Book Review: America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World” by Corey Taylor

America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World”
Author: Corey Taylor
Da Capo Press
Hardcover 256 pages

Our Score: 1.5 out of 5 stars

In America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World”, Slipknot/Stone Sour lead singer Corey Taylor directs his signature combination of humor and outrage at today’s America, sparing no one along the way. Taylor doesn’t shy away from thorny issues as he draws a brutally honest portrait of his country, outlining the good, the bad, the unflattering and the patriotic. Whether it’s politics or social media, race or pop culture, religion or reality TV, “America 51” digs deep into the roots of contemporary America.

The 4th book from singer turned best-selling author Corey Taylor titled America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World” is easily the brashest in your face collection of rants from the out spoken front-man. Having struggled my way through Taylor’s last two literary offerings l was a touch apprehensive about subjecting myself to another 256 pages of rambling. However being a long time fan of both Slipknot and Stone Sour I was willing to still give this book a shot. Within the first several chapters I could see that this book was going to be just like the others as Taylor becomes so wrapped up in his thoughts that he quickly loses site of the actual. I found this to very distracting and despite Taylor’s off the wall comedic jabs at society and his take on the current political climate there were just too many thoughts going on at one time causing the book to come off as very unorganized and poorly edited.

If you liked Corey’s previous three books then there is no doubt in my mind that “America 51” will fit right in with your collection as by now you have become a custom to the author’s chaotic style. However, if you are looking for this to be your first exposure to Corey Taylor outside of his music then you may want to hold up and check out some of his earlier works first.

Corey Beaulieu of Trivium talks new album and Summer Festivals

Heavy Metal band Trivium released their 7th full length studio album titled “Silence in the Snow” in October of 2015. Since that time the band has been performing at a relentless pace playing to thousands and thousands of fans all across the world. As the summer tour months get closer and closer the band is showing no signs of slowing down. Media Mikes caught up with the bands co-guitarist Cory Beaulieu recently to discuss the latest album, the bands upcoming performance at the inaugural “Rock N’ Derby” event and his thoughts on the changing tour landscape here in the United States.

Adam Lawton: Now that “Silence in the Snow” has been for a few month how do you feel the reception has been not only from a sales stand point but also from live performance reception?

Corey Beaulieu: Every record we put out there is always this quick knee jerk reaction from various places that either love it or think it sucks. A lot of time people build up these expectations in their head of what a record is going to be and if it ends up being something different than they expected there tends to be a negative reaction. There are also people who take their time with a record and really digest it and take it for what it’s worth. A lot of people have come up to us and said they weren’t sure about the album at first but after giving it some time they really like it. The album has been doing great and gotten on radio in a big way. Because of that we have been able to reach new fans that didn’t know who we were. We also have been able to change radio’s perception of who they thought Trivium was. I think there were some out there that thought we were a death metal band from Sweden and weren’t too sure about playing our albums. After meeting us and hearing the new material they have jumped on board and this new exposure here in the States has been really great.

AL: From a player/band stand point is there anything you would want to go back and change about the album?

CB: We spent a lot of time honing in the songs for this album. We knew exactly what type of record we wanted to make and what songs we needed to write. We spent a lot of time jamming and feeling the songs out. We wanted everything to feel very smooth and natural. If something didn’t feel natural we would re-write it. We didn’t stop till every key point we wanted to achieve with the record was done. I don’t think there is anything we would want to change however when you reflect back on a record you look at it and pick out things that you may or may not want to do with the next record. This record is definitely a great step for us and how we plan to do the next one.

AL: How much of the new album has made its way into your live set thus far?

CB: We have been doing a lot of headlining on this album which has allowed us to have longer set times which has been great. So far in the set we have four or five new songs that we have played. We try and balance things out between the newer and older material. Our new drummer has been learning a lot of the older stuff that we haven’t performed in years so to add in some of that stuff along with the new material has been a lot of fun. Each show we have been changing the set list so it’s a little different each night. By doing this we have been able to play a lot more material and we keep working on other songs to add in to the set on different nights and for future tours. I think it would be a lot of fun to be able to play “Breath in the Flames” and “Rise Above the Tides” which are both off the new record so hopefully for the next U.S. run of shows we will be able to debut some of these.

AL: With each album release do you find it harder to fit new material into your sets due to fans wanting to hear a lot of your back catalog?

