Iowa native frontman and more recently, author, Corey Taylor has had an insanely full schedule this year so far. With Stone Sour, he has released the full-length, House Of Gold & Bones – Part 2. With Slipknot, the other band in which he is the lead vocalist, Taylor has planned a few dates for the fall. His literary debut was only in 2011 with Seven Deadly Sins: Settling The Argument Between Born Bad And Damaged Good, and already, he has released the sophomore work, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Heaven.
In between all of this, Taylor has managed to squeeze in penning his own comic book, doing extensive touring in support of his latest record, and even win the 2013 Golden Gods Award for “Best Vocalist.” In the past, he has sat behind the soundboard and produced albums for other groups within the genre. There is not much that this musician won’t get involved with. Amidst his book tour this summer, Corey Taylor made time to discuss with me the influences behind A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Heaven. See our conversation below:
You have had a super busy 2013 so far with touring, releasing your comic book, putting out House Of Gold & Bones – Part 2, and now your literary follow-up to Seven Deadly Sins: Settling The Argument Between Born Bad And Damaged Good. In A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Heaven, you mention that this was not a sequel to your first book, but more of a continuation. What spawned the creative need for you to pen these experiences?
It was a couple different reasons. One, I liked the format of the first book. I loved the way it flowed; it kind of wrote half of itself. I knew with Seven Deadly Sins there was going to be seven chapters of me talking about sins. I knew that I liked the fact that it kind of arranged itself. It was kind of the same way with this one. I had all of these experiences that I knew that I could make specific chapters out of and just kind of ghost in and out (no pun intended), ghost in and out of that and be able to tell these stories and try and make my point, which was the second reason why I wanted to do this.
I wanted to figure out what made sense in my head. I’ve been following religions and whatnot for a very long time. I’ve also been following the paranormal and all the answers that were out there didn’t satisfy me whatsoever. This was kind of a way for me to kind of unload these stories and at the same time figure out what these spirits are and why. It was kind of a continuation of the weird life that I’ve been living and trying to start a conversation about what these things could possibly be.
You make your opinion on organized religion known within A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Heaven. Do you feel in any way that contemporary religion inhibits its believers from being aware of or open to the paranormal?
No, I think it inhibits them from having true faith. Not to say that everyone who is into organized religion doesn’t have any faith, but at the same time, it’s so obvious that it is a click-ish cult that it is kind of a bum out. There are people who actually subscribe to the writings and subscribe to the faith itself and try to live their lives like that, but it is all overshadowed by the goings-on that happen when man gets involved in the things that he doesn’t understand and tries to act as the mouthpiece for it. It was a little bit of that and it was also the fact that not believing in heaven, not believing in hell, it’s like, what happens to this energy when we die?
It seems like your strong roots in Des Moines and unconventional story have affected much of who you have become for the better as an artist today. You clearly are a man with a lot to say. How do you still find the inspiration to create in all mediums as your career progresses?
Well, the thing is, I grew up with so many different interests. Not just about music, but about writing and whatnot. I’ve always loved to write, to be honest; it’s actually the thing that I take the most pride in when it comes to the music that I make. I know I’m not the world’s best singer, I know I’m not the world’s best guitarist, but when I take everything and put it together, I can hold my own, which is exactly what you want. My lyrics I take very seriously. I’ve always been a very voracious reader; I’ve been reading since I could read, reading whole books as long as I can remember. It is just something that I have always loved to do.
As time has gone on and I’ve gotten a little bigger, more high-profile—which is very funny, you know, I have been able to jump in and do all of these things that I’ve had interest in—I never thought I was going to be able to write one book, let alone two. I’m kind of just licking the frosting off of the cake right now because everything is extra. I’m very fortunate, so I’m pretty stoked. That’s not the end of the list as far as my interests go.
As a seasoned musician, what changes do you hope to see in the industry in the coming years?
The one thing I will say is that I hope that most of the heavy metal and hard rock audience will return to supporting artists the way they used to. Not that they’re not fans, but the thing that I’ve noticed, especially in the last three or four years, is that downloading and illegal downloading has really only hit the heavy metal and hark rock genre. You look around at all of the disposable pop and hip-hop and whatnot, and they still sell millions and millions of albums. Then you look at the hard rock and heavy metal genre, I see numbers—not even in my own bands, I’m talking about other bands, bigger bands—and I’ve seen those numbers just decline, decline, decline. I’m hoping that the heavy metal and hard rock audience will turn around and realize what they’re doing. They’re slowly but surely putting us out of business. They’re slowly but surely guaranteeing the fact that we won’t be able to do this.
Some of us can’t afford to do it the way that Metallica does or the way Iron Maiden does or Black Sabbath. They’re kind of killing the careers of a lot of younger bands. I know I’m going to get crap for saying that, but I don’t care. I am in this business, I see the other side of it. That’s not fair. That’s not fair to the bands who have come before me, it’s not fair to the bands who are out right now. It’s not fair to the bands who are going to come after us. If you want to see heavy metal and hard rock get the respect that it deserves, you need to turn around and support it the way it deserves to be supported. That’s all I’m going to say about it.
What was the last show that you attended aside from your own?
Oh god, um, that is a great damn question. I couldn’t tell ya. Oh! I take that back, I do know. I went and saw Cheap Trick in Los Angeles when they did their 30th anniversary show! It was fantastic. Cheap Trick is one of the most underrated bands of all time. The fact that they are not given the kind of respect and recognition that they deserve is almost a travesty.
Now that Rush is in the Hall Of Fame, there’s so many other bands that need to get into the Hall Of Fame, and Cheap Trick is one of them. I’m not just saying that because Rick Nielsen is my friend, I’m saying that just because they are a great, great American rock and roll band who inspired a lot of people to carry on making great rock music. If they can’t get the respect that they deserve, then I don’t know what the hell that Hall Of Fame is all about; it’s a crock.
What are your plans for the rest of this year?
I am taking the rest of the year off! For the most part. I’ve got these book signings and things that I’m doing over the next seven days. I’ve got some stuff I’m doing at Comic-Con, which is really just an excuse to for me to buy comics. Then, after that, I’ve got like, three or four months off, and we’re doing two shows with Slipknot in October in South America. Then, after that, I’ve got the rest of the year off and I have nothing until me and the guys in Slipknot reconvene and start throwing some new music at each other next year.
Enjoy it! Travel or something.
Oh, I’m going to. I can’t figure out if I want to work out and lose weight or just sit and gain weight. Like, I’m really on the fence. There’s a part of me that’s like, “Okay, you’re about to turn 40, you need to really start getting in shape again.” Then, there’s that other part of me that’s like, “But fried chicken is so delicious.” I’m really kind of on the fence. Hopefully, in the next week or so, I will have decided my fate. Hopefully, I make the right decision.
Everything in moderation.
Everything in moderation! Thank you very much for quoting me! (Laughs)
There was a line in the book that stuck and I really liked. It was, “When the time comes to move on, your body knows before your brain does. That is why you always find yourself pointing in a different direction when you did not even realize you had moved.”
Well, thank you. It was to the point, you know? (Laughs) Thanks for the sound bites, but make your point (laughs). Well, thank you, I always try to balance the creative with the exploratory as well. Hopefully, it worked out. I’m glad you liked that.
Corey Taylor’s new book, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Heaven, is available now. For more information, go to thecoreytaylor.com.