Corey Taylor is someone who has almost done it all; from collecting a myriad of Gold and Platinum certifications as the frontman of Slipknot and Stone Sour, to acting, public speaking and even becoming a New York Times bestselling author.
But now the legend is stepping into his own musical territory with the fresh announcement of his debut solo album CMFT (out October 2), and Corey jumped on the phone with Maniacs to tell us all about it!
Read on to find out how CMFT came together, Corey's goals with the project and more:
Hey Corey, great to chat with you again! Tell us about this solo album - is it something you've been wanting to do for a while now, or something that's only popped up on your bucket list more recently?
You know it wasn't something that I was really planning to do until...honestly, a couple of years ago. Because it just kept coming up in interviews, you know? Like, fans would ask, interviewers would ask and it just kept coming up. And I was like 'well I'm already in two bands, how much greedier can I get?' (laughs).
But then I started thinking about what a solo album would sound like, and that's when I realised I'm sitting on this monstrous stash of songs that didn't fit with either band (Slipknot/Stone Sour) that I'd written in the past. So I was like, "shit man, why don't I just put this out?".
And that was the turning point where I got really excited about it, realising "ok, this isn't just about me putting my name out there and doin' some kind of weird cash grab - this is about doing a real album with real songs, with not only a very talented band but dudes that I've known forever. And once I looked at it from that standpoint, that's when I got really stoked about it.
So were your song ideas already fully-formed or did you take them to your bandmates and write with them? Wasn't the whole thing recorded in like 3 weeks or something?
Yeah basically, but it's actually a little bit of both - I had the meat of everything written and demoed, but at the same time I left it really open for layering and obviously, there were ideas that I had where...well, I'm not that good at guitar to be able to play them, but I could convey the idea and just have them put their own interpretation on it.
So yeah man, as much as the songs were fully-formed and completely sequenced and arranged and what-not, there was also room for collaboration as far as the other guys' parts went. And anything I didn't like I told them that it was going down the wrong lane, but the stuff that I did like I just said "absolutely".
I wanted it to have that kind of sense of a band playing even though I'd written everything - except for 'Everybody Dies On My Birthday', which me and Tucc (guitarist Christian Martucci) wrote.
You've described CMFT as being a fun record, and there are definitely a lot of huge and fun moments on it - what inspired you to go down a more light-hearted route compared to Slipknot and Stone Sour?
I dunno man, I guess that's just kind of style I ended writing. A lot of this stuff goes back many, many years. There's stuff that had its origins in high school, there's stuff that I've written 15 years ago, and then there's stuff I'd written as recently as six months ago when I was on tour with Slipknot.
So, it really was just the spirit of the stuff I was writing, you know? I didn't really sit down and say "I wanna write down this lane", it really just kind of had this cohesiveness because it was just different from anything I'd done with either band.
I think that's the only real thing I was looking at - because really, if it was anything I felt like I could have done with either band, I probably wouldn't have done it. Like, the whole reason to do something like this is because it's different than anything anybody else has ever heard you do.
That was really the driving standpoint for me. I didn't want to just put out a watered-down Slipknot or Stone Sour album, I wanted to put out something that would represent me, a whole other side of who I am. Not only as a songwriter but a song lover, you know? I wanted to put out that vibe. And it just came out really upbeat and fucking awesome, really.
Speaking of upbeat, we gotta know more about the last song on the album 'European Tour Bus Bathroom Song'. Is there a backstory to it or was it literally just some song you wrote on a bus? It's a punk banger!
(laughs) Well, again it's a little both. Now, anybody who's ever toured in Europe, especially on the big Beat The Street buses, the double-deckers and single-deckers and all that...everybody knows that you can almost set your watch to the fact that there's a sign in every European tour bus bathroom that says - and I quote - "please do not put paper in toilet, please use the bin provided". That's the sign.
Now, when you're rollin' down the road bracing yourself, because you know, it's never guaranteed you're gonna have a good bus driver...and you're bracing against two or three walls trying to take a piss and not get piss all over yourself, you're kind of staring at the wall and staring at the sign.
So you catch yourself doing weird shit, like me, where I would start spelling the letters in each word. And then all of a sudden I realised I was doing it to a rhythm and cadence which was getting stronger every time, so it got to the point where I was going (spelling out) "P-L-E! A-S-E! D-O-N-O-T! P-U-T! P-A-P! E-R-I-N-T!".
And I wrote this weird hardcore punk song by spelling the words on a European tour bus bathroom wall (laughs), and that's why it's the 'European Tour Bus Bathroom Song'.
