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‘The US hasn’t been this divided since the 60s’: Slipknot’s Corey Taylor on how to save America

For his new book, America 51, the Slipknot frontman has been examining the sicknesses at the heart of US culture and from Donald Trump to modern dating; here’s his exclusive guide to navigating them.

Corey Taylor

 

Don’t fear Donald Trump

He is so ineffectual. Everyone was worried about the crazy things he’d do, but there’s nothing that he’s done that can’t be changed in another administration, like the Paris agreement. There’s no need to panic. Too many I don’t want to say liberal lambasts are hitting the panic button too quickly, instead of bringing up issues and talking about them. For me it’s really a case of: what’s going on with the senators, what’s going on on a local level?

Sure, Trump is the firebrand, and everyone wants to talk about the return of Nuremburg after that Boy Scout rally, but whatever. People forget: he hasn’t done shit. He really hasn’t. Even with his party in control of both houses, nothing has happened. He hasn’t fulfilled one promise.

So what am I scared of? I think people need to calm down, and keep fighting the illogical with logic. He won by the smallest of margins. And honestly, he only got in on a technicality. It’s shit like that you have to keep reminding yourself of, because they will try and paint a completely different picture. Rhetoric is swirling around. If only there was an interconnected device to look back in time to see what the truth and the reality was! I say that with all the sarcasm in the world.

Donald Trump

He hasn’t fulfilled one promise… Donald Trump. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Toxic masculinity has been in America forever

It’s only because of this presidency that we are getting a really good taste of it. In a misogynistic culture, there’s this misconception that doing good things for people, and trying to take care of them, is a pussy move. The result is a bunch of people pumping their chests up, and talking shit on women, talking shit on gay people, talking shit about everyone. They feel threatened; their way of life feels threatened.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that the liberal and LGBT community is coming at them fast and loose with concepts they are not used to; they’re not part of their culture, and yet they are being forced to accept them. There’s liberal fascism in response to the conservative fascism, and it’s keeping good people in the middle scratching their heads and thinking: “I don’t know what to believe.” And part of that reaction is this pumped-up masculine middle finger going: You don’t tell me how to live my life. It’s their mind balking at the fact that they may have to accept something when they haven’t had the chance to understand what it is.

For so many years they have been in control of what is culturally accepted, and the whole LGBT community is trying to override that, because they’re tired of being marginalised, they’re tired of being treated like a perversion. It’s very much a war. I lived through the Reagan years and I grew up during the gas shortage, I grew up seeing some serious shit go down. But I dont think the country has been this divided since the 1960s.

Kid Rock

I’m about as qualified for senate as he is, i.e. not at all … Kid Rock. Photograph: Getty

Celebrities: stop running for senate

Kid Rock is for running for senate, and I’m about as qualified as he is, i.e. not at all. It’s the same as the Rock; I love the idea of him saying he wants to run for president but they’re just another pair of voices saying that they can get it done, and look where that’s got us.

There are still so many cabinet positions that have not been filled in this administration, because Trump is completely overwhelmed. And that’s a guy who reportedly knows how to run a business. So what the hell is Kid Rock going to do? It’s the biggest form of ego I have ever heard in my life. Please go ahead. Drive a car with a blindfold on and see how far it gets you.

Modern dating is gross

It brings out this crazy psychosis in all of us. At least on a blind date you have to kind of be yourself; they’re going to see the sweat, and see you’re struggling. But dating sites and apps put you at ease, and so all the little gnarly quirks and perversions come out. Hey, if it brings freaks together, who am I to judge? I think everyone has someone out there, and I would like to see people get together. But are you really trying to meet the love of your life on Grindr?

Romance isn’t dead, though. As long as there are hopeless romantics like myself, I don’t think it will die. We will just see an evolution of what romance means. There are still people who love selfless acts. And if its something as weird as a very heartfelt post on Twitter, to some people that’s huge. To some people that’s the ultimate act of romance.

Corey Taylor

I’m the worst hypocrite… Corey Taylor in his civvies.

We’re addicted to our phones

I’m the worst hypocrite because I bitch about it, but Im just as bad as everyone else. I wander around with this tiny little tablet in my hand, and I look up and see that someone has asked me a question. It’s so embarrassing. These devices are bringing out all the dopamine that I had wasted for years on smoking and drinking and drugs, and I’m waiting for what the hangover is going to feel like. I don’t know what the repercussions are going to be, but maybe we’re starting to see the end of face-to-face relationships, and more and more people being comfortable with long distance relationships. Why do I need to touch anyone? All I need is my phone and this contact and that’s all I need.

Don’t worry about the environment

My contribution to being eco-friendly is quitting smoking. I recycle. I do this and that. But all you can really worry about is your own side of things. If you start to think about it on a huge scale then you get overwhelmed. At the same time, I’d like to think we’re trying to do the right thing and we are trying to get this planet on the right track; not because of the planet, but because of us. George Carlin nailed this 25 years ago. He said: the planet is fine, the people are fucked!

The planet is going to be here long after we are gone. Don’t try and bullshit me that we are saving the planet we are saving ourselves. We put so much emphasis on the planet and not on the people, because we feel it’s more selfless, but if people were more honest maybe we would get more done with climate change. I’m not trying to save shit. I don’t give a fuck about the planet; I just want to keep my kids alive.

The music industry is like the wild west

The industry is trying to make peace with streaming; they’re finding out how to monetise it, but they’re still screwing over the artists. It’s sad because I’m seeing a lot of bands get out because they can’t make a living. How are you supposed to make a living when it’s completely taken out of your hands?

I’m in a unique situation because I’m in the old system, but I’m actually able to make a pretty decent living with the new system. I find it hard to bite the hand that feeds me. But at the same time I see all these other bands who can’t get a break. I don’t know what the answer is to be honest. I’m stoked for people like Ed Sheeran; that kid worked his ass off, so why shouldn’t he get the recognition? But at the same time when his songs dominated [the charts] because of streaming, where is the fairness? What about the other artists who worked their asses off, but maybe didn’t have a million streams?

DJ Khaled, Chance the Rapper and Ed Sheeran

DJ Khaled, Chance the Rapper and Ed Sheeran… Corey Taylor is a fan of one of these men the others, not so much. Photograph: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Hip-hop has dethroned rock’n’roll as America’s music

I could have told you this 20 years ago. The thing that bothers me is that people differentiate pop and hip-hop but they’re the same thing. I hate most new hip-hop. It’s all the same mush-mouthed bullshit, and it doesn’t say anything except I want to get fucked and drink champagne. It’s pathetic. The hip-hop I grew up with had a message. There’s a reason Chuck D is my hero, let me put it that way.

Artificial intelligence is taking over the world

A lot of people are upset because too many manufacturing jobs are gone, but there are so many companies coming up that need a workforce. There’s a reason the market is doing well in America even though the presidency is shit, because the prior presidency actually left behind a healthy infrastructure with growth happening. Trump’s going to try and take credit for that, but there’s always a two or four year hangover. The problem comes when you start to see deregulation happening on a federal level when it comes to big business; that’s when the machines come in, that’s when the outsourcing comes in.

But all of these insurance companies are hiring, all of these tech companies are hiring. People look at those industries and go: “I’m not intelligent or pretentious enough.” But if you want to feed your family, then a job is a job. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and go with what you have to do. Follow where the work is. If industries want to keep outsourcing and replacing people with programs, then stop buying those products. Hit them where it hurts. That’s what it comes down to.

Corey Talyor on stage with Slipknot

Corey Taylor on stage with Slipknot. Photograph: Raphael Dias/Getty Images

Everyone is appropriating metal culture

You’re seeing grandmas in Slipknot shirts. It’s really weird. It makes it easier for me to blend in, which I am completely happy to do; you get tired of the stares after a while. But punk and metallers take fascist imagery like shaved heads and black clothing and divorce it from racism and nationalism, to make a statement about disaffection; you’re now seeing people like Richard Spencer who are not only appropriating the imagery of nationalism, but also the rhetoric. The anger, the racism of it. It worries me. Oh, but Justin Bieber’s line in pseudo-metal T-shirts? He can kiss my ass.

  • Corey Taylor was speaking to Harriet Gibsone. America 51 is out now, published by Da Capo. His new album with Stone Sour, Hydrograd, is out now on Roadrunner; the bands UK tour begins at Birmingham Barclaycard Arena on 29 November. The Slipknot documentary Day of the Gusano will screen nationwide on 6 September.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/sep/06/slipknot-corey-taylor-how-to-save-america-donald-trump

‘I was left speechless’: Bob Dylan breaks two-week silence over Nobel prize

After being criticised as arrogant for not responding to his prize, artist says he will attend award ceremony if possible.

Bob Dylan was left speechless by the news that he was to be awarded the Nobel prize for literature, he has said, breaking more than two weeks of silence since the announcement.

The artist was criticised as arrogant by a prominent member of the academy that awards the prize last week, having failed to respond to repeated calls. Even a brief acknowledgement of the award was removed from his website soon after it appeared.

But, in a call with Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Dylan said: I appreciate the honour so much, adding: The news about the Nobel prize left me speechless.

And, in a separate interview with the Daily Telegraph his first since the award he said he would absolutely attend an award ceremony if its at all possible. Dylan told the paper: Its hard to believe amazing, incredible. Whoever dreams about something like that?

