One of the most amazing things about this year’s Vegas Supernatural convention was the Saturday Night Special, when Jensen Ackles shocked the crowd by bringing Slipknot and Stone Sour singer Corey Taylor onstage to sing Bon Jovi’s Dead or Alive with him and Louden Swain.
All week long we’d been wracking our brains trying to figure out who the ‘special guest’ that Jensen was bringing to the SNS might be – but I’m fairly certain NOBODY figured this one out! Like many Supernatural fans – and many of the Supernatural cast – I’m a huge music fan too, so this was a performance that was almost overwhelming in how awesome it was. Last year at Comic Con we got Kansas, now we get Corey Taylor? We are a lucky fandom indeed.
When I heard that Corey was a Supernatural fan, I couldn’t wait to talk to him about how he ended up onstage with Jensen and the band – but I had no idea I would enjoy our conversation so much. It was forty minutes of two people who are passionate about the same thing sharing that love, and a lot of laughter – and just a whole lot of fun. Which means Corey and I are now on a campaign to get a few things to happen. More on that later.
I’m home sick with the cold from hell, which might explain why when Corey called I literally could not convince my phone to go to speaker mode. Anyone who has read ‘Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls’ knows that technology and I are not friends, so this should surprise no one. Corey, for his part, was extraordinarily patient while I struggled with technology, until finally – success!
We chatted for a few minutes about kids and the challenges of parenthood, which as Corey said, often means you just run around all the time trying to spend as much time with them as possible and planning your schedule out way in advance to make sure you’ve got enough time to be Dad. He worries about doing a good enough job and not messing them up, but honestly? That’s what lets me know he’s probably doing a great job – if you’re worrying and planning, you care a lot, and that’s what kids need more than anything.
Corey: Thank god for that!
Anyway, eventually I took my psychologist hat off (or maybe my fellow parent hat) and we got around to talking about Vegas, music and of course Supernatural.
Lynn: I loved your performance of Dead or Alive with Jensen so much. The fandom absolutely went insane over it. Tell me about how you ended up singing with Jensen Ackles and Louden Swain at the Supernatural convention in Las Vegas?
Corey: It’s kind of a crazy story. I’ve been a massive massive massive Supernatural fan for years. I didn’t start watching right away but I started watching around the third season. And I went back and binge watched the first two seasons as much as I could and then started buying the DVDs from there.
[At this point in the conversation I was already going OMG ME TOO because I also started watching in a serious way in Season 2 and then went back and did the exact same thing – so the fangirl in me was already squeeing and thinking about how much I related to Corey as a fellow fan]
Corey: Now I download them right away and watch the shows as much as possible. So I go way back with the show and I love the whole universe, everything about it. What I’ve noticed is that I’ve made a lot of friends over the years with some of my fans who are actually Supernatural fans themselves.
Lynn: Oh yeah there’s a lot of crossover for sure, that’s why it was so exciting to have you onstage at a con!
Corey: And I had no idea, you know? You don’t realize, I’m one of those people who forgets that people know me, like a lot.
Corey: And I do mean a lot, because I’ve always just kind of led my own life. I don’t get too wrapped up with whatever goes along with whatever it is I do. So for me, I still get excited about stuff like that. I still get excited about the shows that I love, the music that I love, the comics that I love, all that stuff. It’s important to me, and I love that I can share it with people who are into stuff that I do as well.
[More of Lynn internally going SO MUCH YES]
Corey: So I have a friend — me and the guys have a mutual friend named Shannyn who’s actually from Australia. She’s a massive Slipknot and Stone Sour fan and a huge Supernatural fan, goes to all the conventions and knows a lot about them. I had no idea, to be honest. I’m all over running around the world, so I don’t get to go to half the conventions that I want to let alone know about half of them. So I found out about the conventions through her and then found out that the J’s are huge fans, especially Jensen.
Lynn: Jensen is such a music lover, that really seems to be who he fanboys the most.
Corey: And I had no idea! So I kinda freaked out, I was like – what??! – I genuinely fanboyed so hard when I found out about that.
Lynn: (laughing) You were mutually fanboying each other!
