Slipknot's singer may be on light duties but says he won't be taking it easy when the masked metallers hit the stage.

Corey Taylor won't be doing any headbanging when he performs with Slipknot in Auckland next week. In fact, there's a lot of things he can't do right now.

"I can't headbang. I can't jump. I'm not really supposed to run but I do anyway because it's one of the few things that I like to do on stage," says Taylor.

The front man for the nine-piece metal act is on light duties after having extensive surgery on his neck - the result of an injury that occurred when he fell off stage in 1999. Taylor wasn't told until after the operation that the injury could have left him paralysed.

"I fell four feet and landed on my head. I compressed the vertebrae and the bone started growing into my spinal cord. The doctor waited until after the surgery to tell me how serious it was. He told me I could have been paralysed and should have been paralysed.


"He said, 'I don't know how the hell you're walking'. It scared the shit out of me.

"We think that all of the shows just kind of exacerbated everything and kept making it worse and worse. Suddenly I had no balance, I had no strength in my right side, and that drove me to the doctor," he says.

"It's kinda crazy to think how close I could have been to being paralysed."

Anyone who's seen Slipknot live knows their shows are a full-on affair, full of manic fury and chaotic intensity. The masked metallers will perform their third New Zealand show next week at the tail end of a two-year tour on the back of their fifth album 5: The Gray Chapter.

That album almost didn't happen after the death of the band's bassist Paul Gray in 2010 from a morphine overdose. In the aftermath, drummer Joey Jordison also left the band.

If bad things come in threes, Taylor's neck injury is surely the last of a terrible run for the Iowa act.

But the 42-year-old, who also fronts hard rock act Stone Sour, says he isn't letting his physical restrictions limit Slipknot's performances.

"It's never going to be the way it was in our 20s. Hell, it's never going to be the way it was in our 30s. But there's a certain energy that comes with a Slipknot show. It doesn't necessarily have to be about putting on the craziest show," he says.


"We have been doing this a while, we've put a lot of miles on ourselves, we've done a lot of damage to our bodies, yet we've always tried to give it 110 per cent. No matter what's going on, we've always tried to get on that stage and go for it with the same type of intensity.

"It may not be as gnarly as it was when we were younger, but the same mindset and the same energy goes into it. As long as we have that, and as long as you can feel that, it will always be a Slipknot show."

He says he never considered retirement, even during the immediate stress of his surgery.

"It has not deterred me from wanting to play live at all. In fact it's made me re-evaluate what I do live and find new ways to entertain people. If it had made me worried at all I would have retired. Once the fear gets in, that's the end of it right there. You can't lead your life by fear.

"You've gotta push through it and do what matters, and what matters is what I've been doing for the last 17 years."

Who: Slipknot's Corey Taylor
Where and when: Performing with Antagonist AD and Lamb of God at Vector Arena, October 26
Show Times: Antagonist AD/in Hearts Wake: 7:30pm-8:00pm; Lamb of God: 8.30-9.15pm; Slipknot: 9.45-11.05pm.