Corey Taylor Talks About How His Slipknot Masks are Made
It’s Wednesday, which means that it’s time for a Corey Taylor update! Not that that’s any different from Monday or Tuesday or… any day, really, because Corey Taylor is the only person our readers care about. All Corey All The Time.™ That’s our motto.
The latest comes from a conversation Corey had with Let There Be Talk, in which he expounds extensively on his trademark Slipknot masks: how they’re designed and made, why they change so much over time as compared to those of other band members, how he keeps them clean and more. I’ll post the whole relevant excerpt below, but first some tl;dr bullet points:
- Corey’s first mask featured his own dreads that he’d recently cut off
- the band worked with Screaming Mad George on a number of its past masks and partnered with Tom Savini this time around
- he is surprised his recent Instagram post featuring a sliver of a photo of his new mask was as widely shared as it was (really?? I find that hard to believe! he knew what he was doing)
- Slipknot now employs folks whose job it is to clean and take care of the masks after each show
- people have offered Corey “serious cash” to buy his masks
Whew. That’s quite a life.
Here’s the chat:
How did you learn to make masks?
“It was trial and error. For some of the guys, like for Clown, he had that mask since he was 12 years old. That Clown mask was a part of him. He’d had it, still fit, he used it. And when he put it on, he became that guy. The other guys in the band, it was more about, kind of finding what fits them. For me, I didn’t really know where to go at first. So Clown and his wife actually helped me find… They found an old crash-test dummy’s mask, and we flipped it inside out. And at the time, I had dreads, and I was pulling the dreads out through these holes. And when I shaved my head, we took all that hair and we stuck it in the masks to kind of keep that look.
“But over the years, I wanted it to evolve. So I got a little more hands-on and exploratory with what I wanted to say visually. And that’s really where my – like, the difference between all those concepts came up. Like, a lot of the guys in the band are happy with theirs. And they keep theirs. Maybe they’ll change them subtly, depending on who’s making the new ones for us. But for me, I like exploring who I am now. Nothing against the guys in the band, but for me… Especially with the lyrics. I’m not the same guy I was four years ago when we did .5, and before that when I did All Hope Is Gone. That guy is constantly changing, so who is that guy in this moment?
“That’s kind of where I’d come from with the masks now. So I sit down with whoever’s making them and I really kind of talk the concept out.”
You draw it out?
“They do. I’m no artist. They draw it up, I’ll change certain stuff here and there.”
And who are the people? Are they like, people in Hollywood that make masks for movies?
“We work with different people. We worked with Screaming Mad George for the longest time.”
“He’s an effects guy from Japan. He did a lot of the special effects for… The movie that comes to mind now, ‘Big Trouble in Little China.’ He did a lot of that stuff. But he’s a maniac, he’s an amazing artist. He did the masks for us, for Iowa, Volume 3, he did a little work with us on All Hope Is Gone. But then we worked with a bunch of other people. I had the privilege this time around, the new stuff that I’m working on, to work with Tom Savini. He’s the godfather to me. Got to hang out with him, got to talk with him. Met him through a friend who actually works with him. And the three of us were kind of developing this new mask together so I’m kind of fuckin’ chaffed on that.”
Yeah, you kind of teased it on Instagram.
“Yeah, a little bit. I got it and it’s really bare bones right now because it has to do with what I’m gonna do underneath it as well. But it’s not there yet so I just kind of gave a little sample. And people were like, ‘What the fuck?!’ I loved it. It blew up so quick. And then it turned into like 20 fucking news stories on Loudwire and shit. And I was like ‘You people need to get out more.’ Everybody was like, ‘Is it bullets?! What is that?! I don’t know what the fuck I’m looking at!’ So I loved that shit.”
Do you have backup masks for tours?
“I started doing that because I’m fucking hard on shit, and we’re just hard on tour. It’s always good to have a backup. My original, I wore that all the way up until the end of Ozzfest ’99. And because I didn’t have a backup, all that shit that was coming out of my face was eating it. And it started turning into jelly. And I was like, ‘What the fuck?’ So now, I am on the verge of going on the Coal Chamber tour and I don’t have a mask. I mean, I barely got to the end of Ozzfest with it. I’m duck taping the inside of it, it’s fucking gross. I’m like ‘I don’t want to put it on my skin!’ Because, dude, it was literally melting against my skin. And I was like, ‘This ain’t gonna work.'”
You couldn’t get another one made?
“I went down and found a scarecrow mask. And we kind of did the same thing, I took the dreads out of the old one, stuck it in that one, and then cut it. It was a little more uncomfortable than the other one. Because it was just unforgiving. But that was the one that I wore for the rest of the tour cycle.”
Just like a Halloween mask from the store?
“Yeah, I just took it, we developed it, we put it together, and that was it… Everything is gonna start to deteriorate after a while. For us, we keep them all… First of all, we try to get as much of the moisture of it as possible, because that destroys the latex and whatnot. But we also have people who work for us, who actually take the masks at the end of the night and make sure they’re dry and they’re put away and then they’re brought out to get air into them. You know, during the tour and whatnot. But after the tour cycle, I don’t really care. I’ve got a lot of my old ones on styrofoam heads, just for displaying and shit.”
Those would sell for big money on eBay.
“Dude, I had people offer me serious cash for them and I’m just like, ‘Not yet, I’m not there yet.’ To me, that’s like hittin’ ‘Dancing With the Stars’ too quick. I wouldn’t fucking be that guy. I’m not there yet. We’re good.”
[via Ultimate Guitar]