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Interview: Slipknot’s Corey Taylor on His Role as DOCTOR WHO’s Fisher King

Musician Corey Taylor has served as the lead singer of not one but two of the most acclaimed bands of the twenty-first century — the nu metal act Slipknot and the rockers Stone Sour. But Taylor, as he reveals in the following interview, is also a diehard fan of one of our favorite shows, Doctor Who, which prompted its producers to enlist his inimitable growl when they needed a voice for the alien warlord Fisher King in this season’s “Before the Flood”. Here Taylor describes the circumstances that led to his casting, and explains his love for TV’s longest running science-fiction saga…

Nerdist: How did your Doctor Who role come about?

Corey Taylor: It’s weird, man. At the beginning of the year we did the January-February run with Korn in Europe. And we were playing in Cardiff, where they shoot most of the Doctor Who interior stuff. They invited us down to the Doctor Who Experience for a tour, and they were like, “Well, we also have something we would like you to do if you’re into it.” Being a huge fan, I was like, “Duh. Absolutely, man.” So we went down and we did the tour, and they took us over to the studios where they had all the sets set up and everything. Obviously, I got to run around the TARDIS, touch a bunch of stuff. It was awesome. It was so rad.

Then they explained to me the Fisher King concept and what they wanted to do. I was blown away. I wasn’t expecting that. I was just happy with the tour, but to be a part of the show in any way… I was absolutely thrilled, and we had a blast. That’s another huge check off my bucket list, man. Being a part of Doctor Who canon. Can you believe it? [Laughs.]

N: What was it that they said they wanted for your character?

CT: Well, you gotta understand, the crazy thing was that the directors and the producers and the crew people who I talked to were huge fans. So they knew what I could do, and they knew about Slipknot, and they knew that I could bring a certain growl that they kind of had in the backs of their heads. So, for me it was just as simple as going in and doing it, because they already knew what they wanted. The way they described it to me was Peter [Serafinowicz] would be doing the spoken bits, and then my scream would come in for the more animalistic stuff. They showed me a couple of pictures of the suit, and the actor in the suit. So I kind of had a vision of what they were looking for. But other than that I just kind of did my regular scream. I did it for forty minutes and they were like, “Jesus, I think we’ve got enough.” I don’t think they were expecting it to go that quick. But I was so into it, that was all the motivation I needed.

N: When did you discover the show? Who was your first Doctor?

CT: I’ve been watching Doctor Who since I was a kid. The cool thing that people don’t realize is that Iowa has been showing Doctor Who the longest, of any Public Broadcasting station in America. They’ve been showing it since 1974, continuously, which is kind of a proud little thing for me. I’ve been watching it since I was seven, so Tom Baker was my Doctor. I can’t remember the name of the episode specifically that was my first episode. But I can remember this crazy man with crazy hair and a giant scarf running around what appeared to be a spaceship. I know Daleks were involved, and I don’t think it was the Davros episode [“Genesis of the Daleks”]. Obviously the Daleks were trying to kill the Doctor and everything.

N: Destiny of the Daleks [which, we’re aware, also has Davros]?

CT: Yeah, it might have been… For some reason I was really drawn to it. I loved the quirkiness. I loved the action, obviously, as a kid. And I’ve always had an affinity for British entertainment. I grew up a Monty Python fan. I was a huge James Bond fan. I read all the Sherlock Holmes books. So I’m quite the anglophile when it comes to entertainment. Doctor Who kind of made sense. So I’ve been watching for a very, very long time. It’s just one of those things. This is as close to being in Star Wars as it is for me. I know I’ll never get the call to be a part of the Star Wars Universe. But I can say that I’m a little piece of the Doctor Who Universe. And that’s just awesome for me, man.

Corey Taylor

N: Did you have a chance to meet Peter Capaldi and Jenna Louise-Coleman?

CT: Unfortunately, I didn’t really get to meet anybody. The day that we went down, it was a dark stage. So they weren’t shooting anything. I think that’s one of the reasons they set it up the way they did; so we could have unfettered access to the TARDIS and the set. So it was kind of cool. As much as I would have loved to have met everybody, I was just thrilled to get a sneak peek inside. Honestly, Derek [Ritchie], the producer, and Daniel [O’Hara], the director, they were so cool to us and so good to us. And everybody on the crew, there was a mutual respect there. They were fans of us, and we were fans of the show. It was kind of cool that it happened the way it did.

N: What are you working on now? What’s next for you?

CT: Slipknot is doing Mexico City on December 5th, but that’s really it. Then basically we’ve got the rest of the year off. We’ve got sorely needed time off coming, and I am ready. I’m pretty beat up. We’ve been touring pretty hardcore for the last six months, and it’s kind of starting to kick all of our asses. But the cool thing is that by the time we get to Mexico City we’ll have been on the road for a year already with this album. We’re gonna do some stuff next year. But for the most part it’s been incredibly successful.

On the music side, I’m just kind of demoing some stuff right now. I’m not sure what it’s gonna be for. Whether it’s some solo stuff or whatever. But that’s really it — finishing up the Stone Sour EPs that we’re working on. So really nothing new at the moment. But you never know, I’m getting requests for guest appearances all the time. So I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before I appear on somebody else’s album again.

N: Are there any new artists you’ve been listening to lately?

CT: There’s a band called Royal Blood that I’m really into right now. It’s like a great combination of Sabbath and Rival Sons. It’s really greasy and edgy, there’s a lot of attitude in it that I really dig. I just don’t get the chance to listen to a lot of newer stuff. Mainly because I’m so busy writing my own crap that I kind of pretend there’s not other bands out there. [Laughs.] But when I hear something I’m really into, I definitely get into it, so I try to promote it as much as possible.

Image Credits: BBC

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