The Nobel Foundation, which released details of Dylans conversation with Danius on Friday, said it had not yet been decided if the artist would attend any events during the Nobel week in Stockholm in December.

The Nobel Foundation will share information as soon as it is available.

Dylans spokesman did not respond to requests for clarification.

Making the award announcement, Danius compared Dylans work to that of ancient Greek writers Homer and Sappho. Asked about the comparison, Dylan said: I suppose so, in some way. Some [of my own] songs Blind Willie, The Ballad of Hollis Brown, Joey, A Hard Rain, Hurricane and some others definitely are Homeric in value.

He declined to remark on the meanings of those songs, however. Ill let other people decide what they are, he said. The academics, they ought to know. Im not really qualified. I dont have any opinion.

Theres a certain intensity in writing a song, he added. You have to keep in mind why you are writing it and for who and what for.

The singer also tied songwriting to his interests in painting and sculpting, though he recognized that not all of his ambitions would achieve the same success as his music.

Id like to drive a race car on the Indianapolis track. Id like to kick a field goal in an NFL football game. Id like to be able to hit a hundred-mile-an-hour baseball. But you have to know your place. he said. There might be some things that are beyond your talents.

Everything worth doing takes time. You have to write a hundred bad songs before you write one good one. And you have to sacrifice a lot of things that you might not be prepared for. Like it or not, you are in this alone and have to follow your own star.

The academy announced that Dylan would be awarded the prize on 13 October, saying he had created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.

But that was followed by silence, leading to criticism of Dylan and speculation over whether or not he would even accept the honour. On the night that the announcement was made, Dylan played a gig in Las Vegas but did not refer to the news.

A week later, the words winner of the Nobel prize in literature appeared on his website, along with a promotion of a new book of his lyrics. But that had been taken down by the next day.

Soon afterwards, in comments broadcast on a Swedish television station, the writer and academy member Per Wastberg said Dylans failure to respond to overtures was impolite and arrogant and put the academy in an unprecedented situation.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/oct/29/im-speechless-says-nobel-winner-bob-dylan-as-he-breaks-his-two-week-silence

Bruce Springsteen: ‘Donald Trump is undermining the entire democratic tradition’

The Boss speaks out against Trump, and opens up about his approach to parenting, at an event in London to promote his autobiography, Born to Run.

Bruce Springsteen has again condemned Donald Trump, with less than a month before the US presidential election. Springsteen, who had previously called the Republican presidential candidate a moron, told an audience in London: Its a terrible thing thats happening in the States. Hes undermining the entire democratic tradition.

Springsteen was speaking at an invitation-only event for European press at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London to promote his autobiography, Born to Run. When asked by host Antoine de Caunes to explain to Europeans the appeal of Trump, Springsteen replied: Nobodys been able to explain that.

Springsteen also paid further tribute to Bob Dylan, following the latter winning the Nobel prize in literature. Like a Rolling Stone was the first time I heard a version of my country that felt naggingly real, he said. Long after all of us are forgotten, Bobs work is going to be ringing out loud and clear. He contrasted Dylans writing favourably with his own work: Bobs certainly a poet. Im a hardworking journeyman.

Born to Run dealt extensively with Springsteens family, covering not just his relationship with his parents and grandparents, but also the changes parenthood had wrought on his own life. He said the final section of the book, writing about everyone you know now, was the hardest to write. I showed my kids the things I wrote about them, he said. Patti [Scialfa, his wife] and I discussed that section of the book and she didnt change anything, [though] she wasnt necessarily comfortable with everything. There were some things I wasnt comfortable with myself. But she gave me a lot of room to explore.

Discussing how his troubled relationship with his father had affected his own parenting, he spoke of how people honour their own parents by trying to steer away from the things they had difficulty with and by passing on the things they did well. The difficult thing was not having a role model to pass on what it meant to be a good parent, he said. That meant being a father did not come naturally: the suspension of deep personal time; the giving over of yourself at any moment of the day. I was used to my work taking over my time. It was my sacred space. To have Hey! I need a ride to Billys house, was something it took me a while to get used to. But I have a good relationship with my kids. I wouldnt say I was perfect, but I did OK.

He spoke, too, about how playing live had helped him cope with the depression that had struck him at intervals over the past 30 years. Playing such long sets Springsteen routinely goes well past three hours when performing with the E Street Band meant he would be too tired to be depressed. To be depressed you need to have certain amount of energy, to go hunting through the weeds. Theres also a great centring element that wards off [the effects of depression]. It hardens your centre; that wards off self doubt and the unproductive questioning that comes with depression.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/oct/17/bruce-springsteen-donald-trump-undermining-democratic-tradition-book

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