Corey Taylor Shares the One Thing He’d Wish to Change About His Shows
Corey Taylor, fresh from releasing the new CMF2 album, was the guest this past weekend on Full Metal Jackie's weekly weekend radio show. Over the course of the last album, Taylor has inked a new deal with BMG and become a label imprint chief with his Decibel Cooper label, and Jackie prompted Corey for what major piece of advice he'd share with newer bands in an industry that has very much changed since he started with Slipknot.
They also get into the new album a bit, with Taylor explaining why he may not pull a Wolfgang Van Halen and play every instrument on his records despite taking a more active role across the board with his solo efforts. Taylor also sings the praises of producer Jay Ruston and digs into the recent single, "Beyond."
Taylor also speaks to the live concert experience as it is in 2023 and offers the one critique of modern day shows that he'd like to see change. Check out the chat in full below.
We've got the one and only Corey Taylor with us on the show this week. Happy to have you back on the show. Corey Taylor, rocker actor, author and now a label imprint honcho! Corey I gotta say I love the name Decibel Cooper, which I'm assuming is a nod to the notorious D.B. Cooper. Tell me about how you landed on that as the name of your new imprint label and how it applies to what you're looking for in putting out music.
I always keep a list of like weird names and stuff that I kind of come up with, just when I'm tooling around and I'll think of something that's kind of cool. It's kind of clever and with with Decibel Cooper, it was actually the name of a side project that I wanted to do, like a few years ago and I ended up using it as my production company for the for my movies that I'm working on and then when the time came to do the imprint, I was just like, well, I'll just tie that all together. So I just applied Decibel Cooper to that as well. So, now I'm working on the Decibel Cooper empire, as it were.
Corey, a lot has changed in the music industry. Since Slipknot were signed all those years ago, what have you seen as the biggest changes pertaining to how bands are now handled? And what type of experience would you like to provide for an act that you signed to your imprint?
It's interesting, you know, because obviously, when we came out, it was still very much the old system, the old regime. You work hard to get signed, you hope that the label gets behind you and then you just tried to get on radio, you try to get on TV, you try to do everything that you can to kind of get the attention of everything. These days, it's so much. There's opportunity around every corner but I think it's almost like the reverse issue that there's so much opportunity, that there's no one place that the audience is. It's not condensed into one spot, so you just don't know. So, now you’ve got to spread it across all formats, all boundaries, all pages, all sites, all this crazy stuff. Whereas before it was harder to get in on these limited spots. But once you did, you knew that you were going to be guaranteed an audience. So now you kind of have to figure it out down the line.
For me, the one thing I would try to tell a newer band is definitely know where your core audience is first, and know how to reach out to them and how to engage them and once you've got that cemented, you start to work the edges and kind of push the boundaries and kind of push the envelope of where you go because if you don't know where your core audience is, man, nobody's gonna see you. There are great bands out there that people have never even heard of just because. So, it's important to know where the people are who are listening.
Corey on the new album, you not only sing but play lead and rhythm guitar, piano and mandolin. It feels as though you're taking on more with this record. Do you see a point in the future where you pull a Wolfgang Van Halen and record all the instruments? Like would you ever do a full record on your own? Or do you enjoy the band dynamic too much?
No, I 100 percent love the band dynamic because to me, the core of the song is just where I started. A song really kind of comes into its own when you have other voices on it, you know? It really feels like it becomes something bigger than the idea that you had when you have other people. So, that's why I give my band, a lot of free rein to engage with it creatively, to add, to indulge, to even come in sometimes and make some of the riffs a little different. They definitely do that and that's why I try to kind of share the spoils with them as well.
To me, we're all in it together. It's like I come up with the main body of the songs and write the majority of the material. But at the same time, I want them to be happy. I want them to be stoked playing it, you know? I don't want a bunch of robots. I want people to add their language to it and to me, I don't think I would ever want to do something like that. Unless I was scoring a movie. That's when I would probably do everything myself. But even then, I would probably have friends come in and add stuff here and there, you know?
When do you ever sleep, Corey?
I try to sleep between blinks. That's what I try to slide in there. I'm failing miserably, Jackie. I don't know what I'm doing here.
Corey Taylor, CMF2 Album Art
CMF2 reunites you with producer Jay Ruston, who you worked with on CMFT, as well as Stone Sour’s Hydrograd record. How vital has it been to have someone like Jay to work with throughout the creative process, and what has that working relationship meant to you?
You rarely find someone that you trust implicitly, and also somebody who gets what you do, loves what you do and knows how they can improve it. It's very rare man, because there's a lot of people in this business who can be very selfish, when it comes to that stuff, and so they'll try to either take credit for something that they didn't do, or they'll try to overwhelm you with their voice from a production standpoint. Jay, man, Jay is just like me.
