Q&A: Corey Taylor Talks Slipknot, Sin and Maybe One Day Being a Scholar at DeVry.
Corey Taylor is one busy dude. Not only does the guy front two metal bands, Slipknot and Stone Sour, but Taylor somehow founds time to write an autobiography and do a quick stint as a guest lecturer at Oxford.
Seven Deadly Sins, Taylor's unconventional memoir, came out this summer and immediately drew praise for its uncompromising look at someone living life for the moment. The reception for the book was strong enough for Oxford University to persuade Taylor to stop by and make a speech.
The lecture went off so well that Taylor decided to do a solo acoustic tour that would incorporate a question and answer session in which he would discuss just about anything fans might care to bring up. Speaking from San Antonio and in anticipation of Friday night's performance at Trees, Taylor spoke to DC-9 about doing things other than music.
You're a singer, an author and recently a guest lecturer. What's next, Senator Taylor? Oh God, no. It would be a pay cut! That would be terrible. A lot of people have asked me about going into politics. I don't think politics can take my kind of honesty. In politics, you have to be a little bit of everything to everyone, and I certainly don't care about that. I have too much fun being myself.
You're involved with two bands, numerous side projects, speaking engagements and now a book. What else can fit on your plate? Me and [Slipknot percussionist] Clown [aka Michael Shawn Crahan] are starting our own film production company. That's probably a year or two away, but we're both really excited about it. I am a huge movie fan and Clown is an amazing director. This is going to be his way of sorting out the movie business and really getting into directing. I am going to start out with that and then branch out into other territory. It's going to be sink or swim, basically.
Have you considered doing some acting? I would if it was the right movie for me. I am certainly not going to jump in and star in my own movie. I'd love to just be the guy in the background that sees the explosion. You know, that guy. I should be on screen for three seconds. I want people to wonder if that person was who they thought it was.
On this solo tour, you are doing question and answer sessions with the audience. Are you worried about the obsessive Slipknot fan wondering about some super secret chord progression? Probably, but you never know. The beautiful thing about a Q&A, and also the most terrifying, is that you never know what questions you are going to get. For me, that's part of the fun of that. I have had to caution people to actually ask a question and not make a request. I don't want people to ask me to sign my book or any of that crap. Give me some questions that allow me to answer with more than a yes or a no. If someone asks me a dumb question, I am going to rip them to shreds or just ignore them.
Your book, Seven Deadly Sins, is certainly not a conventional autobiography. You basically chronicle the many times that you have sinned over the years. Do you think sin is just a natural part of life? That depends on what you call a sin. To me, a sin is something that affects someone in a very negative way. But, there are two sides to every story. Sin is part of the emotions of being human. For me, coming to grips with sin is part of a common sense answer in a common sense age, and we need more common sense these days. Too many people are toeing some kind of party line. All that is doing is wrapping us up in all this crap that we can't make our way out of. We need to bring it down to a more personal level. Like when you cheat on your wife, of course that is a sin. It's part of the emotion itself, because we all feel it.
Is your book a celebration of sin or a cautionary tale of what could result from sinning? It's a celebration of being human, definitely. It's about me going through every one of these so-called sins and coming out the other side. And I learned a hell of a lot. I wasn't sinning by having the emotions. I was sinning by doing the act of sinning. I came out the other side and I was a better person for it. I learned to be a good person because I went through all of these things.
Were you surprised that the book has received such an overwhelmingly positive reaction? I was, to be honest. When you put yourself out like that, you're just waiting for the fallout. But everyone has really enjoyed it. There were some odd reviews where people expected me to write some common, normal tell-all book. I threw a curve ball at them. It was half essays and half telling stories about me growing up.
How did you end up guest lecturing at Oxford? They came to me. They have been trying to get me for about three years, but I was always on the road. What they do is take a poll at the student union to see who they would like to come and speak. Apparently, I was number one or in the top three for three years in a row. Finally, the opportunity came up, and I was not going to let it pass by again. I wanted to do it. It was fantastic. It was great and it was an honor. You can feel the history in that place. They have the lecture in this great debate hall. It was very daunting. This is where I got the idea for doing Q&A sessions on this tour. I spoke for about 20 or 30 minutes, and I wanted to do more. I wasn't ready to go yet. So I just asked if anyone had any questions. I spent another 30 minutes answering questions.
Were you more nervous speaking in front of that crowd than you ever were singing on stage? Definitely, definitely, because I know that I can sing, but when you are speaking in front of a crowd, you really need to know what you are talking about. I had never really done anything like that before. I just kind of winged it because I wanted to make eye contact and walk around and be very conversational about it. I wanted to convey my message. I saw a lot of people nodding their heads and a lot of people listening very intently. Once I was done, I wondered if I could do anything like that ever again.
It sounds like you might be ready to become Professor Taylor. That is something I would definitely be into. Before I knew that I wanted a career in music, I wanted to be a history teacher, but I didn't have the patience for school, to be honest. I am an avid fan of history. I read books voraciously. Maybe someday, I can receive an honorary doctorate from somewhere. I don't care where, maybe DeVry.
I have to ask at least one Slipknot question. Is it hot as shit wearing that mask? Of course it is. It does depend on where you're at. If it is summer, it can be brutal, but if you are doing an outdoor gig in October, it is actually quite nice and toasty.
Corey Taylor performs Friday, November 18, at Trees.
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