Corey Taylor (SLIPKNOT, STONE SOUR) was interviewed on the February 7-9 edition of Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the Podbean widget below. An excerpt from the chat follows.
To see a full list of stations carrying the program and when it airs, go to FullMetalJackieRadio.com.
Full Metal Jackie: Corey, some great songwriters say the creative process is an excruciating and difficult task. Others say they’re just fortunate to be channeling some divine inspiration. Which is it for you?
Corey: Well, it’s nothing that cool [laughs], you know? I don’t know. I think it comes down to what you wanna say. Because I’m kind of lucky in the fact that I can take something that’s in my head and write it down, or I can listen to a piece of music that somebody else has written and try to tap into what the music’s saying, and just kind of follow that, you know. I mean nine times out of 10, I’m just kind of following where the music takes me. So, I don’t know… I think it comes down to what you want to say. I think it takes practice to really nail down the essence of what you’re trying to say. I mean, I’ve been writing songs since I was 12 years old, so I’ve had a long time to really kind of cut my teeth and get to the point where, when I hear something, I instantly know what I want to say with it, or how I want to say it with it, and also try to make it different and make it fresh. So, I don’t know if it’s channeling the inner muse, or trying to be artistic just because it’s art. As a writer, as a lyricist, you’re just trying to make sure that you’re not repeating yourself. And that’s a danger for a lot of people. So, for me, I just try to keep taking corners and trying to find new paths.
Full Metal Jackie: Corey, it’s pretty well documented recording the second SLIPKNOT album, “Iowa”, was tumultuous. The last several years have been transitional for the band. What did you learn while making that album that will make doing this next one a good process?
Corey: Well, I definitely learned that there are limits to how far you can push yourself. You know, when you go that far off the reservation and you see that there is definitely an abyss that you can stare into, it makes you pull back a little bit and go, “Whoa, hold on a second. I go any further, that’s a permanent vacation.” So, for me — and I can’t speak for the rest of the guys, but I know for me — it was definitely, probably the darkest time in my life that I was able to transition and turn into some insane and wonderful lyrics. But you can’t spend a lot of time on that edge, or it gets to be something that’s a little too enticing. So, for me, I guess I learned to visit that edge, but don’t live on it. Because that’s not life. When you’re constantly walking that edge, you’re just kind of just trying to figure out what side of the fence you’re going to fall on. And I didn’t want to be that, I wanted to get more out of my life than just seeing how far I could push the envelope. So the thing that I learned the most was be able to kind of tap into that darkness, but don’t live in it, don’t exist for it. There are better things in life that you have to live for.
Full Metal Jackie: Corey, between SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR, performing with other artists, writing books, it seems like you’re always busy. What do you do to decompress or is relaxation actually the process of working itself?
Corey: The thing that I’ve learned is that you kind of have to strike when you’re feeling it. A lot of people say “strike when the iron is hot,” but you kind of have to wait for that to happen. For me, the real lesson that I’ve learned is that if you’re not feeling it, get away from it. So I only sit down and write lyrics when I feel that inspiration coming on. It may take a little longer, but it definitely feels better. So I’ve had to really teach myself that when you’re not feeling it, you shouldn’t write anything down, because you’re going to end up coming back and re-writing it later. Whereas if you write when you’re feeling something, when you’re really in the streak, then that’s when you’re going to get your best stuff. So I’ve had to really make myself, give myself timeouts and get away from stuff, keep myself entertained. I either hang out with family or sit down and watch TV and kind of unplug for a little bit and then go back to it. I think that’s the best way to be the most creative and to have the most poignant thoughts that you can get down on paper.