The Tragedy Of Slipknot's Corey Taylor Explained

The following article discusses sexual assault and attempted suicide. 

The sold-out crowds, chart-topping albums, and a diehard legion of fans don't magically wipe away all the tragedy Corey Taylor has experienced in his life. Like most musicians, though, Taylor found a way to tap into these traumatic times and channel them back into the emotion of his music, creating powerful and poignant pieces of art for Slipknot, Stone Sour, and his own solo work.

Anyone who has deciphered the real meanings behind several Slipknot songs will know that Taylor has dealt with issues such as self-harm, addiction, and depression in the past. The musician himself proves to be an open book in interviews, often answering tough questions and going into explicit detail about the most challenging moments of his life. Of course, it isn't always the easiest discussion to have and Taylor has broken down when chatting about difficult topics, such as his sexual assault as a 10-year-old child at the hands of his 16-year-old neighbor. However, this has never stopped him from addressing how the tragedies played a factor in shaping the person he has become in his adult life as well as the voice of a generation.

Corey Taylor was sexually assaulted as a child

In 2017, Viceland released a show called "The Therapist." Hosted by Dr. Siri Sat Nam Singh, each episode features the therapist chatting to music industry figures from different genres to find out more about them and their specific life experiences. Renowned guests include Katy Perry, Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace, and Slipknot's Corey Taylor.

Taylor's episode received significant attention from the music press, as the vocalist opened up about being sexually assaulted by a neighborhood teenager when he was only 10 years old. "Where we were living at the time — we moved around a lot so obviously I had to make friends quickly," Taylor said (via Loudwire). "There was really only one person to hang out with, to play with, and he was this 16-year-old kid. And he would invite me over to his house to play music and one day it became something else."

Taylor explained how the teenager bullied him into silence, saying he would harm Taylor and his mom if he spoke a word about what happened to anyone else. Resultantly, the Slipknot vocalist only felt comfortable and safe enough to discuss his sexual assault with someone when he was around the age of 18.

He was left for dead in a dumpster

As a teenager, Corey Taylor lived with his mother in a trailer park near a river and forest. With not much else to do around there, he met other people and they would get up to trouble — notably doing drugs in the forest. However, like other rockers who partied way too hard, there was an incident at the age of 15 that made Taylor realize he would need to leave this life of debauchery behind if he was to survive.

Speaking to Revolver, he explained how his so-called pals left him for dead in a dumpster one time. "I remember waking up one morning in a dumpster," he said. "This is all conjecture on my part, because I lost a couple of days, but I think I OD'd at a party. And instead of taking me to the hospital, they took me somewhere and dumped me in a trash can, thinking I was dead."

Taylor revealed how he was in rough shape and missing items of clothing, such as his shoes and shirt, when he awoke. So, he had to climb out of the dumpster and find his way back home, which was around 12 miles away.

He was homeless

After the realization he was heading toward self-destruction sank in, Corey Taylor received the chance to get out of the trailer park and further away from the bad influences. He moved in with his grandmother in Des Moines, Iowa, to start afresh. While Taylor did his best to quit his drug habits and to renew his love for music, it wasn't always easy. He revealed to Revolver that he found himself homeless on several occasions because of the disagreements between him and his grandmother, who wasn't going to let him do what he wanted under her roof. Taylor admitted he didn't do himself any favors with his attitude either. 

"I spent a lot of time on the streets," he said. "I remember walking up and down Park Avenue on the south side of Des Moines, with a trash bag full of clothes and a 20-ouncer of Mountain Dew and a cigarette, just killing enough time until I could beg a floor to squat on from a friend. I still tried to go to school on top of that, but because my life was so gnarly, I just couldn't get it together."

In 2018, Taylor's grandmother died. Taking to his Instagram account, the singer posted a heartfelt tribute and credited her for raising and teaching him important lessons about life that he's carried with him into adulthood.

Corey Taylor attempted suicide as a teenager

In the same episode of "The Therapist" where Corey Taylor revealed details about being sexually assaulted as a child, he discussed an incident where he attempted suicide as a teenager. However, an unexpected guardian angel arrived in the form of his ex-girlfriend's mother.

"I only really seriously attempted suicide once," Taylor said (via Alternative Press). "I took a bunch of pills at my grandmother's house and just basically laid on the floor. And my ex-girlfriend's mom stopped at my grandma's house out of nowhere to check on me, to see how I was. [She] found me. An hour later, I'm drinking ipecac and throwing up into a bucket."

