‘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, heres his exclusive guide to navigating them

Dont fear Donald Trump

He is so ineffectual. Everyone was worried about the crazy things hed do, but theres nothing that hes done that cant be changed in another administration, like the Paris agreement. Theres no need to panic. Too many I dont want to say liberal lambasts are hitting the panic button too quickly, instead of bringing up issues and talking about them. For me its really a case of: whats going on with the senators, whats 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 hasnt done shit. He really hasnt. Even with his party in control of both houses, nothing has happened. He hasnt 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. Its 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.

He hasnt fulfilled one promise… Donald Trump. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Toxic masculinity has been in America forever

Its only because of this presidency that we are getting a really good taste of it. In a misogynistic culture, theres 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; theyre not part of their culture, and yet they are being forced to accept them. Theres liberal fascism in response to the conservative fascism, and its keeping good people in the middle scratching their heads and thinking: I dont know what to believe. And part of that reaction is this pumped-up masculine middle finger going: You dont tell me how to live my life. Its their mind balking at the fact that they may have to accept something when they havent 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 theyre tired of being marginalised, theyre tired of being treated like a perversion. Its 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.

Im about as qualified for senate as he is, ie not at all … Kid Rock. Photograph: Getty

Celebrities: stop running for senate

Kid Rock is for running for senate, and Im about as qualified as he is, ie not at all. Its the same as the Rock I love the idea of him saying he wants to run for president but theyre just another pair of voices saying that they can get it done, and look where thats got us.

There are still so many cabinet positions that have not been filled in this administration, because Trump is completely overwhelmed. And thats a guy who reportedly knows how to run a business. So what the hell is Kid Rock going to do? Its 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 theyre going to see the sweat, and see youre 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 isnt dead, though. As long as there are hopeless romantics like myself, I dont 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 thats huge. To some people thats the ultimate act of romance.

Im the worst hypocrite… Corey Taylor in his civvies.

Were addicted to our phones

Im 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. Its so embarrassing. These devices are bringing out all the dopamine that I had wasted for years on smoking and drinking and drugs, and Im waiting for what the hangover is going to feel like. I dont know what the repercussions are going to be, but maybe were 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 thats all I need.

Dont 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, Id like to think were 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. Dont 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 its more selfless, but if people were more honest maybe we would get more done with climate change. Im not trying to save shit. I dont 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, theyre finding out how to monetise it, but theyre still screwing over the artists. Its sad because Im seeing a lot of bands get out because they cant make a living. How are you supposed to make a living when its completely taken out of your hands?

Im in a unique situation because Im in the old system, but Im 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 cant get a break. I dont know what the answer is to be honest. Im stoked for people like Ed Sheeran that kid worked his ass off, so why shouldnt 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 didnt have a million streams?

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 rocknroll as Americas music

I could have told you this 20 years ago. The thing that bothers me is that people differentiate pop and hip-hop but theyre the same thing. I hate most new hip-hop. Its all the same mush-mouthed bullshit, and it doesnt say anything except I want to get fucked and drink champagne. Its pathetic. The hip-hop I grew up with had a message. Theres 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. Theres 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. Trumps going to try and take credit for that, but theres 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 thats when the machines come in, thats 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: Im 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. Thats what it comes down to.

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

Everyone is appropriating metal culture

Youre seeing grandmas in Slipknot shirts. Its 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; youre 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 Biebers 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

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