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Members include SidWilson (performing alias #0), DJ; JoeyJordison (#1), drums; PaulGray(#2), bass; ChrisFehn(#3), percussion; JamesRoot(#4), guitar; Craig Jones (#5), sampling; ShawnCrahan (#6), percussion; MickThompson (#7), guitar; CoreyTaylor(#8), vocals, lyrics. Addresses: Record company--Roadrunner Records, 536 Broadway, 4th Fl., New York City, NY 10012 Phone: (212) 274-7500, Fax: (212) 334-6921.
Thrashing and bashing their way out of America's heartland, Slipknot has attacked stages with a vengeance and become popular around the world. The group's sound is metal, with aggressive lyrics and at times a repulsive sense of humor. Fans are seemingly attracted not only to the catchy melodies of Slipknot's songs, but also to the group's symbolic persona. Reaching back to dramatic influences like Kiss and Ozzy Osbourne, group members wear masks along with prison jumpsuits marked with bar codes and identify themselves with numbers while on stage. Slipknot's popularity smoldered for several years before it spread like wildfire. Live performances, the group's masked personas, catchy tunes, and an honest approach to their art all help to fuel the blast furnace that is Slipknot.
Slipknot arose from the persistence of Shawn Crahan, who had been playing with a loose mix of local Des Moines, Iowa, musicians. Supposedly, three of the members were hanging out at the gas station where one of them worked the night shift when they committed to forming a band. Crahan, Paul Gray, and Joey Jordison, the gas station employee, started practicing seriously in 1993. After several changes in the lineup over the next few years, the band solidified in 1995. Corey Taylor replaced the group's original singer during the summer of 1997 after he was approached by the initial three members and realized how hot the band was. Native Iowans make up Slipknot's roster: DJ Sid Wilson (#0), drummer Joey Jordison (#1), bassist Paul Gray (#2), percussionist Chris Fehn (#3), guitarist James Root (#4), sampler Craig Jones (#5), percussionist Shawn Crahan (#6), guitarist Mick Thompson (#7), and vocalist Corey Taylor (#8). Taylor writes most of Slipknot's lyrics.
Perhaps the sordid collection of homemade rubber masks worn by the group was the initial vibe that caught the attention of fans. Members started donning the rubber expressions after Crahan put on his evil Bozo mask during a band practice. In addition to masks, each member wears monotonous jumpsuits which are labeled with a bar code on the back. Slipknot tries to express themselves as a group rather than as individuals. Crahan stated on Slipknot's official website #1, "Our music is so reliant on each other that if one guy is gone, it just wouldn't be our songs. Without one person, something is really, really missing. Everybody has to be present. Even the littlest things make our songs magical." The masks were put on more as a response to the group's environment than a special thrill for their listeners, as Jordison suggested on the record label webpage: "We never put on the sh** we wear to try to get people into us. We did because, after being degraded constantly for trying to play music or do something in Des Moines, it just came out to be like we were an anonymous entity.... No one cared, so we were never about our names or our faces; we're just about music."
Slipknot recorded, self-released, and self-distributed their debut album in 1996 entitled Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat.Only six members were in the band at that time. The group eventually attracted the attention of producer Ross Robinson, known for his work with Korn and the Deftones, who signed and produced the band for their debut on the Roadrunner Records imprint I Am Records in 1997. The band's second album, Slipknot, was released in 1999. During the first week after Slipknot's self-titled release, the sales volume hit 15,000 copies. It reached gold status in 30 weeks and eventually went platinum by April of 2000. "Welcome to Our Neighborhood," the group's home video, debuted at number one on Billboard's Top Music Video chart in November of 1999.
Slipknot is a conglomerate of a band in a way. Three drummers lay down the strategy for the machine-gun guitar attacks, and a DJ guides the advanced technology sampling arsenal. One of the percussion kits used by the band includes home-welded parts. "We're a highly, highly aggressive band, and very seldom do we meet people who are in the realm of our aggressiveness when we play as a unit, and Ross took us into the recording room and was throwing punches at us. He was into it. Ross got up every day and went and worked out so he could be in shape to do our album," Crahan said. In a summer of 2000 cover story in Alternative Press, Jordison explained the band's vitriolic attack: "All of us were so used to having the middle finger thrown at us, that when we finally threw it back, we did so with ten times the venom." Anthony Bozza of Rolling Stone described Slipknot as the first death-metal jam band, concluding, "Slipknot make music that sounds like Ministry without synths, Slayer with a groove and Marilyn Manson if he were actually angry."
