For the past two decades, rock star Corey Taylor has wowed audiences with his killer vocals and raw lyrics both on stage and through their speakers with the bands Stone Sour and Slipknot. Being a man of many talents, Taylor recently made his way into the comic industry with his all new original title ‘The House of Gold and Bones’, which will be a four-issue limited series and is being released through Dark Horse Comics. But what will this new story from the mind behind some of alternative rock’s biggest acts be about?
Luckily for those who were curious, Corey Taylor recently sat down with ScienceFiction.com to tell us a little about his book! Check out our interview below!
SF: Okay, Corey, so tell us a little bit about your new book, ‘The House of Gold and Bones’. In your own words, what’s the basis for your story?
Corey Taylor: The basis, well, the premise really, for making this was essentially me trying to make a statement about not only myself, but about some of the people who I’ve watched over the years. Whether they be friends or just acquaintances or people I just know. I kind of took that and molded it into a story about making choices. They don’t necessarily have to be the right choices, but just making those choices and having the strength to stand behind those choices. I wanted to take that sense of reality and put it with a very unique background that is very much based in sci-fi and fantasy, and try to make a story that not only held people’s attention but really made them think. That’s really where the inspiration for this came from.
SF: So you’re saying you’ve used people from your life as the inspiration for the story. Do any of these real life people make appearances directly in the book or have characters based on them?
Taylor: Well there’s a little bit of me in all of the characters, to be honest. But all of these characters are amalgams of people who I’ve known over the years. I knew that if I was going to create something as fantastic as another world and have all these crazy things happen to these characters, I knew that I would have to root some of this in reality, because that’s what makes things interesting, and those are the things you can relate to. It was actually fairly easy! Once I got the core story together, it was easy to sort of hop from one foot to the other between the fantasy and the reality of things. I feel like it makes for a much more interesting read because I’ve seen these things really happen and I knew what I was talking about. So I could give it a sense of “well, even if this person wasn’t in this crazy world, this is how they would react to this situation”. It was pretty cool to do that.
SF: I actually noticed that while reading the first issue! Your characters have a very ‘real world’ feel to them in the way that they react to all of the craziness going on around them. So what made you actually decide to delve into writing comics?
Taylor: Honestly, it was really this short story. While I was writing it I was really trying to write it in a way that was very visual, hoping to evoke certain visuals while listening to the music. I kind of always knew that would be the counterpoint. The short story would be one thing, but the music was really why the short story was out there in the first place. So I really wanted to ensure that not only could you read or listen to these two things on their own, but you could do it together and have it kind of conjure up these visions as you see these characters and situations in your head. While I was writing it, that was when I started thinking “man this would be a really cool comic book”. So of course one thing led to another, I got in touch with Dark Horse, and the rest is history.
SF: I know that you’ve just recently released not one but two albums sharing the same title as this book, ‘House of Gold and Bones’ Parts One and Two. How closely do the songs on these albums parallel the story being told here in the comic?
Taylor- It’s all chronological. All of the songs follow chronologically, but the songs tell a different side to the story. The story itself is very much what’s going on on the surface, while the songs give almost an internal dialogue of what’s going on in the person’s psyche. Like what’s going on in their head during this scene? This is what they’re thinking, this is what they’re feeling. I thought this was a great counterpoint to that. Sometimes when you have these concept albums it’s very lateral, and just very flat and literal. I wanted to be able to give this a three-dimensional feel where you’ve got so many different sides to the story that it was easier for people to just sort of get immersed in it. That’s why I’ve been talking about doing this as two movies , because I knew that between the music, the short story itself and then the comic as a visual I would be able to craft something that would be monumental. I think movies are the perfect place for this story.
SF: Oh wow, so you’re contemplating turning the comic and the albums into a series of films?
Taylor: Yes! Doing two movies would be perfect for this. With the comics I’ve got the visual, and with the story I’ve got the running on the script. It’s just finding the balance between the music and the story itself. That’s the challenge of trying to flush out the scripts right now. I’m not approaching it from like a huge Hollywood standpoint, I’m honestly looking at more from a… well not a ‘low’ budget, but more of a minimal budget type of ‘cult classic’ status.
SF: So that way you can tell your story the way YOU want?
Taylor: Exactly! To me, it’s like “hey, I’m not trying to rewrite ‘Twilight’ or ‘The Hunger Games’ you know? I’m trying to do something that maybe people see once in a while at a midnight screening but everybody has the DVD. I mean, I’ve got my copy of ‘The Wall’, I’ve got my copy of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’, I’ve got my copy of ‘Heavy Metal’… that’s the kind of vibe that I’m looking for. Something that, creatively, is very sound, and yet intellectually, you either get it or you don’t. I kind of want it to reach that ‘cult classic’ status.
SF: That sounds phenomenal! So have you ever tried writing anything like this before?
