Above is the Corey Taylor that Slipknot fans have come to know and love for the past 15 years. It's what people saw and loved at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls Sunday night as they headlined a bill that also brought Korn and King 810.

But Taylor, the man behind the mask and also the frontman from Stone Sour, stopped by the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy Sunday afternoon to talk to students and a few lucky fans about the music business and answer any questions they had. This was the Corey Taylor that we met:


I admit that Taylor's bands aren't in my 'wheelhouse', but I'm always interested to meet the music stars that are willing (and happy to do so in most cases) to take time out of their lives to talk to kids who idolize them and are working hard to make music and maybe a better life for themselves.

Taylor grew up without the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth in Des Moines, Iowa where he said there were many days that his family ate 'sandwiches with nothing in them, so essentially, bread' but found that he had a talent for singing when his cousin heard him singing along to Journey's "Separate Ways" and made him sing it in front if his family. It was their positive reaction when he was 10 that gave him the spark to pursue music.

He talked about being heavily influenced in his early musical career by Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax, but admits to having a secret love of 70s disco of all things. He says he loves to put on KC & The Sunshine Band while he cleans the house and helps raise his 12-year old son, and has been known to walk on stage singing ABBA's "Dancing Queen" before launching into a Slipknot screamer.

In short, Taylor was nothing like what you would stereotypically think he would be like. He is funny, well-spoken, intelligent and I was especially impressed with the way he talked 'to' the kids, not 'at' them. He answered their questions like you would an adult and left an impression not only on the students, but the parents and the rest of us in attendance.

Academy founder Chuck Brennan says bringing these music stars to the school isn't a matter of ego, but to give these kids inspiration. To see and know that dreams ARE possible. That artists like Slash, KISS, Alice Cooper, Dee Snider, Corey Taylor and on and on, all started playing young and stayed with it through good and bad and kept practicing.

The Rock Academy is coming up on its 2nd anniversary March 26th and is giving roughly 500 lessons every month, but there is still the need for instructors. If you have a passion for music and like working with kids, contact the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy, as the waiting list of kids continues to grow while they try to bring in more volunteer instructors.

As for Taylor and Slipknot, I'm probably not going to run out to buy their latest CD but I am definitely a Corey Taylor fan. We got a chance to ask him a few questions beyond the Q&A with the students which you can watch below. After spending an hour or so with him, I think I will go hunt up one of his books. If you're unfamiliar with Slipknot, we've included a video below from their latest CD as well. It was another reinforcement of the old adage of not judging a book by its cover. It was also another day that I'm reminded how lucky we are to have this amazing facility and the opportunities it gives kids in our community.

Photo Courtesy of Chad Mercurio/Live Artist