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“Pretentious Pr*cks Can’t Understand It”: Corey Taylor On Pissing People Off With His New Solo Project

Usually when an iconic frontman announces a solo record, you know what to expect.

It’s fair to say that when Corey Taylor announced his upcoming debut solo effort CMFT, no one really knew what to expect other than perhaps the unexpected. The unexpected is exactly what we got when Corey dropped ‘Black Eyes Blue’ and ‘CMFT Must Be Stopped,’ a few weeks back. The first two singles released from Taylor’s ‘CMFT’ have very little in common with each other, let alone with Taylor’s previous work with both Slipknot and Stone Sour. With a fanbase as passionate as Taylor’s, that fact alone would usually be enough to get the Twitter trolls raging. Of course, Corey Mother Fuckin’ Taylor in the most Corey Mother Fuckin’ Taylor move of all, took things to another level, dropping an overblown, cameo-filled video for the hilariously over the top and absurd rap/party metal anthem ‘CMFT Must Be Stopped (ft. Tech N9ne and Kid Booki)’. It is fair to say, this caused more than a few raised pulses from the maggots.

For a lot of artists, the ensuing internet shitstorm and critical backlash would have been the cause of some serious concern, but for Taylor, it was exactly what he had hoped for. Pissing people off is, after all, the fuel that he has traditionally thrived off, so it’ll be somewhat surprising to most to find out that the rest of ‘CMFT’ is just as much of a big, dumb, fun, rockin’ time as ‘CMFT Must Be Stopped’. In the lead up the record’s release, Music Feeds jumped on the phone for a chat with an unusually chipper Taylor to find out how and why ‘CMFT’ came to exist, and what else has been going on in his world.

MF: Corey! How is existence treating you today mate?

CT: I’m good man, how are you doing?

MF: I’m doing okay, just riding out this stage four lockdown in Melbourne, so getting accustomed to essentially not leaving my house for six weeks or so, it’s a bit different.

CT: I hear you man, it’s a crazy time in the world for everybody right now.

MF: It is, it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever willingly listened to an authority figure I have to say!

CT: Hahahaha, trust me, it’s definitely not something to get used to, let’s put it that way. It leaves a weird taste in your mouth. I’ll go with what they say for now, so there you go.

MF: How’s the vibe in your world man, in Nevada?

CT: Close to me, in my immediate circle, everyone is doing well, it’s when you step outside of that a little bit [that] shit gets weird. Nevada was a hot spot for about five seconds and then it kinda calmed down. They tried to open up the casinos and everything super quick and the mayor here is an absolute fucking lunatic, she was running around with a head full of vodka, yelling “I’ve got the keys, we’re opening up” and I’m thinking “oh, for fuck’s sake”. It just turned into a shit show. People started coming in and we got the second flare up happening and they had to shut everything down again. So honestly, I don’t really know what’s going to happen next.

The people near us, we haven’t had anything in our neighbourhood, thank goodness for that, but a few people my wife and I know have had it and thankfully gotten through it, so it’s hard to get a read on where we are at. It’s pretty fucking crazy though.

MF: It is an odd time to be alive, crazy as you said, which is a pretty good way to describe the genre hopping that’s going on in your debut solo record CMFT.

CT: Hahahahaha! That was one of the most forced segues I’ve ever heard, I’m docking you points. What happened to you man?

MF: I know, it is usually my forte, I’m letting us both down, all I can say is that it’s 9am here and this espresso hasn’t kicked in yet, so we have to make do with what we’ve got. I’m sorry you had to hear it!

CT: It’s okay, I’ve got you man.

MF: The record in question, CMFT, is a wildly entertaining listen man. First up, well done, you knocked it out of the park.

CT: Thanks man, thank you.

MF: Secondly, what was the inspiration for this thing?