In a separate video for The You Rock Foundation, Taylor chatted about how he had been self-harming — namely cutting — before his suicide attempt. He added how it was his grandmother who took him to the hospital for treatment after his overdose. In addition to the ipecac, he received liquid charcoal to calm his stomach. Taylor referred to the incident as "the lowest moment of [his] life," while he also urged others to know there's always someone there for them and to not be afraid to reach out for help if they need it.

He experiences severe depression

Speaking to Rolling Stone in 2017, Corey Taylor opened up about his life as a father. He revealed one of his greatest fears for his son, Griffin (who is also a musician), is that he develops "the Taylor emotions," which have affected the Slipknot singer throughout his life. Taylor elaborated more on this, explaining how it relates to him and what he does to combat the negative thoughts that sometimes burden him. Despite all the positive in his life, he admitted he isn't always successful in keeping "the Taylor emotions" in check.

"I do have bouts of severe depression, which are very, very hard to deal with sometimes," he said. "But because I'm also an addict, I try to stay away from as much potentially addictive medication as much as possible, because I know me, and I know how I would be."

Taylor added how he goes to therapy and tries to use natural methods to treat his depression.

He referred to himself as an alcoholic

Slipknot's ascension to the top of the music scene came thick and fast for Corey Taylor and the crew in the early 2000s. They received the chance to play the biggest shows, reach the widest audiences, and even share the stage with legendary metal musicians like Ozzy Osbourne and Max Cavalera. Despite all the monumental success in such a short period of time, it wasn't so rosy behind the scenes, as Taylor revealed to Metal Hammer.

"I was a full-blown alcoholic," he said. "I wanted to stay drunk so I could do horrible s*** because of my depression, because of my lack of self-confidence. I had become every cliché I hated because of it."

As a result, his health suffered, and so too did the band. Taylor explained how he held back Slipknot from recording new music because his voice was all over the place due to all the drinking and he didn't always show up for recordings. He couldn't lay down the tracks, and his bandmates were far from impressed with his overall behavior. Taylor revealed they weren't shy about telling him that he was letting everyone down and questioned his commitment to Slipknot.

He contemplated suicide during the recording of a Slipknot album

The truth about Slipknot is that it's an intense band to be a part of. Ferocious, fast, and in your face, the music remains at a nonstop intensity. Expectedly, it's easy to see how this can stir up all kinds of emotions for a performer — both positive and negative. After recording their second album, "Iowa," Corey Taylor thought the band would end because they weren't getting along anymore and everything appeared to be unraveling.

At the same time, Taylor continued to drink heavily and not engage with his bandmates. This all came to a head when they stepped back into the studio to record "Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)." Speaking to Metal Hammer, he discussed an evening where he contemplated suicide during the recording of the album. "I came very close to throwing myself off an eight-story balcony at the Hyatt on Sunset," he said. "It was one of those things where you wake up and realize that something's not working. My ex-wife was with me and she told me I needed to change something. I readily agreed. I'd turned into a person who I didn't like and who I didn't respect."

Taylor revealed how he decided to put down the bottle and channel all his energy into making the album. He also cited how writing the lyrics for the track "Danger — Keep Away" was "the most cathartic part of that whole recording process."

He cited his mental health as the reason for canceling a tour

On January 5, 2024, Corey Taylor posted a message on Instagram to let his fans know he was canceling a North American tour for his solo band. "For the past several months my mental and physical health have been breaking down," Taylor wrote, "and I reached a place that was unhealthy for my family and I." The singer received an outpouring of support from his fans, while the entitled internet trolls also had to weigh in about the situation.

A few weeks later, Taylor posted a now-deleted video (via The Music) to address everyone directly, especially those who had been disappointed by the cancellation of the tour. Speaking candidly, he explained how the past 12 months had been tough on him, especially his mental health, and he had been close to a relapse. He realized he needed to take himself off the road to get help and prioritize his well-being before anything else. After a short break, Taylor resumed touring.

To learn more about Taylor's fellow Slipknot bandmates, check out the tragic stories about Shawn "Clown" Crahan and the heartbreaking story of drummer Joey Jordison.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, may be the victim of child abuse, is struggling or in crisis, or needs help with mental health, contact the relevant resources below: