Corey Taylor on How Slipknot’s ‘Iowa’ Was Shaped by Co-Producer Ross Robinson
Iowa, released on Aug. 28, 2001, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The second studio album from the masked metal band, its sessions found Robinson returning after he and the group first worked together on Slipknot's 1999 self-titled debut. In the interim, Robinson had helmed albums such as At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command and Glassjaw's Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence. He'd also previously produced for Korn, Limp Bizkit, Sepultura, Vanilla Ice and more.
But in 2001, Robinson found himself back with the Slipknot camp, the assembled crew giving their best effort to avoid the sophomore slump and craft a follow-up album that would build on the creative intensity of Slipknot. The sessions led to much artistic collaboration between the band and their co-producer, such as when Robinson changed how Taylor sang the refrain to "Everything Ends."
"For the longest time, it was just known as 'The Misfit Riff,'" the Slipknot vocalist told Metal Hammer of the song. "That chorus was originally very melodic, but Ross thought it would have more impact if I screamed it."
In another instance, on "I Am Hated," Taylor explained that "Ross was the one that wanted me to break it down a little more evil and a little cleaner. Then we would punctuate [it] with the heavy shit until you got to the big chorus."
Robinson wasn't the only one who steered Iowa where it would go — remember, Slipknot, credited jointly as a band, share an equal co-producer billing. That seems to indicate that all band members had a hand in its production, something Taylor suggests in the interview.
For example, "The Heretic Anthem" was "originally called 'The Heretic Song,'" the singer shared. "There are CD singles that have that out there in the world. Then [former Slipknot drummer] Joey [Jordison] was like, 'I think we should call it 'The Heretic Anthem.''"
And "Gently" was "actually going to be incorporated on the first album," Taylor added. "The version of 'Gently' that's on Iowa is much heavier, danker, a little more evil and [Slipknot percussionist] Clown [Shawn Crahan] wrote the lyrics."
As for "Skin Ticket," the vocalist recalled, "I remember watching Clown play that riff with [guitarist] Mick [Thomson], and then Mick took it and he and [fellow guitarist] Jim [Root] really worked it out. We were trying to do a 'Tattered and Torn' thing [from the debut album], but it became so much more heavier."
Slipknot's latest album, We Are Not Your Kind, emerged in 2019. Currently, the act are preparing to depart on their first concert trek since the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to stop touring in 2020. Earlier this month, Crahan said the band aims to have a new album out this year; the percussionist has also released several solo songs as of late.