Corey (laughing) Yeah it was pretty killer. And then I get a call from her – this goes back to last year right around like September or October – Shannyn was planning to go to the Las Vegas convention and she was like, would you want to go and meet the guys? And I was like DUH of course I would! If I’m in town I absolutely would love to do that. Fast forward to she keeps in touch with those guys and found out that Jensen wanted to do a tune with me with the band. Now me, I REALLY flipped out at that.
Lynn: I love that so much.
Corey: I was like there’s no way, there’s no way I’m gonna be lucky enough to jump up with those guys and do a tune and not look like – I said it onstage, I feel like I’ve just won a contest! I felt the same way just hearing the idea of that.
Lynn: Were you actually nervous about it?
Corey: I’ll tell you, I’ll be honest, I was more nervous that the audience wasn’t gonna give a shit about me.
Lynn (incredulous): What?!
Corey: (laughing) Because apparently there was all this build up, people were talking about the ‘special guest’ that was going to happen…
Lynn: That’s true, that’s true
Corey: Everybody thought it was gonna be Castiel and I thought, they’re gonna boo me, they’re gonna boo me because I’m not Castiel.
Lynn: That definitely did not happen.
Corey: So when I walked out and people were actually stoked, I kinda relaxed a little bit, but yeah, there was that moment when I was like AHHH!
Lynn: You’ve sung Dead or Alive onstage before. How different was it singing it with Jensen and with Louden Swain?
Corey: Well, I tell you what, I kinda had to keep reminding myself to sing the song because I was like too busy staring at everybody.
Lynn: [silently] Yep, I can definitely relate.
Corey: Like what am I doing here, you know? It was so cool, Rob [Benedict] and the band [Louden Swain] were so cool, very accommodating. They were just as stoked as I was. And Jensen, Jensen is such a hell of a singer.
Lynn: Oh yes, he really is.
Corey: He really is and I knew as soon as he picked that tune, I was like oh, right on! Not only do I love that song but I remember it from the season where Dean is going to hell and he and Sam are singing that song in the car.
Lynn: Absolutely, that’s an iconic scene. And I love that you thought that right away – just like any fan would.
Corey: Yeah, so I know what meaning that has for the fandom as well. And I was like, man, I just wanna lay into this song, you know? It’s one of those songs that I love to sing not only myself but with other people, and I just wanted to make sure that people really felt it.
Lynn: Oh we felt it! I was in the second row – believe me, we felt it.
Corey: Oh, were you really? Oh I had no idea you were there!
Lynn: I think actually I was right behind your friend Shannyn. I had a very short conversation with her when I had been saying OMG how did this happen and she turned around and said, “It was me, I kinda know both of them”. And I was like, you go, girl!
Corey: (laughing) Very nice, very nice.
Lynn: So what is it about Supernatural that drew you in? I’ve written six books about this show and this fandom so I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out why the show and the characters inspire so many of us, but what specifically is it for you?
Corey: I think for me, it’s definitely the humor, and it’s the characters. I love that family, I love the characters, I love the depth so much. But it’s also that it hits on so many levels of my geekdom.
Lynn: Yes, I so agree!
Corey: For me, there’s a little bit of X Files in it…
Lynn: Oh yeah, definitely.
Corey: There’s a little bit of From Dusk Til Dawn in it.
Lynn: Mm hmm.
Corey: And to me, I’m a massive Spiderman fan, and the thing I love about Spiderman is that he’s probably the one superhero who we’ve watched have to worry about making ends meet for years, you know?
Lynn: Yes, that’s true
Corey: He’s dealing with real life shit – like here’s this superhero with all this power in his hands, but he’s still hustling to make bills and pay his rent. And there’s a little bit of that with the Winchesters. Until they found Kansas [the bunker] it was, where are they gonna live? You saw them living out of hotels, having to hustle for money, living from take out to take out…
Lynn: Yeah, sleeping in the car…
Corey: Exactly. And for me, there’s an appeal to that. You know, they do this job – they don’t do it for the glamor – they don’t do it for the fame – they certainly don’t do it for the recognition. They do it because no one else can as well as they do. They know that if they don’t keep that wall up against the darkness, who the hell is gonna do it?
Lynn: Damn right.
Corey: And they don’t always get it right and it’s almost like sometimes they’re robbing Peter to pay Paul when it comes to the karmic factor.
Lynn: For sure, quite often actually.
Corey: But, you know, they still do it. They’re the John McClane of the Supernatural world. They get the shit kicked out of them all the time and yet their hearts are so huge, they know what they have to do.
