THE BIG DE­BATE

Head­ing up our spe­cial look at the state of metal in 2017 through the eyes of its big­gest names, we bring to­gether Corey Tay­lor and Randy Blythe for a con­ver­sa­tion for the ages

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Stone Sour & Lamb of God -

Some­times, the stars just align. Quite lit­er­ally, in this case. To­day, Ham­mer is sit­ting com­fort­ably in a spa­cious dress­ing room back­stage some­where in the hall­ways of the Toy­ota Park sta­dium, a near-30,000 ca­pac­ity out­door venue 12 miles south of Chicago.

Most week­ends across the year, it’s home to the Chicago Fire football club (sorry, US chums, we’re not calling it soc­cer). This par­tic­u­lar week­end, how­ever, dur­ing a muggy-as-shit sum­mer heat­wave, the sta­dium is host­ing the sec­ond an­nual Chicago Open Air – a met­al­head’s dream fes­ti­val that boasts one of the finest heavy line-ups in re­cent mem­ory. Across th­ese three days, the likes of Ozzy Os­bourne, Slayer, Me­gadeth, Rob Zom­bie, Korn, An­thrax, Lamb Of God, Meshug­gah and many, many more will grace the fes­ti­val’s two out­door stages, send­ing swathes of black-clad metal fans into sweaty delir­ium (and if you want to know how all that went down, check out our re­view on page 102).

At this mo­ment, though, there’s se­ri­ous busi­ness to at­tend to. Namely, us­ing this im­mense bill to help put to­gether the sin­gle most im­por­tant de­bate of re­cent times. Fuck the House Of Com­mons: this is Metal Ham­mer’s State Of The Na­tion 2017, and we have some big ques­tions that need an­swer­ing. Ques­tions such as: is metal too stuck in its roots? Where has the dan­ger in our scene gone? Who’s gonna make the holy step-up to great­ness? (Hint: there’s one name that seems to keep pop­ping up, but more on that later). And are rock­stars re­ally gone forever, or have the rules just changed? All th­ese and more loom­ing is­sues will be dis­cussed and de­bated by our panel, which reads like a god­damn moth­er­fuck­ing Avengers of metal. Over the com­ing pages, you’ll see some of the most iconic names in heavy help­ing to set the lay of our land, as well as some of the most ex­cit­ing young faces in the scene to­day. All have some­thing to say. And you bet­ter be­lieve none of them held back.

Most of the in­ter­views you’ll read in this spe­cial land­mark fea­ture took place right here, back­stage at COA, and it’s here that we are cur­rently sit­ting across from Corey Tay­lor and Randy Blythe. Most days, the two men are known as the fire­breath­ing, stage-de­stroy­ing front­men of Slip­knot/Stone Sour and Lamb Of God: le­git­i­mate icons of Ham­mer’s world that took metal to fresh heights and new sounds in the 21st cen­tury. Right now, they more re­sem­ble two close bud­dies hav­ing a ca­sual nat­ter down the pub, Corey dressed in a t-shirt, jeans and trilby and Randy rock­ing a base­ball cap, glasses and flip-flops. Given their fa­mous ca­pac­ity to of­fer an opin­ion or six, we couldn’t think of two bet­ter peo­ple to front our in­ves­ti­ga­tion and, un­sur­pris­ingly, they had plenty to say about where metal’s at, where it’s go­ing and what should give us all hope for the fu­ture. Here’s what they had to say…

What do you think of Where metal is at in 2017?

COREY: “I think it feels health­ier than it was a few years ago. It used to seem like ev­ery­thing was sullen and a lit­tle too mapped out. A lit­tle too rigid, too stiff. That’s me, though; I don’t lis­ten to a lot of new shit – or I didn’t! Now I’m get­ting into a lot of

the newer bands like Code Orange, Knocked Loose, All Pigs Must Die, Nails...”

RANDY: “All that stuff is com­ing out of the hard­core scene.”

