By Tre Smith
In 2006, 3 years before starting my career in music, my mother gave me one of the greatest blessings in the world that a kid with no money could ever get: A library card. This library card gave me access to some of the greatest music in the world, extremely early on. After getting my fill with the repeating classics of AC/DC’s “Black in Black”, Nirvana’s “MTV Unplugged”, & Linkin Park’s “Hybrid Theory”, my rock foundation as a young kid had been built. Metallica only made so many albums (all of which I owned at this point) and the foundational rock branch of my music DNA had been built.
And then, something completely shifted my entire childhood
In this 90s-style library, with every boomer imaginable inside encouraging my creative music curiosity, I walk into the automated doors of this small-town public library, in Wickliffe, Ohio. after walking past the front desk, I turn left to a giant array of CDs (like I’m an LA Kid at Amoeba Music looking at 12” LPs in the 90s). After seeing every CD from A to R, which had not changed once, since my last visit the day before, something beautiful appears in a scratched plastic theft-proof case that couldn’t stop a mere child, let alone myself.
completely compelled by a darkish hue of purple was a picture of people’s hands & the artwork of what is now known as the two-disc live album, Live 9.0 by Slipknot recorded during a 2004–05 world tour that was promoting Slipknot’s third studio album, Vol. 3 The Subliminal Verses. This is true history and at the helm of Slipknot is the lead singer and timeless icon, Corey Taylor.
Taylor isn’t new to a single thing that rock music entails. He’s Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum, & even a New York Times best-selling author. He’s seen all of the surprises, valleys, and peaks. With his newest sophomore solo project, CMFT 2 he has had the privilege of exploring even more ways to impact rock culture and push it somewhere better, which is blatantly obvious in this new album. Taylor has also had the privilege of influencing many, even hometown hero, Machine Gun Kelly, who each have shown real respect towards each other, after moving forward from a light bureaucratic scuffle that both have decided to be accountable in their own respects and grow from. Let me also shut down all BS before the non-passionate people take jabs, just for clicks or attention. I respect both of these musicians, immensely. they both impacted my journey, personally in very unique ways. As a fan of great music and the culture around it, I will never divide two great musicians. No Cover Magazine is here to honor our musicians, respect our audience, and give the next generation the tools needed to thrive in the future.
But, enough about politics that have nothing to do with anyone being a better musician. That’s not why your eyeballs are on this story or why I’m writing this. I’m writing this because a year later after hearing Live 9.0 in that library, Guitar Hero III burned Before I Forget by Slipknot into my head for the rest of my music career because of failing 100+ times on Expert. I passed it eventually, but you’re reading this because it’s an honor to support an icon with as much history and respect for all music, as Corey Taylor.
This is a freedom era for Taylor. “I have no fear when it comes to music. None,” Taylor declares. “It feels so good to really lean into the things that I’ve been chomping at the bit to do.” The 13 diverse, unforgettable songs on CMF2, ranging from the punchy, timeless first single “Beyond” to “Someday I’ll Change Your Mind,” a soaring, sentimental stunner with an infectious chorus. The songs move seamlessly.
In preparation for CMFT 2, releasing on September 15th, Featuring the talents of Eliot Lorango and Dustin Robert on bass and drums, Zach Throne on rhythm/lead guitar, and trusted rock ‘n roll guitar stylist Christian Martucci (rhythm/lead), Taylor has fashioned himself a band of badass players to aid his vision of CMF2.
In an interview with Taylor, I really go in-depth with him about this brand-new body of work, his lengthy career, and the privilege of collaboration as well, which you can read below.
Tre: This album sounds great and to see how the little quirks of hearing it live will bring this to life is exciting. What made you and the band decide to pick the specific producer they choose and do you share the same synchronicity with this producer as you do with the band?
Corey: Well first off, thank you for that. We’re all incredibly stoked about playing this live! Jay Ruston and I have been working together for over 13 years now, on one project or another. When I was putting the songs and arrangements together for this album, I knew Jay was the one guy I could trust to help me make it even better than I imagined it in my head. He has a great way with the guys in the band and we all have insane instincts on where to take it all musically.
Tre: That makes sense! Again, I feel this is a well-rounded hard rock album. if you listen to Slipknot, you can enjoy it. if you listen to Metallica, you can enjoy it; if you love rock music, you can enjoy it. Was this an intentional decision you made with the sound before the album process or was this dense hard rock album, the result of making a lot of great songs and seeing what sticks?
Corey: Basically, the latter, yeah. I have a tendency to write in so many different styles that the only thing that interests me is how strong the SONG is. When the song is rad, all you can do is try to make it sonically better. So that’s the thing that I wanted to tie the album together: songs, regardless of unifying genres.
Tre: I feel like rock artists should embrace this more. You’ve mentioned that you love playing more than anything else. Can you elaborate on what draws you to the stage and performing live?
Corey: There’s an energy that emanates from the stage and an audience that you just can’t put your finger on. I’m a glutton for attention and a great audience, so I love going above and beyond for them, whether it’s by shaking up the setlist constantly or shaking my ass till my legs fall off (Laughing)
Tre: (laughing) I love that! Your passion for music is evident. Are there any specific artists or albums that have significantly shaped your musical identity throughout your career?
Corey: Oh god too many to count! I do my best to give them credit, but just for a short list: Metallica, Prince, Bowie, The Clash, Motley Crue, Public Enemy, Ray Lamontagne, Ani Difranco, etc.
Tre: I didn’t expect Public Enemy, but thinking about Anthrax & Bring the Noise makes A LOT of sense and gave you a great road map. Navigating the music business often requires making tough decisions and sacrifices that many don’t see. Could you share a pivotal moment where you had to do what you needed to in order to succeed in the industry?
Corey: When Slipknot first started out, I didn’t see home for 3 years straight. I had nowhere to live so I kept my stuff at my Gram’s house. I lost 1 then a 2nd then a 3rd girlfriend. I was devoted to my career and making it, so by the time I came up for air, huge chunks of my life had passed me by. Do I regret anything? No. But was it hard? Absolutely. However, RISK isn’t just a board game. It’s what you have to do sometimes to find that life inside a life.
Tre: I couldn’t agree more, man. Collaborations often breathe new life into an artist’s work. Can you share your experiences collaborating with other musicians for your solo projects and how these interactions contribute to the dynamic of your band?
Corey: Luckily; my solo career has ALLOWED for those collaborations. In my other two bands, those types of things aren’t looked at favorably when it comes to our recordings. But I love doing them, so I also love affording the opportunity to pay it back as well, as with Bookie and Tech.
Extremely groundbreaking Musicians like Corey Taylor aren’t generated just in a record label office or in the middle of the commercial landscape, already filled with success, overnight. They are born from the entity that created us with rigorous detail and a heart that speaks to many. I realized this, as a young man, early on listening to music. Corey’s Impact on hard rock and metal is undeniable and in Cleveland, Rock music is the bloodline for musicians to do great work and make great history in the city of Cleveland. That being said, my final question to you is this: What story will you tell in your own life?
You can catch Corey Taylor at House of Blues Cleveland on September 7th and expect to hear his sophomore project, CMFT 2 everywhere on September 15th. Just make sure you pick people up in the pit. The Community is important in metal. A huge thank you to BMG for allowing us to conduct this great story and Corey Taylor for taking his time to speak with us, for the city of Cleveland.