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Corey Taylor is a hoarder.
"I have so many fucking songs," Taylor says with a laugh of his growing collection. It's mid-June, and he's speaking to Revolver from a hotel room in Munich, Germany, where the singer is preparing to perform with Slipknot at the city's massive and historic Königsplatz.
"Like, it's seriously becoming an issue. I'm always writing new ones, but I also never get rid of anything old that I have a gut feeling about."
"Beyond," the explosive lead single from CMF2, Taylor's new and second solo album, is a prime example of his stubborn refusal to let a good idea go to waste. "That was something I tried to bring in with Stone Sour in one shape or form 15, 16 years ago," he says.
"At the time, they didn't want to use it. I've rewritten it a couple of times since then, but this time around I kind of stripped it down to the sticks and restarted it."
There are other revived and reanimated compositions on CMF2, as well — including the atmospheric confessional "Midnight," the countrified power ballad "Breath of Fresh Smoke" and the slamming, 'Knot-esque "Post Traumatic Blues." "The cadence for 'Post Traumatic Blues' was something I actually tried to incorporate on the Iowa album," he reveals. "So that tells you how long that's been sitting around. It just never found a home before now."
Which is not to say that CMF2 is some kind of odds-and-sods buffet thrown together from Taylor's leftovers. On the contrary, the 13-song album — co- produced with longtime collaborator Jay Ruston, and featuring most of the same musicians who backed Taylor on his first solo LP, 2020's CMFT — is a powerful and compelling listening experience, a multifaceted hard-rock statement that immediately pulls you in with the ominous invitation of "The Box" and doesn't let go until the final notes of the Metallica-tinged "Dead Flies" fade into troubled silence. It's a stronger, more fully formed outing than his previous solo album, filled with material that will delight Taylor fans of any mutation.
"With this album, I kind of wanted to bury the first one," he explains. "Not because I didn't like it, but the first album was a collection of songs I'd had forever, and I was never sure when I was ever gonna get to put that stuff out. So, it was just an excuse for me to dig into my inner singer-songwriter, and try to put as much of that out as possible.
"But then I was like, 'Well, OK, what's album number two gonna be?' I definitely wanted it to be a little heavier. I definitely wanted it to have darker moments. I wanted it to have elements from the first album, because I didn't want the first album to feel like the ugly stepchild that everybody wants to beat up. [Laughs] But at the same time, it needed to feel bigger than the first album. It needed to feel more complete, more like a journey. And that is definitely what this one is. From start to finish, for me, it's probably one of the best things I've ever done."
In typical hyper-productive fashion, Taylor and his band — guitarists Zach Throne and Christian Martucci, bassist Eliot Lorango and drummer Dustin Robert — banged out 26 songs in just two months of recording at The Hideout in Las Vegas. "And it all sounded killer," Taylor offers. "So, the real problem came down to picking which songs were actually gonna go on the album." The surplus material, he promises, will see the light of day next year in a package like 2022's CMFB…Sides collection, though there's also the possibility that some of those songs will be aired out this fall during Taylor's upcoming U.S. solo tour (which will feature support from electronic punk duo Wargasm, rap outfit Oxymorrons and rocker Luna Aura).
"We've got a ton of material, and we want to be the band that can kind of pick and choose what the set list is gonna be on any given date," he says. "We want to keep the audience coming back going, 'We have no idea what they're gonna play tonight!'" Taylor's solo sets routinely draw upon Slipknot and Stone Sour songs, as well.
"The stuff from those bands that I put in my set is the stuff that either I wrote, or it's my melody line on it, or a song I helped create — I have a personal attachment to everything I put in the set," he explains. "I will never be the guy that puts out a solo album and then refuses to play other stuff that people really want to hear me sing. That would be incredibly greedy and egotistical, to be honest. You're there to entertain. If you go to see David Lee Roth and he doesn't play Van Halen, you're gonna be pissed off, right? I mean, if you're not willing to put your money where your mouth is when it comes to the stuff that you write and create, why are you doing a solo thing in the first place?
"I may not be the best singer sometimes," he continues. "I may not be the best performer. But I am one of the best songwriters that there is of this generation. And I will stand by that, whether or not anybody wants to hear it. I've been doing it for 26 years now, and I've had hits with all of my projects, and that track record is something I'm very proud of. It's not one of those things that I'm gonna beat you over the head with; but when I play certain stuff, it's really fun to watch people's eyes light up and go, 'Oh my god — he's playing this one, too!'"