The only thing we really care about is making great music and finding different ways to not only make great music, but to improve the music that gets brought in, and to honestly keep that sort of spirit of hard rock and heavy metal alive because in this day and age, it's very easy for technology to deaden that, you know? There's so many albums out there that just all sound the same and we are really the antithesis of that. We have tried really hard to make sure that we not only stand out, but we're making it sound like a moment.
Jay is so easy to work with. He's one of my dearest friends and we both just get really stoked when we hear something that we like. It's invaluable these days to be able to go in knowing that you're gonna walk out with an amazing album and knowing that you're gonna really enjoy it as well. It's hard, it's a rare thing. Let's put it that way.
Corey, you have shown the ability to alternate between hard rock and metal and thrive in either style. Your solo shows have shown a wealth of music influences. With the song "Beyond" I was getting sort of a My Chemical Romance vibe. But did you have a specific general idea of what style and influence you wanted to pull from?
On that song, no, not really. To me, it all kind of just starts with the bare bones of the song. And I'm always surprised by where the guys in the band kind of bring their musical additions in. Tooch (Christian Martucci) came in with this really rad intro thing that I had an idea for and I was like, "Let's see what you can do for this." Like I described what I wanted to try and he came in with this really, really cool intro thing and I was like, "That's dope, man."
I think that can be really, really rad, you know, and then we all just kind of went our different musical voices to it to a point where once the amalgam was kind of there, it really felt fresh, you know? Like it felt like it's reminiscent of a lot of different genres, but at the same time, it just sounds like such a great song like, you don't even care you're just like, you know what, I just want to put this on, listen to it, and it's really taken off man. Like I'm really, really stoked about that.
Corey Taylor, "Beyond"
Corey, there's been much made about touring in the post pandemic climate with skyrocketing ticket prices, and then you've seen venues taking larger merch cuts. What's been your experience as an artist playing shows over the past year? And what would you like to see making for a better concert experience for all?
That's a good question. It's hard for me to say because, when it comes to different genres, it's really, really a different audience for so many different genres man. When it comes to hard rock and heavy metal, when you're in that audience, you know that you're not the only one looking out for yourself, like everybody around you is trying to make sure that you're okay. You know if you go down, they help you back up, if something happens to you, they help you get to the barricade, they make sure that you they get you to security and whatnot and that's just something that I don't see reflected in a lot of other different genres man, a lot of other different shows. Whether it's hip hop or pop or whatever, I just don't get that sense that people are all in it together. Whereas if you go to one of our shows, if something happens, you'll get help and that's something I'm very proud of, you know?
I don't know if I would really necessarily change anything from the standpoint of at least my shows. Our shows, hard rock, heavy metal and whatever. I guess the one thing that I would tell people is don't worry so much about filming the show. Live in the moment, man!
You don't always need a video to remind you of where you're at right now. Maybe you should take a second, kind of live in the moment instead of worrying about living in the moment later when you can watch it and you're not in that environment. But that is a very small gripe and I'm sure that's one that will get blown completely out of proportion on the social medias and all that crap. But that's how I feel and people can kiss my ass.
Corey I'm assuming your current twitter handle (“FYOURCHECKMARK”) expresses your thoughts on social media platforms. You stepped away from social media for a period not too long ago. Now that you've done so, what are your thoughts on social media and how it factors into promotion for bands nowadays?
Oh, I'm still off with it myself. I'm not on it personally. I haven't been on it and God, it's been five years now and it's probably the best thing I've ever done because here's the thing, there was nothing social about that media. It was just all media & I was like, well, if that's the case, and then that's how I'm gonna treat it. So, I kind of use it now as a way to put special stuff out there for the fans. I obviously promote all the different projects that I'm attached to and whatnot. I help promote other people's stuff. But I tell you what, man, ever since I got off of social media, I have reconnected with all of my friends and all the people who I used to be really close with in my life, and it was the best decision I ever made, because it's cemented.
I rekindled all these different friendships and whatnot and now when I want to be social, I text them. I just get a hold of them like that. So, I think for bands and whatnot, and again, that's easy for me to say because I'm the old generation now. The newer generation, obviously, they grew up with it, they're a little more in tune with it. They're okay with some of the side effects of it and they're able to kind of lean into it a little more, you know? So, I think for them, it's easier for them to navigate some of the pitfalls that come with that because they're used to it and they understand it.
I would just say the same thing I've always said. When it comes to other bands and whatnot, just use whatever you can to your advantage. Use whatever means necessary to make sure that your music gets in front of as many people as possible, whether that's playing live or doing live streaming or posting different things, these breadcrumbs to get people to your sites, whatever it takes, whatever it takes, whatever is necessary, whatever by any means possible. Do whatever you can to make sure that you're heading the game.
Thanks to Corey Taylor for the interview. The CMF2 album is available now in both physical and digital versions and you can catch Corey on tour at these locations. Stay up to date on all of Corey Taylor's happenings through his Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, YouTube and Spotify. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.