In a recent interview with Mary Anne Hobbs of BBC Radio 6 Music, Corey Taylor was asked a series of either-or questions, including this one: "SLIPKNOT or solo?" He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Interesting. I'm going to say solo, only because I'm starting it right now. And I'm really starting to kind of find myself in it. 'Cause it really essentially started as an experiment. I had all these songs that I wanted to share with people, and I really couldn't give them to either band. So it was, like, 'Okay, well, we're just gonna have to create a third option.'"
He continued: "SLIPKNOT is something that can never be replaced in my heart, can never be replaced in my life, and I sincerely hope that I'm a part of it until I hang the mask up. But the solo thing, there's so much that I can play with, and I'm afforded the freedom and the luxury to be able to create, song-wise, that it's exciting to me every time I think about it. And maybe that's just because I've spent 25, 27 years now, in SLIPKNOT that I am so excited about this shiny new toy or whatever. But I've explored so much in SLIPKNOT and it excites me to think about what's next for SLIPKNOT. But when it comes to this, it can be even more personal than I've allowed myself to be with SLIPKNOT. And it could be just because of my age as well. I've gotten to the point where I've tried almost everything, and yet here I am, 25 years ostensibly after my first real release, and I'm still trying to break new ground musically and doing it in a way that doesn't feel forced, doing it in a way where the song is still king and really try to put my heart into it. And I think my solo career is going to be responsible for that. And I think that's going to inspire me to open up even more in SLIPKNOT down the road. As I get older, I'm less likely to hold things back and more likely to try — and not just to kind of overpower people with it, but to share it. Which is completely different."
Two months ago, Corey, who will turn 50 in December, told Rock Feed that he can't see himself performing with SLIPKNOT into his 60s. "I've already said that physically I maybe have five years left, but at the same time I go out of my way to really try to take care of myself," he said. "Now I have a lot of fucking miles on me. It's hard for me. People don't realize this, but when I walk, I'm almost in constant pain. It's the knees, it's my feet. I have a broken toe on this foot. I have gout across my feet. It gets up into my joints and shit. Yeah, it's tough. I'm not as nimble as I used to be. I'm not 35 anymore. It's hard. But there are ways to do shows that don't require being that crazy now."
Corey continued: "The travel doesn't lend itself to being healthy, because, at that point, it's not like being home. You've got all your stuff. You're kind of at the mercy of what's there for you. So you're gonna eat like shit, you're gonna sleep like shit, you're gonna feel like shit, and nine times out of 10, you're gonna play like shit. We don't want that. So it's tough. Even a guy at my level, it's not always laid-out catering and the best food and the best people. Sometimes it's a soggy sandwich at 12:30 in the morning, and you're looking at it, going, 'If I put this in my body, I'm gonna throw up.' People don't fucking get that. You know why they think that? It's because that's all they see on Instagram, on TikTok, on this and that, and you're seeing the commercials. There have been times we've gotten off stage, we've gone right to the airport, flown out. We don't sleep until seven the next day. And now we're just all [exhausted]. Our crew gets it even worse, 'cause they have to fucking go in, make sure everything's good, and then they can go fucking take a nap. So it's not gravy all the time, man. It's tough. It's hard fucking work. Even at our level, it's hard work."
Taylor previously talked about the possibility of retirement this past June in an interview with Germany's Rock Antenne. At the time, he said: "As long as I can physically do it, and as long as there are people there to see it, man, I'll continue to do it. Now, if the quality starts to fail, then I'll know it's time to hand it in. And I've already thought about it — I've already thought about, maybe I've got another five years left of physically touring like this. I try to take care of myself. I work out when I can. The travel out here [in Europe] is exhausting; the food [on the road] is horrible; so it makes it hard to do that. But as long as I can keep at it, that's at least what I wanna do. So, yeah, it is what it is."
Asked if his bandmates feel the same way about the end of SLIPKNOT as he does, Corey said: "If they wanted to continue and I wanted to retire, I would help them find somebody, to be honest. This band has always been bigger than the sum of its own parts. And it was hard moving on without Paul [Gray, late SLIPKNOT bassist]. It was hard moving on when we had to part ways with Joe [late SLIPKNOT drummer Joey Jordison]. It's always been hard when the original nine ceases to be the original nine, but at the same time, the ones who are here are here because we love it, and we've always gotten something out of it.
"I've said it since day one — if I didn't want to do SLIPKNOT, I wouldn't do it," he continued. "And I think I've proved that. The reason I stick around is because I want to do it. There's still something in my heart and my soul that needs it. I don't know if that's good or bad. Obviously, psychotherapy will help me out with that shit. But at the same time, it's… it's once in a lifetime, man."
Asked if he feels a responsibility to the SLIPKNOT fans to be there with his bandmates, Corey said: "I do. But at the same time, I don't expect them to be there. I mean, there are songs that they love; there are songs they don't love. There are times I love this band; there are times I don't love this band. But I still wanna be here. And when I physically can't do it anymore, that's when I'll hang it up. I might not retire from performing period; maybe that's when I go and I do my acoustic thing. But when I can't go out there and give it at least my one hundred percent, that's when I'll hang it up. And me and Clown [SLIPKNOT percussionist and visual mastermind Shawn Crahan] have talked about this, man. He's older than all of us, and he's broken just as much crap as I have. I mean, Christ, he hit the keg with a baseball [bat] and ripped his bicep clean off the bone, and then went, got surgery and came back.
"We're psychos, dude," Taylor added. "I went out three weeks after my fucking spinal surgery — 'cause I'm a psycho. It's just we don't know our limitations until they catch up with us. So that's what I say. I mean, yes, there's a responsibility to the fans, but there's also a responsibility to me and my family. And I don't wanna be the one trying to pick up my grandkids and my legs don't work. I just don't wanna do that — I refuse to. I want my quality of life to be better than that — at the end."
SLIPKNOT has spent most of the last year and a half touring in support of its latest album, "The End, So Far", which was released in September 2022 via Roadrunner Records. The follow-up to "We Are Not Your Kind", it is the band's final record with Roadrunner after first signing with the rock and metal label in 1998.
Image courtesy of Resurrection Fest