Most people know Corey Taylor as the soul-baring, mask-wearing singer of Slipknot and lead vocalist of Stone Sour. Regardless of which band he’s performing with, Taylor’s songs tap a deep well of emotional angst, resonating with metal fans across the globe. There's an earnestness in his music uncommon among many modern metal bands.
Much of the apprehension Taylor sings about comes from his time growing up in Des Moines, IA. While he wraps some of his stories in lyrical metaphors, he opens up candidly about his childhood in interviews. Even though he comes off as a tough guy, Taylor's not the kind of person who is going to hide personal struggles for the sake of appearing normal. Stories from Corey Taylor's childhood are absolutely wild, and they provide a fascinating glimpse into this rocker's head.
He Started Using Illicit Substances When He Lived In A Trailer Park
After moving around the country for years, Taylor and his mother settled down at the River Forest Trailer Park in Waterloo, IA. While living there, Taylor started using various substances. He told Revolver about his experience:
[The trailer park] was right next to a dike by the river, and there was a forest, and me and my friends would go back there and just get ripped. At a place like that, there's only two things to do, really: you [use], and you f*ck. That's where I learned the "positive" side of chugging Robitussin. That's where I learned how to get more coke for less money. Crank was just starting, back in those days, and I was a total speed freak and really into coke.
He And His Family Moved Constantly
Taylor is best known as a Des Moines resident, but during his childhood he, along with his mother and sisters, moved around for years. From a young age, he was on the road and spent some time in Fort Lauderdale, FL. At one point, things were so dire in his family's transient lifestyle he and his sister had to abandon most of their belongings. He told Revolver:
[My mother and step-father] were trying to get jobs as security guards at Burt Reynolds's ranch. One of the cars broke down somewhere in Georgia, so we had to put everyone in the other car. Three-fourths of my possessions and three-fourths of my sister's possessions got left in the car by the side of the road. I never saw any of it again.
He Believes The 'Misfits Of The Misfits' Saved His Life
In multiple interviews, Taylor indicates he was on a difficult path as a young person, and he might not have achieved fame or even survived without a lot of help. He credits the young musicians he met when he was a teen squatting in Des Moines with getting him on his feet, claiming they gave him something to live for besides partying. Taylor told Revolver:
Denny [Gibbs, the Hammond organ player on the first Stone Sour record] and I sat down and talked forever that night. He was jamming with Joel [Ekman, the original drummer for Stone Sour] and needed a singer. I sat down with an acoustic guitar and played them some of the stuff that I'd written, and they were just f*ckin' blown away.
I was like, "Really? You really like this?" I started hanging out with that whole crew and felt I finally found a family - the people that I'd been looking for. The misfits of the misfits. The creative f*ckers - the people who didn't think in two dimensions. It literally saved me. And that was really the catalyst for what became Stone Sour.
Even When He Was Homeless, He Still Attended High School
After Taylor moved in with his grandmother in Iowa, he didn't immediately clean up his act. He told Revolver the two of them were constantly at odds, especially while he was trying to quit using substances cold turkey. He said that when he and his grandmother got into a huge conflict, she would often evict him. So he'd wander the streets until he could find a place to sleep or it was time to go to school:
I spent a lot of time on the streets. I remember walking up and down Park Avenue on the south side of Des Moines, with a trash bag full of clothes and a 20-ouncer of Mountain Dew... just [passing] enough time until I could beg a floor to squat on from a friend. I still tried to go to school on top of that, but because my life was so gnarly, I just couldn't get it together.