Corey Taylor: Releasing Music Is the ‘Most Important Thing’ in Pandemic
Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show. The singer discussed his very first solo album, CMFT, which will be out Oct. 2, and how it was originally intended to be released next year, but the pandemic situation forced his hand.
Despite bumping his plans ahead a full year, Taylor insisted it was the right move and he feels a certain responsibility to keeps fans satiated with new music while the world deals with the coronavirus and yearns for a return to live events. With the most time off the road he's had in over two decades, the rocker also stressed the importance of living in the moment and appreciating all the time he has with his family right now.
Corey, you've always been on the move touring or writing with one of your many bands. It seems like the idea of a solo record has always existed, but do you think you would have been able to it had it not been for COVID?
My plan was to go in and do this and actually in January and February of 2021, but COVID just moved my plans up.
It's funny because I always forget that I've talked about this off and on for the last 10 to 12 years, but it wasn't something that I ever really seriously gave thought to. The first time I really started talking about a solo album, it was really connected with JBKB [Junk Beer Kidnap Band], which was one of my several side project bands and it never really got off the ground.
I started seriously thinking about it, honestly, a couple of years ago — that's when it really kind of took shape. But yeah, I was gonna go in and do this at the beginning of next year, and then it just made more sense to go and do it now.
You did this record at Kevin Churko's The Hideout Record Studio with producer Jay Ruston. I read that you did in two-and-a-half weeks. You recorded 25 songs. I mean, were you working 20 hours a day or were these songs you had already written?
I'd already written everything. We'd written and demoed everything that we went in with and we did 13 originals, did six covers and then we did six acoustic versions of the 13 originals that we went in with.
For some reason we were just cooking. We recorded everything pretty much 99 percent live, so we didn't lose any time. We spent more time drinking coffee and really just kind of chewing the fat and laughing than we did going in and really tracking all the music. It was so ridiculous. It just came together so quickly.
We were finishing a song a day. We got to the point where we're done and we were just like, "No, no. We don't want to be done, we've got to think of something else to do and we've already done everything, man." It was crazy.
Corey Taylor, "CMFT Must Be Stopped" (Feat. Tech N9ne + Kid Bookie)
Corey, life usually dictates art. What does CMFT reflect about your life?
This album is really a look at some of the different genres and songs and songwriters and bands that have influenced me since day one, basically. This is really a look at the stuff that you don't get to see represented in either Slipknot or Stone Sour.
This is more of a reflection of the stuff that I do when I go out and do the Corey Taylor and Friends shows, which is all covers, but there's a certain type of cover that I go for. What really is represented here is that sense of joy that comes with writing songs and playing songs and hearing them back and then seeing people really just have so much fun listening to this stuff. That's what this album is. This album’s journey is meant to show you just how much joy you can get from loving what you do.
You probably realized everything you dreamed as a kid about being a musician and you've also experienced all the pitfalls of the music industry. Once you've done it all, what changes about your reasons for making music?
It's interesting. I haven't run out of that excitement about making music yet. I think that's what changes people — they stop getting excited. Or maybe the reasons they were making music in the first place were never as honest as they'd let on.
Sometimes, when people reach a certain amount of success, all of a sudden the music they keep making doesn't seem as vital or energetic. Whereas for me, it's the same reason I've been making music since I was 13 — just this pure love for making music and playing music for people. That's all it's even been for me.
The money comes and goes, but the money gets spent. The fame comes and goes, but the fame turns into something different. If you're not left with something that you can be proud of at the end of the day, and what was the point of it? So for me, that's why it's the same thing since I was young and really learning music — just the love for playing music and writing music.
Corey Taylor, "Black Eyes Blue" Music Video
Corey, what exhilarates you and intimidates you about making a solo album?
The exhilaration is really just having fun with my friends and knowing that I can put a set together that represents a bunch of the stuff that I've written over the years with both bands and then a bunch of stuff that I've written just on the side.
Doing a handful of covers and stuff, I know that I could go onstage and play a completely different type of show, and then that show can really change at any second, almost like a [Bruce] Springsteen show where you never know what you're going to get when we go onstage. That's the exhilaration.
The intimidation factor is the fact that it's me. There's nobody else to hide behind. There's no safety blanket of a Slipknot. There's no band to tuck in the back of with Stone Sour. It's just me.
That's one of the reasons why I waited this long to do it was because I was comfortable with that fact. I'm okay with that. It would be different if I was putting my name on something that I didn’t believe in [like if] I'd let somebody else do all the work for me and write all the songs produce it and stuff.
But this is all from me. I co-produced with Jay, I wrote all the songs on this album, with the exception of one. I really believed in this and I'm prepared to go out and fight for it. Because of that, that intimidation factor really is even more exhilarating than just the knowledge that I'm going to go and do it with a bunch of friends.
The coronavirus has completely changed life for all touring musicians. What's been the biggest adjustment for you to make, not being on the road?
The biggest adjustment is getting used to just being home. This is the longest I've been off the road in over 20 years. There's definitely that moment of being careful what you wish for because there are definitely times on the road where I wish I was home with my family. But then you're at home and then you wish you’re on the road, so it's almost like a double-edged sword.
It's really about being in the moment and just being present and taking advantage of this because I know as soon as things get back to normal, as soon as things really start to get back to where I'm back on the road, I'm going to be on the road for a while and I need to make sure that I'm really taking advantage of being with my family, being with my kids, and just being normal before everything becomes abnormal again.
The coronavirus has upended life for everyone. How does music, either listening to it or creating it, factor in your staying positive through this pandemic?
It's about just getting that song in your heart basically. I know it's a cliché, but you know, it's true. It's about a little bit that you can do for everybody because everybody's hurt right now and I'm certainly not going to sit here and say that this is putting me behind the eight ball when I know there are people out there who have no jobs and they are at the risk of losing their apartments or houses or everything.
That's where our job as entertainers comes in handy the most. The most important [thing] is making sure that people at least have music to turn to, have something positive and at least a positive message of, "If you can just hold on for a little longer things can get back to normal."
It's just as important now, maybe even more important now for me to make sure that I'm entertaining people and giving people that bliss that they need, because sometimes all we have in life is music. All I've ever really had is being able to share that with people and maybe make a difference in their life. That's got to be the biggest thing.
Thanks to Corey Taylor for the interview. Follow Corey Taylor on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify and pre-order your copy of 'CMFT' here (as Amazon affiliates we earn on qualifying purchases). Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.
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