The Gauntlet: Right now you are coming off your book tour and moving into your solo tour or is this all one big thing?
Corey: It is like half and half. The first half of this tour will be me reading from the book or talking smack. I will probably get into what has been bothering me that day and do a little Q&A. The last half will be me doing an acoustic set. It is very much like if Henry Rollins and Johnny Cash were the same person. Hopefully I can do it to their extremes. I did this over in England a few months ago and it went extremely well. It was a lot of fun. The audience had a really good time and it went on for nearly two and a half hours. I had a lot of great questions and had a really good time doing it so why not try it in the states. I am hoping it will go at least as well as that.
The Gauntlet: How does a metaller get invited to Oxford? It is a pretty prestigious school. No disrespect to you, but it is generally reserved for heads of state, top scientists and religious leaders.
Corey: [laughs] Well, let me remind you that Ronald Reagan and even Kermit the Frog have done speaking engagements there. I am part of the glittering wit of iconic figures. [laughs]
The Gauntlet: At least you can say you did it without a hand up your ass I hope.
Corey: Well, no one saw it, let’s put it that way. It was one of those things that the students requested. The Oxford Student Union did a poll and they try to get as many people to vote for who they want to speak. I was in the top three for the last four years but never had the time to do it. I was honored to be honest. You are talking about a guy that was asked to never come back to high school and had to get his GED in three days. It was one of those things you don’t expect but when it does happen you just grab it by the horns. I was going to be in London anyways doing pre-production with Slipknot for Sonisphere so why not try and do it. I went and there were a bunch of people there. A lot of the guys from the band came down. It was really fun and not something you expect when you start to make music in your grandma’s basement. It is one of those things I can check off my bucket-list basically.
The Gauntlet: Fan questions...what are you expecting?
Corey: There is the usual stuff like a new Slipknot album or favorite song and stuff like that. Then there are the questions that kind of come out of left field that I really enjoy. You almost have the top 20 most frequent questions, the pre-programed response bits I can go to. It is easier to do when I know I am going to get hit with at least ten of those. I really look forward to the ones I don’t see coming. I was in Birmingham England and someone asked me to share my favorite Paul [Gray] story with them. I wasn’t expecting that. The one that came to mind was about the day that Slipknot went to Disneyland on a day off from making our first album. It was a very strange day. Paul was terrified of roller-coasters but loved to ride them. I happened to sit next to him every time so it was just me fucking with him the entire time. I did my very very best to scare the crap out of him. The audience loved it and it was a fun story to share with them. That is the stuff I look forward to. I will answer any question. I don’t want to hold anything back from the audience when I am speaking.
The Gauntlet: What about those difficult questions to answer? I imagine talking about Paul changes the mood in the room a lot and you don’t want to bring people down.
Corey: It is a little...it is one thing to not answer it and another to maybe spin it in a more positive direction. You leave the audience feeling like you tried to do your best. You are right, this is a positive occasion and I want people to enjoy themselves and not be bummed. Maybe even let the audience see that I think about things like Paul in a positive way. Nobody wants to lose a best friend, a band member, a writing partner. Nobody wants to lose someone they shared the last fifteen years with. At the same time, people need to know he was my brother and band mate and not just a name on a website or a picture under an important period of time. He was amazing. I have to take moments like that and elevate past the emotion that the question was asked in.
The Gauntlet: Does it bother you at all that people want the simple answer to the question “when is the next Slipknot album coming out?”
Corey: Definitely, that is why there are no solid plans to do a Slipknot album. Joey and Paul were really the ones who would get things started. Then I would take what they wrote and really try to put it in a song sense and then that would get us all going. Especially on “All Hope Is Gone,” they gave me a lot of great material to work with. It was up to me to shorten it and make the songs into songs basically. There is a huge pull in this band right now. It doesn’t mean we can’t go out on the road and share the music we have with the audience. But rushing in and making another album does not compute to me right now. It will be a few years before it does. There are some guys in the band that are painting me as the villain, but at the same time I have some guys in the band that support me and feel the same way. There are a lot of things in the band that have to change before we can go in and make an album. There are a lot of things we have to figure out and make peace with. We already know what the album is going to be about, we just need to find the strength to do it the right way.
The Gauntlet: Ozzy Osbourne lost Randy Rhoads and was back on the road two weeks later, Metallica replaced Cliff Burton and was back out there a couple months later. Why is it different with you?
Corey: Because we are a different band. It is just different. Nobody mourns the same. Led Zeppelin broke after John Bonham died. Sure they did some shows but they never made another album. Until it feels right to me, I have no plans on making a new album. When it feels right, I’ll know. This band has always followed our instincts and mine are telling me it is not time yet.
The Gauntlet: 10 year anniversary of “Iowa”. Was “Iowa” the bands quintessential album?
Corey: I don’t know man. the great thing about this band is that we never considered ourselves limited. There are bands out there that do one thing and do it in various guises and they do it well. We do several different things well so we never really had an album that defined us. Every album has been an evolution. “Iowa” was completely different than “Self-Titled” and “Vol 3” was different than “Iowa”. We’ve always been a band that has never honed in on a certain territory musically but we have always done it the way we do it. That is another reason why we can’t rush right in an make another album. One of the biggest parts of why are albums were like that is now gone. We are the kind of band that has never limited ourselves. We are very deep-seeded in the metal world. We have always had the balls and the heart to explore different music venues outside of that. We have never limited ourselves. I think that “Iowa” was a natural evolution beyond what the self-titled album was. It was a lot darker. I don’t want to say more evil but it was more visceral. We definitely let a lot of demons out. At the same time we had to make that album. For me it was more of a natural step than a quintessential album. I will say there are quintessential Slipknot songs on that album. “Disasterpiece” is the the closest thing to a perfect Slipknot song than anything. It is so frenetic and so over-the-top. It is such a punch in the face. It just does it all. I think because of that, it represents everything that Slipknot is about.
The Gauntlet: The 10th Anniversary edition of “Iowa” comes with a making of movie. Were they good times to relive?
Corey: Clown is our resident artist and archivist and he made “Goat”. There was definitely some darkness at the time surrounding the band. You can’t have good times without the bad times. It was good because we were really starting to show the world we were in charge of our own destiny. We were also proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were our own worst enemies. For a lot of us it was a turning point. We were becoming aware of a lot of professional darkness around us. We became aware of the fact that we were being taken advantage of in a lot of ways. We had to get around the pitfalls that come with a new band but in doing so we found ourselves in those pits. Because we did it early on, we were able to fade a lot of the problems. We were all kind of fucked up. I had a drinking problem and a lot of guys were fighting drugs. It was a dark time but we had to go through it to come out the other side. Maybe I haven’t figured it all out yet. We wouldn’t be where we are today if we hadn’t though.
The Gauntlet: When you are on stage with your solo tour, will you instinctively keep looking over your shoulder to make sure no one lights you on fire or tackles you?
Corey: [laughs] Only if Clown is in town...or Sid for that matter. It is interesting. I kind of had to learn the hard way to avoid shit like that. If I see them coming I get the hell out of the way. It takes a lot of balls to get up on stage on your own. I don’t know if I do it well or not, but I think the audience thinks so. My goal is just to try and do something different and try to give the audience something they hope to get and a little more. The worst thing that can ever happen is for them to walk away saying it wasn’t what they wanted. I plan on giving them a good time and still enjoy it.