COREY: “Right! But it’s a dif­fer­ent style. There’s an in­her­ent vi­o­lence there that I just love. Randy, we were talk­ing about Code Orange yes­ter­day. Watch­ing them made me wanna play!”

RANDY: “When I saw them, I was telling my band and a bunch of other peo­ple, ‘Don’t sleep on this shit. Get up early and see th­ese guys.’ There was no one there watch­ing them but they still brought it so fuck­ing hard, and you can see that they mean it, which I haven’t seen for a while, you know? No one cares how tech­ni­cally pro­fi­cient you are, how fast you can noo­dle, your out­fits, what­ever, no­body gives a fuck. If you mean it, that’s gonna trans­late, and those kids mean it.”

“IF YOU MEAN IT, IT’S GONNA TRANS­LATE”

RANDY BE­LIEVES LE­GIT­I­MACY WILL AL­WAYS SHINE THROUGH

do you feel like heavy music had been miss­ing some of that le­git­i­macy lately?

RANDY: “Ab­so­lutely! And the good thing about bands like Code Orange, Power Trip and others, is that they all came up the way that we did. I mean, I think the old­est per­son in Code Orange is like 24, and they’ve been play­ing to­gether since they were 14. They came up play­ing halls, base­ments, do­ing shitty gigs. When we started, there wasn’t this over­whelm­ing amount of fes­ti­vals or big tours that there are now. A lot of the kids in the scene to­day don’t know that this huge metal scene – which it is now – didn’t ex­ist when we were

com­ing up.”

COREY: “It took a long time to break into that and re­ally ex­pand the range. There were cer­tain bands that were in­vited in, but there was cer­tain stuff that we would lis­ten to that was a lit­tle too ag­gres­sive for some of those cir­cles. Now that kind of ag­gres­sive, pas­sion­ate music is be­ing more ac­cepted.”

RANDY: “Yeah, the fact that Lamb Of God can play big fes­ti­vals in the US and draw heads, and that Slip­knot or Stone Sour can do that, it shows that there’s a shift­ing in the par­a­digm. It’s not that metal is be­com­ing ‘main­stream’, it’s just that it’s got big­ger.”

COREY: “I think there’s a re­ac­tion to what

I call ‘iTunes metal’. Randy and I have been talk­ing about this for years: the dudes who write music, but they’re not lis­ten­ing to it, they’re look­ing at it on a fuck­ing grid. It’s lined up, it’s too per­fect, you might as well just au­to­tune it all.”

RANDY: “Cut-paste! Cut-paste! Cut-paste!”

it’s felt like, for a few years now, there’s been a cer­tain style – even a cer­tain gui­tar tone – that’s the ‘right one’ for metal bands try­ing to make it big

COREY: “Yeah, and I know bands who are go­ing into the stu­dio right now, and they’re play­ing the drum sets, but they’re not play­ing the kicks, be­cause they pro­gramme the kicks!” RANDY: “Lame...”

COREY: “Se­ri­ous! So there are peo­ple who are fuck­ing learn­ing how to play and record with­out the kicks, so they’re play­ing ev­ery­thing else, but then they pro­gramme the kicks? What the fuck?!”

RANDY: “I think the democrati­sa­tion of the record­ing process has been a great thing for peo­ple be­ing able to demo at home, for bands be­ing able to record at home. You used to have to save all your shitty money, go to the shitty lo­cal stu­dio, record a two-inch

tape and get a demo,

and it cost a lot. You can do that at home now, and that’s great be­cause I think ev­ery­body should have the abil­ity and the ac­ces­si­bil­ity to record music, be­cause I think it’s good for you. How­ever, right now, be­cause of the na­ture of that tech­nol­ogy, what Corey’s talk­ing about with this cut and past­ing stuff, kids could get a riff down once by ac­ci­dent, time-shift it, move notes around, and sud­denly they have a song. I think at that point, the soul of the music suf­fers.”

