Stone Sour are smashing it thanks to the success of 2017’s Hydrograd, Slipknot are in the studio recording a new set of bangers, Taylor’s fourth novel America 51: A Probe Into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside the Greatest Country hit the bestseller list, his personal life is as good as it has ever been (thanks in part to his sobriety), hell, there’s even movies due out that he’s looking forward to seeing!
Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of bad things happening in the world, particularly in his home country of the United States of America. With the worrying threat of neo-fascism hovering overhead, many in the public eye are keeping their opinions quiet, failing to utilise the power of their public profile to call folks out on their bullshit. Fortunately, Corey Taylor isn’t one of those people.
In the lead up to Stone Sour’s appearance on the Good Things festival lineup in December, Music Feeds had a chat with an animated and antagonistic Corey, who gave his unfiltered take on all things, good, bad and in-between.
Music Feeds: Hi Corey, how are you?
Corey Taylor: I’m good man. How you doing?
MF: Yeah, great. Great. Thanks for taking the time to speak to Music Feeds. We really appreciate your time as always.
Corey Taylor: It’s all good man. I appreciate it.
MF: Stone Sour are down for the Good Things festival, which is a good thing for all of your Aussie fans. Are you as pumped to be coming down to the fest as we are to have you?
Corey Taylor: Oh dude, absolutely. The funny thing is that we were seriously thinking that we weren’t going to be able to come back to Australia for a second time on the Hydrograd cycle, and we had been trying to find a way to get back down there since we came down initially, and lo and behold, we get this great, fantastic offer for this festival, and we’re like, I guess there’s no getting out of it, you know. We were stoked man. We were absolutely chuffed to be getting back down there, you know just when you think the universe doesn’t listen, we get something very cool!
MF: Good Things is a pretty good name for a festival in 2018, considering all the bad things going on in the world, it can be nice sometimes to stop and reflect on the other side of that spectrum. What are some of the good things that are going on in your life?
Corey Taylor: Well, I mean, I’m currently working on the new Slipknot album. I’m going to be able to spend time with two of my kids on their birthdays which is actually rad, because usually I’m on the road, so I’m pretty stoked about that. I’m in a great relationship right now. Yeah, I mean, so far so good. I mean my health is holding up, knock on wood and you know, it seems like people still enjoy what I do, so I’ve got a lot that I could feel good about. Not to mention the fact that there’s still some rad movies coming out this year that I’m really looking forward to seeing. I am a man of simple pleasures. Let’s put it that way. As long as my car starts in the morning and the movie starts on time, I’m going to be fucking fine!
MF: That’s great to hear, man. So now in the interest of journalistic and spiritual balance, what are some of bad things that are happening?
Corey Taylor: Oh God! Well I mean, obviously, the giant orange elephant in the fucking room. It’s a very crazy time in my country, to be honest. When people are dutifully cutting up their Nike’s, be them shoes or socks, in protest and yet they’re doing it to spite people who they think are insulting veterans and yet they can’t be bothered to actually take all those things and give them to veterans who need socks, who need shoes, who need clothing. I think there’s just, there’s a cultural flux going on in America right now. I think there’s a battle for, and I don’t want to say supremacy because the pun would just be brutal there, but there’s a battle for the soul of what we as Americans would like our country to stand for.
MF: That Nike fiasco you’ve described perfectly illustrates to me the gap between what a lot of US citizens would claim they stand for and what their actions prove they do, as a person who is constantly touring the world, seeing new perspectives, it must be immensely frustrating for you to have to battle against these negative stereotypes that are constantly being reinforced?
Corey Taylor: The great myth is that it’s the freest country in the world, and that’s just not true. We are seeing a certain type of fascism coming in, and playing itself out. Now, while more and more people are starting to wake up to the fact that it is an absolute sham in the White House, there are still people who are clinging to that rhetoric like there’s no tomorrow.
Horrible things are happening in the name of that rhetoric, to people innocent, guilty, doesn’t matter. It’s happening for terrible reasons, racist reasons, and completely imbecilic reasons. I think just the whole country is pretty fucked up right now.