CB: It seems like every song we rotate in and out fits pretty well. We aren’t switching a real popular one with a more obscure one or anything like that. All of the swaps are pretty equal. I think each of the sets that we play is equally strong regardless. With the internet it seems after you do your first show fans can check out the set list and know what you are playing ahead of time. It’s cool being able to swap sets because people come in not knowing what we are going to be playing that night. That brings back the excitement of not knowing what’s going to be played and makes for a cool surprise. Also with our new drummer learning more and more of our back catalog and by us adding in stuff here and there people will see that we are trying to cover all of our history and by doing that we hope more people will come out to the shows and see what we bring. Every show is different and the excitement that fans want is there each night.

AL: What are your thoughts on the recent climate shift in touring here in the States where we are seeing less multi-city traveling festivals and more single city weekend festivals similar to what have been done in Europe for quite a long time now?

CB: There is definitely more of a Euro style going on as of late. Weekend destination festivals are a model that has worked in Europe for twenty plus years. Traveling festivals like Mayhem and Ozz-fest were great in that they helped break a lot of bands but a lot of those shows took place during the week when a lot of fans were working an unable to attend. With shows shifting to a more weekend based time frame more fans are able to attend. People fly in from all over for these types of shows. Festivals like “Rock on the Range”, “Knot-Fest” and “Rock N Derby” show that this type of model is working here and are very popular.

AL: Outside of the bands appearances at various festivals this summer what other plans does the band have?

CB: “Rock N’ Derby” is actually our last show on this run of shows. After that we have a little time off then we head over to Germany to start a Euro festival run that is four weeks of shows over there. After that we are taking some time off from touring but will be working on other band related work. After that we are looking to finalize a fall headlining tour that will start in September and run through October. There is also potential for us to hit some new territories in the winter months and then wrapping up the album cycle early next year with another possible European run. You never know what else may pop up in between now and then though.

Book Review “You’re Making Me Hate You” by Corey Taylor

“You’re Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left”
Author: Corey Taylor
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

“You’re Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left” or “You’re Making Me Hate You” for short is the third book from Slipknot/Stone Sour front man Corey Taylor. The book is a no punches pulled critique of the strange world in which we find ourselves as documented by the one and only Mr. Taylor himself.

Never one to shy away from his opinions or thoughts Corey Taylor delivers and honest and in your face account of daily occurrences that well as the title suggests makes him hate you. The first few chapters are fun and fairly enjoyable to read however as the book progresses I quickly lost interest as the chapters became predictable and somewhat repetitive. At times Taylor seems to ramble off on side topics which may or may not directly relate to the chapters unique title and no matter how much was or wasn’t related to the initial topic the stories lost my interest.

Fan’s of Taylor’s will surely want to check out the book if not just to have but to also take a little peek into the writers interesting thoughts however if you are looking for some sort of tell all behind the scenes like Taylor’s previous works then you may want to skip this one

Corey Taylor talks about his new book, comics and future of Slipknot

Corey Taylor is best known for his work as the front man of the platinum selling heavy metal groups Slipknot and Stone Sour. Corey has also penned a New York Times Best Seller titled “Seven Deadly Sins” and is now back with the follow up titled “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven: (Or, How I Made Peace with the Paranormal and Stigmatized Zealots…)” which is a collection of stories documenting Taylors experiences with the paranormal and his efforts to understand the how and why of those events. Media Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with Corey recently about the book, his recent foray into comic book writing and the future of Slipknot.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us an overview of your new book?
Corey Taylor: Essentially the book is about my various experiences with ghosts and the paranormal. I am basically trying to figure out what these things could be as a lot of the research I have done has left me unsatisfied. This is me trying to figure things out balanced with some of my stories and things I have seen. I think everything came together pretty well.

AL: What was it like revisiting some of these experiences?
CT: The cool thing was when I would start writing about a place or experience I got to learn a little more about the history of things. The mansion we wrote one of the Slipknot albums in is a good example of that. I did quite a bit of research on the place and looked in to the various owners in an effort to dispel some of the myths and rumors. I found out Houdini was never connected in any way to the property which was a big thing that was always brought up when talking with people about the property. In doing that I was really able to trigger some of the experiences I had there. I also talked to some of the other guys in the band and had them recount their experiences. It was really cool to be able to go back and look at things from this point of view. It helped trigger a lot of great memories.

AL: Did you have to edit the stories down in anyway?
CT: Pretty much everything that I could gather made it into the book. Weather things came from my own memory or from someone else’s. I don’t think I left anything on the table as I wanted to make sure that I covered all of the bases. If I did leave anything out it was probably something I forgot. Really for the most part I tried to get as much of my experiences on paper as possible.

