Slipknot started in September 1995 with Anders (Colsefni) and Shawn (Crahan). Anders and Shawn hung-out all the time, they would play Werewolf: The Apocalypse (RPG) all the time (where much of the lyrics came from for MFKR).
Anders was helping Shawn with some welding in his garage one winter, and they got talking about putting together a brand new band. At the time they were both drummers (Anders had been singing for awhile), and wanted to put together a band with extra stand-up percussion. Anders called Paul Gray (who was in L.A. at the time), and persuaded him to return to Des Moines and give it a try. They'd attempted to do so before as early as 92 and even wrote songs: "Slipknot" and "Gently", but Shawn got too busy and it fell apart. With the three core members: Andy, Shawn and Paul they enlisted the help of guitarists Donnie Steele (ex- Body Pit guitarist) and Quan Nong (ex heads on the Wall). The band retreated to Anders basement to figure out their sound and how to improve musically.
The band began practicing under the name of Meld, following the first six practices Quan Nong left due to his following of a more Alternative/Punk style. Feeling something was missing, Paul was determined to get Joey (Jordison) involved with his new project, despite failing to receive his interest in earlier projects such as Body Pit. Paul met up with Joey at Sinclair's where Joey worked nights, there he tempted Joey to watch rehearsals within Anders' basement. Joey reluctantly agreed and despite missing two rehearsals due to work priorities, eventually made it down to the basement to view a practice session.
This basement, was "largely, open spaced", not only was the area so small and cramped but for soundproofing the members used carpet samples and scraps from a nearby pet grooming centre, this made the whole basement smell of Cat piss. The first song that Joey heard them play was a song known as "Slipknot", followed by "Gently" and "Fur" Joey soon realized that he had to be in this band and soon began to play the drums; pushing Shawn onto percussion. A band had formed. Within the cramped basement new songs were being turned out by the minute, including titles such as "Killers Are Quiet", "Do Nothing Bitchslap", "Confessions", "Some Feel", "Part of Me" and "Tattered and Torn".
Paul, Shawn and Joey also began to meet up at Sinclair's to discuss ideas and plans for the future. Shawn and Joey also decided that the band would require three drummers to provide a hardcore audio assault. Shawn wanted a drummer to the left and right with one at the back controlling it all, creating a wall of power, a first layer... Joey plays the main set and as a result is the main drummer who holds the band together. Shawn is the "Total Power Drummer" and is all aggression, finally the third element of percussion was performed by Anders adding a tribal feel.
Within Sinclair's Shawn and Joey also realized that the band would need another guitarist due to the vacant position left by Quan. Josh formerly of Modifidious and Inveigh Catharsis was called and he soon added himself to the band. Now there were six. Josh was seen as the "icing on the cake" so to speak adding a touch of melody to the batch of songs already written The people of Des Moines knew that a new band was forming and they knew who was in it. However no one had heard or seen them. Soon a small performance was given, Slipknot's first show was actually under a different name, Meld (Josh's idea). It was at a club that (Josh) believes was called the Crowbar at that time. They did it without masks however Anders wore his fur skin loincloth and Paul wore wire through all his piercing.
This show happened about a month or two after Josh got into the band (I'm thinking it was mid to late Nov. 95'). That was the only show they'd ever done with Donnie. The band went through the names Pyg system and Meld, before agreeing on the simpler name of "Slipknot", the title of their first song. Slipknot began to take notice of their stage show and thus eventually the idea of "Slipknot" spawned. The idea of what Slipknot was about evolved and following discussions Shawn turned up to a practice wearing his legendary Clown mask, the sextet decided almost unanimously, with the exception of Donnie, that masks should be worn.
Joey came fully equipped with his molded and expressionless Kabuki Mask and despite difficulty within practices the idea took off; the whole anti-image appearance which fitted so well with their rule of ignoring trends had a great appeal. Soon Shawn contacted Mike Lawyer, due to an interest in recording some studio work. Mike got an engineer/producer of his named Sean McMahon to meet up with them during a practice session. Sean McMahon: "I was contacted by former members of a band called Body Pit to check out their new band at their rehearsal space". Sean McMahon: The band floored me the first time that I heard them play in Anders' basement. This was way before the masks and coveralls evolved. The band was solid and incredibly tight. The music had some melodic parts at that time. They played Slipknot, Gently, Do Nothing/Bitchslap, Killers Are Quiet, Vizqueen, and Fur for me."
Anders himself was wearing a wolf fur loincloth - and nothing else. I did not pretend to fully understand what the band was about, as we were just getting to know each other, but it was very plain to me that Slipknot (Meld or Pale Ones at that time) was extremely good at what they did, and had the requisite drive to take it all the way. "The band soon started work on their first project, dubbed, MFKR. "Mate Feed Kill Repeat". The band grabbed every available moment to practice, perform and record within the SR Audio Studios. SR audio was customized for the MFKR sessions by the band itself. SR audio was filled with pornographic posters, films, toys, lights and many other objects all to make the band feel right at home.
The recording phase for MFKR was one odd occurrence after another, Sean explains "We cut basic tracks live - all of them, including all 3 drummers, all playing together in the same room! The band advocates the use of extreme violence as a conflict resolution tool, and recording was no exception. The wall next to Clown's percussion rig acquired a few holes from his fist and drum sticks. Then there were the anatomically correct chalk line body outlines in the parking lot.
Also, Joey played drums naked on one track, which he nailed". During February of 1996 (the post production stage of mfkr) a great change occurred within Donnie Steele; he found God. He realized that he could not be within such a band as Slipknot with the beliefs he held and as a result withdrew himself from the group. At this crucial point in the bands short history a new member was called up; a former member of Joey's band Modifidious, his name was Craig Jones, he had come highly recommended by Jordison.
