Two of shock metal's most potent acts – Slipknot and Marilyn Manson – are set to embark on tour on Tuesday. It's a pairing that Corey Taylor, Slipknot's crash-test-dummy-masked frontman, feels makes perfect sense.
"I love his music," the singer says in an interview conducted before his recent spinal surgery, which postponed the tour a few weeks. "I love what [Manson] represents. Even though it's changed a little bit in the last few years, I love the fact that he still tries to push boundaries and really tries to expand the range of what he can do.
"To this day I think Antichrist Superstar is one of the best albums ever made," Taylor continues. "I don't mean just metal, rock or whatever; I mean albums, full stop. And it's one of those albums that I can listen to from top to bottom every time. I don't skip tunes. I don't pull up the ones I just want to hear. I don't even really listen to the singles. I listen to that album from top to bottom, because it still stands up just as much today as it did when it first came out."
Slipknot and Manson first toured together on Ozzfest 2001. At the time, it was Manson who voiced affection for the nu-metal group, which was still building its following. The shock rocker said at the time that he played an instrumental role in getting Slipknot on the festival tour and praised their "nihilistic" outlook and the fact that they had "a lot of chaos" onstage.
"I see a lot of Slipknot T-shirts at our concerts … I think it's because we're two of only a few bands that have genuine attitude in what we do," he told the Herald Sun that year. "Angst and heavy music has become such a trend, but young music fans in particular are able to see through fake ones, and they know which ones are for real."
Taylor tells Rolling Stone now that the tour took place during a wild time for Slipknot and that he doesn't remember much of it. "I was pretty lit, pretty much for that whole tour," the singer says with a laugh. "I do remember throwing up in a cup and drinking it in front of Manson and he kind of freaked out. He didn't really know how to take it. And then he ran into our dressing room in tighty-whitey underwear and kind of danced for us and kind of ran back out, and we were like, 'What the fuck just happened?'
"We don't really try to fuck with each other, and when we do, it gets really weird," he continues with a laugh. "At the same time, there's a positive competition there that we both respond to. When we play with him, we watch him tear it down every night, and that just makes us want to tear it down every night, too. So there's a mutual respect that goes along with that positive competition that will make for great shows no matter where we are. To me, that's the best respect that you can show a fellow artist, especially someone you really enjoy what they do."
Taylor says Slipknot fans can expect a show that will be "night and day" compared to what they saw last year. It will feature different set lists and alternate approaches to how they present video onstage. "We're trying to put as much art out there as possible," he says. "It should be really, really cool."
In addition to touring with Slipknot, Taylor says he's been keeping busy on a personal level. In addition to recording his Beats 1 radio show, A Series of Bleeps, which he launched in the spring, he plans on going into the studio with his other band, hard rockers Stone Sour.
Taylor is also working on a new book, dubbed America 51, which will follow up this year's You're Making Me Hate You. "It's basically about this country and everything that's going on and has gone on," he says of the new book. "It's my views on the history and the future and all that kind of shit. Before anybody freaks out: It's not all bad. There's a lot of good shit. At the same time, my publishers are freaking out. They're like, 'We got to get this out now!' and it's like, 'Fuck, I just put one out last year. Can you just fucking slow down, for Christ sakes?' People are really excited about it, so I'm going to really do my best to get it done."
Slipknot will launch their tour with Marilyn Manson and openers Of Mice & Men in Nashville, with the dates running through late August. The groups had to reschedule three weeks' worth of dates when Taylor was rushed into "unplanned spinal surgery" earlier this month. "I am recovering nicely and all went well," he wrote in a statement. "I need a little recovery time before hitting the stage. ... I hope you all understand and thanks for always having my back!"
The band will host its annual Knotfest, which has combined with Ozzfest this year, in San Bernardino, California in October.Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne discuss September's Ozzfest Meets Knotfest event. Watch here.