“It was me purging myself of the poisons that one would kind of ascertain from escaping a cult, in a lot of ways,” he says. “It was almost like I had to make that album to be able to make this one.”
By contrast, “this one”, his debut solo record, CMFT (Corey Mother-Fucking Taylor), is a feelgood love letter to 80s hard rock, glam rock, rap and more – all big riffs and bigger tunes.
CMFT feels like a celebratory record.
It really was recorded with that spirit in mind. I don’t know if it’s because we recorded live in the room, or the fact that we all enjoyed spending time together so much, but it just translates. And the songs were fun. The songs were just good.
It covers a lot of ground. What impression of you do you hope people will take from it?
I would love people to say: “Fuck, he can write a good song,” y’know? That’s the one thing I really pride myself on. I don’t aspire to be the best singer in the world, I’m not the world’s best guitarist, but I take all my talents and really try to hone them in my songwriting.
You once said you warm up your voice with Misfits, Pearl Jam and rap. CMFT is a pretty good reflection of that.
Absolutely. This is probably the first time I’ve been able to show the widest range of my influences. This is the first time I’m just sharing the styles that bring me joy.
Not all Slipknot fans will like it. Does that bother you?
I don’t care really. I wanted to make an album that represents me. I’m a forty-six-year-old dude who’s been doing this for over twenty years. So if people younger than me like it, I’ll love it. If not, fair enough. If I had gone into this worrying about what Slipknot fans would say, I probably wouldn’t have recorded it.
On the song Home you play piano. Is it true that the first thing you learned to play was the Rolling Stones’ I Got The Blues?
Yeah. It was the first song I could play and sing at the same time. It’s also one of my favourite Stones songs. There’s such a wonderful yearning that comes with that song, especially at the end when everything’s really hitting its apex and he’s just imploring to the world.
CMFT is a party record. Having been sober for ten years, what makes a great party for you these days?
The people. I am really blessed with having friends who I’ve had for going on decades, and we’re all the biggest dorks on the planet. I’ve hit that cool point in my sobriety where it doesn’t really bother me when people drink around me, because I know they’re not going to get completely loaded and jump through my window.
Lockdown was a testing time for addicts. How has that side of your past – which began when you were a child – impacted the way you are with your own kids?
I basically look at everything I wanted as a kid, and I do that for my kids. I didn’t meet my dad until I was thirty. My mum is kind of a nightmare of a person sometimes. So I wanted to make sure I will be there for my kids. I will make sure they don’t have to worry about where food is going to come from, where their clothes will come from. It’s a tricky situation, because sometimes you can overcorrect that course and spoil your kids. I didn’t want that to happen either. It’s about balance.
In this time of Covid-19, as someone who’s worn a mask for much of your adult life what are your thoughts on those who refuse to wear one?
They’re fucking idiots. It’s the same fucking mentality that makes people fucking deny vaccines for their kids. It doesn’t make any fucking sense to me.
In your last book [2017’s America 51] you wrote about Trump’s America. How do you feel about all that at this point?
Trump was the end result of something that had been building for a while; this strange distrust of intelligence, because people who are intelligent are prejudiced against people like that. They look down their noses at people they deem to be the ‘unwashed, unkempt’ masses…
But that underlying tension started to rise because America deigned to elect a black man to be president. It showed the racist undertone in my country that was bubbling under the surface. But then the reaction to Obama is what caused Trump, and there’s people like me sitting in the middle going: “Why does it have to be one extreme or the other?”
You worked in a porn shop in your early/mid-twenties. What did you learn about people from doing that job?
I learned that my aunt didn’t realise I was working there! She came walking in at twelve-thirty, I was by the counter, and I’d never seen the colour drain from someone’s face until that moment. She was all: “Oh, I’m lost, er….” It’s Des Moines. If you get lost in Des Moines there’s no hope for you [laughs].
I’ve gotta be honest, man, it was the most fun job I ever had. I keep threatening to write a book about my experiences there. You think there are freaks in LA? Try being a closeted crazy person in Des Moines, Iowa at that time. There was a lot of crazy shit going on, and they all came to my shop… But that was a good time to be alive.
Who would you rather play: Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, or Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show?
I spent ten years going to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I was part of the cast every once in a while. When I didn’t get too drunk they’d drag me up and I would play Riff Raff. So I think I would love the challenge of being Jean Valjean, because he’s still my favourite literary character. That’s something I’ve never really tried to do before – something a little more classically trained. I think I’d love the challenge of that.