has cast a shadow over the Iowa nine-piece, but, as we find out, Stone Sour is more than keeping Taylor busy.
You’re currently on a co-headlining tour with Avenged Sevenfold. Any backstage tomfoolery going on?
We haven’t had a chance to - there’s been a lot of driving! The other night at the Hammersmith on Halloween night it got a little crazy. I dunno if you saw pictures of it online but I went out in full make-up and this weird tutu with stockings – dressed to the nines, y’know. People were trying to get my ass and it was getting a little…wolfy. But it was fun, all in the spirit of Halloween and whatnot, but to be honest it’s been a lot of travelling so we haven’t really had the chance to hang out too much.
I was just going to ask you about the Halloween thing – was it a dare or just a bit of fun?
Oh, just having a bit of fun. Nobody can dare me to do anything that I don’t come up with on my own. I’m just one of those guys that don’t give a shit – one person’s taboo is my common sense, I love going out and taking the piss. Too many people take this way too seriously and you’ve gotta remind people that a show is a good time, a show is a celebration - a party - and if you’re taking yourself way to seriously then the vibe gets really dark and you don’t wanna do that – you want people walking away saying ‘holy shit, that was a great show’, so I do everything I can that they’re having a good time and to show them that I’m having just as much fun as they are.
What would you say then to people that say that Slipknot and Stone Sour’s music is too serious?
I think they’re digging too deep. The music is obviously going to have a lot of emotion, but at the same time it’s all different kinds of emotion – it really runs the gamut of human emotions. There’s a certain darkness to Slipknot but at the same time there’s a very strong dose of positivity. Stone sour is the same way. There’s a certain melancholy that comes with the slower stuff but at the end of the day there’s also that other side that is very positive. It’s all how you deliver. If you want to be one note wonder, and it just be brooding and dark and ‘blah blah blah’, it gets boring after a while.
Stone Sour seems like a band not one to shy away from melody and big choruses?
I know, we fucking embrace it,
How important is it to Stone Sour’s music?
It’s a pretty big part, but the thing that we kind of put forth is that if we write something and we back it, then it doesn’t matter what it sounds like – we’re going to go with it no matter what. The melody and the hooks…that’s kinda my fault. When I’m writing lyrics, I naturally look for the hook in whatever it is that we’re doing. And that goes with both bands. It could be the most brutal music in the planet with Slipknot, but there’s always going to be a hook, there’s going to be something for people to grab onto. It’s the same way but different musically with Stone Sour. I mean to, me the hook is everything. The hook is what pulls you in and keeps you there. It keeps those songs stuck in your head – it keeps your music stuck in people’s heads. And that’s what it is all about. I just have a very natural sense of hooky music, for whatever reason. And I make no apologies for it.
And do you think a lot of people over look your singing talent because you’re more well known for the shouting?
I think it’s coming around. If you’d asked the same question five years ago, it would have been a little more overlooked. But I’m really starting to get a lot more credit for the more melodic stuff, being able to really do anything I want vocally, which is everything that I’ve ever wanted. I’ve tried to do something different with every album, push the boundaries with every album - so I haven’t been sitting pining for it, but I’m glad that I’m starting to get the credit that I feel that I’ve kinda put out there.
Have you had any training for the singing over the years?
No no, I’ve been singing like this my whole life and I’ve only really been able to show it in the last few years. And that kinda comes down the producers that you work with. The first two Slipknot albums, I was kinda discouraged from singing like that. For whatever reason Ross [Robinson, producer] thought it might come off too contrived and he was really going for the scream therapy kind of thing. So as time has gone on I’ve pushed to get as much singing in there as possible, and it’s all sort of culminated with this album [‘Audio Secrecy’, Stone Sour’s latest album] and I’m really proud of everything that I did on it.
It seems to have done pretty well in the charts - did you expect that?
You hope for it, but it’s bad to expect it. If you expect it, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. For me, it’ comes down to, y know ‘I just hope people dig it’, ‘I hope people like it’. Obviously there’s a part of you that wants it to be successful but you don’t want to put everything on that – especially in this day and age where albums can blow up in the first week then just completely go away. We’ve really strived to be a longevity band. The more we get out and play for the people, the more it builds and more people start talking about it and more people start enjoying it. So that’s more important for me – keeping it out there longer than not go away right away.
Some people may not realise you’ve been associated with Stone Sour since the early 90s.
I started the band in 1992, me and original drummer Joel. It went through quite a few personnel changes for about five or six years, then obviously I joined Slipknot – but we never let Stone Sour get too far away. We’d always get together and demo stuff that we never got to record. And then after awhile when Slipknot was really starting to kind of go down that one road and I wasn’t really getting to do the music that I wanted to do, it was perfect because Stone Sour was already there. So even though it’s older than Slipknot, it was brand new and that brought the same excitement to the first album, to the second album and our career so far that we had when we first started the band in ‘92.
Were you almost jealous in a way that Slipknot got more success?
No, absolutely not, cause I’m partially responsible for that. The only real difference for me is that Slipknot was always a band that I was part of. It’d always been Clown’s band, Clown’s and Paul’s band, or Paul and Joey’s band, or a combination of the three. I was proud of what we did, and I’m still proud of what we accomplished. We accomplished so much for a band that extreme that it’s really kind of monumental. But I’ve never been jealous of the success because it’s a totally different style, a totally different band. To me, the success that we had with Stone Sour was fantastic but we had it in the face of Slipknot – we earned the success in the face me and Jim being in another band that’s so monumental.
You’ve probably been asked this a million times recently, but do you see a future for Slipknot at the moment?
Right now, yes and no. To be honest I’m not really looking down the road to making a new Slipknot album because I don’t know if I’m prepared to make new Slipknot music without Paul, to be honest. But y’know, I could definitely see us going out and doing some shows for the fans, and for us. But as far as doing a new album it’s going to be a while before I’m ready to do that.
I suppose Stone Sour is almost a welcome distraction from all that?
It definitely helped me, let’s put it that way. We were just finishing up the album when we got the news about Paul. I was actually in Des Moines, so it was pretty brutal. To have this, to be able to go to work right away, has definitely helped me to process things and help me work through some stuff. So yeah, I guess in a way I’m really glad and fortunate that I have it in my life. It’s always been such a huge part of my life. Slipknot is a big part of my life, but Stone Sour is a huge part of my heart. If it wasn’t for Stone Sour, I wouldn’t have been able to do the things that I did in Slipknot, and without Slipknot I wouldn’t have been able to really to have focus on what makes Stone Sour so different to be honest, so it’s a very symbiotic relationship and I’m just kinda fortunate to have both in my life.
Stone Sour’s new single ‘Digital [Did You Tell]’ is out on 21st November.