Lynn: That’s so it, yes, and they just keep on going. That’s the inspiration for the real life Always Keep Fighting movement, and for Family Don’t End With Blood, the book that the Supernatural actors all wrote about how the show and the fandom have inspired them too.
Corey: Absolutely yeah and there’s such a great morality there, you know? Even though these guys have got some dirt, got some years, got some rust on ‘em, there’s a general morality that’s there that you don’t really see a lot anymore, you know?
Lynn: I do.
Corey: And I love that, and that there are certainly gray areas. The one I loved the most was when they really kinda discovered and delved into the fact that ghosts aren’t necessarily a bad thing and treating them like that, it’s – there’s an exploration of what good and bad is. Same with the vampires, some of them too.
Lynn: Right, there’s been that evolution, which I think is a rare thing in a television show.
Corey: I love that there’s an ambiguity there but there’s also clearly a black and white, there’s good and there’s bad, and they’ve been able to kind of hopscotch back and forth over that line a lot and play with the quirks of it. And like I said before, the humor is AHHHH it’s off the chart! It’s one of the things that really endears that show to me.
Lynn: Did you see last night’s episode? There was so much humor!
Corey: I haven’t watched any of the new season because I’ve been so busy, so I’m really trying to keep myself away from too many spoilers.
Lynn: I won’t spoil you, but you will like last night’s episode. Jared and Jensen can do humor better than anyone and they were killing me last night, they were so funny.
Corey: That’s something that they don’t get enough credit for.
Corey: Their dynamic is so awesome and so good. That was the only one bad thing about my night with those guys is I met everyone but Jared.
Lynn: I was gonna ask if you got to meet Jared!
Corey: No, but I do have a funny story. About six or seven years ago, I was in the Denver airport and I was trying to find my gate and who comes screaming by me but Jared!
Lynn: (cracking up)
Corey: Like tall as life, like you could tell he was gonna miss his flight if he didn’t get to the gate, and I kinda just stopped in my tracks and I went OMG that was Jared, that’s Sam Winchester, that’s Sam Goddamn Winchester!!!
Lynn: OMG lol
Corey: I stood in the middle of the airport for about ten minutes like losing my mind, like I JUST SAW JARED PADALECKI!!!
Lynn: That is the most fabulous story! Does Jared know that?
Corey: I don’t know, I don’t think so, it was just such a funny fuckin’ story.
Lynn: I can just picture it, the way you tell it. Well he’ll know now because I’m gonna share this with him.
Corey: It was so funny!
Lynn: So you got to meet the rest of them that night. Jensen said that Kim Rhodes is a huge Slipknot fan, did you get to talk with her?
Corey: I talked to her a little bit, yeah. We’re twitter buddies, we’ve been twitter buddies for a few years.
Lynn: Oh cool (Why am I not surprised, you are so cool Kim Rhodes!)
Corey: And she had no idea that I was gonna be there. It was the funniest thing, it was such a physical double take that she did. When we walked in, she was onstage with Louden Swain doing Dirty Deeds, running through it. So she looked right at me, then went back to what she was doing. Then she looked at me again and kinda went back, and then me and Jensen got up and it really kinda dawned on her and she was like OMG WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?! Really freaked out (laughing) and it was so awesome, it was really really cool.
Lynn: Jensen apparently got a real kick out of that.
Corey: The other one that I loved meeting was Matt Cohen – he told me this great story about growing up listening to Slipknot, and I’m sitting there going you’re young John Winchester, what are you talking about???
Corey: I mean, like, really? So it was this really bizarre back and forth that we had, and it really filled my heart — it made me feel really good, man. Like those guys were so open and so cool to hang out with.
Corey: Misha [Collins] gave me such shit on my way out.
Lynn: A sign of affection, I’m sure…
Corey: He was like hey, I just wanted to thank you for making Supernatural cool again, and I was like what are you talking about?! Like for a second I was so stoked that it didn’t even hit me that he was being a little sarcastic (laughing).
Lynn: Which is so Misha!
Corey: Yeah, yeah, it was so good. Everybody made me feel very at home. Ruth [Connell] was amazing, Briana [Buckmaster], like I could go on and on, I had such a good goddamn time hanging out with those guys, I just didn’t want to leave. I was like man, I’ve gotta try to do this again because it was such – it was so great.