“THERE’S A RE­AC­TION TO ‘ITUNES METAL’” COREY THINKS THE DAYS OF OVERPRODUCED CRAP ARE NUMBERED

is that era of cookie-cut­ter, over­pol­ished metal com­ing to an end now?

RANDY: “I think so. The cream of the crop is gonna rise.”

COREY: “Yeah, the proof is al­ways in the pud­ding. I do a lot of speak­ing gigs at schools and music pro­grammes, and they al­ways ask what my ad­vice is. My ad­vice is al­ways the same: get in front of an au­di­ence. Learn to play, learn to make mis­takes. Don’t be afraid of mis­takes; mis­takes are the best ways to find those cool ideas. And the young bands that we’re talk­ing about, you can tell that that’s what they’ve done, they’ve played to­gether, they’ve gelled to­gether.”

can truly heavy, abra­sive bands still break into the main­stream?

RANDY: “Dude, I’m play­ing the main stages of mas­sive US fes­ti­vals, and I can’t sing for shit! This guy right here – how old are you?”

COREY: “I’m 43!”

RANDY: “This is a 43-year-old man, known for pure in­san­ity in a mask with vomit and bile, and he can play huge places! If it can hap­pen for us, it can hap­pen for them.”

What do you think of the Way the scene has be­come so fractured?

RANDY :“I think the end­less sub cat­e­gori­sa­tions are ridicu­lous. As soon as you put some­thing in a cat­e­gory within music – and it’s of­ten not the bands that do this, it’s jour­nal­ists or fans... like, I’m sup­pos­edly one of the lead­ers of the ‘New Wave Of Amer­i­can Heavy Metal’. I al­ways got asked, ‘How do you feel about be­ing the leader of the NWOAHM?’ I’m like, ‘What the fuck are you talk­ing about?’ As soon as you cat­e­gorise a form of music, and it gets a lit­tle Wikipedia ar­ti­cle, and peo­ple start go­ing, ‘Hmmm, th­ese are the cod­i­fied rules, I bet­ter fol­low th­ese if I want to be a part of ba­nana­core!’ then you’re just fit­ting your­self into an­other lit­tle uni­form to wear.”

COREY: “Plus, you put an ex­pi­ra­tion date on it. I mean, you men­tioned the NWOAHM – there were peo­ple that put Slip­knot in that, but there were also peo­ple who put us in nu metal, just re­ally be­cause of the year that we came out and the stuff that we were ex­per­i­ment­ing with.”

RANDY: “I think you guys were your own thing.”

COREY: “I’m gonna be an ass­hole here, be­cause that’s what I love to do, but it’s the pre­ten­tious dick­weeds who sit at ta­bles and ar­gue this shit, who come up with th­ese fuck­ing cat­e­gories. They’re not the ones who just buy it be­cause they want to hear it – they need to ‘un­der­stand’ it. Some­times, you don’t need to fuck­ing un­der­stand it – you just need to feel it!”

RANDY: “One ge­nius thing our drum­mer did is when we first started mak­ing mer­chan­dise.

You’ll see a lot of our mer­chan­dise that just says, ‘Pure Amer­i­can Metal’. That was a tag he put there im­me­di­ately so peo­ple wouldn’t come up with ‘Pure Amer­i­can Death Metal’ or what­ever. We’ve been called grind­core in our Burn The Priest days to groove metal to thrash metal... this just says ‘metal’. So yes, you can call us a metal band. Be­yond that, what­ever you’re go­ing to colour our music with, that’s your fuck­ing opin­ion.”

do you think We’re all too tribal about this shit?

RANDY: “I think it’s lu­di­crous!”

COREY: “I don’t think so, be­cause most peo­ple grow out of it. I can re­mem­ber go­ing through a whole era of pre­tence when it came to punk stuff. You get to punk fans and they’re the worst, man, but you get to a cer­tain point and you’re just like, ‘You know what? Who gives a fuck?’ You grow out of that. You stop be­ing ar­gu­men­ta­tive and start be­ing more ap­pre­cia­tive, and that just comes with age, it comes with time. And some­times it comes with los­ing cer­tain bands, whether they break up, or God for­bid, some­thing hap­pens to some­one in a cer­tain band... you care for stuff more. The guys who don’t let go and they hold onto it, they’re col­lect­ing bits of lint and putting it in jars some­where. But hey, who am

I to judge? Ha ha ha!”