That might be the most amazing way to write a song ever, so glad that's the story (laughs)
It was literally that simple. And it's been going on for years, this one goes back like 14 years. And I was like "someday I'm gonna record this, and people are gonna fuckin' believe where it came from", but I was like ah, screw it. But now finally the time came and I was like "yes, here we go!".
There's a lot of variety and genre crossover on CMFT - is there any one song that stands out to you as your favourite?
Hmm, that's a good question...I mean it changes daily to be honest, because I listen to the album all the time...it's the first album that I can really listen to constantly and I don't skip shit. Maybe it's just 'cause I'm an egotistical prick, but at the same time I just really like the songs.
I dunno man, each song has such a special kind of place in my heart, you know? 'Samantha's Gone' is probably one of my favourite songs I ever wrote with one of the biggest choruses I've ever written...but it's made special by the fact that I offered that song to three different bands and they turned it down over the years, and I wrote that one about 13 years ago.
So yeah I've been sittin' on that song for a long time thinking "fuck man, I really gotta put this damn thing out". And it just kind of happened to fit with everything else I was putting on this first album. I guess I'm really stoked by the fact that it came out so great and it's a mashup of 70s glam and 80s punk, and it's got this great vibe to it.
But at the same time there's songs like 'Silverfish' that I'm really proud of which is one of the cooler songs that I've ever written. There's modulation in it, the chorus pops so big, and people really gravitate towards it when they listen to it.
Overall it's just a really strong collection of rock songs that also blend genres. It's a throwback album with a modern edge to it, and I think that's what I'm most proud of - the fact that it's not derivative and yet people can really get into it and excited when they listen to it. And I guess that's the whole point of doing an album like this.
Obviously it's hard to plan anything right now, but is this project something you want to eventually take on the road? Maybe some Australian shows down the line?
Oh, fuckin' ay! I wanna bring this everywhere, dude. Especially with this band. These guys were handpicked because of their abilities - and not only their talent, but also because they're just fucking great people and some of my best friends in the world. All we talk about right now is "god damnit, we gotta get this fucking pandemic over so we can take this shit on the road".
So I mean yeah honestly, if I do this right...next year I'll probably finish all the touring with Slipknot, and once that's done, I'll probably go into the studio and make this second solo album because I've got enough material for like, three more albums. And then I'll be able to tour the world on two albums instead of just one, and really fucking bring exciting rock and roll shows to the masses.
So yeah, that is definitely the plan, and I certainly wouldn't leave out one of my favourite countries!
Before we let you go, we want to get your thoughts on something Maynard from Tool said a few years ago, claiming that society has almost outgrown hard rock as a culture, and it doesn't have danger anymore. Is he right?
It all depends on what "danger" is...I mean, if that's the only reason you listen to rock and roll then obviously you're gonna be fucking bummed out. I mean for me, I listen to it for the songs and the spirit. It doesn't always have to be dangerous, you know?
And then again tell me one fuckin' genre that is dangerous - it certainly isn't hip hop, I mean all those songs blend together, all the fuckin' same seven shitty fucking writers playing the same shitty fucking autotuned garbage. It's the same with country, it's the same with this, the same with that, the same with R&B - there's no danger in any fuckin' music these days.
Even stuff that's trying to recreate history, like the very derivative bands that everybody praises now, everyone's like "oh they're so fucking cutting edge" and it's just like bullshit, I've heard it before. If that's the reason people are dangerous or that's the only reason you're trying to listen to music, then you're missing the whole point! The whole point is supposed to be the soundtrack. The thing in your fucking gut that makes you go "fuck I love this song". It's supposed to be that junk food chorus that's so good it makes you fat. It's supposed to be that guitar riff that gets your heart going, you know?
Fuck the danger, just give me something good. I think when people talk pretentious like that, they show just how fucking far their heads are up their own ass. I'm over it, you know?
Pre-order CMFT right here on the Maniacs store in both CD and vinyl variants, and there are a limited number of autographed copies available too! Use the link below:
Corey Taylor - 'CMFT' Tracklisting:
01 - HWY 666
02 - Black Eyes Blue
03 - Samantha's Gone
04 - Meine Lux
05 - Halfway Down
06 - Silverfish
07 - Kansas
08 - Culture Head
09 - Everybody Dies On My Birthday
10 - The Maria Fire
11 - Home
12 - CMFT Must Be Stopped (feat. Tech N9ne and Kid Bookie)
13 - European Tour Bus Bathroom Song