tighten the noose
forth from the cornfields of Iowa (like some sort of reverse pet
semetary) Slipknot has managed to channel their violence and speed-metal-thrash
into a much needed foray into masochism for their special fans
known as "maggots." All nine members look like they
stepped out of a sickly twisted carnival that mass murderer John
Wayne Gacy would find offensive. From the three-pronged percussion
sonic assault, the twisted guitar interplay and the odd samplings
from the turntable - Slipknot has laid their claim as one of the
most brutal and hypnotic bands to see live. Their masks hide their
true identities or are these bizarre manifestations really who
and what they are?
Livewire's Phil Bonyata caught up with lead drummer Joey Jordison
(Number 1) to see what torment might be lurking in the recesses
of his brain.
You recorded your latest release Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses)
in a reputed haunted mansion once owned by Houdini. Were you scared?
at all man - it was good for the album and the vibe of the place
was great! It was really reflective on the way the album came
out - it was more of like a commune thing, you know with the band
living together especially after our time off and everything.
But, as far as the scary thing - no. We just fed off the vibe
and the weirdness of the place - it really helped with the record,
it was cool.
Describe the look of the house.
man - it's old. It's like from 1918 when the place was built.
very desolate, but very beautiful at the same time. Unless you
were there - it's very hard to put into words. You don't want
to shortchange it. It's very open ended and it's like a fucking
Has ace producer Rick Rubin help steer your music in a different
it was good because you know - we wanted someone with a different
opinion and a different perspective. We wanted Rick's take and
taste on what we do. He really helped us open up as far as our
talent and really build upon everything we're known for and just
take it to the next level.
Describe your music in one or two words.
man. That shit hurts.
That's more than two words.
you sure? (laughs)
In what order would you rate all the Slipknot albums?
That's an original question - I've never heard that one before!
Well you know like dealing with the new one a lot of bands will
tell you it's their best ever. Here's how I'm going to rate it
and I'm not going to give you numbers.
hope this will be good for you. A lot of bands will tell you that
their new record is really special and the best they've ever done.
That's what I'm expecting you to say.
a band tells you that usually - it's a 100% bullshit! Most of
the time they're just trying to feed you shit to sell more records.
I'm not going to tell you any fucking bullshit, man. This record
is really the best one we've ever done. It is. We are all the
way full force back into this band. We're not doing this because
of a record contract or money. This is the one, man.
What about Iowa or your debut? How would you rate them?
THEY'RE BOTH FUCKING 10s!!
I see... (adjusts his glasses)
What bands' helped to inspire you to get into music?
Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, the Who, Mott the Hoople then roll into
Judas Priest and fuckin' KISS and into Venom and Slayer and into
Warped Angel. When I was younger my parents wouldn't let me watch
TV - so they set me in front of the record player - with records.
That sounds like a good thing.
Joey: I know
- it was (raises his voice) FUCKING awesome!
Slipknot appear on MTX: Mototrax video game. Is this your first
appearance on a game and do you feel that this overly commercializes
the bands' image?
it is our first time. No, it's what it was - you know like there's
three songs out and it's just a progression of leading you into
the new album. A lot of our fans are fucking video game fanatics.
It's that simple. We've never done it before, but it was cool
and it worked out fine.
If Slipknot were President of the United States - what would you
do differently in Iraq?
a weird one! Umm, sighs, fuck man you got me. Why did you pull
that one on me? Umm, I would get us the fuck out of there. We've
overstayed our fucking presence over there. I'm really not a political
person and I don't really agree with what's going on over there.
I'm not the President of the United States, but I think we made
our fucking mark - now it's time to get out of there.
Should we have gone in there in the first place?
pause) I don't think so. I don't think so, man.
What do you feel about bands such as Mudvayne and Mushroomhead
that have seemed to copy your style?
I have no problem with both bands. I like both of those bands.
You know, there's a lot of room in music and the arts for bands
to wear masks or whatever. It doesn't matter - there could be
a million bands with masks and Slipknot will hold it's own with
the way we look at the world and the way we hold our band together
and the way we communicate with each other and most importantly
- the way we communicate with the fans - so, you'll never get
another Slipknot. We're a one-of-a-kind band.
If I were to pull your mask off in public what would you do?
taken my mask off before. I'd have my security guard punch you
in the balls. (laughs loudly)
Do you keep your mask on when you're having sex?
done it only with one girl.
Was it a girlfriend or someone you didn't care for?
no - it was an ex-girlfriend of mine. That was her thing man?
Is Slipknot ever going to discard the masks and let the music
do all the talkin'?
I think Slipknot is mainly the music, but the masks are reflective
of how we feel and through the music that we create. We won't
ever demask as long as the band exists.
