"They were the best fucking band in the entire fucking world and we were the only ones who knew it" - Corey Taylor details the cult of Metallica - Knotfest
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“They were the best fucking band in the entire fucking world and we were the only ones who knew it” – Corey Taylor details the cult of Metallica

Posted by Ramon Gonzales in Culture on September 10, 2021

The second installment of the Blacklist deep dive explores how Metallica built a culture and Slipknot is a spiritual successor in being the kind of band you aren’t just a fan of – but one you’d fight for.

The second installment of the in-depth conversation between Corey Taylor and rock journalist Ryan J. Downey continues with a further excavation into the culture and community that has resulted from the influence of Metallica.

Convening to discuss Taylor’s involvement in the upcoming Blacklist compilation in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Metallica’s seminal Black Album, the accomplished frontman and cultural commentator delve into the legacy of not just the music but the kind of cult cultivated by the thrash titans.

The latest segment starts with Taylor and Downey, strangely enough, revisiting the importance of MTV and the role the network had in the space of music discovery. Both fondly recall short-lived, albeit hugely influential programming like Monty Python, The Young Ones, and Comic Strip. In addition to the occasional thrash bands featured on Headbanger’s Ball and the likes of KRS-One showcases on Yo! MTV Raps, UK exports like The Young Ones showcased artists like Motorhead, The Damned, Madness and more that would go onto become fixtures in alternative music.

On that notion of discovery, the guys would conclude that if ever there was a need to explain the band in a song that “Master of Puppets” would be all you would ever need to reference to explain what Metallica is. Emphatically, Taylor would go on to explain the phenomenon, “They were the best fucking band in the entire fucking world and we were the only ones who knew it.”

Taylor would further expand on that idea of ownership by emphasizing the kind of community that seemed to galvanize around the growing lexicon of Metallica. He shared how the comics they read, the skate decks they rode, the bands they referenced, the influences they brought to the table all permeated throughout the fans that followed the band – Taylor included. It was the healthiest definition of a cult and for those that identified with the lifestyle, they took pride in wearing that Metallica badge.

Taylor would punctuate his thoughts on “Master of Puppets” by clearly laying out the impact the track has. He explained that even now, if you were to play that track for someone that has never heard it, that listener would likely not look at music that same after. It’s a real life application that truly does underscore how important Metallica has become to the fabric of not just heavy music but contemporary culture as a whole.

Downey would go onto to point out that he felt like Slipknot was a sort of spiritual successor to Metallica in that they learned the right lessons from the band in how to use their platform to showcase the greater picture of the culture. Though Taylor remained humble in the comparison, he agreed that wearing their influences on their sleeve and trying to further cultivate the community through discovery was something Slipknot has always emphasized.

They guys would expand on that concept of succession and detail the inner-band dynamics that parallel Metallica and the Knot. Much the same way that Metallica has four very definitive, readily-identifiable personalities, they come together to create something big, something lasting. Taylor shared that Slipknot’s dynamic is much the same in that the collective is always bigger than the individuals, yet never thwarts the individuality needed to make that actually gel together.

Downey added that Slipknot, much like Metallica, is what he regards a lifestyle band. Explaining that there are only a handful of these kinds of bands, he asserts that to be a fan of these kinds of bands is never a casual fling, but rather a commitment. Taylor would add that these kinds of bands are ones that you fight for – a benchmark thatTaylor confides motivated Slipknot from the very beginning.

Continuing to draw on some of the more obvious parallels, Downey also shared that while Metallica would eventually go onto change the landscape of music, they did so despite heavy skepticism. Their sound was so aggressive and so confrontational of the norms of their time that the consensus was, while they were obviously intriguing, the mania would be tough to sustain. Slipknot would follow suit years later and go from an underground sensation to the heights of the genre, such that they penetrated mainstream culture just like Metallica did – despite the odds.

The second segment of the interview would conclude with some insight on the legacy of the track, “Enter Sandman”. Sharing that it was one first songs he learned on guitar, Taylor likened the anthem to his generation’s “Stairway to Heaven,” “Crazy Train” or “Smoke On The Water”. Quantifying the track as a “gateway riff,” Taylor would explain how learning songs like “Blitzkrieg” and “Ride the Lightning” were unique in that players never just learned a riff, they learned the entire song. It was an initiation of sorts, a language that only a certain few know and being able to share it forged an instant bond for those that understood the lingo.

Watch the second installment of the Blacklist Deep Dive with Ryan J. Downey and Corey Taylor below. The Blacklist compilation celebrating the 30th anniversary of Metallica’s Black Album arrives September 10th. Get the album – HERE

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