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Interview with Corey Taylor of Stone Sour by Talia Soghomonian

Back in Des Moines, Iowa, before the metal band Slipknot reached international fame, two of its members – vocalist Corey Taylor and guitarist Jim Root – were in a band called Stone Sour. Last year, the guys got together with their old band mates to release a self-titled debut. Radio hits and a world tour ensued, along with the inevitable rumors of a rift among Slipknot members, not to mention speculation of Slipknot's demise.

Despite the media chatter, Corey seems to have found a balance between Stone Sour and Slipknot. In fact, he is really having a good time. Before his recent Parisian performance, Corey is talkative, facetious, and even moons the crew during sound check. He
's also blond. A fact few knew since Slipknot performed in masks and coveralls. "Yeah, I let the natural color grow. I'm actually a natural blond. I've also lost weight," Corey says as he proudly lifts his tee to show me his new, flat abs....

NYROCK:

Why did you leave Stone Sour in the first place and why did you decide to reform?

COREY:

I left Stone Sour in '97 because, by that time, we'd been together for about five years and I was kind of getting to the point where I wanted to do something different. I loved the music that we did and I loved the guys that I was with, but I was 24 and just felt like I needed to go and try something different so I didn't get stuck where I was, you know, just doing the same thing. And, coincidentally, that's when Slipknot came and asked me to join. I'd never done anything like Slipknot up until then, so I was like, "Okay, we'll try this and we'll see what happens." And it worked out.

But I always kind of knew in the back of my head that I could come back and do Stone Sour. In 2000, me and Josh [Rand, guitarist] got together and started working on stuff. And that's where it kind of changed. We started doing demos and it led to this. It's a good thing, because I was really feeling burned out with what was going on with Slipknot. I was tired of the brutality. I needed to get back to melody. I needed to get back to singing and really feeling stuff like that. So it was good.

NYROCK:

Were you feeling "melodically restrained" in 'Knot?

COREY:

Yeah, yeah, totally. I could do it a little bit but not too much, you know? And melody has always been a huge part of my life, so I know that I wanted to do it. I wanted to do it with these guys 'cause we'd always worked really well together. And we got back together and did it and it just felt good.

NYROCK:

Did you ever want to record a Stone song with Slipknot?

COREY:

No, no, it wouldn't have felt the same, you know? There's a lot of stuff that I tried to do to change the way that Slipknot kind of approached things. For the most part I did, but Slipknot's always been very stringent in its metal. It expresses itself differently, like different forms of metal, but at the end of the day, it's still a very brutal metal band.

There was no way I was going to be able to do anything like Stone Sour and Slipknot. So I got away with it by just coming back to Stone Sour, just kind of have both sides of the coin. That's it basically, yeah.

NYROCK:

Would you ever cover a Slipknot song with Stone Sour or is it the same thing?

COREY:

It's the same thing. It just wouldn't fit right. If we try to do something as brutal and as heavy as that, it wouldn't feel like us. We have a very set kind of way to do things. Same with Slipknot. So to try and incorporate those, it wouldn't feel the same.

NYROCK:

Were you afraid of all the attention being focused on Corey Unmasked rather than your music?

COREY:

Yeah, I mean, it was obvious from the start that people were going to look at it like that. But I knew that if the music was good, people would come around.

NYROCK:

Have you ever had any fans come up to you and say, "I like you better in Slipknot"?

COREY:

Stone Sour
Front to Back: Corey Taylor, Josh Rand, Shawn
Economaki, Joel Ekman, Jim Root.

Oh yeah, yeah. But I'm like, "Okay fine, but that doesn't mean I'm going to fuckin' stop doing Stone Sour. Just because you don't like it, doesn't mean I don't love it." It's the same with Slipknot. If a Stone Sour kid came up and said, "You need to quit Slipknot, do Stone Sour all the time," I'd be just like, "Thanks, but no."

If I can't do both, then why the fuck am I doing music? And, yeah, I'm not going to lose any fuckin' sleep if people don't like Stone Sour. I didn't lose any sleep when people didn't like Slipknot, so why the fuck would I do it now?

NYROCK:

When will you start recording the third Slipknot album and will it be the last?

COREY:

Maybe, I don't know. We're working on it right now. We're writing stuff, like [when] I go home. After this tour, I'm home for about a month-and-a-half. We're writing stuff. Is it going to be the last one? I don't know. If I had it my way, we would do one more album and one more tour and then go out on top and not do what so many other bands have done and stayed past their welcome time and they've gone to shit. But that's me.

We've always kind of said that we weren't going to be around for long anyway, so we'll see what happens. The great thing about the future is that nothing's set. You never know what's going to happen. So if we end up doing another album after this one, then you know, we'll see what happens after that. All I know is that I'm going to continue to do Stone Sour, for as long as I can.

NYROCK:

So, as far as you're concerned, Stone has a lot more potential at longevity than 'Knot?

COREY:

Yeah. The great thing about Slipknot was... is that it's very powerful, but at the same time, it was... it's very much about the moment. With Stone Sour, it's much more common ground. It's not as over-the-top. But at the same time, there's so much room to grow musically, especially with me and the rest of the guys in the band... I think Stone Sour can continue on for a really long time, past Slipknot – not degrading anything that we do with Slipknot, just to say that Slipknot is a very powerful force. And when it comes in and stays too long, it will go to shit. I know it will go to shit and I don't want to see it happen, because I'm very attached to it. But with Stone Sour, there's always been this kind of common thread where you just never know where it's going to go.

