Corey Taylor Talks Songwriting and Slipknot Music with Fifth Grade Class

Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor talked to a fifth grade classroom about his band. 

Videos by American Songwriter

Taylor’s appearance was a collaboration with the Craig Charles BBC radio show, where the singer was a guest, and was inspired by a North Dakota teacher who was teaching their class about time signatures using Slipknot’s music.

As a class guest, Taylor answered the kids’ questions—everything from songwriting and inspirations to Slipknot’s shifting time signatures. 

“‘Vermilion’ [2004] is actually a song that goes from three-four into four-four and kind of back and forth,” shared Taylor when asked if Slipknot has songs that change time signatures. “I think there’s a section in there that goes from three-four to seven-eight, actually, which is very weird. And it all kind of ties together with a riff that could go either way. And it allows us to kind of flow back and forth between them.”

When another student asked how he became a songwriter and musician, Taylor said that it was something he “instinctively just had a knack for” early on. “It all started with singing when I was about 10 years old, and I realized that I could pick up a guitar and I could find the notes that were being played on the song that I was listening to, which I then realized that I had what is called pitch,” shared Taylor. “It’s not perfect pitch, but it’s darn close.”

Taylor added, “After that, I realized that people liked what I did and just kind of leaned into it. I taught myself how to play guitar, so I could write songs. I had always written poems and whatnot, and I taught myself how to write lyrics. And then it was just a matter of getting people together to jam and have fun and dance. The rest is history. But it all stemmed from me just loving to sing, and loving to sing along to stuff that I liked.”

When asked about his inspirations, Taylor said “Oh, man, everything really. Life in general is the biggest influence you could ever have. There are so many things that you can look around at, whether it’s the things going on in your life, the things going on in other people’s lives, the things that affect the culture, the things that affect us politically, geopolitically, sociopolitically.” He added, “There are so many things that, if you look around with the right kind of eyes, you can find inspiration, no matter what it is. And you can take anything and write a song to it. The beautiful thing about music is that it’s limitless. It has no end. All it needs is a beginning.”

In 2019, Corey Taylor also spoke with School of Rock students before the band’s show in Austin, Texas, and answered questions about performing onstage.

Slipknot recently released their seventh album The End, So Far, and is currently on tour through 2023.

Photo: Ashley Osborn / Courtesy of Elektra Records

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