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.