Best known as the vocalist and songwriter for abrasive, Grammy-winning masked nu-metalheads Slipknot and post-grunge/alt-metallers Stone Sour, Corey Taylor is also an accomplished actor and author, as well as an in-demand collaborator who has worked with contemporaries like Korn, Damageplan, Anthrax, Soulfly, Disturbed, and Code Orange, among others. In 2020 Taylor released his debut solo LP, CMFT, which combined a wide array of genres including hard rock, metal, classic rock, punk, and hip-hop.
The loyal Iowan was born in Des Moines and raised in Waterloo by his mother. An early love of science fiction and horror, along with a grandmother who introduced him to rock music, helped set the course for the budding musician, but he endured numerous hardships, including drug addiction and depression, during his late teens. After relocating to Des Moines in the early '90s, Taylor hooked up with Josh Rand (rhythm guitar), Shawn Economaki (bass), and Joel Ekman (drums) and formed the hard-hitting Stone Sour. Citing influences like Alice in Chains and Metallica, the group became staples of the Iowa bar circuit, building a loyal local following and recording a pair of well-received demos. In 1995 the band was joined by guitarist Jim Root, who along with Taylor, left Stone Sour two years later to join Slipknot, another Des Moines band that was creating its own kind of buzz.
Far removed from the brooding, thrash-inflected post-grunge of Stone Sour, Slipknot was another kind of beast altogether, an anonymous rock & roll horror show that paired the nihilistic nu-metal shock rock of Marilyn Manson with the bruising, apoplectic rap-metal of Korn. Known as "number eight" — the Halloween mask-adorned members of Slipknot use numbers as stage aliases — Taylor performed his first gig with the group in 1997 and two years later appeared on the band's platinum-selling eponymous debut. Slipknot soon found themselves at the forefront of the nu-metal scene, achieving success both at home and abroad with gold and platinum efforts like Iowa (2001), the Grammy Award-winning Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) (2004), All Hope Is Gone (2008), and .5: The Gray Chapter (2014).
Despite Slipknot's enormous success, Taylor found time to revive Stone Sour in the early 2000s, releasing the band's eponymous debut in 2002. The LP went gold and earned a Grammy nomination, as did 2006's Come What(ever) May. Fronting two of modern heavy metal's biggest acts —Slipknot released their sixth long-player, We Are Not Your Kind, in 2019 while Stone Sour issued album number six, Hydrograd, in 2017 — has done little to temper Taylor's prolificacy. In 2001 he began penning a monthly column for British publication Rock Sound — which he kept up until 2016 — and in 2013 he added acting to his creative arsenal, appearing in the horror films Fear Clinic and Bullied. He published the first of several autobiographical books, Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good, in 2012, and in 2020 he issued his debut solo effort, the versatile and aptly named Corey Mother Fucking Taylor, which was released acronymically as CMFT and included the hit singles "CMFT Must Be Stopped" and "Black Eyes Blue." ~ James Christopher Monger