In a new interview with Consequence, SLIPKNOT singer Corey Taylor spoke about battling alcoholism for many years before getting sober in 2010. “(I was) dealing with my own various addictions and fighting the depression that I had to deal with for years — the trauma that kind of came from when I was growing up,” he said.
Taylor went on to say that being sexually abused as a child and the absence of a father figure while growing up negatively impacted him.
“Over the years, music was my only form of solace,” he said. “It was the only thing that really ever made me feel like there was hope in the world. There was always a form of music or a song that was waiting for me to discover it.”
Corey singled out METALLICA‘s James Hefield and ALICE IN CHAINS‘ Jerry Cantrell as inspirations when it came to getting sober.
“I think one of the people who helped me kind of figure it out was James Hetfield,” he said. “When he first started his journey, getting sober and getting healthy and whatnot, I looked at that, and I was, like, ‘Well, shit, if he’s strong enough to do it, maybe I can try it.’ (Sobriety) had a big enough effect on me that, over the years, I’ve really tried to stick with it. In figuring that out, I also realized that there were so many people who were going down that path, as well. Jerry Cantrell had just gotten sober around that time, and he was starting to kind of put his steps together.”
Taylor said that it’s not easy for addicts to give up something that’s been a key part of their identity for an extended period of time.
“It takes time; it takes effort, takes work,” he said. “I really have to give (Hetfield) a lot of credit for the inspiration for that… It definitely helped to know that I wasn’t alone in it. And it certainly helped me clear my head and focus more. And really get down to writing again — really, truly writing.”
Last November, Taylor was asked by the “The Moon Under Water” podcast how he navigates going to pubs and bars now that he no longer drinks alcohol. He responded: “The first few years is weird, because you realize quickly how much a part of your personality booze has become, and you kind of have to sort out who you are, what you’re comfortable with and largely just the habit of it.
“I was never a big beer drinker, so non-alcoholic brew, that wasn’t the key,” he explained. “So I started with sodas and then just kind of went to water. And now that’s just what I do.
“To me, going out and hanging out in a pub or a bar or whatever is more about the company you keep. And you realize at some point the golden moment is going to go away. So you try to time your departure right around that time where you’re just, like, ‘Okay, we’ve got about 10 minutes before he becomes a super mess. So I’m gonna split, and I’ll talk to you guys later.'”
Taylor added: “I try not to ‘Irish goodbye’ everybody, where you just split. I only did that, really, when I was drinking. (Laughs) But I make sure that everybody’s good; I make sure that everybody’s… Okay, if anybody needs a ride home, I’m the first one to do it. ‘Cause it’s usually just me and my wife. My wife still drinks, but she’s very social. She’s way better at it than I was. Usually right about the time she’s starting to kind of… She’s just, like, ‘I’m tired. We need to split.’ I’m, like, ‘Ah. You had me at ‘I’m ready to go.” So we’re out the door and heading for home.”
Corey previously discussed his long history of drug use and eventual recovery in a January 2020 interview with BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Mary Anne Hobbs. At the time, he said: “You get to the point where you realize that what you do means so much to you that you wanna do it at the absolute top of your game. And you know me — I’m a nut, so if I’m going all the way, I’m gonna go all the way and above and beyond.
“I’ve struggled with drinking for a long time, especially with having that kind of addictive personality side to me,” he continued. “But at the same time, I’ve also had this weird switch where when I decide to quit something, that’s it. And this year is ten years for me. And then I quit smoking, which I never thought I would do. And that was just as difficult, if not worse. But then you get to the point where you start going, ‘Okay, we’re done quitting things. What can we do to improve ourselves?’ So I started really looking at the way I eat and the way I take care of myself. I started training again and really trying to get physically fit to the point where if I went on stage, I knew that I could do the best show that I’ve done in twenty years. And that became part of just keeping this thing alive.”
Five years ago, Taylor, who tried to commit suicide in 2003 by attempting to jump off a hotel balcony while struggling with alcoholism, was honored with the “Icon” award at Rock To Recovery‘s second annual awareness event and benefit. In his acceptance speech, the singer said: “I had my first drink when I was five years old, did my first drug when I was eleven, and it was just all fucked up from there. I lost a lot of friends.”
During a 2016 appearance on the “Meet Your Heroes” SiriusXM radio show, Taylor said that his personality turned “vicious” and he had a “dark attitude” while drunk. He added: “To this day, there are still a lot of friends of mine who are, like, ‘If you ever fall off the wagon, don’t call me.’ So I know it’s in me, and I think that’s the difference between me and a lot of other people is the fact that I can at least admit it.”
He continued: “I just let booze get in the way for a while and then I kind of pulled myself out of it. I feel like I’m doing my best work now, to be honest.”
Corey‘s sophomore solo album, “CMF2”, will be released on September 15.
Corey Taylor photo credit: Marina Hunter