Corey Taylor Talks New Stone Sour Music, Knotfest, Slipknot’s Future + More
Slipknot / Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. He spoke all the hard work Stone Sour put into their double concept albums ‘House of Gold & Bones - Part 1’ and ‘Part 2,’ as well as this year’s first installment of Knotfest and how long Slipknot fans will need to wait for new music. If you missed Jackie’s show, read the full interview with Corey Taylor:
Let’s talk about Stone Sour, a double concept album described musically as Pink Floyd meets Alice in Chains and with a corresponding comic book it sounds like a major creative undertaking. What got the ball rolling?
This was something I was actually thinking about when we were making ‘Audio Secrecy’ and honestly it came from all the little bits and pieces that were kind of left over after we were done with the initial recording for ‘Audio Secrecy.’ I had a story wrapped in my head for a while and I just started really trying to envision what it would be like especially in this day and age when everyone is so single minded -- absolute pun intended there.
I was like, “You know what, screw the industry. If I wanted to make something above and beyond a piece of art but also great music and something that could really fire on every artistic cylinder, what would it be?” I really started flushing the story out early on, then obviously certain things happen that really drew me away from anything artistic – Paul [Gray] died and then about a year later Roy [Mayorga] had a stroke so everything really went topsy turvy for me for a bit.
Right around the middle of the Sonisphere shows we were doing with Slipknot, I was really thinkin’ about Stone Sour for some reason and that’s when I really started to put a lot of pieces together. I flushed the story out on the road and a lot of the songs that I wrote for the albums I wrote on the road. So by the time I got back it was chomping at the bit to do some demos and what not and that’s where it started from.
Looking back what part of doing a concept album were you least prepared for?
I got to be honest, I was pretty set to do whatever it took. The thing I really had to remember was that the lyrics were a narrative – that’s really where I had to focus and make sure I was telling the story the way it should be told. Basically the songs are the internal dialogue for the characters that are in the story itself so when you listen to the music and read the story you almost get this 3D kind of experience – you’re reading the story but you’re also getting what they’re thinking.
For me the real challenge was to maintain the integrity of that and make sure each character has their own little bit to say and have their own little hero moment and that everything that we tried to do musically and creatively was a nice reflection – that everything enhanced the story. It was so much fun, I mean it was a lot of work but it was so much fun as well. Working with Dave [Bottrill] he was really able to pull all of this great material out of us – basically doing two albums in the space it takes to make one. So I mean it wasn’t a lot of work, it was just a lot of fun at the end of the day.
Now that you’ve got the experience of recording a concept album, does that open the door for Slipknot to maybe try one, too?
Maybe. [Laughs] I don’t know. This was a lot of work, If it was a single concept album, maybe. It was almost trying to play basketball on a trench – you know what you want to do and you know what you want to try and do but you’re already four feet in the ground. It was like running against the breakers basically. The end result is so satisfying – so maybe, I hate to say “Never” anytime because the more you announce your plans out loud the more you make God laugh. So to me it’s more about waiting and seeing what happens. I can’t say that doing it with five guys was a kick in the ass I don’t know what the hell would happen with nine.
I got to talk to you about Knotfest, which recently happened. You’re in Iowa, home to Slipknot, playing there for the first time without Paul, it was also Randy’s [Blythe] first gig after being released from prison. How wild was your range of emotion at that first Knotfest show?
It was pretty crazy. I drove up there on my own and the whole way there – first of all you’re going through the practical emotions of “God, is anybody gonna be there?” it’s your own gig but it’s bigger than your own gig. You’re trying to start something, you’re trying to set the stage for something that can live for a few years after you’re done. The only thing I’m worried about is “Is there going to be anyone there?” So when I was driving in and I saw all the people I was immediately like “Oh thank God.” [Laughs]
Randy was the first person I went to try and find when I got to the gig and knowing that this was his first taste of it back. He was so stoked, I ran up and gave him a huge hug and we talked a little bit and he was just like, “Dude, I cannot wait to get on that stage and just let so much go.” They put on one hell of a show, I was so proud of him and the band to be able to rise above everything thrown at them in the last couple of months.
I kind of had to turn my mind back to the business at hand and basically realize that this is the beginning of something that we’re trying to build. We want Knotfest to become its own household name when it comes to festivals kind of like the way Ozzfest is. There was a lot of anxiety on my part but then you go out onstage and that audience just rolls that positivity back at you and you just eat it up. We went above and beyond for the kids and I think Paul would’ve been proud.
Speaking about this being you’re very first festival that you guys put together, did you take your experiences from all the festivals you’ve been on over the years? You’ve been on all of them.
Oh yeah, definitely. That was one of the things that got us thinking about wanting to do our own festival in the first place. We’ve been extremely lucky to have been a part of a lot of really good festivals – everything from Ozzfest here in the States to Soundwave in Australia, all the wonderful festivals that are over in Europe. We would walk around and go “This is really cool, but if we were gonna do one…” and then that was seriously an eleven year conversation. Everytime we’d be on one of those things we’d be like “You know what this is awesome and really cool but if we get to do…”
So it was really something we’d been talking about for a long, long time and about a year ago we found ourselves surrounded by the best people in the business to help us really achieve this. One thing led to another and then all of a sudden all of the things we talked about are sketched on a piece of paper or written down on a napkin and all of these crazy ideas just came rushing to the surface.
I can only take a little bit of credit for that, 99 percent of credit for everything that happened in Knotfest creatively that was all Shawn Crahan, that was all the Clown. Day and night he put so much work in and I was proud of him when we got there and saw it all physically. I was just so stoked that we were able to pull it off, I gave him a huge hug and was like “Well here it is, if we’re gonna make a mess this is the way we’re gonna do it.” It was great everything from the Slipknot museum to the crazy Pagan fire everywhere it was just insane but it was a blast. I was really proud to be a part of it.
What can you tell us in terms of a timeline and what we can expect between the two bands for you?
Stone Sour is going to dominate the next year and a half to two years for me, obviously. We’re going to have two albums coming out, right now flushing out an outline for the comic books that we’re gonna put out. I can’t tell you the company because we’re waiting for a big reveal on that but it’s going to be really, really cool – getting all the artwork together, trying to hit as many territories as possible, two or three times just to be able to get a real album cycle out of this and hopefully have this lead to something even bigger and better for that.
Probably in the next year or so we’ll start talking musically with Slipknot and seeing where it’s at. I know there are some demos here and there that are floatin’ around but nothing solid. I’ve been jotting down some ideas and whatnot but the next two years are solid, solid, solid Stone Sour. Will there be the random Slipknot show here and there? Probably but no major tours – the more stuff we do with Slipknot the closer we get to that next step in being able to walk into a studio and feel okay about it. It’s going to be very daunting but when the time is right, we’re gonna do it.
Other than that I’m workin’ on my next book and working on this damn film company with Shawn and just – Oh my God, you’d think I’d leave enough time in the day for me to sleep at some point.
Do you feel uncomfortable to have nothing going on, is that why you fill your time with 20 different projects?
I must be one of those dudes that just – but it’s my own damn fault. I have ideas everyday and if I’m not carrying a pad of paper, I’m typing it into the notes thing on my iPhone and it’s just ridiculous - idle hands or the devil’s plaything and I can’t be the devil’s plaything. I got to be the devil, I got to be the guy making it all happen.
Full Metal Jackie will welcome the very legendary Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead on her next show. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.