How long does it take the band to ready themselves for a show?
are two answers I can give you. First one is you're never ready
for what we have to do. I mean, there's just no way to prepare
yourself for going through what we fucking go through live. It
just doesn't exist, uh but as far as actually getting dressed
- it fucking takes about 10 - 15 minutes. It doesn't take too
Tell me something REALLY crazy that's happened to you while on
Australia we had a group of fans, we had that song "People
= Shit" so, there was a group of kids that came with their
backs - like one guy had a "P" carved in his back and
the next one had an "E" and the next one an "O"
and on down the line. It spelled out "People = Shit"
just dripping in fucking blood. They were outside the bus showing
us their loyalty to the band. It was pretty fucking crazy, man.
Is it all groupies and drugs after the show?
done drugs, but I don't condone it. It's definitely not healthy
on the road, man. Slipknot is more of a focused band these days
- we don't do the groupie thing. Most of the guys are older with
serious girlfriends and stuff. Way in their younger years that
might've tried stuff, but Slipknot is professional now.
What's the average age of the band?
like around 26 - 27.
How does such a creepy band spring forth from the cornfields of
Joey: I think
you just answered your own question. Where we come from it's desolate
and there's no music scene. And the result is pretty much what
you hear on disc. We were rejected and told that we couldn't do
it for fucking years.
When did you know you hit it big?
we hit it big yet?
Your first two albums went platinum and your current tour is completely
sold-out. You tell me.
don't worry about that stuff as long as you're true to yourself.
As far as talkin' big as far as record sales wise - yeah. It's
such a beautiful thing that we have such adoration from our fans
and the fact that we were gone a little bit and they stuck with
us. We have great fans and I've known that since we had only two
people in the audience.
Do you consider yourself a sex symbol for the damned?
Joey: I don't
think so. (laughs) I don't know...I don't think so at all.
What's your tombstone going to say?
you do have some weird questions. Umm, It will probably say born
in '75 and fucking died in the time we're living in right now
with my name on it - it will be very basic. Just put me in the
fucking ground and kick me down. He had time to and he played
his fucking hardest while he could.
Are you predicting an early demise for yourself?
Joey: I don't
know man - the bands' killing me.
If you were sent to Hell would you take the band along or Fiona
I would take Fionna Apple, man. I wouldn't subject my band to
any of that shit, you know?
Who's your muse right now?
know I'm actually enjoying the new Norah Jones - believe it or
not. Her records, like Fionna Apple's are really, really colorful.
It's pretty fucking cool. Other than that I'm into Nordic/Scandinavian
What's your favorite horror movie?
Chainsaw Massacre" the original. Other scary ones are "The
Exorcist" and "The Omen." Those movies are fucked
You're on death row. What would be your last meal?
I knew I was going to die I would have no appetite - I would be
like fuck-it I don't need no food - I'm out!
Does Slipknot worship Satan or the money that the association
we don't worship Satan! It's not a gimmick either - I think it
is the relation towards the band. When we say like "555"
or "666" it's like like a higher number and it's more
on the darkside. We want people to think as we shock. At the same
time we we're being fucking lumped in with nu-metal and we're
nothing like that shit.
If Slipknot fans are, as you call them, "maggots" -
then what do you call people that hate your music?
good question. All I can say is they're outside the nine. They
don't understand - that's all I could tell them. We're here to
piss off just as many people as we are to please. As long as we
have fucking people hate us - I'm a happy guy!
with Paul Grey
Des Moines, Iowa, where the leading form of entertainment takes
place inside the local strip clubs, come nine guys who would like
to change the fact that not one singular rock ’n’
roll act from their home town has achieved worldwide fame. Perhaps
I should say – ever since their self-titled Roadrunner record-label
debut was released last summer – they are in the process
of changing that fact. While Slipknot was in Sweden on its current
world tour, I spoke with bassist Paul Gray about the band’s
Tell me about the clown masks and outfits. How did the band's
stage persona come about?
It came about as our "anti-image" message. You know,
we're not really worried about what cool hairstyle we have or
what cool clothes we're wearing. We're about our music first.
With the coveralls and the masks it takes the emphasis off of
a "cool-guy," "rock-star" image.
Do you think that message is getting across or do think it has
taken a whole different turn?
A little bit of both. Our anti-image has turned into our image.
You can only
stare at a clown mask so long. After a few minutes it's no big
deal anymore. So people start paying attention to the music instead
of what the clown is doing, or what he is wearing, or how cool
his spikey hair is.
What's it like to perform in the outfits?
Really hot. It's taken years off of our lives.