NYROCK:

Stone is mellow compared to 'Knot. Was the transition after all this time a shock to the system?

COREY:

No, not really, because I live what I do in Slipknot, I love what I do in Stone Sour.

NYROCK:

It gives you a balance?

COREY:

Yeah, absolutely. It helps me work it out, because if you look at it from a Slipknot point of view, it's like, "How could you go from being so brutal to singing very melodically?" I mean, it's the same thing. When it's time to go back to Slipknot, it will be time to go back to Slipknot. It will be time to get in that mindset again. And then when Slipknot's done doing that, I will go back to Stone Sour and I'll just flip-flop it. It'll be very easy, because it's all me, the singing anyway. It's what I do. It's what I love. It's two different bands at the end of the day.

NYROCK:

You compose the Stone songs on acoustic guitar. How different is it from 'Knot?

COREY:

I'm not as hands-on with the music in Slipknot. I usually concentrate on the lyrics, but on this album, I've been writing a lot more music. So I've been getting together with the guys and just jamming on guitar and seeing what happens... getting a lot of ideas for lyrics and stuff.

With Stone Sour, not all of it is written on acoustic. Sometimes I'll write an entire song. I'll bring it to the guys in Stone Sour and it will be completely kind of reworked and taken in a whole different direction that I never even saw.

With Slipknot, it's very much about the parts and what we all bring to the table, you know what I'm saying? It's not a better collaborative process; it's just different. It just works with that.

NYROCK:

Do you think you're offering a bigger variety of emotions with Stone Sour?

COREY:

I don't know a bigger variety, but a more common variety. It's a little more accessible, because it's stuff everybody could relate to. With Slipknot, I'm very specific. It's more about stuff that happened to me when I was a kid, stuff with growing up, stuff like that. With Stone Sour, it's much more about stuff that we all go through. It's just a different side of it, and I think that's why people have been able to grab onto it – because people like what they know and like what they can relate to. So it's a good thing.

NYROCK:

Has having had your son changed your perspective?

COREY:

Kind of, yeah. He's definitely made me realize how much I hurt myself on the road, and it's made me very conscious of trying to stay healthy 'cause if I can't be there for my son, who the fuck's going to be there for him? Before, when I was with Slipknot, before my son was born, I'd have no qualms about just beating the fuck out of myself. Now that my son is born, it's like I have a responsibility to this little guy. I've got to make sure everything is taken care of. It doesn't mean that I'll take anything away from Slipknot, but my approach will probably be a lot more different.

NYROCK:

Who screams louder?

COREY:

Oh, he's got a huge fuckin' lung capacity, man! He's Aaaaaahhh!!! (imitates his son's lung capacity) Out of control!

NYROCK:

Isn't it amazing how loud babies can scream?

COREY:

Oh man, he's got fuckin' lungs to howl too! He will go on for a good half hour. I'm just like, "I wish I could do that!"

NYROCK:

Is he lined up to be #10 then? (Slipknot has 9 members.)

COREY:

Something like that. We already got him a little jumper with some Slipknot stuff on it. We got one for that and one for Stone Sour, so it's really cool.

NYROCK:

You were nominated for two Grammys (Best Metal Performance – "My Plague" by Slipknot and "Get Inside" by Stone Sour). Your two bands were up against each other and also against Korn, P.O.D. and Rob Zombie. Who would you have voted for?

COREY:

Rob Zombie. Absolutely.

NYROCK:

Why?

COREY:

Because I've gotten to a point where I don't care if I win a Grammy anymore, you know? The first time Slipknot was nominated, I was very happy. I was like, "Yaaaaay!" We lost and I was like, "So what?" The second time, I was like, "Whatever." Now, nominated twice in the same goddamn category, I'm just like, "There's no fuckin' way I'm gonna win." But at the end of the day, the main thing for me is selling albums and playing for people. A Grammy doesn't mean shit. It means that maybe seven old people in one room said, "Hey, they've got something!"

NYROCK:

Is it true you wanted to find another name for Stone Sour?

COREY:

Yeah, well, at the time, when we first started to put it back together, we weren't sure... we didn't want to use Stone Sour 'cause we were like, "That was the past; we want to think about the future." We came up with one name; it was taken. We came up with another name; it was taken. We came up with a third fuckin' name; it was fuckin' taken. Finally, after that third name, I just called everybody up. I was like, "Man, look. It's Stone Sour, man. Let's quit fighting fate and just go with what it is. Because nobody outside of Des Moines knows who Stone Sour is, so that's not the past. That is the future."

And as soon as we took Stone Sour back, everything started to happen. I mean, everything started to fall into place. Everything that was kind of against us at the time fell, because we went with what was natural, what was right.

NYROCK:

What is Stone Sour? Is it like being stone cold/dead or is it a drink?

COREY:

It's a drink. It's totally a drink.

NYROCK:

What's the recipe?

COREY:

Well, there's different ways you can make it. It's whisky, sour and orange juice. It's Amaretto, sour and orange juice. But the drink has no reflection on us.

NYROCK:

Are you still holding Blood Worship Thursdays at your house? (in reference to comment made in 2002 after reports in the press suggested that his newly acquired home in a posh part of Des Moines generated fear in his neighbors.)

COREY:

Oh yes, yes! Even when I'm not there. It continues in my absence.

March 2003

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