In the latest issue of Metal Hammer we sat down with Corey Taylor to talk about everything that's happened to Slipknot in recent years – notably the departure of drummer Joey Jordison and the firing of Jim Root from Stone Sour. In this excerpt from our massive feature, Corey talks candidly about his feelings toward two of the hardest decisions of his career.
The “Jim thing” to which Corey refers is the dismissal of guitarist Jim Root from Stone Sour in May, something that must be particularly awkward given that he still plays for Slipknot. Certainly, Jim himself wasn’t pleased, posting on social media: “I’m not in the band any more. Not my decision. Not happy about it.”
“That lead to a confrontation, to put it nicely,” admits Corey. “But literally, it flared up and then it was gone because we knew we had this project to work on. I didn’t want his focus split and I didn’t want my focus split, so we sat down and talked for 20, 30 minutes – and we were at the studio – before we even started. We hashed it out. He felt terrible and I felt terrible that he was going through it. It’s just one of those things where you’re gonna have to make decisions in life and you’re not going to like them, but at the end of the day you have to do what’s right for the greater whole.”
It seems, from the outside, like it was musical differences with Jim and more of a personality thing with Joey. Is that fair comment?
“No, not really,” replies Corey. “Jim is one of the most incredibly gifted people I know. It was a difference, not of direction, but just in the goal of things, y’know? There’s not a lot I can say about it right now because we’re firing [Slipknot] up and the last thing I want is to have him read something and take it the wrong way. Anything I say here I’m gonna say to his face as well, so it’s hard to do this, harder than any fan understands. There are times when it does flare up and we have to sit and talk and figure it out. Basically, when your friend’s not happy you have to find a way for him to be happy, no matter what, and if it takes making a difficult decision like that so he can move on, it’s just what you’ve got to do. It sucks and it takes a lot of the joy out of this shit, and that’s what this whole fucking thing should be about!”
Are you still talking to Joey?
“I haven’t talked to Joey in a while, to be honest,” he admits. “That’s how different we are. It’s not because I don’t love him and I don’t miss him. And it is painful; we talk about him all the time, but at the same time, do we miss him or do we miss the old him? That’s what it really comes down to. It’s just a fucking shame.”
When pressed further on the “Jim thing”, and who exactly fired him, Corey, understandably, prefers to stay tight-lipped. “This is the most I’ve spoken about it, I’ve told you more than anyone else,” he confirms. And, let’s face it, they still have to work together, and the last thing Hammer wants to do is cause additional problems in that particular department. Instead, we move to a similarly difficult subject: the trial and subsequent acquittal of Paul Gray’s doctor, Daniel Baldi, on malpractice charges, and the accusations by Paul’s wife, Brenna, that Slipknot didn’t do enough to help their friend.
“I wish it would have had a different outcome,” says Corey. “I wasn’t happy with any of it, but it comes more down to the prosecution’s side of things. They were able to turn the trial into something about Paul instead of something about Baldi, and that’s fucking unfortunate because he had so many charges of malpractice against him. There are things we can do to alleviate musically, but what about the families who can’t do that? What about the [other] families who lost someone? Not only were we unable to get some closure, but those families didn’t.”
This excerpt was originally published in the latest issue of Metal Hammer, get it now to read our full in-depth interview and check out the exclusive photoshoot.