That in itself is bad enough. I see it everywhere I go. It’s tough to handle sometimes, you know. It’s tough being kind of stuck in the middle, empathising with the people who are being fucked with, but also being stigmatised because I am a white male and obviously I’ve come from Satan. It’s hard. It’s hard. It’s hard to keep your objectivity when so many people are throwing their unbridled opinion at you, constantly instead of looking at it from the standpoint of how do we heal these wounds and make things better for us. Not for just individuals but for us.
I have various theories of why this is happening, but nobody wants to talk about it. They just want to talk about how things are affecting them instead of how things are affecting other people. Sometimes we have to look and do things for the greater good, instead of the singular good, you know. It’s a tough time. It’s a tough, tough time.
MF: I feel like you’ve hit the nail on the head, and it’s good to hear such considered, nuanced discussion on what are genuinely important topics that deserve to be debated and considered with such passion and fire. Do you ever find yourself wishing that more of the younger artists that you perform with were as confident and public with their opinions and convictions?
Corey Taylor: I think more people would if there was a better way to guarantee that they could make money at what we do. But sadly there’s not, you know. To me a lot of this, a lot of the reasons why people feel like they can just go as unchecked as they can, is because of social media, which is also one of the reasons why it makes it very hard for a musician to actually make a living these days. It’s because of social media, it’s because of the streaming and because of this and because of that.
It’s kind of the wild west right now. When people see that there’s only certain ways that they can actually make money, it makes them kind of reticent to speak their minds. I’m kind of right in the middle, you know. I came out at a time when you could still have a career and make money. You didn’t have to sell millions upon millions but you could sell millions and still have a decent career. I’m also an asshole, so I don’t really care if people get fucking hurt or if I lose fans because of my personal politics.
No one’s going to lead me by the nose and tell me that I can’t feel one way or the other. They’re also not going to sit on social media and tell me that I should just stick to music when as an American, I’ve been an American longer than I’ve been a musician. So guess what? I get to fucking have my say and people can kiss my fucking ass if they don’t like it.
MF: Stone Sour is as popular as you’ve ever been, Slipknot are about to return to the joy of millions of maggots worldwide, you’re crushing it in publishing and media, so your opinionated ways don’t appear to be having a negative impact on your creative or commercial pursuits in the way that some industry types would predict that it would. Do you feel that should be encouraging for other artists considering becoming more forceful in their messaging?
Corey Taylor: I think it’s honestly because I’ve never changed the way I feel. It always surprises me when people are surprised by something that I say, you know, from a political standpoint. On what planet did you ever think I would back a person like Donald fucking Trump? At what point, on what planet would you think I’d be okay with something like a white supremacist’s way of thinking when it comes to politics or it comes to the way that certain police groups handle the way that they police certain groups of colour?
I just kind of sit up and go, nothing that I’ve said has ever made anything like that okay, I’ve had people on Twitter, make this big fucking, this big tweet saying well, I just can’t fucking follow you anymore. Sorry Corey, I love your music but your political stance is garbage. I’m just like bye, don’t let the fucking, door hit you on the way out. I don’t give a fuck, you know. The minute I start dancing around for people’s fucking approval is the minute that I fucking quit because then it’s not about how I feel. It’s about how they feel. I’d rather live my life than theirs.
MF: I know you’re a metalhead but that’s punk as fuck man!
Corey Taylor: Well it’s true though!
MF: It is, people get so caught up trying not to offend anyone, that they end up saying nothing at all, so while they might side with you or I or any other sensible, open minded, kind hearted human being, they never express themselves and in effect by saying nothing, they’re creating a misconception that they are either apathetic or that they are in agreement with the racists, the fascists, the people who want to “Make America Great Again” so to speak.
