During an appearance at last month’s installment of Days Of The Dead, a fan-run and fan-oriented horror convention, at the Sheraton in Atlanta, Georgia, SLIPKNOT singer Corey Taylor discussed his new mask which he debuted last September at the Rocklahoma festival in Pryor, Oklahoma. He said (as transcribed by Phoosi.com): “My new [mask is] pretty rad. I really sat down and tried to figure out… I worked with a guy named Conor Deless. He’s a young kid; he’s actually a fan. And I can remember laying out traits that I wanted to see and a lot of the stuff that inspired him. And when he sent me the preliminary sculpt — he didn’t even sketch it out; he sent me a tiny sculpt — and it was so killer that I was, like, ‘Yes. That’s it.’ I mean, he nailed it so quickly that I’d never… I’ve always had to go back and forth and do a bunch of tiny manipulations and changes and stuff, but he was so dialed in and he immediately got it that we were just, like, ‘All right. Let’s do this, man.’ He drove in, did a mold of my head, and the rest is history.”
Asked if there had been any masks in the past that he “absolutely hated” and “couldn’t wait to get off,” Corey said: “No comment.”
Taylor previously talked about his new mask at the Texas Frightmare Weekend 2021 in Dallas, Texas in September. At the time, he said: “I spent three months designing that specifically. ‘Cause the last one was — it was cool but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do. So this time around, I started early. I actually started designing this before the end of the ‘We Are Not Your Kind’ cycle, just to make sure that I was ahead of the game and making sure I could dial in all the details and whatnot. And I actually did it with a young man named Conor Deless, who’s super cool. And he flew out. I walked him through everything that I wanted to have on it. And he was able to mock something up really quick, man. And he really got to the essence of what I was trying to configure. It was almost immediate. And then, really, it was just a matter of waiting for him to build the damn thing… We did the mold. We built it right to my face, so it fits like a glove. And it’s hot as balls, but it’s so rad on stage; it just looks really, really cool. I’m calling it the smiling skull mask.”
Last May, Taylor spoke to Andy Hall of the Des Moines, Iowa radio station Lazer 103.3 about the evolution of SLIPKNOT‘s masks and what fans can expect to see during the band’s current touring cycle.
“The mask has been a part of us forever,” he said. “The mask is king. And for us, especially people like me and Clown and the guys in the band that really allow those masks to evolve, it’s important for it to be a reflection of who we are in that music. And I can tell you that the mask I’m working on is very disturbing. It’s gonna be hard to look at. And it’ll probably be my favorite mask that I’ve ever put together. It’s little bits and pieces of things that have intrigued me, of masks that I’ve had in the past. And it’s gonna have a devil-may-care kind of terror to it, let’s put it that way.”
Corey worked on his previous mask with special effects legend Tom Savini, whose extensive career in the film industry and especially the horror genre dates back to the late 1970s, including in such films as “Friday The 13th”, “Dawn Of The Dead”, “From Dusk ‘Til Dawn” and many others.
Most of the other members of SLIPKNOT performed with their current masks for the first time in May 2019 when they appeared as the musical guests on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
During a 2017 appearance on an episode of Viceland‘s “The Therapist”, Taylor was asked about the significance of wearing a literal mask when he is performing with SLIPKNOT. He responded: “With SLIPKNOT, at least for most of us in the band, the mask is part of the art — it’s not just the visual and the shock; it’s a representation of who I am in that album. So, for me, it’s as natural as having a different hairstyle for one album and tour cycle, wearing different clothes for an album and tour cycle. It’s a part of the dynamic. It’s one of the things that you look forward to. Not just writing the songs, not just putting the music together, not just putting the visuals together, but what… who am I in this album?”
Corey spoke about the changes in the SLIPKNOT bandmembers’ masks in a 2014 interview with Metal Mania Radio. “With every album, some of us have evolved our masks more dramatically than others, but there’s always a difference, they’ve always changed a little bit… This band evolves with every album, and it just makes sense that our masks [would as well], because we’re not the same people. It’s not something that we sit down and we talk about as a group, we just kind of do it. As unified as we all are, the mask is really something that we trust each other to do individually and we trust them to do the right representation.”
SLIPKNOT will kick off the 2022 iteration of its “Knotfest Roadshow” tour on March 16. The “Knotfest Roadshow” tour will take place over two legs, both headlined by SLIPKNOT. The first leg will feature special guests IN THIS MOMENT and WAGE WAR. The second leg will feature special guests CYPRESS HILL and HO99O9. The first leg of the 38-date run, produced by Live Nation, kicks off in Fargo, North Dakota on Wednesday, March 16 and hits a further 17 cities before wrapping up in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Sunday, April 17. The second leg kicks off on Wednesday, May 18 in University Park, Pennsylvania and hits a further 17 cites before culminating on Sunday, June 18 in Chula Vista, California.