Slipknot's popularity truly caught fire in 1999. Early 1990s theatrical thrasher Dave Brodie of Gwar stated that rock music fans were ready for acts like Slipknot after the grunge era of anti-showmanship. "People got tired of that, Kiss put their makeup back on, and the floodgates burst open," Brodie said. Slipknot's musical pungence attracted listeners' curiosity and desire for new stimulation during their second-stage show at the '99 Ozzfest tour. They began the new century by performing on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in the winter of 1999-2000. A hit single, "Wait and Bleed," was featured on the soundtrack for Scream 3. The group took part in the Tattoo the Earth and the MTV Return of the Rock tours during the summer of 2000.
Slipknot's live performances have stunned audiences around the world. The group has performed stunts like drinking their own urine and breaking band members' bones onstage. They have smashed a goat's heart, vomited openly, and spewed sparks all over the stage from angle grinders. During one show, Crahan defecated on stage and hurled the feces at Jordison. A concert in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was ceased by fire marshals after the promoters accidentally oversold the show by 300 tickets. However, the band decided to treat everyone equally by coming back to play a larger venue. During a performance in Washington, D.C., one of the band members further propelled the group's reputation for extreme theatrics when he burned a teen magazine advertisement featuring a member of Korn posing for a major clothing designer. At a show in England, a band member dove from 30 feet into the crowd, resulting in a fan being treated for head and spinal injuries.
Australians made Slipknot gold, and the band continued to sell out gigs there and throughout Europe and Japan as well. Even in England, a country notoriously inattentive to heavy American rock, produced a silver record and a New Musical Express (NME) declaration of Slipknot as "brilliant." The band won numerous awards and was nominated in readers' polls in a few of the country's top music magazines. Slipknot was nominated for Brightest Hope for 2000's NME Premier Awards. They won for Best New Band and Best Album in Kerrang!, and they earned the titles of Best New Band, Best Album, Best Drummer (for Jordison) and Best Metal Hammer Cover Feature in Metal Hammer.
In an interview with All Rock World, Jordison said about the group's anonymous stage appearance, "Being of the anonymous factor is to keep all the rock star cliché and the ego bullsh** gone, so the bigger the band gets we can remain grounded. We can keep the music focused and not rob the kids of any music. You see a lot of bands, as soon as they start getting big, closing endorsements, getting involved with money, producing videos, going out with ... porn stars and that's not where it started. What got them big is when they were grounded. It got to a certain point and then they moved away from it and we don't ever want to move away from it. That's why the anonymity comes in."
Jordison is positive about the future of Slipknot: ldquo;If you can make it in Des Moines, or come out of Des Moines, I think you can pretty much do it anywhere," he said in an interview with All Rock World. "I don't know necessarily about moving away from that type of sound, because that's what we're drawn to mostly. I do agree. You can't go through every element of life like that. The things that have been done to us and the evolution that we've tried to come through as a band, we have enough hate and rage to fill probably three or four records, we have a lot of sh** to work out still."
Slipknot toured for about a year in support of their label debut, then took some time off to get in touch with themselves in the wake of all the hoopla so that their third album hits even harder. They plan to write it in Des Moines before recording and mixing with Robinson.
by Nathan Sweet
Formed in Des Moines, IA; noticed at the Ozzfest Tour, debut record label release, Slipknot, went platinum, 1999; headlined Tattoo the Earth Tour, 2000.
- Selected discography
- Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. , self-released, 1996.
- Slipknot , I Am/Roadrunner, 1999.
- (Contributor) Scream 3 (soundtrack), Wind-up, 2000.
August 12, 2004: Slipknot's album, Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses, was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Source: Billboard.com, www.billboard.com/bb/riaa/gold.jsp, September 15, 2004.
February 8, 2006: Slipknot won the Grammy Award for best metal performance for "Before I Forget." Source: Grammy.com, http://grammy.com/GRAMMY_Awards/Annual_Show/48_nominees.aspx, February 9, 2006.
- Rolling Stone, April 27, 2000, p. 43; July 6-20, 2000, pp. 75-78, 150.
- Spin, May, 2000.
- All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (April 17, 2000).
- All Rock World, http://www.altrockworld.com/interviews/slipknot.html (July 2000).
- AntiMTV, http://www.cloud10.org/toons/slipknotinterview.htm (July 2000).
- The Kinda Music You Like, http://www.kindamuzik.net/q_and_a/slipknot.shtml (July 2000).
- KNAC, http://www.knac.com/servlet/Article_Page?articleID=651 (July 2000).
- MTV Online, http://www.mtv.com (May 10, 2000).
- Rolling Stone.com, http://www.rollingstone.com (May 7, 2000).
- Slipknot at Roadrunner Records,http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/artists/Slipknot/ (July 2000).
- Official Web site #1, http://www.slipknot1.com/ (July 2000).
- Spin Magazine Online, http://www.spin.com (May 6, 2000).
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