July 12th. 2015
Turf Club. Saint Paul, MN
Corey Taylor has a new book out. Maybe you heard about. It’s called You’re Making Me Hate You. In support of which he is doing a short club tour. Often scheduling book signings in towns in which he’s performing. While standing in line to get a book autographed isn’t really my thing and it may just be unethical in my position, I was curious to see how prepared a book store could really be for the fanatical fans of the Slipknot and Stone Sour singer. I mean they call themselves Maggots. While much of society may look down their nose and think these dirty metal loving slackers lack the ambition to drive to a book store I can promise if you this. Tell them Corey Taylor is going to be there, those dirty slackers will show up. I’ve been at book siginings accidentally and it was nothing like I was sure this mob scene would be. Less famous people with a more reserved fan base have used the Mall Of America rotunda for this type event. You know. A place to rope off and organize a line. Not in the middle of a bookstore. So I had to see it. Off to Barnes & Noble I go.
Based on where I parked I can at least promise you that Mr. Taylor‘s book sigining was much to the chagrin of the neighboring Crate & Barrell. Making the two block walk back to the book store it was clear who was there for Corey and who was wondering what these pale skined, tattooed and clad in black Zombies were doing at Barnes & Noble. Fans of all ages sat while Corey took questions from the audience. From the thoughtful (Do you think Paul would like the new record?) to the uniqely trivial (Why is your twitter handle Mad Beans Hooper?) And of course the ridiculous scene of at least 400 fans of all shapes, sizes and color filling the aisles of the book shelves in the Barnes & Noble basement. If you just stopped by to browse gardening books you may want to come back later. In what has sadly become rare, when he announced he was going to start signing books, Corey flat out said if anyone had anything else that they wanted signed too he would sign that as well. AND… that anyone who didn’t get a wrist band will be taken care of after those who did.
Off to the Turf!!
The Turf Club, while a Saint Paul institution that I would reccomend anyone visiting check out, is much more a bar than a club. Whatever the opposite of shocked is, is what I was when I heard it sold out in a few days. Considering how many fans he has under the age of 21 I thought the venue was sort of an odd choice but after seeing the show I’m glad it was there. We took the only table left and were shortly asked by another couple if we minded them using the other two chairs. Like many of us sweating our clothes to a wringable state in the un-air conditined Turf Club, they too were at the much more climate controlled book signing.
The show starts out much like the book signing with Corey taking questions from the audience. Well almost. Before that he tells us to tip our waitresses and bartenders. (Anyone who knows me reading this will get a special kick out of that.) At the risk of making you spit whatever you’re drinking out I’m gonna flat out say Slipknot isn’t for everyone. And that Stone Sour, while in some ways more digestible for the masses, is still heavy enough to piss someone off. But Corey is clearly a man of the people. His people at least. I am about as jaded as they come (just ask The Meister) and Goddamn if I don’t think Corey appreciates me. As he shares stories from the book as well as stories around the questions he’s being asked he is both genuine and entertaining. At times teetering on the edge of stand up comedian. Just going to this show grew my slang vernacular. I can now use the term Bingo Dots to describe the current state of someone’s underwear (They are browned out). But once he explained his irritance with terms like “Staycation” and “Sharenting”, he runs off to take a piss and it’s all music from there.
The first song is Alice Chains’s “Nutshell.” From there he dug into Stone Sour hits “Bother”, and intersting twist on “30/30 150” and “Through The Glass”. By this time he had been joined by Stone Sour bassist Jason Christopher who in addition to a spot on impression of a female Corey Taylor fan screaming “I LOVE YOU COREY!” added some nice acoustic guitar depth to the music. Oh. Have I mentioned this was an acoustic show?
From there it was a mix of Stone Sour, cover tunes and even… GASP! Some Slipknot. All of the above mostly of the deep track variety. But after playing “Snuff” from Slipknot‘s All Hope Is Gone record he brought Jason back on stage. In his words “From here on it’s all sing-a-long shit” and he may have mentioned shit was about to get weird. Playing “Lightning Crashes” from Live was a good start with that lead in.
