Stone Sour and Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor is pulling double duty this year in more ways than one. Stone Sour is putting out its second album in as many years; the first was House of Gold & Bones Part 1, which dropped last year, and the second, House of Gold & Bones Part 2, came out in April.
Later this year, Stone Sour and Slipknot will be performing the same weekend, as part of Ozzfest Japan and the Download Festival. On top of that, Taylor just released a comic book to coincide with House of Gold & Bones.
Up on the Sun talked with Corey Taylor about the differences between House of Gold & Bones Parts 1 and 2, his bucket-list collaboration with Dave Grohl, and new music from Slipknot.
Stone Sour is scheduled to play U-Fiesta in Mesa on Saturday, May 4.
Slipknot is known for its insane stage antics, theatrics, and outfits, as well as its brand of metal and rock rap. Stone Sour's sound is gritty and dark, with an array of slower melodic songs that waver between visceral metal and a look into one's deeper consciousness.
Both bands have garnered several Grammy nominations for Best Metal and Rock Performances, and Slipknot even won Best Metal Performance for the song "Before I Forget" off of Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses).
What a lot of people don't know is that Stone Sour was formed before Slipknot, the latter in 1995 and the former in 1992.
"So many people don't realize that Stone Sour preceded Slipknot," Taylor said. "That was my band before I connected with Slipknot, and the roots are deep with Stone Sour. I love being out with this band. It's a different band than Slipknot, and I think when you make music, you need to stretch and move in different directions."
Up on the Sun: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.
It's all good, it's my sworn duty has the frontman for a band.
When we talked a year ago, you had explained how the concept behind The House of Gold & Bones was a morality play, and how everyone finds themselves at a crossroads. Did the album evolve past what you even originally thought it to be, in terms of hitting home for a lot of people?
Well, the response has been amazing. Fans have been saying it's the best of our career, and I've gotta agree with them. Everything we've done at this point has been building toward making these two albums.
I think it told the side of the story that I wanted it to, which was that unconscious side, that internal dialogue side. That's really where I wanted the music to sit. And, uh, I think the music played perfectly off of the story I wrote.
In a lot of ways, it did kind of go past what I thought the story was going to be, and what it finally came [to] was about adding strength in life to make decisions and choices and stand up and live your life, no matter what that life is.
I was really happy that it evolved into that. I've always left a lot of my lyrics open to interpretation, and these albums are no different. I was kind of blown away.
What songs are you enjoying the most performing right now? I really love "Sadist" and "Gravesend"
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah . . . Those songs are very, very, very special, too. "Sadist" was from Josh, who normally writes the really heavy stuff. He came to me and had written this slower tune that just had this heaviness to it.
I knew we were going to have to really play up the delicacy between the two. We worked together, and I added a couple things here and there, and once it came together it was this really powerful song. You know? And Josh was really stoked with the way it came together.
And then "Gravesend" is just such a dark tune; it's about really trying to bury the demons from the past, but they all come screaming to the surface if you don't do that properly. I mean, in order to bury those demons you have to forgive them.
And that's the hardest thing in life. That's the thing so many people forget about, you know? You can ignore a problem and it will blow up in your face. But it you embrace it face-to-face, it will slowly, surely get better.
Are there any tracks you are more anxious about performing live?
Well, we've been playing "Do Me a Favor," which is like a slow burn. At first people are like, "What is this?" And then the more they listened to it, the more they thought it was badass. With every audience we've played it for, it's just gotten bigger and bigger and bigger.
And then when the chorus kicks in, I can't even hear myself. And I'm wearing in-ear monitors, man! That is such a blast to feel, you know? We haven't really had a chance to practice too many more songs from Part 2. So hopefully on the next handful of tours we'll be able to break more out.
How does Part 2 differ from Part 1 for you?
I think it's definitely more . . . It has a spirit. It's darker. Some of the songs have bits that are much heavier than Part I.
To me, it moves the story more than Part 1 does. I mean, Part 1 is a great rock album that happened to have a linear story going on. Whereas in Part 2, it's much more involved with what the concept is supposed to be, and moves you toward a conclusion. It feels more like a soundtrack.
We did that on purpose. We really wanted to have that one-two punch that complemented each other, where the story is really a piece of the puzzle. And when you put these pieces together you get the whole picture.
