Those that grow tired of Corey Taylor grow tired of life.
300,000 years since Homo sapiens first emerged, and we were fortunate enough to have lived at the same time as him. Taylor is an anomaly in the current entertainment landscape; an enigma in the ironic sense that the dude has established a profile of outspokenness and honesty. And whether or not you agree with him, you absolutely click to find out.
Through Slipknot and Stone Sour, Taylor has brought something to our world that few have in the past two decades: the masses. And it’s from that altitude, at the highest peak of Mt. Heavy, that he embarks on a journey far from the safety of numbers.
It’s a journey on which Taylor becomes more of a Virgil than a Dante. A guide through the many levels of his imagination. Ahead of the Friday, 2nd October release of CMFT, Blunt Magazine busted a call on him.
In many ways writing and recording new music is business as usual. But CMFT has one stark contrast from previous releases, given this was Corey Taylor’s first experience collaborating exclusively with, well, Corey Taylor.
“It’s interesting,” Taylor surmises of the experience.
“Working with Corey Taylor, proper, reminded me of how much fun I have making music and just being myself, when I’m not doing Slipknot, when I’m not doing Stone Sour, just being myself and really just embracing music for what it is.”
“I could put a band together full of my best friends and when we’re not making music, we were just absolute dorks. So it’s perfect. I’m telling you, dude, we laughed every day in the studio. We blinked and we were just like, ‘What, we’re done? Fuck no, we can’t be done!’ I mean, that’s what it was, dude.”
Slipknot released their debut album in 1999 and since then, whether it was through that ensemble, Stone Sour, his many guest features or extra curricular activities including acting or graphic novels, Taylor hasn’t stopped. But that’s no indication that those projects had become any less fun, he explains. “It’s not like I stepped away because I was tired of doing those things.”
“What really started this was people asking me if I was going to do a solo album. I was like, ‘Well, fuck, I’m in two bands. Plus I’ve got all this stuff. How much more do you want?’ But then when I really started thinking about it, I started going, well, what would a solo album sound like?”
Taylor can no doubt empathise with his audience’s unquenchable thirst for content, given his own. Despite his prior engagements, for the past 20 years Taylor had been whittling away at a trove of material not designated to any specific project, nor beholden to their sensibilities. “These are songs that I wrote that honestly, ostensibly, I had no real thought of playing for anybody.”
“I think that is the difference really between those bands, the guest appearances and this project, is because this comes from such a different, more personal place in a weird way. Then, when the time came to make a solo album, it was like, ‘Here we go. You guys wanted it. You thought you knew what this was going to be. Guess what? You have no clue.'”
With his heart and soul well and truly invested in the project, the wild horses free to roam, and encouraged by the aforementioned silly buggers, Taylor and his solo band began to finesse the collection of songs. It’s good and well for a song to be honest and personal, but in Taylor’s words: “The main purpose was just to make sure that the songs sounded awesome.”
“And really, it’s junk food. It’s those choruses and those hooks that are so good, they have to be fattening, right?”
At this stage, Taylor is now two tracks deep into the solo release, the stadium rock ‘n ‘roll / hip hop crossover ‘CMFT Must Be Stopped’ featuring Tech N9ne and Kid Bookie, and the much more prim and proper ‘Black Eyes Blue’. Essentially, on CMFT, Taylor treated the stale notion of ‘genre’ much like the rest of us should: with total disregard.
“We realised that it was really a rollercoaster journey through so many different types of rock and so many different, really genreless kind of vibes. But then working them in a fashion that it really all was very cohesive. It wasn’t necessarily about genre-bending or anything like that. But I think in that process, is how we were able to really make it sound like an exciting journey through the deepest reaches of rock land, basically.”
The album also bounces unpredictably between themes and topics. ‘CMFT Must Be Stopped’ is a stern and confident ‘fuck you’. “That’s pointed at a lot of people,” Taylor says.
But many of its brothers and sisters also inhabiting the album live on the total other end of town. “Some of it is deeply personal,” he begins.
“‘Home’ is one of the first ones that really comes to mind. That was the first song that I wrote for my wife. I spent two and a half years teaching myself how to play piano to be able to record it and do it. That’s how important it was to me.”
‘Silverfish’ is very much a venture into the darker side of things. “The harder moments are the quiet hours,” he explains. “Those moments in the dark when it’s just you and your brain, laying there in semi silence.”
Then there are the songs that evade labelling at all, a la ‘Samantha’s Gone’, which Taylor describes as “very satirical.”
But CMFT is far from a mess of sounds and words, inherently free form in spirit though it may be. Taylor has a fairly decent idea of what he’s created, “It’s an accidental party album…”
“You put this album on when you want to feel good. It’s an album that you embrace. And really, it’s junk food. It’s those choruses and those hooks that are so good, they have to be fattening, right?”
“There got to be sugar in there. There’s got to be something in these choruses that are dangerous.”