Inked Magazine recently caught up with Stone Sour/ Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor to talk about his duality in singing for both bands, and to take a look at his collected work in his lifelong commitment to tattoos. During the interview, which you can read in full here, Taylor discusses his philosphical approach to both music and body art. He goes on to talk about dark times, relationships, Les Miserables, the importance of family and much more. Read an excerpt below.
Stone Sour have just released their 3rd studio album and Slipknot have just released a brand new DVD documenting their All Hope Is Gone World Tour and their headlining set at Download 2009. Get Audio Secrecy right here, and grab your copy of (sic)nesses here.
INKED: Heavy metal is like therapy, and both Slipknot and Stone Sour allow you to exorcise different types of demons. What happens when #8 takes off the mask and Corey emerges?
COREY TAYLOR: For me, the therapy comes from just being able to let a lot of that rage out. If you grew up anything like I did—with a lot of living hand to mouth, growing up with a brutal childhood, a brutal school experience—it was tough being the poor kid who moved around a lot. Because of that I developed that extroverted personality where I had to fit in really quick. I would do anything for a laugh, but at the same time, I still remember a lot of that shit that I had to swallow, so to speak, because I was also the weakest kid. I became the focus of a lot of other people’s frustrations, whether it was the people I was living with or the people I was going to school with. When I first joined Slipknot, it was a great way for me to focus and really let it out. Over the years I’ve been able to work out and let go of a lot of stuff because of it. So now when it’s just me, I think #8 and Corey have merged. We’ve found this cool common ground that I’m completely okay with. It’s made me a better person to be able to accept the fact that I went through a lot of shit, did a lot of shit, and was still able to be a good person. I didn’t get wrapped up in some kind of crazy, clichéd, egomaniacal selfish, fuckfest.
I’m still very grounded. I think that’s because I never forgot why I do this. It’s always been more expression than anything else, and now I can let that out in a healthy way and not get wrapped up in too much angst, self-loathing, and self-pity. If you hang around too long and get stuck in that one-trick-pony moment, that’s what can happen. You can get wrapped up in a lot of your “self” stuff, and it’s ugly. Nobody wants to hear that. It’s self-aggrandizing and masturbatory. To me it makes more sense to stay in the moment and do it for the reasons that you’re feeling in that moment. I am going to be 37 in December. I don’t want to be bitching about stuff that I did in high school when I’m 50. I really don’t. I’ll play the old songs and love them and remember where I was when I was in that moment, but you’ve got to break new ground. You’ve got to be constantly challenging yourself. I want to be in this for the long haul, and if that means I play the same stuff over and over and over, that’s fine, but I want people to embrace the new stuff as well. Luckily I’ve got an audience that loves it.
The second Stone Sour album came out after you became sober and dealt with a lot of serious issues, including suicidal thoughts. In contrast to your work with Slipknot, it was very reflective. On this new album, are you looking for redemption?
Maybe. Honestly, [certain] songs were written with specific relationships in mind. It’s interesting that you talk about redemption because for the last few years I’ve really been trying to find that balance between the appropriate amount of selfishness—because we all deal with it—and also trying to have that heart that’s big enough to take care of the people who matter. I’ve really come into my own skin as far as being a father and being a husband but also dealing with the issues that doomed my first marriage. You can only blame someone else for so long before you realize that you have your own damn issues and need to figure it out for yourself. That’s where a lot of that comes from, trying to figure out how to walk that line between doing something cool with your life and living a dream that you’ve wanted to do since you were 13 years old, and also being a good person and taking care of your family and friends and really just being a strong man.
You have some pretty intense ink on your body, like your chest piece that’s half sinister skeleton moon, half angelic sun. What inspired you to get that?
Everything I have is kind of a yin-yang thing. I’ve always been fascinated by the multifaceted nature of humans. I’ve never believed in absolute evil or absolute good. I think they all exist on a sphere, and we’re constantly turning. Without getting too fucking hippie or esoteric, that’s where a lot of this artwork comes from. I have “dogma” and “truth” tattooed on the inside of my arms because I feel like we’re all constantly struggling against it. The truth is the truth, and dogma are the little rules and regulations that take away from the truth. We’re constantly fighting to figure things out. That’s the kind of message I want to say with a lot of my ink, that this whole journey is just a road map. We’re all going to make bad decisions, we’re all going to make good decisions. But how do you maneuver through life when you know you’re constantly being tested on a daily basis? It comes from that strong groundwork. You have to have a good sense of who you are to begin with. If you don’t, then you run the risk of making mistakes over and over and over again.