Australia’s Faster Louder recently conducted an interview with SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR frontman Corey Taylor. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Faster Louder: The white elephant in the room is obviously regarding the tragic death of [SLIPKNOT‘s] bassist, Paul Gray, it’s obviously a difficult subject, but how have you reflected on it, and has it inspired you in any way?
Corey: It’s been over a year now, and I’ve been slowly but surely talking a little bit more about it. Obviously, it’s still with me, and it’s still hard to talk about it. But I’ve found the more I talk about it, the easier it is to deal with it. The biggest thing it has taught me, is to not take anything for granted, you know. Paul was one of those guys who really lived it. He lived it right to the hill. He fought his demons, but he didn’t let his demons control his personality. If you had just met him, you wouldn’t have thought that he was fighting those demons. He was such a sweetheart, and there were times that I forgot that he had issues that he was fighting against, and it really kind of made him almost indestructible in my eyes. So when he passed, it fucked me up, to be honest. It was hard, and it is still hard, but it taught me that you have got to cherish every day and cherish every moment. I don’t mean to be overly sensitive or anything like that, but you just have to take a minute in every day, and just reflect on where you are, and just realise what you’ve got, because you just never know where the next huge change in your life is going to come from. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve taken from it.
Faster Louder: SLIPKNOT are due to tour Australia as part of the Soundwave Festival in 2012. How has the dynamic of the live performances changed as a result of not having Paul there on stage with you, and having SLIPKNOT‘s original guitarist Donnie Steele filling in for live duties?
Corey: It’s definitely changed, you know!? It’s a subtle change, but it’s a subtle change that’s almost deafening. Paul‘s style was so distinctive, and his sound was so distinctive, that not hearing it took me a while to get used to, and still don’t think I’m fully used to it. But it’s about soldiering on, is really what it comes down to. It’s seeing the audience and being in front of the audience that definitely helps, especially in countries that we haven’t played in a while, and if it’s their first time in seeing us without Paul, there’s such a huge explosion. It’s almost like they’ve been holding their breath for too long, and it comes out in a rush and it hits us. It reinvigorates us to just give it even more, for him, for the audience, for ourselves. I’m just really happy that we have Donnie to do that; he’s one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met. He was like, “You know what?! I’m only going to do this if it feels right,” and we all got together and it felt good. It felt right. We were all so close that there was only really only one person who was going to be able to fit those shoes.
Faster Louder: How important was it then to have someone close to the band to perform that duty?
Corey: It was a weird discussion, let’s put it that way. There were a handful of names that were thrown about, but we all mentioned Donnie‘s name, and once we realized we were all on the same page, we were like, “Right — he’s the one. He’s the guy.” He’s the type of person that we were able to kind of put our emotions in his hands, and he kind of just walked with it. It’s been really good to know that we still have the backbone of this band, because Paul‘s spirit is still with us, in so many different ways. I mean, there’s not a day that goes by that at least once every hour that I don’t think about him, so it’s just knowing that someone who had Paul‘s back has ours now. It makes it infinitely easier.
Faster Louder: There are rumours that the next STONE SOUR album is going to be a double concept album. Can you shed some light on that, and what your influences were in writing it?
Corey: I’ve been writing almost non-stop. The idea that I have is very grand, and if we do it right, it will probably be the biggest thing of our careers. There are influences from stuff like ALICE IN CHAINS, old-school thrash like ANTHRAX and MEGADETH, with some really cool acoustic passages. It’s going to hit on every cylinder and packed into the biggest engine ever, let’s put it that way. It’s a pretty serious story that I’m trying to weave in and out of all these riffs and stuff, so it’s really exciting. It’s basically the story of a man who’s trying to figure it out. He can’t figure out if he’s happier when he’s miserable, or if he’s miserable about not being happy. It’s almost like a midlife crisis, in a way. He’s young enough that he knows that there’s still alot of life to live, but he’s old enough to realise that he can’t be hung up on the romance of teenage depression and youthful aggression. Stuff like that. So he’s really standing at the crossroads of his life, trying to figure out where he wants to go. There are stories about the people around him, stories about his romantic life, and there’s really this internal struggle where he’s going to burn forever or figure it out. Let’s put it that way.
Read the entire interview from Faster Louder.