Do you consider changing the image?
Not any time soon. But we don't want to block ourselves in a corner
either. If we feel like changing it, we will.
It must help to identify you from the myriad of other bands out
Yes, we definitely stand out. Nine members too.
Yeah, that's another question I had. How did that evolve? Did
the band start out as nine members?
We built the band that we wanted to hear. We added members until
it sounded right. In the beginning, we had the idea around the
three percussionists. We got the two guitar players, bass player,
singer. We used sampling, so we got a sampler, and a DJ. We built
the band that we wanted to hear and see live. It was all for us.
If it was a band that required twenty members, and we thought
we needed it... or two members.... We never had any set plan.
We just kept doing it until it sounded right.
Do you all have musical backgrounds?
Yeah. We've all been in different bands for years. We've all been
friends forever. That's one thing that makes this band so fun
to be in. Everybody in the band is our best friend. Our sampler
has played guitar. I've played guitar in a band.
What's it like being from Des Moines, Iowa and having this opportunity
to see the world?
Well, I'm not really from Des Moines. I'm the only one who is
not. I'm from Los Angeles, but I moved to Des Moines nine years
ago. I had never really gone anywhere besides LA and Des Moines,
so it's amazing. It's the best thing in the world. To get to come
to a different country and play your music and actually have people
there wanting to see you and hear your music. It's just mind blowing
to me. I'm totally thankful to every kid that comes out to see
Do you think it makes a difference being from Des Moines, than,
say, being a band from New York?
We probably had to struggle a little bit more. We have no clubs
where you can really play. Not much of a music scene. No other
bands that are bigger in Des Moines that we can look up to or
get help from. In that aspect it was really hard. No record companies
wanted to come out to Des Moines to see a band.
Tell me about the process of getting signed?
We started sending our stuff out to everybody. We got one somehow
to Ross Robinson. He came out and saw us. He was gonna do the
album no matter what label we were on. We started getting labels
to come out. Once one comes out, they all come out. They have
to make sure they're not falling behind.
We had a lot
of different offers. Major labels offered us deals. But we went
with Roadrunner because it's more of a family kind of thing. It's
a matter of having a label with less bands on their roster so
they can actually pay more attention to their bands.
What number are you? [Rather than relying on the conventionality
of names, the band members assigned numbers to each other to represent
their identity. 0 - DJ Sid Wilson, 1 - drummer Joey Jordison,
2 - bassist Paul Gray, 3 - percussionist Chris Fehn, 4 - guitarist
James Root, 5 - sampler Craig Jones, 6 - percussionist Shawn Crahan,
7 - guitarist Mic Thompson, 8 - vocalist Corey Taylor]
What's it like being number two? How do you identify with it?
Joey is our drummer and he is number one. Bass and drums are the
backbone of the music; so that's how I got number two, I guess.
For me, it's good. I like being number two. I can't complain,
you know. I'm in Sweden.
The inner sleeve of your CD jacket reads, "Fuck it all. Fuck
this world. Fuck everything that you stand for. Don't belong.
Don't exist. Don't give a shit. Don't ever judge me." Can
That's the lyrics to our song "Surfacing." That's the
chorus to the song. Basically, we dedicate it to the kids as their
new national anthem. It's our way of saying don't worry about
everybody else. Just worry about yourself. Don't worry about the
people judging and the people coming down on you and all the fake
crap. Stick to what you believe in.
to get Corey to get his full meaning since he writes all the lyrics....
A lot of the stuff we like to leave it for people to decide anyway.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to everything from Neurosis to Steely Dan. It depends
on what kind of mood I'm in. The last CD I got was David Bowie.
Who are your influences?
Black Sabbath, Kiss, Black Flag, the punk rock stuff, the Dead
Kennedys…. But all of music has shaped the way I think about
Your music is often referred to as new metal. How would you say
that differs from metal?
The only thing I could see about it being new metal is because
we're a new band. But our stuff is actually what they consider
old-school metal. I think new metal is like the Limp Bizkit sound.
Personally, we have more of a death-metal thing going than a Limp
Bizkit thing. They always have to put some kind of categorization
on it that a lot of people don't get. So, whatever. They can call
it new jazz for all I care.
What's coming up in the year 2000?
Tour, tour, tour. We're going to play our asses off.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I would personally like to thank every single kid who has supported
this band. Without them there would be no band. We wouldn't be
able to do any of this. They've made our dreams come true and
we won't let them down. We work 200 percent every time we play.
We pride ourselves on working hard to make it worth it for the
fans. So nothing but love and respect to everybody who comes to
the shows, buys the CDs, and gives the band a chance.
interviews with Slipknot