What do you think about metal get­ting ap­pro­pri­ated by main­stream fash­ion? kim kar­dashian Wear­ing mor­bid an­gel t-shirts and all that?

COREY: “I’m in two minds about that. There’s a part of it that makes me want to set fire to

whole fields. There’s also a part of me that’s like, ‘Fuck­ing right! Good! More peo­ple should know who Mor­bid An­gel are!”

is the age of the rock star dead?

COREY: “No.”

RANDY: “Ab­so­lutely not.”

What does that term mean in 2017, then?

COREY: “It just means, do what you do. I think it de­pends on what your def­i­ni­tion of a rock star is. To me, David Lee Roth is just as big a rock star as Henry Rollins. I think rock stars are still alive, but I think peo­ple think be­ing a ‘rock star’ means you have to be chem­i­cally de­pen­dent on some­thing.

To me, that’s just putting ro­man­tic bull­shit on ad­dic­tion.”

it feels like the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of that side of the scene is fi­nally dy­ing out

RANDY: “I think that’s one good thing with the ex­po­sure of the id­iocy of it. There used to

be a ro­man­tic chic to be­ing a junkie, but there are only two dudes who ever sur­vived that – Wil­liam S Bur­roughs and Keith Richards.”

COREY “And Keith’s been sober for what, 20 years now?”

RANDY: “Yeah, and he’s an anom­aly. Ev­ery­body else just died in their own shit and vomit and de­spair in a cor­ner.”

that’s just not very rock’n’roll, is it…

RANDY: “No! That sucks!”

COREY: “There’s some­thing to be said about be­ing young and crazy, and I get it, that’s fine. But there’s also some­thing to be said about do­ing that same shit when you’re al­most 50. That’s fuck­ing pa­thetic, and I see it all the time. What’s the fuck­ing point? I put on bet­ter shows now than I did when I was fucked up. Peo­ple need to stop glo­ri­fy­ing that shit. And there’s al­ways peo­ple that wanna con­tinue that weird myth.”

do you think metal as a cul­ture Wor­ries about ‘mak­ing it big’ too much? should We be proud to stay un­der­ground?

RANDY: “I won­der about the va­lid­ity of the term ‘un­der­ground’. When you can down­load any­thing from any era of music, like, even if you’re in the mid­dle of an In­done­sian jun­gle – which I’ve done – how un­der­ground is that? Un­der­ground used to mean you had to search and hunt and use word of mouth. You had to go to some fuck­ing sketchy shit­hole with a heroin junkie run­ning the reg­is­ter in or­der to find some­thing. Now you can go on Ama­zon and find any record. That’s not very un­der­ground.”

COREY: “Maybe the un­der­ground is now just dicks with wax cylin­ders that only lis­ten to harp­si­chord music...”

STONE SOUR’S HYDROGRAD IS OUT NOW VIA ROAD­RUN­NER. SLIP­KNOT’S DAY OF THE GU­SANO FILM WILL DE­BUT IN SE­LECTED CIN­E­MAS ON SEPTEM­BER 6. LAMB OF GOD’S VII: STURM UND DRANG IS OUT NOW VIA ROAD­RUN­NER

“I WON­DER IF SAY­ING ‘UN­DER­GROUND’ IS STILL VALID”

RANDY AR­GUES THAT THE DIG­I­TAL AGE HAS KILLED THE TERM

Corey Tay­lor and Randy Blythe: a meet­ing of great metal minds

Randy Blythe: in his spare time, he dou­bles as Code Orange’s hon­orary PR guy

Randy’s cam­era is never

far from his side

Corey Tay­lor: he loves to be an ass­hole

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