CT: I don’t really know! I mean everyone kept bugging me about whether I was going to do a solo album and for the longest time, I said no. I mean how greedy can one person be? I’ve got two great bands, I basically have carte blanche when it comes to guest appearances and stuff. What would it even sound like? But then when I had all of this time, unexpectedly, I realised that I had all of these songs that I’d written through the years that don’t fit in with any band. I haven’t been able to give them to other bands to record, maybe this can be my solo record. It really was that simple.

When you listen to the album, the overall theme is just loving music. My main goal, right out of the gates, was to make sure that it was an album people would enjoy listening to. Big hooks, big choruses, big dumb rock, just a fun, party album.

MF: That’s exactly what it sounds like too. That energy really cuts through. It’s such an upper and with the current state of the world, that type of escapist fun is something everyone is looking for. Do you feel like it is the perfect time for CMFT to drop?

CT: Absolutely. I didn’t meaningfully set out to fill that void or make that album, but I’m glad that we managed to. Everyone I’ve spoken to has said that a) it is so unexpected and b) that it is exactly what they needed, right now. The shot of cold water on a hot day. That’s the best compliment I can receive. Not only that I’ve thrown everyone for a 180, but that it is so welcome. I love that idea of people just flashing a big smile when they’re listening to it.

MF: What I find most impressive overall is the vocal chops you’ve displayed across the record. You’re already renowned as one of the better vocalists in your associated genres, but this album features you displaying so many different elements of your voice. Was it fun for you to let your vocal freak flag fly a bit?

CT: Oh fuck yeah man, I had a total fucking blast. But it was also pretty fucking effortless if I’m being honest. Some of these songs had been hanging around in my head for 15 or 20 years, so it wasn’t like I hadn’t played them before. So getting the opportunity to play them with this band I put together, really brought another energy and excitement. So I just got in there and really let it rip, and laid into it, vocally, it was such a blast.

I know this is going to sound weird, but I wanted the album to sound like karaoke night. A good karaoke night, where all the singers actually really know their shit and someone is up there really putting their heart into it, and you’re there just thinking “I fucking love this song”.

I wanted the album to feel like that moment. So that became my approach vocally, I just went in and sang. It had been so long since I’d allowed myself to just jump in a booth and belt, without having to worry about anyone else’s opinion or anyone else’s horseshit, just go in because you fucking love to sing. That was the best part of this. Besides tracking with some of my best friends, it was just being able to let myself go in and sing with a smile on my face again. It was such a goddamn pleasure.

MF: You can really hear it too. It sounds like you’re having an absolute riot of a time.
One thing I’d like to touch on is the influences that are on display here. You’ve said previously that you were channelling some Alice in Chains, some Slade, a bit of Johnny Cash and I agree, but there’s also elements of alt-country, hair metal, classic rock, pop, rap, you’re doing a bit of everything here. You can really hear that karaoke night approach. I hope that’s not offensive to you! Who were you trying to be?

CT: Hahaha, fuck yeah. I was just trying to be me, so me, means everybody. Anybody who knows me, knows that I love everything from Prince to Pantera. So when it comes time to write, I can really go anywhere, I can write something like an early 80’s pop song, or I can write something as fucked up as a late 90’s grunge/alt rock type of thing. With this album there was a bunch of that going on, but I still really wanted it to have a sense of cohesion. So even though you get some jazz or rockabilly stuff with ‘Mariafire’, you get some hardcore punk or like you said ‘80’s glam rock’ all tied together and it works. I don’t know why, but it works and I’m glad it does.

MF: Level with me here, when you chose ‘CMFT Must Be Stopped’ as the lead single, did you do it just to deliberately mess with people?

CT: Honestly, no. That was actually the label’s decision. My pick was ‘Black Eyes Blue’ but they wanted to put out ‘CMFT….’ so we were like “fuck it, let’s just do both”.

