Celebrities. Airports. Twerking, technology and the Transformers movies. These are just a few of the vagaries of modern existence that make Corey Taylor want to “smash my head through a mirror” in his new book, the brilliantly blunt You’re Making Me Hate You. While it may not shock you to learn that the yowling ball of rage who fronts masked metal shredders Slipknot has a low-boiling point, it may surprise you to learn he’s really, really funny. Here’s what he had to say about the book, the war on ISIS and how if you like to use selfie sticks at festivals, you should probably watch out, because he will hit you with a cricket bat.
NME: Was there something you set out to achieve with You’re Making Me Hate You?
Corey: “It’s mostly observational humour. At least I hope it’s humorous. If people don’t think it’s funny then it’s just an old man bitching about shit. For me it was more about trying to make a point and trying to make people laugh. This is the shit that I think everyday, unfortunately, which can be a burden at times. And as for what I want to achieve with it, well, I ain’t knocking fucking Fifty Shades Of Grey off any best sellers list any time soon, I know that. As long as a dude in an expensive suit is diddling someone and that’s what I’m up against, I don’t have a hope in hell sadly. But hey! That’s not what I’m in it for.”
The way you obsess and agonise over the bullshit of tiny every-day things reminded me of a kinda twisted Larry David. Is he an influence?
“Oh man, I love Larry David, he’s so fucking psychotic in his neurosis. How can one man have such a monopoly on so many paranoid delusions?! He’s so fucking funny. I can totally see Larry David in me. Growing up I was a huge George Carlin fan, so that was kind of part of it as well. This is my homage to Carlin, and to Bill Hicks – I loved Bill Hicks. These are the guys who really formed how I look at the world – the people who taught me when shit pisses you off, all you can really do is laugh.”
Rage is such a huge part of what you do in Slipknot. Was there a point where you thought, hey, maybe laughter is a way of waking people up to the same bullshit?
“Totally. Sometimes laughter can be more effective than anger. That’s what Carlin did for me, and that’s what I’m hoping that this book does for other people. In this moment in fucking history especially, you have to be able to laugh. If not we’re all going to have these fucking cystic embolisms exploding from our fucking foreheads. My biggest problem is that it seems like more and more people are forgetting what to fight for, and that bothers me. There’s this global nihilism that makes me wanna smash my head through a mirror sometimes, man. It never used to be this hard to rise to the occasion.”
To what kinda occasion?
“Well, take ISIS. The minute that these those passed these international lines, there should have been a collective, a coalition that was like “okay, no, this isn’t fucking happening anymore” and it just seems like people are dragging their fucking feet about it and it’s driving me nuts. Not that I’m all “rah rah war, that’s the answer” but this is something that could affect everybody. What they stand for just spits in the face of what we should be about. If I think about it for too fucking much I trash a hotel room, which I haven’t done since I quit drinking and what’s the fucking point of that. So yeah, you have to have humour. If you don’t have humour we’re all just a bunch of fucking scared fuckers who are throwing shit at each other like idiot apes.”
There’s obviously fans who have read your interviews and read your books and know you as a really funny guy. But mainstream media still doesn’t seem to see the humour or theatre in your music. Do you hope this book changes that?
“It used to bother me a lot to be honest. Like, it really bummed me out. But then you realise most of these people are American! Most of us Yanks seem to be born without any sense of irony, sarcasm or humour. Everything is taken so fucking blatantly and literally in my country that it’s almost offensive. The only things that Americans see in layers are cakes. So, I just kind of shake my head. In a lot of ways I kind of wrote this for my English fan base, because they’ve understood that I’m a snarky asshole for many years now.”
How similar are your approaches to writing and to music?
“Well, I’ve got something to say I want to say it in a way that will hopefully entertain. I want to make a point but I also don’t want to be a preachy fucking dickhead. I want people to read my book, laugh and think. That’s it. In the similar way, I don’t worry about whether an album’s going to hit number one, or whether we’ll have a number one single, or anything like that. If I love the music then there’s nothing I’m not going to fucking do for that music and I’m gonna put it out. But, after that you can’t have any more expectations because it colours the way the you make music, or you write, or whatever. It’s the death of creativity.”
Just how neurotic do you get on a day to day basis about tiny things? Is any of it acted up for the book, or is that really you?
“Oh my fucking god, selfie sticks, fuck me. Whenever I see one, I’m like “seriously?! There’s a whole fucking industry making hundreds of thousand dollars probably every day just so we can take big fucking pictures of our own stupid faces?!” What the fuck is that? It’s a dumb invention. What the fuck is wrong with us? Being so neurotic about trivial things does bother me but at the same time, it makes human. The stuff that really pisses me off is, really, deep down, is not so much the trivial stuff – it’s the shit that they try and fucking con us with.”
“Like commercials for medication in the US. In 60 seconds, they try to convince you that you got the most horrible medical ailment, that you’re gonna start bleeding from your fucking eyeballs any second, then the shittiest-ever sounding guy with voice-over swoops in with: “well maybe Nugushtugusta-quadrapillionzide can help! It has an unbelievably unpronounceable fucking name and the list of side effects is longer than the fucking Lord of the Rings trilogy but BUY IT NOW! BUY IT NOW!” That stuff hangs like a fucking fart in the air for me, man. And nobody’s fucking calling bullshit. It’s shit like that that’s just sets me off on a road to rampage.”
So basically the worst possible person to run into Corey Taylor at any festivals this summer would be a medication salesman holding a selfie stick.
“Ha! A representative of ‘AstraZeneca’ or whatever, selfie stick in hand, a glow in the dark snuggy and some type of fucking pink fucking crocs or something. I would find a baseball bat – or a cricket bat in England – and I would beat the living shit out of that person probably and then I would go to jail without even being the slightest bit fucking sorry. Cuff me up, officer! I’m not trying to run, is that the van? Ok, I’ll get myself in! Just get me the fuck out of here.”
You’re Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left is released July 7.