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Slipknot’s Corey Taylor: Why I’m Ready to Go Back on Tour This Spring

Corey Taylor is eager to get back out on the road, within reason. While many artists have pushed tours to the summer at the earliest, in a new op-ed for Rolling Stone, the Slipknot and Stone Sour singer explains why he opted to play socially distanced and Covid-safe concerts across the U.S. starting in May. In short, after a year in quarantine, Taylor needs the outlet, his touring unit and peripheral crew need the income, and his fans deserve the escape.

The decision to hit the road while so much of the population is still unvaccinated was met with a little uproar for Taylor, which served as the catalyst for his next topic of discussion: Cancel culture. Let’s just say he has some thoughts on the issue.

It’s been the craziest year I’ve ever known, and that’s coming from a guy who once woke up in the wrong hotel room in Amsterdam… wearing someone else’s clothes.

Not too many days ago, the anniversary of The Great Lockdown was rung in with growing news and hope of a turn back towards the sun, as it were. So it’s almost serendipitous that I’m preparing to announce a pseudo mini-tour, balanced with all the social distancing and precautions in place, to gauge the state of our union.

To most, it’ll only seem like a ploy to get back out there for people to fall and fawn for the songs I love to play, but to me and everyone in my industry, we know that there are thousands of people who depend on us to make their livings, and they need the great gears to churn and the rust to fall away from the “‘live scene” so we can all get back to work. It’s the life’s blood for millions: the people who book us, the clubs who host us, the techs and management who help us, the drivers on our busses, the bands who accompany us, the promoters who start the screaming and finally, the fans we bring the show to because they need it just as much as we do, after 365 days stuck in our caves. People need release and we’re ready to give it to them.

As much as we wanted it, we knew we had to do it right — too much riding on it, from our health to our pocketbooks. We knew we’d have to get down to the minutiae to make sure we were doing it by the book, regardless of what local or state mandates were or were not in place. We are going to have pod seating, temp checks, social distancing, masks at all times except in those pods, waivers signed saying you understand what’s up, etc. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean that people aren’t going to see one headline announcing the tour and assume that we’re not taking any of those precautions. Come to think of it, most people only read the headline for any story, and head straight for the meltdown without even taking a second to see if their suspicions are correct or not. They are only interested in joining the choruses of the incorrigible, the hordes of the abhorrent who keep little love in their hearts because they’re too busy looking for the next big thing to hate.

Welcome to the Outrage Age.

We find ourselves completely enveloped in a generation of extremes; the global manifestation of the mob in the Colosseum, yelling for Caesar to choose death but then wishing it on the Emperor himself if he goes against their judgment. The past is regarded by some as a bygone era of conversation. Then again, it’s because of these older conversations that we’ve chosen to course-correct so harshly: talk led to nothing- no justice, no change and no movement. The adverse effect is that instead of a decent talk, we have an echo chamber full of self-righteous garbage and unintelligible vitriol.

It started with real issues, like systemic racism, toxic sexism, abusing positions of power, discrimination, and all the trimmings that go with these problems. Sadly, though, for whatever reason, we all became addicted to the drama and the upheaval, and we looked for anything else to be pissed off about, with little or no content. Now it doesn’t take much to stir the crowd: Taylor Swift not taking a joke from a Netflix show no one would’ve noticed had she just let it go, the remake of The Witches and the uproar because the witches’ hands accidentally resemble a special disability, Winston Marshall reading the wrong book and liking it, Sia and the cardinal sin of trying to create something to pull back the curtain on autism, albeit in a misguided way, but not in a malicious way.

No one can handle anything anymore, which means no one can handle real talk anymore, which means everyone just wants to cancel shit, with no room for improvement. There are several people at fault for this: the right, the left, the media, celebrities, the Internet, social media, but if you’re truly looking for who’s really responsible, or more importantly irresponsible, you should probably find the nearest mirror.

No one lets small shit slide anymore. We treat “Baby It’s Cold Outside” — a song you only really hear seasonally — like some nefarious carol… and yet some of the biggest pop songs in the last five to 10 years certainly wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny when it comes to subject matter. I’m not saying it’s right — I’m just telling you how it is: when you use the same level of outrage for little shit that you should reserve for the bigger issues, people are not going to take you seriously. You may dismiss that, but things don’t get done on a singular level — it takes the plural to make change, especially the kind of change that takes bringing together people who may or may not have anything else in common with you, except for one fleeting moment agreeing on the egregious.

Social media has trained us to do two things: to only acknowledge positive feedback in “likes” or “hearts,” and to only engage in the back-and-forth if it’s negative. Maybe — JUUUUUUST maybe — if we let some of the meaningless bullshit float off in the breeze, maybe people would actually give a damn on both sides of the cultural coin. However, when you use the same amount of emphasis and passion fighting racism and misogyny as you do fighting the weird goings-on of a cartoon skunk, don’t be surprised or get pissed when people tune you out on the real issues.

I’m not saying there aren’t things that deserve our attention. I’m not saying that things shouldn’t change in so many different ways. I’m not even going to tell you that you have no right to be passionate on social change. What I’m saying is pick your spots, know what the hell’s going on before you go chasing after people with pitchforks for no fucking reason whatsoever. There’s so much to be done on so many different things, you don’t have to protest everything that someone tries to hoist up the pole as a red flag.

Be a little smarter in how you swing the hammer, because when everything is a problem, that means everyone is a suspect… including yourselves. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, to paraphrase. Nobody’s perfect; stop acting like we all should be.

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