Corey Taylor Says Trick Is to Write for Slipknot’s Adult Fans + New Generation
Corey Taylor was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. Naturally, there was a lot to discuss with the ever-busy singer, who is currently in the midst of a solo tour after releasing his debut solo record, CMFT, last year.
With touring activities reengaged after a down year, new hurdles have been presented as artists and their crews mitigate a myriad of varying health and safety restrictions from state to state. For his tour, everyone is instead abiding by the CDC guidelines for each show and Taylor urged that a uniform methodology to these practices would really help normalize certain social settings.
Taylor, renowned for his fiery opinions, also reflected on the widening age range in Slipknot fans and the creative endeavors he pursues in order to speak directly and in a meaningful way to both adults and the youngest generation of heavy music fans.
Read the full interview below.
You're out doing a socially distanced and COVID-safe us solo tour — The 'CMF Tour' — hilarious name, good job. With varying pandemic restrictions still in place in different cities, what's your biggest concern, especially traveling to so many places?
Our biggest concern out here has been just maintaining the safety guidelines. Honestly, [our crew is] now [following] the CDC [guidelines]. Every state has different guidelines. Every state has different levels of being open. Some of them have no mask mandates and some of them have extreme mask mandates.
The real challenge has been to maintain that level of safety for everyone at these shows, which is why we go off of the federal guidelines and not the state to state.
Problems come when you start breaking up all the holes and all the regulations and having different stuff in different cities. People don't understand — if you have a unilateral set of regulations that is right in place to make sure that everyone is not only safe but also having an amazing time, then you can really get back to living.
The response has been amazing and the fans are so excited for us to be there. People just feel even with the restrictions in place, we're starting to get back to normal and that's the whole point of this.
Uncertainty accompanies creativity in that you never know how people will react to it. What gets validated when it becomes apparent how much people enjoy something you did?
The validation really comes from that every musician likes to think that they have a very savvy idea of what the people want, what the people want to hear. But what's exciting is a new connection and a new direction as far as making music and performing music. When that is embraced and people enjoy it, what is validated is that sense of, "Okay, I feel like the audience is kind of moving this way with us. Let's lean into that."
Or, sometimes if I feel like the audience is ready for us to branch out and ready for us to do something new, you lean into it. When people embrace that, it really makes you feel like you're onto something good.
That's why a lot of the major artists out there have this intuition and this connection with their audience where when it's time for them to grow, the audience grows with them.
That is the biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to being able to expand your musical boundaries and find new places to go because the audience will let you know if you're on the right track, and when they are, it's total validation.
People who make music grow and change while the expectation of an audience is often unchanged. How does that detachment actually make for better creativity?
You're satisfying yourself first and then passing it on to the audience.
The problem with creativity sometimes comes when you stifle it because you you're trying to chase what's going on, such as trends and fads and whatnot and that can make you second guess yourself. It can make you work on music that maybe you're not into and then if that doesn't work out, it can absolutely break down someone and make them almost bitter in a weird way.
When you start with yourself first and are satisfied with that, that thing inside should be first and then pass it onto the audience. Even if the audience isn't with it, you can at least say, "You know what? I tried it. I had to try it for me."
Most of the greats will kind of go and look for another trail to try and play to get to a certain level of creative freedom. It's hard sometimes if you don't start with yourself because you will drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what the audience wants you to stick with. Go with what you want first, then you'll never be wrong.
You never shy away from your opinion, which is usually rooted in common sense. What surprises you most about being an arbiter of rationality and reason?
I mean, the thing that surprises me the most is that most people can't get there themselves. There's definitely a vacuum in this country — and around the world — of common sense.
It really comes from this need to embrace [this] almost social chaos. People have trained themselves to only really be comfortable if there's drama going on, which is just so toxic — we're spreading this toxicity to people that can only really be cured once people go, "I don't need this in my life."
That's really the thing that blows my mind is that people seek that out all the time. They go looking for it or they just sit back and they turn it into a punchline until it really affects their life. Then they go, "Oh, there's nothing funny about it."
Nine times out of 10, I get really mad when I'm right, to be honest. Especially when it comes to social media and social situations, nobody can really make a move these days without someone getting pissed off. It's just ridiculous.
I really wish that people would think before they tweet or think before they post or think before they react or say something ridiculous in the comments. Just stop for a second and use your damn brain. Don't have one? Don't post. It's just that simple.
Slipknot started as a bunch of young guys from Iowa, tilting at windmills [an idiom which means to attack an imaginary enemy]. Now with new music in the foreseeable future, what's different about the things you'll rally against?
When you hit a certain age, you realize that the anger and passion is still there, but it's different things that rile you up and get you ready to rant and rave and go crazy.
It's been really cool to evolve and mature with our original audience. Our original audience is all adults now and they're dealing with real problems and adult issues.
The trick has been to write in a way that doesn't seem like we are just clearly writing for them, but also write in a way that appeals to a younger generation as well, without coming off as phony or forced. It all comes down to writing things that feel like people anywhere can relate to, no matter what walk of life, no matter what color you are, religion, or country.
To have everyone embrace your message, especially when there's so much pent up frustration in the world... our thing has been to evolve with the audience, but also make it attainable for a younger, new generation to come in and really feel like there's something there and to kind of do it all over again. These young kids come in and go, "This is my band. This is the one that I want to run with and I want to fight with."
And that's been great. We're still very fortunate to be able to do this and it's because of things like that.
Thanks to Corey Taylor for the interview. Catch him on the road on his solo tour (ending June 19) at these dates and see all the upcoming dates for Slipknot's 'Knotfest Roadshow' tour, which begins in late September, at this location. Follow Slipknot on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify and find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.