ARTISTdirect.com editor Rick Florino conducted an interview with SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR frontman Corey Taylor after the singer's new solo project, COREY TAYLOR AND THE JUNK BEER KIDNAP BAND, made its Los Angeles live debut this past Monday night (September 28) at the Key Club in Hollywood, California as the support act for STEEL PANTHER. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
ARTISTdirect.com: It was a lot of fun to see you on stage with THE JUNK BEER KIDNAP BAND with STEEL PANTHER. There was a real freedom to the set, and it felt like you were at home playing these songs. At the same time, the lyrics for "Kansas" are very personal. Do you feel like you've gotten more introspective with your writing?"
Corey: A little bit! A lot of people don't realize that I write a ton of that stuff anyways. I've been writing songs like "Kansas" since I was 12 years old. It's getting to the point that I've got to get these songs out there. If I choke myself off, I'm not going to be able to live and breathe this. I can't just be the angry guy in SLIPKNOT or the dark guy in STONE SOUR. People have to hear the other music as well because it's a big part of the story. As far as the lyrics go, it's simply one of those standard, upbeat love songs. If people can't handle that, then they don't get me to begin with. I don't really worry about it. I think the lyrics are exactly what they need to be for the song. If I was playing in the same key and I was singing, "I'm dark, and I've gotta be bummed," it wouldn't come off as real [Laughs].
ARTISTdirect.com: As you get older, does it become easier to sift through the darkness?
Corey: Oh yeah, absolutely! You can compartmentalize a little better. You don't just hone in on one thing and feel like that defines you. I know a lot of guys who get very one-dimensional because they just exist in that plane. Whereas the older you get, the more you feel like you understand yourself — you know your limits, you know your boundaries and you know how far you can take it. The darkness comes when you realize there are so many lines you can cross. That's really what it comes down to. The more you know yourself, the more you can go there. I think that's why it's gotten easier for me to do that.
ARTISTdirect.com: With THE JUNK BEER KIDNAP BAND, people get more of you in the music. They have the opportunity to experience every facet of you — the father, the loner, the artist, the musician and everything else. Is that what you want people to take away?
Corey: Definitely… nobody is only one side. Everybody is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional. I don't want to be that cardboard cutout rock star. I never have, and I never will. I want to be the guy who wants to have it all. I want to be David Bowie. I want to be Trent Reznor. Those are the things I aspire to be. At the end of the day, I merely want to be a great songwriter who has no fear when it comes to that stuff. The older I've gotten, the better my writing's gotten — the more I take risks and say more than I've ever said in the past.
ARTISTdirect.com: I got to grow up with you guys. I was 14 when the first record came out…
Corey: Oh my God, you're killing me [Laughs].
ARTISTdirect.com: It was always easy to feel something in every song that you wrote. Your music inspired me, and that's one reason why I have my own books out now. Is it really gratifying to see fans inspired to create because of your music?
Corey: Absolutely! I may be one of the few guys in the business that has tried to encourage the fans to be themselves and to achieve whatever they can. I know a lot of guys just want to tow the party line and say, "Yes, I'm so bummed, life sucks and buy my album." Man, screw you! You've got the audience. You've got the podium. Say something real. It would be nothing for me to go in front of a bunch of kids in a high school auditorium and say, "You can be whatever the hell you want!" I've been saying that since day one. It's positive reinforcement; it's pragmatic reinforcement. If you apply yourself, you can do anything. You're a perfect example. You applied yourself, and I'm sitting here with a copy of your book, and I couldn't be more stoked for you! You know?!
ARTISTdirect.com: Thank you! Your message with SLIPKNOT is extremely powerful, and kids can get something positive from everything you say and do on stage. When you can leave something behind that people can take and make their own, that's the mark of a true artist.
Corey: Well, it's the honesty. I know a lot of guys who get too hip-hip-hooray, and it comes off as real fake. My message has always been, you can be what you want, but it takes work. A man is only as strong as the failures that it's taken to get him to where he's at. For me, a failure is just a misdirected triumph. You have to learn from everything, so a failure is not a failure. You only fail if it stops you or if it stunts your growth. If you keep going, then you didn't lose anything.
Read the entire interview from ARTISTdirect.com.
Fan-filmed video footage of COREY TAYLOR AND THE JUNK BEER KIDNAP BAND's September 28 performance at the Key Club in Hollywood, California can be viewed below.