Corey Taylor: Well the sad thing is, is that people find ways to talk themselves out of being on that right side. You know what I’m saying? They listen to what older, the older generation purportedly, arguably a lot of that comes from them and it’s handed down. That shit isn’t fucking instinctive. You know you’re not born a racist. That shit is taught, and that shit is taught from people who you look up to. The only way that fucking stops is by standing up and going, no. This is not okay.
You thinking that you’re superior to this person because of the fucking colour of your skin? Then fuck you, you know. You can’t even stand in the sun long enough without turning into a lobster. What makes you think you’re more superior than anyone else on this planet because of your skin? Your skin is flawed. So are you.
MF: That’s definitely true, and that last quote has “going viral” written all over it, so cheers for that! On the musical front you’ve made a few guest appearances lately, which is awesome to see, I’m particularly big on the Code Orange track and also the one ‘My Underworld’ that you did with Tonight Live.
Corey Taylor: Oh thanks, man, those types of guest appearances are always cool to do, but I have to believe in the bands in order to do it and that’s definitely true of those two bands.
MF: Tonight Alive are performing on Good Things as well is there any chance we might get your guest vocal on ‘My Underworld’ happening live?
Corey Taylor: If I get a call from Jen, you never know! I love that band. I love that song. I would jump and do it in a heartbeat, if I hear from her. You know, obviously she’s very busy right now. I won’t say yes and I won’t say no merely because I haven’t talked to anybody about it yet, but if the opportunity arises, fuck, I’d be totally into it!
MF: There’s been a lot of attention on the makeup of festival lineups in Australia and the representation levels of female and non-binary acts on festivals. It’s been probably the number one topic in the music press here through 2018. As a male who’s been in the heavy scene for nearly three decades, do you feel that it’s disproportionately skewed towards men, or white men specifically and do you see it changing or could you see it changing?
Corey Taylor: Well I mean, let me just say that I can absolutely see it changing. However like it or not, rock in general, rock and metal in general has always skewed very male. The majority of the attention is obviously going to go toward them. Am I saying that’s right or wrong? No. I’m just saying that’s what happened. Now, having said that, do I think there’s room for everyone else? Of course I do!
If there’s good music out there, it doesn’t matter who you are. What gender you are, what sexuality you are, it doesn’t matter. People are going to gravitate towards good music. They’re going to gravitate towards good acts. What you’re talking about are the powers that be that book these things.
Now, I think what needs to happen is the fans need to collectively get through and show that anyone who promotes and books for them can make money, because that’s how you change their minds. They don’t give a shit about the equal rights of it. They care about the money of it, and that’s just the way it is. That’s the way businessmen think. That’s the way they always have. That’s why they think in millions of dollars and I think in hundreds. I mean, really.
If you can show them that people like the female-fronted bands or the non-binary fronted bands, you can show that they can make them money, then they’ll absolutely change their opinion. That may not be the socially correct answer. But it’s true. Do I agree with it? Absolutely not. I think that there should be an even playing field for everybody.
Now, having said that, quality needs to rise to the top. You shouldn’t just get a gig because of what you represent. You should get a gig because you’re good, straight up. I will say that about male, female or non-binary. You should get a gig because you’re good. I will say there should be more opportunities for people to be heard, however they identify or associate.
There are a lot of things that need to change, obviously. I know that more and more people are supporting that cause, but if you do show that those acts will make money, they’ll get more attention. That’s the way business thinks.
MF: That’s another thought-out, passionate and nuanced response, Corey, unfortunately I’m getting told that I have to go.
Corey Taylor: All right. Sorry I talk a lot man.
MF: No, it’s brilliant man. Thanks for the interview, thirteen year old me would be stoked right now. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to do some kind of follow-up in the future when you’re down in Australia.
Corey Taylor: Oh, absolutely man. When we come down there, we’ll try and carve out some time.
MF: Awesome. Well do you have anything you want to say to your Australian fans before I leave you be?
Corey Taylor: We are so stoked to be able to come down there for a second time on a record cycle. It’s very rare that we get to do that, so we are very, very excited. Hope they’re as excited as we are.
Catch Corey Taylor performing live with Stone Sour at Good Things Festival this December.