With Slipknot, Stone Sour and as a solo artist, Taylor has consistently cultivated a strong and sincere connection with his fans. They cannot get enough of his music or — as immortalized by the What Does Corey Taylor Think? meme — his opinions, and he likewise remains genuinely curious as to their ideas and attitudes. So when we put out a call for Revolver readers to ask Taylor their most burning questions, the response was, unsurprisingly, incredible — and he generously and thoughtfully answered on topics ranging from music and sobriety to horror films and the impending zombie apocalypse.
WHAT'S AN ALBUM YOU HATED WHEN YOU FIRST HEARD IT, BUT LOVE NOW? — Doug Hoffman
Probably [Metallica's] St. Anger. First of all, when it came out, I was a raging alcoholic prick. And when I listened to it the mix kind of threw me off, and I wasn't paying attention to the songs. I was kind of following the herd on that. But then [Stone Sour guitarist] Josh Rand, who was a massive Metallica fan, he got the deluxe version that had the companion DVD where they played the whole album in their rehearsal space. And watching that, I could hone in on the songs. I wasn't stuck on how it sounded. I could listen to what was going on, and it immediately gave me a better appreciation of what it was. So now when I listen to it, I think a lot of the stuff's really good, and there are some good grooves on it that I think are really underappreciated. I mean, that title track is a motherfucker, you know?
WHAT THREE NON-METAL ALBUMS SHOULD EVERY METALHEAD HAVE IN THEIR COLLECTION? — Greg Linney
Let's start with Confessions of a Knife… by My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult. Their later stuff was a little edgier, kinda like KMFDM, but that album has got these great kind of industrial-techno vibes to it, while also being super dark. "The Days of Swine & Roses" is one of the greatest songs from that era, and I can't tell you how many nights I would get high as fuck and go dance at the goth clubs to that song. Let's also do Purple Rain by Prince. That's one of the most perfect albums ever written, and the fact that it's outlived the movie tells you all you need to know. And just for shits and giggles, let's go with Trouble by Ray LaMontagne. That album made me fall in love with playing acoustic again when I first heard it; it drove me right back to the wood and strings, man.
WHAT IS THE HAPPIEST MOMENT YOU'VE EVER EXPERIENCED AS A MUSICIAN? AND WHAT WAS THE SADDEST? — Sara_Eraaa
Obviously, any time we've lost somebody from our tribe has been really, really hard. The day we lost [Slipknot bassist] Paul [Gray], and then the day we found out about [drummer] Joey [Jordison]… Anytime you lose somebody who you were really close with, and you were able to make really great music with, it affects you. Even if that person hasn't been in the band for probably 10 years, it affects you. It breaks your heart because you immediately think about the things that you never got to say to them and wish that you had — and you just have to kind of pray and hope that they knew how you felt.
The happiest moment? I guess it's when you realize that you are viewed as a peer by people you grew up worshipping. Respect is a huge thing for me, and when you receive the respect of people who influenced you and helped make you who you are — and I'm talking about everybody from Alice Cooper to Mike Patton — when those people give you that respect and go out of their way to make sure that you know it, that will make your heart sing more than anything else in the world.
I LOVE YOUR GUEST SPOT ON DAMAGEPLAN'S "FUCK YOU." ANY GOOD DIMEBAG DARRELL STORIES THAT YOU COULD SHARE WITH US? — Neil Pollock
Oh my God, dude. [Laughs] I can tell you every night with Dimebag always started out the same: You remembered the beginning of the night. It was the rest of the night that you had a hard time recalling. And I can tell you he was one of the funniest people I've ever met, and he was just always ready to have a good time. One of my favorite moments was the first time that we actually got to meet Dime and Vinnie [Paul] at the same time, because they came as a pair for the most part. We were playing Deep Ellum Live in Dallas with Slipknot — we were on tour with Coal Chamber — and they came down not only to see them, but to see us, which was massive. We didn't know these guys from Adam, and they immediately came backstage and were like, "We are taking y'all to the Clubhouse!" And I was like, "Ohhh fuck." [Laughs] And it just proceeded to get crazier from there!
I remember Dime playing me demos for what would become Damageplan. I think at the time it was still being called New Found Power. I'm sitting in the back lounge hanging out with him — and dude, I am god-awful wasted — and he grabs my face and goes, "Taylor! Where are you, man? Are you in there?" [Laughs] And I just started giggling like an idiot.