Lynn: I think you do have to try to do it again! So many intersections between your music and Supernatural. The actors are all so into music and so goddamned talented at singing and they all fanboy and fangirl musicians even more than actors, I think, so it was like a perfect storm.
Corey: Yeah it really was, and it was cool because I live in Vegas – I have a house there and in DesMoines as well – and the whole drive home I was just like freaking out (laughing)
Lynn: (laughing too)
Corey: I was just on cloud nine, like just such a fan moment of going, did that happen? Did that really happen? And the next day all the videos popped up and I was just reliving it all night and giggling like an idiot, it was just so great.
Lynn: So you were doing exactly what all the rest of us were doing then! You really are a fanboy, I love it.
Corey: Yeah I am.
Lynn: Jensen was fanboying just as much the next day – he was talking about how you have this amazing vocal range and how could he be singing with someone who was a real rockstar and it was awesome.
Corey: (laughing) OMG I had no idea! That’s amazing!
Lynn: I think he was just as giggly as you the next day.
Corey: That’s so rad man, he’s such a great dude. I reached out to him to wish him happy birthday and stuff and he was like whoa, thanks man. It was like a few days later and I was like, I still can’t believe I got to do that. I definitely want to do it again.
Lynn: Definitely. I didn’t realize you had such a vocal range, is that why you decided you wanted to sing, or did you realize that later?
Corey: I knew this is what I wanted to do for my whole life. For about a split second when I was a kid, I wanted to be a teacher, but I realized even as a child that I didn’t have the patience for working with children, so I let that go. And when I was eleven or twelve I discovered that I had a gift for music and I just chased that ever since. It took me a while but I knew that this was what I was built to do, exactly what I was made to do. And I’m extremely grateful because it has let me do amazing things. I’ve gotten to write four books because people like my singing. I’ve gotten to be in movies because people like my singing, you know? It’s amazing, it’s kind of insane. So I’m very very lucky and very happy that I’ve been blessed with a talent that people seem to react to.
Lynn: Obviously this is true since you’ve written books and just from the songs you’ve written, but just talking to you like this, you’re so articulate and thoughtful so I can see where the teacher thing came from. I could totally see you being a college professor.
Corey: You know, I’m a huge history buff. That’s originally what I wanted to be, a history teacher. I’ve always thought about continuing my education and stuff, but I really hated school when I was younger. I had that anti-establishment vibe, you know? I mean, I was an asshole teenager…
Lynn: I think probably a lot of us were assholes as teenagers…
Corey: Exactly exactly (laughing). But I also continued to educate myself. I’m a voracious reader, I still to this day read as many books as watch tv shows, it’s just what I do. It’s always been good for me to continue to learn and continue to pursue that kind of knowledge.
Lynn: That’s probably also part of why you like Supernatural – the show is so well written and has such great story lines.
Corey: Oh absolutely, the characters – I’ve said this since Day One. When I pitch this show to people who have never seen it, I always tell them there are no throwaway characters at all.
Corey: And not only that, but the casting is fantastic. It’s almost like they write with somebody in mind and they’ve always gotten who they want to play those characters. I think it’s one of the few shows that when you know someone is leaving you just… like I bawled like a baby when Jim Beaver left.
Lynn: OMG me too
Corey: I was so so heartbroken, I miss my Bobby like nobody’s business. Like I – any time I get a whiff that he’s gonna be on a show, I get so excited because I miss him so much. Every character is not only perfectly written, but so rich – it’s coming from the actor or actress who plays that character, it’s just fantastic.
Lynn: I’ve often said that one of these days I’m gonna reach out to the casting agency because so much of what makes this show so great is it comes down to the amazing people they’ve cast.
Corey: Yeah and I think the great thing is that now a show that ostensibly was going to be cancelled early on has now entered it’s thirteenth year, right?
Corey: It’s so awesome, I love that. People are searching the show out because they see what it’s all about. It’s almost unfair now, you know? (laughing)
Lynn: I know it almost has an unfair advantage after all this time!
Corey: I won’t be happy until Sam and Dean jump a shark though, like literally. I’m so ready for them to go up against a zombie shark or something (cracking up)
Lynn: lol they could pull it off, you know they could.
