The VMA Performance That Changed Slipknot Frontman Corey Taylor’s Life

José Goulão from Lisbon, Portugal, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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Most bands don’t start out with grandiose intentions.

When a group of musicians find each other and start writing songs, the driving force behind that creative camaraderie is more often than not centered around creating some compelling art and having fun in the process.

Humble as it is, the healing magic of music extends far beyond the scope of imagination. Even if the goal isn’t to save the world, occasionally the right person will become exposed to the right band at the right time and the earth itself can shift on its axis.

When Faith No More took the stage at the VMAs in 1990, the last thing that any of them could have been thinking about was a teenager in Iowa going through drug withdrawal on his grandmother’s couch named Corey Taylor.

Speaking to Livewire as part of their Epic Rock Tales series in 2016, the Slipknot frontman explained: “I started smoking weed when I was 12. I started smoking cigarettes when I was 10. I started doing coke and speed at about 13, and by the time I was 15 I od’d twice – I woke up in a dumpster.

“I was 18 going on 19 and yeah.. I swallowed a bunch of pills; and my ex-girlfriend’s mother came to check on me, found me and took me to the hospital. They fed me ipecac, and for about five years I couldn’t eat pancakes because ipecac tastes like maple syrup. 

“I was laying in a hospital. My grandma came and got me and then she brought me home. She was obviously very disappointed.

“I kinda laid on the couch for a while and the VMAs were on. It was the year Faith No More first played – they played Epic – and it was amazing! They were so good and they were so powerful and so different to anything I’d ever seen that they really kinda got me up off my ass.

“That’s when I started writing again; started kinda making music again. So if it wasn’t for Faith No More, I wouldn’t be here.”