For the longest time, I had a voicemail from him saved on my phone. I had recorded my stuff for Damageplan in Des Moines and sent it back so they could mix it in with everything. And he called me and dude, he is just screaming, like, "Holy fucking shit, man!" He's singing along to the stuff that I ad-libbed on it, and it was one of the best things I've ever heard. I saved it right up until I had to change my phone and I couldn't keep it anymore. But yeah, I could do a whole book about that crazy son of a bitch.
WHAT'S THE WEIRDEST, OR MOST DISTURBING, FAN GIFT YOU EVER RECEIVED, AND WHAT DID YOU DO WITH IT? — Allain Vichey
One of Slipknot's biggest fans in Holland was this guy Crazy White Sean. He was this weird hippie artist-musician dude who just tooled around Amsterdam doing his thing. We were in Amsterdam on Valentine's Day to play a show, and he brought us a real cow heart in a Valentine's box — and it fucking smelled awful. Somebody tried to take a bite of it and immediately threw up. I was like, "That's the dumbest thing I've ever seen, and I've been around!" Sean was one of those dudes who was kind of confrontational at first, but once you got past that crazy veneer, he was a sweetheart. He passed about 10 years ago, which was a real bum-out.
IF THE RAGE VIRUS SPREADS OR THE BRAIN FUNGI TAKE OVER, WHAT'S YOUR ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE GAME PLAN?!? — Sammy Digestor
Well, it's one of the reasons why I live on a mountain, because I'm fully prepared for that. The first thing you do is make sure that your pantry is good with sundries. There's a Smith's [grocery] less than a mile away from me, and I'll go down with a baseball bat and just make sure everybody's outta my way, gather up everything, get back to the house, get the storm windows boarded up, make sure that we've got plenty of gas in the vehicles if we need to do whatever, and then we just lock down and see what happens. So yeah, trust me; I have a scenario for that. I'm not a doomsday prepper, but I have thought this through!
WHAT, IN YOUR OPINION, IS SLIPKNOT'S MOST OVERRATED SONG? UNDERRATED? — Cal Panko
Overrated? I don't know, to be honest. I mean, there's definitely songs that I get sick of singing; I'm very much on the record saying that "Wait and Bleed" is a pain in my fucking ass. I've been singing it for 26 years and it hasn't gotten easier, folks! [Laughs] But I still sing it with Slipknot and with my solo project, which tells you how much of a psycho I am, because I know people love that song. So, you gotta do it — and listen, it's a good problem to have. To me, the most underrated Slipknot song is "Danger — Keep Away." I love both versions, the one that's on the album [Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)] and the uncut version that eventually came out. There's some beautiful parts to that song
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A FANBOY MOMENT WITH AN OLDER MUSICIAN OR CELEB THAT YOU'VE MET? — Dave Shakley
Oh, dude, I have them constantly. The first time I met [the Damned singer] Dave Vanian, I couldn't even look at him. We were at the Kerrang! Awards, about five years ago. I look over and holy shit, it's Dave Vanian, and he's there with his wife Patricia [Morrison, former bassist of Sisters of Mercy, the Damned and others]! I'm a massive Damned fan, and I accidentally told Michelle Kerr, who was my British head of publicity, that he was over there, and I was freaking out. And she goes, "Oh, hold on!" And she runs over and grabs him and then comes back and grabs me. I probably looked like a blubbering fool, you know? I just was like, "I love you so much!" [Laughs] But I got a picture with him, which was rad. I've had so many of those moments in my life. I've been very fortunate. And almost all of the people who I've wanted to meet have been awesome.
YOU'VE SAID WATCHING FAITH NO MORE PLAY "EPIC" LIVE ON MTV CHANGED YOUR LIFE. I'VE ALWAYS WONDERED: WHAT SPECIFICALLY WAS IT ABOUT MIKE PATTON? AND WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE FAITH NO MORE SONG? — Kim Shillingsworth
Mike Patton in 1990 was a man that had no fucks in his pockets, dude. He didn't give a fuck about anybody in that audience. He didn't give a fuck about most of the people on that stage. He was a fucking star. He looked exactly how I wanted to look. He dressed how I wanted to fucking dress. He sounded how I wanted a singer to sound. He was in it, and he was just the antithesis of everything that I'd seen from frontmen. It wasn't like he had a disdain for the audience, but it was certainly like, I'm not gonna fucking pander to you pigs! [Laughs]
And [seeing] that, especially in the moment that I was in — I've talked about it in the past — where I had just gotten back from the hospital after having my stomach pumped, because I'd swallowed a bunch of pills because I wanted to die. And I was watching this madman onstage, and I sat up and I suddenly knew what I wanted to do. Because I had all the pieces, you know? I knew I was good at music; I knew I liked writing. I'd been playing for people and doing shows and playing covers, but I just never knew if I wanted to put it all together. And seeing him, he was the missing piece of the puzzle. It was like a bomb went off in my head.
