Slipknot singer Corey Taylor discusses ‘Deadly’ new book
Corey Taylor's first book, “Seven Deadly Sins” is an in-depth argument for theredefinition of sin, meshed with personal stories from his childhood andcareer.
He’s led a wild life as the lead singer of hard rock bands Slipknot and Stone Sour, but Corey Taylor is also surprisingly sensitive. The 37-year-old’s first book, “Seven Deadly Sins” — dedicated to his children, wife and grandmother — is an in-depth argument for the redefinition of sin, meshed with personal stories from his childhood and career.
How is your book different from other rock star memoirs?
Well, it’s not really a memoir, to be honest. Everybody’s been describing it as autobiographical, where actually it’s a… my God, what the hell would you call it? I mean, it’s got a few stories in it, but they’re all in context to the subject that I’m trying to talk about, so I guess it would be more in line with Hunter S. Thompson or something like that. [I’m] trying to make a point, and I’m trying to entertain the reader, but also leave him with something to think about. I wrote it myself — that’s probably a huge difference. A lot of people think that just sitting down with someone who’s punching letters into a computer counts as writing your own book, but I completely disagree. I felt I had a very relevant thing to say and I could use my own life as examples, so I can only hope that people take a lot of different things away from it than just stories of when I was growing up or stories of being on the road. In this day and age that’s so easy to do — I would rather try to shake it up and toe the party lines.
You dedicated the book in part to your grandmother. What has been her reaction to all of this?
My grandmother is very, very proud. She’s been one of my staunchest supporters since I was young. Even when I was a crazy teenager, she did what she could to help me get through it. She always supported not only my music but just everything that I wanted to do. When I first started to get popular, she was the first to run out and buy CDs for all the family, so I made sure that she had golden plaques, and then the platinum plaques, and then it got to the point where she was like, “I have no more room in my house, you have to stop giving me plaques!” And of course I didn’t listen because it’s my grandmother. The great thing about my grandmother is that I get my work ethic from my grandmother. She raised two kids by herself in the ’50s after a bad divorce, worked for 25 years at one job, retired, took a year off, got very bored, went back to work and has worked at the same place for another 20 years. And I’m like, “Are you out of your g—d— mind?” I always wondered where I got [my work ethic] from, and it was definitely her.
Was writing this book similar to your songwriting process?
It was easier in a lot of ways, but a lot harder in a lot of ways. When you’re just punching words onto a page you can do what you want: You have carte blanche as far as like what you want to say, how you want to shape certain phrases or how you want to turn a certain metaphor, whatever, so I had free range as far as that went. But it was harder for me because there was no definite end to a chapter, whereas [in] a song there’s a natural end and you can feel that and you can compose around it or trim as you need to, so it was kinda like writing for the first time in a lot of ways. It was definitely a challenge, but I loved it. I loved the challenge because anytime something’s too easy it’s not worth doing.
Are you planning to write more books?
I’ve actually been talking about a concept for another book; I’m kind of waiting to see how this book does before I start working on it, but I’ve pretty much written the first chapter.
What’s it about?
I’m gonna keep that under wraps for right now…Oh, OK, fine I’ll tell you. Basically, it will be a collection of stories, the difference between believing in the paranormal or the supernatural, versus believing in God and having faith. Like, how can I believe in ghosts when I don’t believe in God? It’s like believing in aliens and not God. So I’m going to try and take that on. It’ll probably be a lot more comedy and some of the chapters will probably be a little darker than “Seven Deadly Sins,” but I’m actually gonna go out and go on different ghost hunts, and if something happens I’m gonna write about it. If nothing happens, I’m just gonna make fun of people.
Will it also include stories about your childhood?
Yeah. There’s a lot of stuff that I saw when I was younger that I couldn’t explain, and I’ve just continued to have all these weird paranormal experiences happen to me as I’ve gotten older. I did record an album at the Houdini mansion and I’ve got several stories from being there. It’s definitely something that I believe in, without having that religious background, so it’s very weird for me. Hopefully this will help me make some sense out of it.
Your book is all about how we define sin. In your opinion, who is someone who should be up for redemption?
I have to go with my best friend, Jason Christopher. Honestly, he makes me look like a Mormon. He makes me look like a lily-white Christian. But at the same time, he’s one of the most solid dudes I’ve ever known. He’s got one of the biggest hearts that I’ve ever known. He will drop anything in a heartbeat to come and help whoever needs to be helped.
Building off of that, is there anyone you consider a sinner?
Well, I have a list, probably no one that we could publish (laughs). I have my definite — you know what? Screw it, I’m gonna go on the record: Casey Anthony. She sucks at life and I hope she gets what she deserves someday. There may not be penance for sins, but I definitely believe in karma.
You’re married and have kids. How do you balance your hard rock lifestyle with being a family man?
My wife actually works on the other side of everything. She’s very much in management and she is actually one of the people who drives me to do everything that I’ve always wanted to do, and not only drives me but also helps me get there. She’s probably the most resourceful person I’ve ever met. [She’s] very determined — doesn’t take s— or no for an answer. So having that yin and yang, man, it’s a perfect, perfect combination. As far as being a father, growing up without a dad, in a shaky family situation, it’s important for me to instill in my children that if they set their mind to something that they’re good at and they work really hard, that they can accomplish anything they want. And if you don’t lead by example, then what’s the point? It’s hard because we’re gone a lot, but at the same time, I still get to see my family, I still get to spend time with my kids, I’m with my wife all the time, and at the end of the day, what you see on stage isn’t a good representation of what you see behind the scenes. I’m a big dumb nerd at the end of the day.
How are you a nerd?
I like doing nerdy stuff. I’m an action figure guy. I’m a comic book geek. I maybe played six real songs at this acoustic thing, and the rest of them were me basically picking the weirdest songs I could and playing them to make people laugh. I mean I played the Scooby Doo theme song, that’s gotta tell you something right there.
What would you tell your kids if they wanted to read your book?
If they ever get it in their head to read it, I’m definitely gonna set it up for them. I let my wife read it before it was published and there were a couple days of “You’re gross, don’t touch me, I don’t want to talk right now,” but that’s the only way I know how to write. I come at it as honest and as weird and brutal and artful as possible. I guess what I would say to my kids is like, “Look: Don’t miss the point of what this book is supposed to be. It’s supposed to be talking about being human, making mistakes, and at the end of the day striving to be a better person, and using these ‘sins,’ these mistakes, to whittle away all the clay to get to what’s inside, which the beautiful sculpture, the beautiful piece of art, the human that you wanna be.”
You’re exude such confidence in your book. Where does that come from? Is that also courtesy of your grandma?
It comes from my grandma and it comes from just being a frontman. You have to have a certain amount of “f— you” egotism, which I do my best to keep in check. If you’re gonna do something, do it: don’t f— about, don’t hem and haw about it, just do it and do it to the best of your ability. I did my best to come at [this book] and not only just try to be articulate and intelligent, but also just have that, ‘hey, we’re not just reading a book, we’re watching a show’ kind of thing. You want people to read it, but at the same time you want them to feel it. You want them to visualize it and see it. Words on a page are only words on a page unless they’re saying something that can make you see something.