"We came out and it was packed and people were hanging from ****. I’d never seen anything like it." Corey Taylor on the crazy moment he realised Slipknot had made it

Corey Taylor in 2023
(Image credit: Pamela Littky)

It seems almost unimaginable now that Slipknot wouldn't have ended up as one of the biggest bands in the history of heavy metal. From the second that iconic debut album landed on an unsuspecting public in the summer of 1999, it was clear they were unlike anything else we'd seen before. By the time of 2001's Iowa, the Des Moines Nine were already an arena-level band, with that album landing at an astonishing number one in the UK album charts - comfortably the heaviest record to ever do so.

In an exclusive interview in the latest issue of Metal Hammer, Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor reveals the moment that he first started to truly appreciate just how fast things were happening for he and his band - and it took place at a now legendary gig in London, England on December 13, 1999, mere months after the debut album dropped.

“We had a sense that something was happening was when we played the Astoria," he explains. "Coming from Des Moines, when do you think you’re ever going to be able to play London, for fuck’s sake? We were just wide-eyed: ‘Oh fuuuuck.’ We came out and it was packed and people were hanging from shit. I’d never seen anything like it. Everyone I meet, regardless of age, has said they were there. There’s no fucking way, ’cos the capacity of the Astoria would have been 100,000 people [it was closer to 2,000], but I love the fact that show has become this legend people talk about."

When asked how it felt to be in the middle of all that madness, Taylor responds: "I gotta be honest, I don’t know. We had our heads ducked down, just running for the sun. We were gonna do this over everybody’s bodies. I went through three relationships in that time – they crumbled ’cos I was never at home. It’s one of the few regrets I have, that I didn’t poke my head up and take a second to drink it in. I was fucking gone.”

Corey Taylor's second solo album, CMFT2, is out next Friday, September 15. The latest issue of Metal Hammer is out now.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.