Favorite Faith No More song? I mean, "Midlife Crisis" is genius, but there's something about "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies" that is so good. I don't know if I could pick between those two songs, but those two are definitely my favorites.
SLIPKNOT'S VOL. 3 TURNS 20 NEXT YEAR. WHAT MOST STANDS OUT WHEN YOU LOOK BACK AT THAT RECORDING OR TIME? — Buddy Zepko
Oh God, that was such a pivotal time in my life. I was in such a bad place, I don't really have a lot of memories of the first half of making that album, because I was so fucked up all the time. The thing that sticks out is that there was such a sense of trepidation before the album even came out. We weren't sure if anybody was even gonna dig it, you know? It wasn't until people got a load of "Duality" that everything changed.
We weren't sure if people were gonna be ready for an album like that; we weren't sure if we were ready for an album like that. And the recording of it left such a bad taste in my mouth that to this day I have a hard time listening to it. Obviously, a lot of it stems from how I feel about [producer] Rick Rubin — to me, [mixer] Greg Fidelman produced that album, because Rubin wasn't there. He just fucking wasn't. And when he was, it's like he couldn't be bothered.
We were definitely in a weird spot because suddenly we weren't just these dudes from Iowa — we were Slipknot, and a lot of takers were starting to kind of cling, trying to get their leech hooks into us, and it was a gnarly time. And I remember having writing sessions with Paul [Gray] in his room, and he was struggling with his addictions and whatnot, and there was me trying to get freshly sober…
But then when I look at all the massive songs that were on it, it's crazy. And right now, we're opening with "Prelude 3.0" into "The Blister Exists," which is such a great one-two punch. It makes me kind of look at that album with new eyes, and go, "Maybe we did something right here!" Because at the time, I wasn't completely convinced.
I'M IN A BAND AND RECENTLY QUIT DRINKING. I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER — BUT IT'S TOUGH BEING AROUND PEOPLE THAT PARTY. WAS THAT TOUGH FOR YOU? ANY TIPS FOR A YOUNG TOURING MUSICIAN? — Ian C.
It's a great question. I was lucky in the fact that there were other people in the band who were sober, so I didn't have to deal with the "fish outta water" thing. I wasn't "program sober," but I knew people who were, so I was able to kind of sit and hang with them. I don't know what your situation was, but I was drinking so much that it became how I viewed life. I didn't know how to handle things sober. I didn't know how to talk to people sober. I didn't know how to deal with my kids sober. I didn't know how to deal with my wife sober. I didn't know how to deal with my band sober.
So, when I quit drinking, I had to relearn living from scratch, and that included socializing and realizing it's like, Oh, I can go out and hang for a bit. And the beautiful thing you realize is, if people get annoying, you just leave; you just split, man. You don't have to stay there. Because you're sober, you have the wits and the means to be able to get back to where you need to go. It's like, once they start to become asshats, I don't have to stick around.
But listen, it takes practice. It also takes being aware of yourself and your boundaries, and what you'll accept and what you'll deal with. If you have wider boundaries, you can hang out and help them get wasted or whatever, and you can also be the helping hand that helps them get back. If you have shorter boundaries, then just know when someone's not going to respect them and then split. But again, it takes practice, it takes self-knowledge, and it takes knowing what's right for you, because it's not the same for everybody. But once you know where your limits are, it'll make it incredibly easy.
WHAT'S THE LAST HORROR MOVIE YOU WATCHED THAT KEPT YOU UP AT NIGHT? — Freddie Gallagher
Oh, Hereditary. My wife [Alicia] and I saw it about a year after it came out. She and I had just started dating and she goes, "Let's watch a scary movie." We had the house to ourselves, and we put on Hereditary — which neither of us had seen before — and it was like, "Oh, fuck off with this movie!" [Laughs] It was so, so disturbing to me, man; there's so many moments that were so uncomfortable, it one hundred percent left an impression. Just thinking about it now, I'm like, "Gahhh!"
Grooming: Breana O'Connor