I really liked the collaboration with Dave Grohl on "From Can to Can't." What musician would you really love to do a collaboration with?
Dave was number one. Anytime I looked at that question in the press -- for years, he was my first guy. Because a) I love the dude to death. We're pretty good friends. And b) I love his songwriting. I'm a huge Foo Fighters fan; I'm a fan of everything he does.
So now I have to move all these people up because it was a huge checkmark off my bucket list and I don't know what to do with myself! One person I'd love to work with is Trent Reznor. I'm a huge, huge Trent Reznor fan. We've met in the past, so I would love to do something dark and violent with him.
I'd also like to put together almost a dark acoustic EP with some of my favorite people. Everyone from Dan Rigg to Steve Earle to Waylon Jennings, Jerry Cantrell . . . Just people [where] I love their guitar work and I love their approach to songs. I would never get it done . . . But a boy can dream when he's by himself in his bedroom.
I know when we talked last year about Living Breathing Films [Taylor's film company with Slipknot's Clown], you said you wanted to make a movie out of an album like The Wall.
No, we're about to break ground on our first film, which we've been putting together over the past year or so. I've had to learn the hard way that the movie industry moves a little slower than the music industry. But that's cool. It just allows me the time to be able to focus on it.
We're very, very close to really getting it together so we can make our first film. I'm really stoked. I'm actually starting to put together two outlines for two movies that would be based around the House of Gold & Bones albums.
Yeah that's been my endgame since day one: to make two cult classic fantasy movies. To make rock movies in a way that's never been done before. So I'm trying to get that together, because I really care about it. But it's a slow process.
That industry definitely moves more slowly. When I talked with Rob Zombie last week about Lords of Salem, he talked about that, too, but then you have to move quickly. Like how they filmed Lords of Salem in four and a half weeks.
Well, that's the thing! The place where you should take your time is where everything [finally] accelerates from zero to a hundred, right? It's like seriously trying to race a snail through a river of molasses, it's so slow.
Then, all of a sudden, you have to get it done, even though you want to take your time. It's interesting. But you know me, I'm a big mouth, so if people want to argue about that, I'll definitely go to blows with them.
Slipknot has some international tour dates scheduled so far this year, right? I know you can't rush those things, but can you give some insight into what's going on with Slipknot?
Well, we're not working on anything new right now. We're kind of looking to do that next year sometime, possibly early next year. Just start getting in the same room, start throwing ideas at each other, like on the first album. Almost like a rebirth in some ways.
It's good to be able to take this time. Because a lot of us haven't been healthy; a lot of us have been able to live our lives a little bit more and be more proactive. It's allowed the people who needed it time to get healthy and recuperate. So when we do get together and go into the studio, we are going to be bulletproof.
It'll make it easier. It will always be difficult, but this will help us to make a righteous Slipknot album.
As far as people taking the time to heal and get healthy, does that go for you, as well? You seem like you're constantly on the move and touring.
Yeah, well, that's kind of the secret isn't it? [Laughs] I get time here and there. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hitting a wall right now.
The good thing is, we've got the rest of this tour, then Europe, and then I have the rest of the year basically with nothing. Which is good. And I'm not really gonna do much. I'm going to promote my book, but that's easy-peasy. I'm just gonna -- be a dad, for a few months.
Which I'm really looking forward to you know? After July -- probably the 6th or 7th -- I'm on dad duty. My boy's getting old. He's gonna be 11 this year. This is all he's known his whole life. This is what I do, and he knows when I'm gone then I come home. I need to stop and be a dad for a while and that's all I want to do.
I thought you meant you were going to be having another baby.
Oh, no! No plans for that, as of yet. [Laughs] But you never now.
Last time we talked you said you'd been listening to a lot of Elvis. What are you listening to now?
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[Laughs] You really wanna know?
I've been listening to the comedy troupe Beyond the Fringe. They started the satire boom in the '60s and really influenced what Monty Python went on to do. It's Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller, and Alan Bennett. Absolutely brilliant.
Really, really funny and really broke a lot of ground when it came to a lot of things that we think is cliché these days. If you like British comedy, you'll love Beyond the Fringe.