When Corey Taylor Pulled A Prank On Paul Gray At Disneyland
Paul Gray was not just a bandmate but a close friend to Corey Taylor. Following Gray’s tragic passing, Taylor has often expressed his deep sense of loss, choosing to keep Gray’s memory alive through the remembrance of the good times they shared. In a lengthy tribute to Paul in 2021, Taylor fondly recalled a hilarious incident at Disneyland, where he succeeded in giving Paul the fright of his life with a well-executed prank.
Corey Taylor claimed that amusement parks were never really Paul’s cup of tea. Roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and all those dizzying rides were a source of nausea more than anything else for Gray. He’d always roll his eyes when the members of Slipknot decided to go to places like that. It was an open secret among the bandmates that Paul was not a fan of the amusement park experience.
On the other hand, Corey Taylor has always been a thrill-seeker, a fan of the rush that comes with amusement park rides. And he saw Paul’s discomfort as a prime opportunity for some good-natured fun. Taylor made it a point to have Paul sit next to him on every ride just to keep the amusement level sky-high. He particularly remembered a winter visit to Disneyland, a time when the park was relatively empty, and Paul was reluctantly anticipating a day of roller coasters and Slipknot shenanigans.
Here is what Corey Taylor wrote:
“Paul Gray hated amusement park rides. That’s a fact. He was not a fan of roller coasters, Ferris wheels, or anything that would make you vomit uncontrollably. Whenever Slipknot had a chance to go to these theme parks, like Disney or Knot’s Berry Farm, or Six Flags, he’d roll his eyes and sigh, knowing full well what he was in for. Because of that, and because I am a huge fan of said rides, I always made sure I was sitting next to him.
We were nearly finished making our self-titled debut album in 1999 when Ross Robinson, our producer, told us that he was going to take us all to Disneyland. I was stoked – I’d never been, and I was so ready for a break from the studio that I was already pulling my shoes on to wait for the band in the van. Paul was not too enthused, but he knew that it would be a great time for the band. And so, with coats and smokes, we headed for ‘The Happiest Place On Earth.’”
Corey had a mischievous spark in his eyes as he made sure Paul was seated right next to him on every ride. Their most memorable ride was Space Mountain. Taylor, with a straight face, told Paul that the metal safety bar felt loose and broken. Throughout the ride, Paul’s terrified screams filled the air, while Taylor couldn’t contain his laughter. This routine of pranks and screams played out on every ride that day. Paul might have been temporarily annoyed with Taylor, but even he couldn’t deny the fun they had that day.
“With Paul next to me, we jumped onto Space Mountain. That’s where the fun began. We both sat down in the car and pulled the metal safety bar down to lock us in. I immediately started f*cking with it, a look of concern on my face. ‘Does this seem broken to you?‘ I asked him. He gave me a look of pure panic. ‘Wh-what are you talking about?’ I started messing with the bar as if it were too loose. ‘It just… It just doesn’t feel like it’s locked in good enough! Look! See how I’m moving it?’
Paul was starting to sweat, scanning the area for the ride attendant. ‘Where’s the guy? Where the f*ck’s the guy? We gotta get off this thing!‘ Unfortunately, the guy was back at the controls, getting ready to hit the ‘GO’ button. Paul was losing his mind, casting around to get the guy’s attention. Meanwhile, suppressing the sh*ttiest grin, I settled back for what would be the loudest screaming known to man.
With a laugh and after helping him out of the car, we wandered out, a little dizzy, into the cool air. We ran right for the Matterhorn – and it started all over again! We’d sit in the car. I’d pull on the bar. ‘Is this thing broken?’ ‘Somebody get the f*cking guy!’ Screaming. Laughing. Dizzy. And next ride. That has to be one of the happiest days of my life. And even though he ‘hated’ me for a second, Paul and I always talked about that day and how much fun we had.“
Reminiscing about these memories, Corey Taylor couldn’t help but feel a sense of warmth, even as he misses his friend. Looking back on those fun times, he apparently felt a bittersweet sense of joy. According to a previous interview, the singer’s only regret is that he didn’t acknowledge Paul’s contributions to the band as much as he should have while he was alive. But these fun memories, these stories of laughter and camaraderie, remind us of the bond that continues to live on in Corey’s heart and in the spirit of Slipknot.