If you want to know every song he played you’ll find the set list at the end. What I really want to say is what a great day this was. For my money Corey Taylor and Dave Grohl may just be the two most important Rock Stars we have right now. And while I can allow anyone to not dig what they do, to not dig them as Rockers is a diservice as they are too important to the genre. 2015 has given me some very unique shows. From Jack Russell doing a story tellers type of show to watching Corey Taylor make sure everyone at the Edina Barnes & Noble was taken care of before putting on an incredibly fun acoustic show on a stage I have literally played on, I just want to say this. I like when you get something special. This wasn’t a great Stone Sour or Slipknot show. But it was still great. Just a few months ago I saw Slipknot at Northern Invasion and I thought it was the best I had ever seen them. In many ways, this was better. This was for me. For you. For the fan. Like I said, I am as cynical as all fuck but I really think Corey wanted to make sure the people at Barnes & Noble got a picture they could frame. Especially the ballpit car guys (see below.) While I openly admit I can be cynical it’s that cynicism that keeps me awake. On my toes. And I always look forward to some guy from Iowa to shove that cynicism up my ass. God bless Corey Taylor.
Lastly I want to talk about two kids I met at the book signing. I don’t know where to start. Gage and Zane (No shit. That’s their names. Four letters. Second letter A. Fourth letter E. Both of them.) camped out in the parking lot overnight. Sleeping in their car. But that doesn’t really tell the whole story. See they slept in the trunk. Dammit. That doesn’t tell the whole story either. See they turned the trunk into a ballpit. Hearing about the “Ballpit Trunk Guys” while inside I didn’t realize I actually saw them. After getting their book signed they walked right by me. They stuck out because they were clearly stuck in the moment. They just met “COREY FUCKING TAYLOR” and couldn’t have been more pleased with their life at that moment. Talking with them afterward I found out these two kids from White Bear Lake, who couldn’t have been cooler, decided to spend the night in an Edina parking lot to make sure they met Corey Taylor. Security kicked them out at some point so like any enterprising young metal fan would do they went to Wendy’s and came back.
So here’s the thing. What they did was funny (ballpit trunk?), ridiculous and probably stupid. And the most important thing I’ve seen someone between the age of 16 and 21 do in a long time. You don’t sleep in a ballpit trunk/backseat for the fuck of it. You do it for the moment. You do it for the music. You do it because COREY FUCKING TAYLOR MAN! And most importantly. You do it because you give a fuck. Because it means something to you. Because all of those people who don’t get it will never be able to take it away from you. These two kids probably can’t fathom it but one day they will be telling their children about this day. That level of commitment. That level of friendship. It’s as awesome as it is rare. And while the news feeds us stories of today’s youth apathetically walking through life as some sort of technological Zombie who cares more about their phone than anything real while the parents who make sure they have an unlimited data plan to sleep with act as if it’s somehow out of their hands… here we have two young men who care about something real. Sleeping in a ballpit trunk may not be smart, but it may also be the most important thing someone their age did that day. Rock needs more Gage and more Zane and as someone concerned with the future of metal I salute these two young men. If nothing else for a moment I felt Rock’s future was safe. Stay true to Gage and Zane. Oh and I’d tell you to see Corey on this tour but if you don’t already have tickets you probably can’t. I guess there’s always scalping. But buy the book!
Setlist 7-12-2015 Turf Club Saint Paul, MN
Nutshell – Alice In Chains
Bother – Stone Sour
30/30 150 – Stone Sour
Through The Glass – Stone Sour
Breathe/Have A Cigar – Pink Floyd
The Travelling Pt. 1/Tired – Stone Sour
Imperfect – Stone Sour
Pulling Teeth – Green Day
Tacitrum – Stone Sour
Snuff – Slipknot
Lightning Crashes – Live
Chloe Dancer/Little Red Corvette – Mother Love Bone/Prince
Love Song – The Cure
Wicked Game – Chris Isaac
Take It Easy – Eagles
I Don’t Care About You – Fear
Spit It Out – Corey Taylor