Slipknot's Corey Taylor Finds New Chemistry with His Solo Band — Even If He Sometimes Farts on Them

The Stone Sour singer discusses new solo album 'CMF2,' throwing in deep cuts for the old heads, and touring Canada in the winter

Photo: Marina Hunter

BY Manus HopkinsPublished Sep 11, 2023

Corey Taylor doesn't like to take breaks. He does, however, like taking naps, something he says he now needs to do at his age. 

"The amount of stuff that's on my schedule is just insane," the Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman, and now solo bandleader, tells Exclaim! on a day off in between shows in Denver, CO, and Kansas City, MO. "I'm either a glutton for punishment, or for the good stuff. I haven't really figured out which one it is."

It's hardly even a day off for Taylor when we catch up on a video call. The singer's conversation with Exclaim! is the last in a line of five back-to-back interviews, but he's in high spirits nevertheless as he chats about his sophomore solo effort, CMF2, and how much fun he had making it.

"I've been friends with most of these guys [in my solo band] for over 20 years, so any time we get in a room together, we are immediately going to start fucking with each other," he says. "We get to business; we love what we all do together. We're fans of each other's playing, singing, everything. But we are also not afraid to walk by and fart in somebody's face, because we're assholes."

Nice, Corey. 

Taylor says CMF2 is one of the best records he's ever made, a bold statement from a guy who helped define metal from the late '90s through to the present day — but something he notes is that the album incorporates an overwhelming number of different sounds and styles, while still feeling more cohesive than its predecessor,  2020's CMFT. So how does a band take elements from entirely different genres and blend them together into something that feels natural?

"My first thought is to say carefully, but I don't even know if we're careful about things; we just fucking do it," Taylor answers. "I think a lot of it has to do with the players. Obviously there's an instinctive recognition of the fact that it's the same dudes playing on the songs, because the styles are there and the vibes are there. I think it's the appreciation for the songs themselves, not just the genres that we're representing. It's one thing to do a genre musically, and it's another thing entirely to write a real song, and have it dip toes into certain genres and whatnot. It's a very strong thing."

Taylor is joined in his solo band by guitarists Christian Martucci and Zach Throne, bassist Eliot Lorango, and drummer Dustin Robert. For CMF2, the band once again teamed up with producer Jay Ruston.

"[CMF2] tells a story without telling a story," says Taylor. "It's just this journey musically, which I knew was a very real possibility after how well the first album was received."

Though he's fully invested in his solo tour at the moment, Taylor doesn't shy away from bringing up those other bands he's in. When asked how he decides which band any song he writes will go to, he says he typically has a hunch, but it doesn't always play out the way he thinks.

"[Slipknot's] 'Snuff' is a perfect example," he says. "A lot of people still think that I wrote that for Stone Sour. And it's like, no, I wrote that specifically for Slipknot because I knew there was a natural darkness in that song that would lend itself to Slipknot."

Taylor also reveals that he has a piano song he wrote years ago that he hopes to see on one of Slipknot's next albums — but, failing that, we may see it released under his own name.

"It just really comes down to inevitability," he says. "Because, I mean, let's face it: there are so many great writers in Slipknot as well that it's not like we're going to be at a loss for material. So you just never know."  

Taylor's current tour setlist showcases songs from all three of his bands; while there's a heavy emphasis on material off the new record, there are still lots of familiar songs for Slipknot and Stone Sour fans, who likely make up much of the audiences at these shows.

"Being able to throw deep cuts in and out from any of the projects feels really cool," Taylor says. "Yes, people want to hear the hits, but they also want to hear some of the deep cuts, so knowing that makes my job harder, but, at the same time, more exciting. You just want to dig into something that you hope people are really, really stoked on."

At 49 years old and still constantly on tour, Taylor says keeping up his powerful vocals and high-energy performances means staying healthy on and off the road. Taylor is 13 years sober, quit smoking almost nine years ago, and hasn't touched drugs in "God knows how long." Working out and eating healthy are musts as well, and while these things benefit his vocal delivery and performance stamina, Taylor says he's also motivated to stay healthy for his family.

"At my age, being able to do this, and to do it that hard and to do it that strong, that's something that's a gift, and a lot of people don't get that," he says. "So, I definitely don't take it lightly and I try to make sure that I can hang onto it as much as possible."

Taylor has no Canadian dates currently booked with his solo band, but with hopes to fill all of 2024 up with shows, he's confident he'll appear in our country soon. 

"I've always loved touring up there," he says, before adding: "It seems like they always want us to tour in January when it's negative 50 in Alberta."

Taylor does admit that his Canadian fans are some of the best in the world, though, and the poutine will keep him coming back as long as he's touring.

"Every time I've had the pleasure of playing up there. It's been fucking phenomenal," he says. "I've played up there with both bands, I've done acoustic shows up there, and I've been able to go up and just have a lot of fun. We want to get up there and do a real Canadian tour with this, not just hit Toronto or hit Vancouver — we want to run the bottom province line basically, or maybe even get up into the territories and see what happens."

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