I’m glad we did that too, because the two songs are so different and they show off elements of what is going on with the record, but at the same time, they leave enough mystery for people to want to see what else is going on. We just went with what had the most energy, and what people would react to and I LOVE the fact that we went with ‘CMFT…’ because pretentious pricks can’t understand it, so they just dog it. That’s perfect to me. The people who like it and can feel the fun it, love it and are having a great time. That’s what it was supposed to do, it was supposed to piss off the straights, and that’s what it is doing! The great thing about that is that it comes from such a fun place.

MF: If the reaction videos are anything to judge it by, I would say it was mission accomplished. One of the funnest things that have happened in music since the pandemic started. You seem to have pissed off some maggots!

CT: DUDE. The reaction videos probably made up for half a million views on YouTube. I couldn’t stop watching them! It was awesome because everybody did the same thing, they freaked out because I was rapping, then they freaked out because of all of the cameos, starting with Ronnie Radke and it was so awesome. You could have set your watch to the same reactions every time. That’s what was great about it. I wanted the video to be a reflection of the song, which is meant to be just a big fucking party and that’s what it is. I wanted to make a big statement and god knows it has, coz people are freaking out!

MF: That’s how you make it in 2020 anyway man. You’ve nailed it. Who needs a fancy campaign when you can just choose the most off the wall single and make an insane cameo filled video to go with it and let the pandemic era internet do what it will!

CT: Yes, so true! That’s the point. If you’re gonna do a solo thing, you better do something that makes it feel like you had a reason to do it. I know a lot of people who have done a solo record, just so they could put their name to it, but the vibe wasn’t there. For me, if I was going to do a solo album, I wanted people to hear that I was having a good fucking time. I wasn’t going to let this be a cash grab solo record that I made just because I had this downtime, this is some real shit. The songs are there, the vibe is there. That’s why when people hear it, they are going to respond.

MF: Talk to me about the future for Corey Taylor, do you have a vision to take this solo record on the road, as a live project, when shows return, or was this more of a studio itch you wanted to scratch?

CT: My whole goal is to take this around the world. I’m going to wrap up the Slipknot cycle when everything comes back to life, then I’m going to take this around the world. We’ve already got a set put together, I’m already starting to think of ways to do virtual shows. This band was built to tour and we also recorded the record live, essentially, so we’re already familiar with how to play everything, so as soon as the tape gets pulled off we’re good to go. We’re ready.

MF: Before I let you go mate, I have to confess that this interview has been entirely too sunny for a Corey Mother Fuckin Taylor interview, so is there anyone out in the world that you feel needs a good ol’ tongue lashing right now?

CT: Oh jesus, new people? Man I have no idea. I feel like the crazier the world gets, the more I tuck back trying to keep people sane. Even when Kanye did his thing, people were asking what I felt and honestly what I felt bad, I felt sorry for him, because I know the impacts that mental illness can have. Especially someone who suffers from bipolar disorder, you know there’s these moments when you are completely manic and you’ll say or do anything and everything makes sense and nothing makes sense. It is sad and a lonely place to be. Even for someone like that, with as many problems as I have had with the things he’s said and done in the past, I worry, nobody should isolate or feel that way. I genuinely hope that he is getting the help that he needs, because he has a family. It’s all well and good to talk shit and do this wild stuff when you’re single, but when you’re a father and you have a wife and you have responsibilities to be there for them. So I really hope he is getting the help he deserves.

MF: That’s an awesome message.

CT: I honestly think it is too scary of a time for me to go after certain people. I feel like it is more important to pull people in, get us altogether, get us all on the same page and on the right track, so we can move forward. That’s probably the most hippie shit I’ve ever said in my whole life. What are you gonna do?

MF: It’s okay, we’re all destined to become the hippie caricature from South Park one day, today just happened to be your day!

CT: Ah fuck! I knew it! Guilty as charged.

MF: Well Corey it’s that time where I have to let you move on with being Corey Mother Fuckin Taylor, so thanks for taking the time to talk to Music Feeds, it has been a blast hearing you so happy man, you should stick with this, it suits you!

CT: Thanks man, I look forward to seeing this come out, stay safe down there.

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