Corey Taylor Talks About Quitting Booze and Cigarettes


Good morning, folks! It’s Thursday, and you know what that means: Corey Taylor talks, MetalSucks also talks. Same as every other day of the week.

A day after saying that the new Slipknot album is “evil” and “dark and vicious” — following up on Clown’s comments that the record has “a lot of love” — Corey reflected on his past struggles with substance abuse in a chat with Let There Be Talk (the interview is actually a month old, but stay with us), including the band’s early days, how he quit alcohol and tobacco, and how his substance issues factored into problems in his two previous marriages.

The chat, transcribed by Ultimate Guitar, starts out with what I’m pretty sure is a joke and goes from there:

“We [Slipknot] basically fuckin’ invented meth. Which, sadly is…”

I was on that shit for years.

“Yeah, it’s brutal, dude. Our first run, we were very adamant that we weren’t gonna be the cliche. So we really tried to stay as clean as possible. And then it just slowly but surely really started to get in. Most of us are natural addicts anyway. I’m a fuckin’ addict from hell. I quit coke and speed when I was 16 so I never had a problem turning that down. But the booze was really where it got me. I’ve never been a pill guy, I’ve never smoked weed, but alcohol to me was the only thing that was getting my brain to shut off. And that’s how all it kind of starts.”

After shows?

“Absolutely. And then… I’m like, half extrovert and half introvert as well, so the booze helped me be a little more kind-of social as well. But then you start the typical addict fashion. It’s like, ‘I can’t go on stage unless I have a Jack and Coke. I can’t go on stage until I’ve had two.’ The first time I was gonna quit drinking, I had three bottles at all times with me, and I was going to the bars.”

Jack and Coke?

“Oh yeah. Candy of all. I can’t drink Coca-Cola without tasting Jack Daniel’s. That’s how bad it is. So I was just, like, ‘I’m just not gonna drink soda anymore.’ [Laughs] And I don’t really, I just kind of quit. But it got bad – it was a nightmare. Thankfully, I still have a lot of friends from then who are like, ‘God, we’re so glad you don’t drink anymore.’ I quit for about three years; got divorced from my first wife, was like, ‘Well, she was the reason it was so bad!’ And then I started drinking again. Didn’t get as gnarly as I was, but luckily I kind of physically didn’t want to do it anymore.

“The last night I drank, which was almost 9 years ago, I had one beer. I had a fucking Beck’s in a bottle. And I never drink beer. But I just wanted something to settle me down. And I woke up the next day, I had a fucking hangover for two days. It was the worst. I was like, ‘What the fuck is this sweet hell?!’ And to this day I’m glad I did it. I miss the calm down, but I really was like, ‘It’s time.’ It’s like, I’m not getting any pleasure out of this. I get no happiness, it’s not doing anything for me, and it’s really hurting me. And it’s taking me away from doing what I want to fuckin’ do.

“It’s the same reason I quit smoking later. And I smoked since I was 10 years old. Quit four years ago on Chantix. Thank fuck. I didn’t want to at the time. But everybody I was with was like, ‘I’m gonna fucking quit.’ I was like, ‘Ah, fuck…'”

In the band?

“Well, my second ex-wife. Her whole family wanted to quit. I was the only one that stuck with it. [Laughs] For real, I was the only one who stayed off smoke. It’s actually the best fuckin’ decision besides quitting drinking. As a singer especially. I got so much of my register back. But health-wise, every time I give up something like that, it has just improved me as an entertainer, as a singer, as a writer. Clear-headed, I’ve been able to write some of the best thoughts that I’ve ever been able to.

“I know some people will feel like they thrive on drugs. I’m just not that guy. I’ve never been able to create on drugs… Not only that, but your business is suffering. And you can see where it’s suffering. You get to the point where it’s like you can only be so supportive and understanding, and then it’s like, ‘Okay, cut the shit. We’re done here.’ You’re either getting it together or you’re not. And I’ve sadly had to make that decision quite a few times actually through my career. And it’s never fun. Because this is still your friend.

“Putting on your big-boy pants is fuckin’ hard enough when you just want to enjoy shit. And then expecting people to do the same thing – it is difficult in terms of trying to convince them that, ‘You’re not only hurting yourself but you’re hurting me.’ It’s even worse. And at the bottom of that is this worrying about your friend’s health. It kind of really gets to that point where you’re like ‘I don’t want to see you die,’ and, ‘How can we avoid that?’. Because I’ve lost a friend.”

That had to be brutal.

“That was the hardest thing I’d ever had to go through, right up until I lost my grandmother. Those were the two deaths that have fucked me up the most. Losing Paul [Gray, Slipknot bassist] was one of the hardest fucking things I’ve ever had to deal with. You wanna talk about fucking straightening up somebody right away. Because I watch them fight it for so long. And he didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to go at all.”

We applaud Corey, as always, for his honesty. The dude is never one to hold back and has made it a point over the years to share personal stories that might benefit others.

A new Slipknot album is expected this summer with the band currently in the studio. The band will be touring Europe this summer and an American tour with Volbeat, Behemoth and Gojira is strongly rumored.

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