AL: The book also features some really interesting photos which transition the chapters. Can you tell us about those?
CT: That was an idea I had in order to be able to bounce back and forth between pictures that represented what the chapter was going to be like and being able to show people that the book isn’t all heavy. Everything I do I try and balance with a little bit of humor. I know stuff can get really heavy so during the photo shoot I wanted to make sure that people knew this was from my point of view. I wanted them to know that I wasn’t trying to change the world or anything I was just trying to make up my own mind. My mind wouldn’t be anything without balancing the seriousness with a sense of humor. Another really cool thing about the photos that I am in is that I am wearing the actual costume that was worn by the actor who played John Wilkes Booth in the movie “Lincoln”. My photographer and friend Paul Brown was able to get that actual suit. I think he did it knowing that I am such a history buff. That era especially is a favorite of mine. I just freaked out and thought it was awesome!

AL: Being this book is quite a bit different from your first how did the writing of the two compare and contrast?
CT: The thing I loved about the first book was the format. I was able to come at things from two different ways. On one hand I was able to tell a bunch of crazy stories and on the other hand I was able to take a topic and just write about it. I could just go off on whatever it was. With the first book where I talk about the seven deadly sins and try and take the wind out of those sails. You know going in that you have seven built in chapters that you’re going to be writing about. I love the way that before I even started writing that book the format was in place and sort of showed it’s self. I loved that! That gave me a jump start on this second book. I sat down knowing I wanted to write it and that each place I had an experience was going to be a chapter. From there I could jump in and out of those formats while also telling stories about the places while making a point of what I think these spirits or bundles of energies actually are. The book was half written before I even started typing.

AL: Also within the past year you have written a comic book. How did that opportunity come about?
CT: The comic book came about because of the two part concept album Stone Sour was releasing. What really triggered it was the short story I had written which encompassed both sides of the story that was being told throughout the album. While I was writing that short story I thought that it would make a really great comic book as I was trying to be very visual and evocative. Being a huge comic book fan this was something that I really wanted to do. Luckily when I sat down with Dark Horse Comics they saw the vision for what I wanted to do and they thought it would be a really cool mini-series. I had never written a comic book script in my life and thankfully Dark Horse sort of held my hand through the process and helped me figure out how to write it. It was a real big thrill.

AL: What do you feel was the biggest difference between your previous writing and writing a comic book?
CT: With a comic book script you sort of have to write for two different audiences. You are trying to write a script that will draw in the reader but at the same time you’re trying to format the story for the artist as well. I really had to jump back and forth between what I assumed the audience would want to read and see and also what I wanted the artist to come up with. I really had to rein myself in and not get too far ahead of the process so that the artist didn’t have to call me with a thousand different questions. It was a good challenge that I loved doing. I liked getting in to that mind set where I thought things were going to look great. I lucked out working with Richard E. Clark as he is fantastic. With writing something like this new book you just sort of type until you are tired. (Laughs)

AL: Have there been talks of you doing more comic book writing in the future?
CT: I haven’t put it away so to speak. I don’t have any ideas as of yet but the one thing I realize is that the best way to make god laugh is to announce your plans out loud. I just never say never and if an idea comes to me for an original comic book then I would definitely take it to Dark Horse first as they were so good during the process of this first comic. Right now I don’t have any plans to write anything but again if something down the line comes my way and its different and something that I would enjoy reading I would be open to that.

AL: Can you give us an update on the status of Slipknot?
CT: We have two shows scheduled for October in South America. Other than that I have the rest of the year off which is awesome. The plan right now is that early next year we will get together and start throwing new music at each other. It feels like it’s time so right now everyone is putting demos together and starting to get ideas together in our heads. We all have stuff going on outside of Slipknot and are very busy so there is no time table other than sometime next year. I think we are all in the position now to where we are looking forward to it.

AL: In your position as a singer do you wait until you hear demos before writing or do you write on your own before hearing anything else?
CT: It’s kind of both. I definitely get excited when I hear new music from those guys but at the same time my skills at writing and my proficiency on guitar has gotten better over the years. Now not only do I get excited when I hear other people’s ideas but I am also starting to write more and more Slipknot stuff. That’s something that I didn’t have the confidence to do before but now I am starting to feel really confident in my abilities. I love being able to write stuff for Slipknot but still enjoy hearing and writing to the other guys material.

AL: Being Slipknot is a very intense and demanding project how soon do you start preparing both mentally and physically for your work in the group?
CT: We do try to really get our heads ready for things as there is really no other preparation that can be done. We try to go into things with the mind set of excitement as we are going to be hearing something that no one has ever heard before. We are going to write something that hopefully people haven’t heard before. That’s what drives us. The excitement and new ground is what we love. We try to go into things very open and that I think helps us capture the energy we need for Slipknot music.