Taylor: No, not really. I mean I’d done short stories in school while growing up and all that, And obviously when writing lyrics you kind of jump from one foot to the other as far as who you’re writing from the standpoint of. But I had never really tried writing anything like fiction before. Everything I’d written before was very non-fiction, like my book ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ was almost an essay-like take on what those ‘sins’ meant to me as well as telling stories from my life. So this was my first real foray into short fiction or fiction in general. It’s actually inspired me and I’ve got a really cool idea for a novel now that I’m going to try and do my best to knock out. I mean it’ll probably take a few years to put together but I’m really excited about it.
SF: Have you worked closely with artist Richard Clarke on the title to make sure that things in the story are translating to the page in the way you had originally intended them to?
Taylor: Oh yes! And honestly it was very effortless. I would put the descriptions down in the script and he would just nail it! He was so good at capturing what I was thinking of, it was almost perfect. I knew that as soon as I saw all the pages come back from Part One that I had made the right decision. Richard was just so good at picking up what I was talking about, it was almost like he had a beeline into my head. It was a little spooky sometimes to be honest, just seeing him flesh out all these things that I had only ever really seen in my head visually. It was really exciting, and I can only imagine what it feels like for comic writers when they find that right artist and they’re able to put things together and it’s almost like they’re subconsciously reading each other. I think that maybe the perfect example would be Warren Ellis and Derrick Robinson on ‘Transmetropolitan’, which is one of my favorite comics. It just seemed like they were visually just so on the same page. That’s the only common denominator I can really think of when it comes to how perfectly me and Richard worked together. It’s been perfect.
SF: So you’d say you’ve had a positive experience working in the comic industry so far?
Taylor: Oh yes, absolutely! I mean it didn’t start out that way. Dark Horse was the company that I essentially ended up going with because they “got it”. They actually had the same ideas for this that I did and we were able to kind of get right to the point with each other. I mean honestly there were two other companies I had gone to before and from a bureaucratic standpoint they really kind of drug their feet and they wasted three months of my time. Finally I just walked away from them and luckily Dark Horse was there and they really immediately just got it. They really understood what I was trying to do with the project and we were able to get it together in such a way that it seemed like I didn’t lose any time at all. I was extremely lucky to go with Dark Horse, they were the perfect company for this.
SF: So we know you’re working on this right now, which is a mini-series, but do you read a lot of comics? If so what are some of your favorite series, artists or writers? Like I know you just mentioned ‘Transmetropoloitan’.
Taylor: I read tons of comics! Almost too many if you ask my wife. I read a lot of different stuff, but I’m kind of a Marvel kid. I grew up with Marvel so I’m a Marvel fan and read a lot of their titles. I’ve been reading a lot of the ‘Avengers’ stuff right now. I’ve also been following DC’s ‘Before Watchmen’ stuff that has been going on which I really like. I don’t care what the purists say, I really like what’s been going on in those titles. At the same time, I’m the kind of guy now that follows certain writers as well. Warren Ellis, I buy everything that he puts out. I also follow Garth Ennis’ stuff. Warren Ellis, he has a ton of great stuff and ‘Transmetropolitan’ is my favorite. My favorite Garth Ennis title, besides the work he did with ‘Punisher’, is ‘Preacher’. I have all of those comics! I searched and found all of the individual comics for the ‘Preacher’ series and then still bought the trades just so I could re-read them. That’s just how into it I am and that’s just the collector in me. I don’t just collect comics either, I collect action figures as well. I have several boxes of them all still in the package so I’m definitely into them. My wife would call me a borderline hoarder but there is a thin line between hoarder and collector and I think we all know that deep down.
SF: Okay just one last question for you, we know ‘House of Gold and Bones’ has only just begun, but when this wraps up, can we expect to see a follow-up series from you or perhaps an entirely unrelated comic?
Taylor: Honestly, it depends on the idea. I’m not going to chase my tail trying to come up with something just so I can keep doing comics. I never expected to get this opportunity to do this first comic even, so this is kind of extra for me, which I’m kind of cool with. Hopefully people dig it, and if they don’t oh well I enjoyed making it so there you go. But I never say never anymore, because you really just never know. If the right idea comes to me and I think I can put it together in a way that would make for a really cool comic book, I definitely would love to do it. But it would have to be the right idea and the right story. I don’t want to put out a crappy book just for the sake of putting out a book. That’s kind of my driving force for everything that I do. I know everything is open to opinion, but if I don’t feel like I’m putting something out there that is quality, not just quantity, then I won’t waste my time on it. But again, if the right idea came to me and I could put together this sort of perfect team again, I would absolutely love to do another comic. In a heartbeat.
The first issue of ‘The House of Gold and Bones’ is on shelves now with issue #2 set to release on May 22nd, 2013. Don’t forget to check out the two corresponding albums as well, which are also already in stores!