Corey: I know! What was it, season 8 Time For A wedding – OMG I have not laughed that hard in, it’s one of my favorite episodes.
Lynn: Oh that was totally shark jumping all right, just not literal shark jumping…
Corey: And it would be great too because, you know, you jump the zombie shark and it turns out to be Loki…
Lynn: Of course it does!
Corey: So then we get Richard back too!
[No spoiling Corey in the comments, fandom!]
Lynn: I like the way you think. Please contact the writers.
Corey: Oh yeah (laughing), you know I’m sure they’re waiting with bated breath to hear from me.
Lynn: Hey, they’re probably all Slipknot fans…
Corey: That would be pretty rad.
Lynn: So you’re writing songs for a new Slipknot album now, and you’ve said it will be the most autobiographical one yet. How has your perspective changed and is there any chance you’ll write a song inspired by Supernatural?
Corey: Well I mean, the good thing about the show is that – on the surface it’s built around, I don’t wanna say it’s too macho, but it’s a very masculine show at times. But the great thing about the show is that it shows the underside, the emotion. It’s not afraid to dip underneath and show the depth of that.
Lynn: The vulnerability.
Corey: Absolutely. And I feel like that’s where I’ve been with Slipknot for so long too. It’s a very masculine band, but at times it’s very … it can dip down and it can really look at the pieces that make it whole. I’ve had a rough last couple of years, it’s been a rebuilding year for me.
Lynn: We all go through those times, I think.
Corey: Yeah, so for me, I’m being very introspective and trying to kinda get to the bottom of certain things with my own life that maybe I’ve been putting off for too long. So that’s what I mean about it being a little more autobiographical, we’re kinda shaking the etch a sketch up and seeing where those paths led and why they led there in the first place. It’s dark but it’s that good kind of dark that you never have to hold again, you kinda let it go. You throw the salt over your shoulder and you spread the ashes on the wind and you just see what happens. So that’s lyrically where I’m going, it’s gonna be cathartic.
Lynn: Honestly it sounds very therapeutic. You have to go there before you can walk past there.
Corey: Yeah, and I think that’s one of the reasons why so many of my fans gravitate towards us because I’m not afraid to go there. I’ve never been afraid to really go there and lay it all out and bare it, because that’s the only way a wound heals. You have to let it scar over. If you keep worrying at it, it’s just gonna bleed and bleed and bleed. You have to let it heal but first you have to let it hit the air, you know?
Lynn: Yeah, if you just deny it and avoid it and never go there, it’s never gonna heal. It’s just like in therapy.
Lynn: That makes perfect sense. So do you have anything else you want me to include?
Corey: (without missing a beat) I WANNA BE ON THE SHOW! (laughing)
Lynn: Omg you should totally be on the show!
Corey: That’s my big campaign, I want to be on the show. I don’t give a shit if I’m slinging burgers or I’m a bartender or I hold the door for someone at one of the stupid hotels. I just wanna be tucked in the background with a shit eating grin on my face going I made it, I’m on Supernatural, I can go to bed happy tonight!
Lynn: Okay I’m gonna get on board your campaign and when it happens, I will take partial credit for it (laughing)
Corey (also laughing – we did a helluva lot of laughing) Absolutely, I’ll wear a tee shirt with your face on it!
Lynn: Excellent, I like that idea – then I’ll be on Supernatural too!
Corey: Right? There you go, deal.
Okay fandom, get on board – who wants to see Corey on Supernatural? (Don’t worry, he doesn’t have to wear my face on a tee shirt…)
I also selfishly want him to write a song about the Winchesters, so that’s two campaigns I can get behind!
Lynn: OMG it was so nice talking to you, Corey, I had so much fun.
Corey: Me too, trust me, I could talk your ear off about this but then neither of us will get anything done today.
Lynn: Supernatural often does that to me. I’d be happy to send you a copy of Family Don’t End With Blood, the book all the actors wrote chapters in and I edited – I think you’d enjoy it.
Corey: Oh yeah, I’d love to read that! Thanks Lynn.
Thank you Corey for one of the most fun interviews ever – I look forward to seeing you at another Saturday Night Special – and maybe even on the Show!
Until then, here’s my little clip of Corey and Jensen singing ‘Dead Or Alive’ in Vegas!
If you’d also like to read Family Don’t End
With Blood, links are on the home page here!