Book Review “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven: (Or, How I Made Peace with the Paranormal and Stigmatized Zealots and Cynics in the Process)” by Corey Taylor

Author: Corey Taylor
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven” is the second book release from Slipknot/Stone Sour front man Corey Taylor. After the success of Taylor’s New York Times best selling tell all titled “Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument between Born Bad and Damaged Good” Taylor and Da Capo Press are back with “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven”. The book recounts Taylor’s personal experiences with the paranormal and his relentless approach to better understand the unexplained.

If the interesting title doesn’t grab you the stories contained within Corey Taylor’s new book “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven” will certainly hold your attention. At several points throughout the reading of this book the hair on my arms was standing completely straight up. From the story of “Cold House” to the paranormal events that plagued Slipknot recording sessions there were definitely points where I should have put the book down but couldn’t. Though the more technical chapters contained in the book were at times lengthy and somewhat dry forging through that material proved fruitful as Mr. Taylor made sure to deliver with the following chapters.

Fans of Taylor’s previous works may be a little disappointed that “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven” is not the second installment to “Seven Deadly Sins” as this new book at times skirts around some of the debauchery Taylor and his fellow band mates are known. However those looking for that type of material are for warned in the opening paragraphs that the book is not designed to be a tell all. Taylor clearly delved in to the depths of his haunted mind to bring some of this material to light and that alone will surely entice readers to pick up this book.

Interview with Corey Allen Jackson

Corey Allen Jackson is a versatile composer whose work to date spans from animation to thriller/horror genre to video games. He has also composed music for numerous projects film and television. He recently completed work on the remake of the 1978 horror classic, “I Spit on Your Grave”. MovieMikes had a chance to ask Corey a few questions about some of his projects.

Click here to purchase Corey’s music

Mike Gencarelli: Where did you find inspiration for “I Spit on Your Grave” remake score? Did you look back to the original?
Corey Allen Jackson: The original “I Spit on Your Grave” did not have a score so I was relieved because I know the purists would be listening closely if that where the case. I knew I wanted to set a mood, that didn’t get in the way, but was influenced at times by Bartok, Pendereski. I watched the movie several times and was asked to score the opening sequence to get my take on the film. My visceral reaction to the film is what I put down in score and molded to the filmmakers intentions. I thought it should be dark and lonely not too terrifying until the brutality started. I tried to go balls out when Jennifer starts her revenge. It was a lot of fun to do.

MG: How did you get involved working with Bill Plympton?
CAJ: I sent Bill a demo about 7 or 8 years ago. I did not hear anything back for a while and so I kind of forgot that I had sent it. About a year later, I was on vacation when I get this call on my cell and it’s Bill Plympton. He said that there was a track on my demo that he wanted to use on his film “Hair High”. I said great and we’ve worked together ever since. I just received word this morning that out latest collaboration for the short film “The Cow that Wanted to Be a Hamburger”; is up for an Oscar. I believe that another collaboration “Idiots and Angels” has made the short-list for the animated feature category.

MG: Tell us about working on Alexia Anatasio’s documentary about Bill Plympton called “Adventures in Plymptoons”?
CAJ: Alexia contacted me sometime last year and asked to interview me for the doc she was making about Bill. I arrived at the studio where they were filming the interviews and the background was green screen. She explained that Bill would be animating our interviews. I have been anxiously waiting to see her doc ever since.

MG: In the film “Complacent”, you not only did the score but also produced; tell us how that happened and what it was like?
CAJ: I cannot remember how the conversation started, but I think I was playing gin rummy with my dad and the conversation turned to us making a film “Someday”. He had recently sold his business of almost 25 years and was looking for something to do. Sometime later at a holiday party at director Steven Monroe’s we started talking about it. He had a pile of scripts he wrote and wanted to direct. In another life I had business experience but this was really unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It was very stressful, but at the same time rewarding. It is a miracle that it ever got made. Afterwards I started to look around at pictures coming out, especially the independents, and thought to myself, “These people really have to love what they do to keep them going from start to finish.” There is nothing glorifying about it. No one get’s rich from it. It’s a “roll-up-your sleeves” job. I have a newly found respect for these people.

MG: Tell us about your role of synth programmer on “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore”?
CAJ: I would basically take the cues from the composer and would perform mock-ups, arrangements and production on the cues.

MG: Do you find the process very different working on movies to video games?
CAJ: It really depends on film and the game, but on the games I’ve worked on I had the opportunity to open up a bit more and flex the composer muscle a bit. In films you HAVE to be subservient to the story, dialog, everything. During game play you do have direction but it’s a bit less restrictive. Both are great to do and equally have their own advantages and disadvantages. I love writing to picture, but a game now and then is fun.

Click here to purchase Corey’s music