SLIPKNOT singer Corey Taylor was asked in an interview with the Las Vegas radio station KOMP at this past weekend's Knotfest whether the band's signature masks are created as a group effort or if they are more of an "invidiual thing." He responded (hear audio below): "It's definitely an individual thing. Some of the guys [in SLIPKNOT], they like what they have, so it only changes subtly. But then there's guys like me, there's guys like Clown, Sid [Wilson], we change ours dramatically, because, for me… I can't speak for everybody else, but for me, with every album I'm different, I'm a different guy, so it has to be a reflection of who that person is on the inside. That's what all my masks have been — a reflection of that guy on the inside that needs to just get it out. So when you try to find that face, it's important to be honest to what you're seeing, but also be creative."
He continued: "This new mask, because of the story that we were telling with [SLIPKNOT's latest album, '.5: The Gray Chapter'], was about the face behind the face, the mask behind the mask. The level of emotion that we were sharing with the audience we'd never done before. We'd done anger, we'd done all these things, but it was a very real experience dealing with the grieving process [following the death of original SLIPKNOT bassist Paul Gray in 2010]. When you lose somebody like that, all of these gnarly emotions that you have to go through, I wanted to try and represent that with this mask. 'Cause if I had to wear the same mask over and over, it would start to feel less and less vital, less and less real, because that's just not me. My original mask was me then, but it's not me now. I mean, it's a little bit of me, but at the same time, you have to kind of keep evolving, or you're just spinning your wheels in the mud."
Taylor also talked about the amount of thought and effort SLIPKNOT puts into making each of the band's albums and live shows a unique and powerful experience.
"People don't realize: we look at everything," he said. "We look at the artwork, we look at the music, we look at the stage — everything. Everything's interconnected. Because it's so much more artistic and creative than just your typical shock-rock band. And I hate to use that even in acknowledgement with us, because there's so much more creativity that goes into this band than people… I would say we have more in common with TOOL than we do with KISS, to be honest. And I love KISS, I love TOOL, but, for me, it's a representation, and everything is connected, everything is a piece of each other. One can't exist without the other. So it's about putting all those things together, and that's what TOOL does so beautifully."
SLIPKNOT last year introduced new versions of its masks and Taylor told The Pulse Of Radio what inspired his. "I based the face off of the really great character actor, Richard Lynch," he said. "Basically I stole his face, so Richard, I'm sorry, I probably owe you a few bucks. But I thought it was cool. He's one of my favorite — 'cause he was in a lot of great horror movies and like sci-fi/fantasy movies and whatnot, and he just had a great, gnarly look."
Taylor said that when he first joined the band, he wasn't sure what the masks represented, but now he says: "The mask for me represents the person inside who may or may not have a voice, or you may or may not have the courage to give that person a voice, because it may be controversial, it may be a little too dark, it may be a little too harsh, but if you don't give that person a voice… it gets held back and then all of a sudden it overcompensates and takes over for the rest of you."
".5: The Gray Chapter" sold 132,000 copies in the U.S. in its first week of release to land at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 chart.