Slipknot Singer Kicked Cocaine Addiction Because of Faith No More

By Paul Gaita 03/10/16

The singer, who has been sober for a decade, opened up about his teenage cocaine addiction for a new Loudwire animated series. 

Slipknot Singer Kicked Cocaine Addiction Because of Faith No More
Photo via Shutterstock/Randy Miramontez

Heavy metal vocalist Corey Taylor credits the alt-metal band Faith No More with turning him away from a debilitating addiction to cocaine and pills that nearly resulted in his death.

In an interview for “Epic Rock Tales,” a series of animated videos presented by the hard rock and heavy metal outlet Loudwire, the Slipknot and Stone Sour singer recalls how dalliances with cigarettes and marijuana at the age of 12 were soon followed by cocaine and speed at 13, and two overdoses by the time he had turned 15. At one point, he “woke up in a dumpster,” Taylor remembers.

Taylor’s drug problems reached a terminal point toward the end of his teenage years. While living at his grandmother’s house in Iowa, he consumed “a bunch of pills” and was found by his ex-girlfriend’s mother, who had come to check on him. Doctors at a hospital in Des Moines were able to revive him, in part by administering ipecac, a drug that was once used as cough syrup, to induce vomiting. “For about five years, I couldn't eat pancakes, because ipecac tastes like maple syrup,” he says.

While recovering at his grandmother’s house, Taylor saw Faith No More perform their single “Epic” on the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards. He says the song had an immediate impact. “They were so good and they were so powerful and it was so different than anything I’d ever seen, that they really kinda got me up off my ass,” says Taylor. He was inspired to start writing and recording music again, which he had abandoned at the height of his addiction—and within two years, he had co-founded Stone Sour. In 1997, he joined the Grammy-winning metal act Slipknot.

Taylor continued to struggle with substance abuse issues in the years that followed, most notably in the mid-2000s, at the height of his alcohol abuse. He told Kerrang! Radio that he nearly jumped to his death from a hotel balcony one night, but luckily, his friend Thom Hazaert was there to stop him. "If I had a bottom, that was the bottom," he said at the time. "It was right before I passed out, I can remember standing on that balcony, ready, and god bless my friend Thom Hazaert—if he hadn't been there, we would not be having this conversation today."

He found sobriety in 2006, avoiding the tragic fate of bandmate Paul Gray, who succumbed to an overdose in 2010. His death has been the focus of a wrongful death civil suit brought by Gray’s wife against a doctor who allegedly prescribed excessive medication despite his addiction issues. That case is currently being heard by the Iowa Supreme Court.

Watch his story here, as illustrated by Loudwire:

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.