During his arrival, the MFKR album was already in its mixing stages. The mixing of MFKR was anything but smooth, each song being remixed many times. Strain was added by different view that each member held and things often got intense. Not only were their problems with the mixing but the band was also unhappy with the mastering that was done on the CD, hence they insisted that Sean should do it. Slipknot's first major show in which they would unveil themselves to the people of Des Moines became booked for the 4th April 1996 at the locally known meeting place pronounced, "The Safari".
On the day's arrival the room was packed with 200 people. The band arrived in Joey's car and each member sported their individual garments. Paul with wire weaved in and out of his piercing, Andy covered with electrical tape and tribal paint, Josh showing off an executioners hood while Craig had placed pantyhose on his head. Joey and Shawn each used the masks they had always worn, the Clown and Kabuki masks. Before the band began to play Joey began to incessantly shout, "I need a little Christmas in my drink" repeatedly with each new phrase increasing in volume, energy and power.
The band then slammed into their debut song, "Slipknot". By Slipknot's second performance at the club Paul had found a new "Pig" mask. The band played a total of seven shows at the club in one month alone. The band carried on playing their shows which were much more "insane" than we see these days (taming of the media etc...), rather than the same uniform jumpsuits and regular masks the band played in different things, for example Shawn rented out a large purple "Barney" suit and others wore Nun dresses and even ballroom dresses or a Little Bo Peep outfit. The shows were really dark, underground and scary however they still carried an element of humor. The shows would start with strobe lights flashing and a sample from Craig, usually of a mad laugh and "ice cream" man chimes, Shawn would drop a power saw to create a series of sparks to fly over the crowd.
Joey still felt that the band was incomplete. He wanted more; a different sound and a greater variety. Craig was promptly shifted onto samples, leaving an empty vacancy. Hence Mick formerly of Bodypit arrived. MFKR was eventually finished on Halloween, 1996. The party had begun and 400 people turned up in masks to celebrate the occasion. The album was sent out to many people and a person named Sophia at a local station KKDM managed to hear it and liked it. This lead to the arrangement of Slipknot's appearance in the local KKDM battle of the band's contest. The on air tournament was held every Wednesday at the Safari club in Des Moines, and spanned across several weeks beginning with the individual heats. Slipknot faced the band; Stone Sour - they won. Slipknot also defeated "Maelstrom" and "Black Caesar" who came second. Slipknot conquered all. This was one of the band's highlights that fuelled them to their current stardom. The money from the win helped fund the heavily in debt band's new projects and demos. The band continued the onslaught of supporting their debut Mate Feed Kill Repeat.
According to ISMIST records the distributor, there were only 1000 copies of this made and distributed by the band as a promotional tool. By this time several record companies had investigated the band, one of these being Roadrunner who felt that they should not pick up Slipknot due to their thought that the vocalist required more melody. This rejection continued and nowhere could they be signed. Sophia became their first manager due to her contacts and love for this new band. Things then seemed to get worse; Shawn bought the Safari, which took time away from the band despite being a good investment. The band could no longer play in Anders' basement and things were falling apart. There were often tensions between Joey and Shawn and "Slipknot" had nowhere to play.
However they still managed to make it onto the bill for the local "Dotfest" in June. There they played to the largest crowd in their history, a crowd of 12 000, containing many industry people. Not only was the sound dodgy and kept going out but the crowd began to throw chicken bones on stage. At the show Slipknot came out throwing Tampons into the crowd and had several "gimps". This was the first and last time for the "gimps". The gimps were Frank with a gas mask, Lanny with tribal markings in liquid latex, Greg covered with liquid latex and a ball gag in his mouth and Greg's friend Slick Rick in a latex hood. Slipknot had the original idea of having a professional stunt man, Rick, come out dressed as Shawn and then Shawn would come out and set him on fire. They had all the things to do it (for a long time it set in the cooler at Safari) but the city would not issue the permits to perform it so the event had to be abandoned.
The set ended with them being cut off and an almost riot breaking out as Andy cut open his arms and tossed CDs over the fence to the fans. Joey quit. But he reconsidered and came back. Some good things did come out of this though, their performance left a mark, they made new fans and most importantly they discovered Sid Wilson (even though they did not speak to him).
Slipknot looked for the success they were not getting and decided to enlist Corey Taylor of rival band Stone Sour, to join the line up. Joey, Shawn and Mick confronted him with the an ultimatum at his work place, "The Adult Emporium". They said, "Join the band or we will kick your ass!" Slipknot provided an opportunity not present in Stone Sour; the band could go places. The music over image policy also appealed. Corey began practicing with the band and the first lyrics he wrote were to be used in the song, "Me Inside". This was a very experimental move and everyone was wondering how it would turn out. This change resulted in Anders being pushed back to percussion and back up vocals. Soon this new breed of the Knot performed a show; it turned out it was a charity event for a local hospital. The Safari was packed to the brim. Corey came out wearing a large amount of makeup that gave a dark appearance, this was added to by two latex crosses marked over his eyes.
Despite this excitement the show was riddled with technical problems and was the show that resulted in Joey's nickname, "Superball". Their next show was on 17th September, again at the Safari. This show was a great improvement however nearly a year on from the MFKR release an announcement was to be made. Just before Slipknot were about to storm into their final song, "Heart ache and a pair of Scissors", Anders made an announcement, "This will be my last show" he stated. This stunned both band members and the audience. Following this sudden change the band returned to the studio to re-record the songs on their second cd titled "Crowz" - minus Anders' vocals. Of these songs included, "Gently", "Do Nothing", "Slipknot", "Tattered and Torn", "Me Inside", "Carve", "Coleslaw", "Scissors", "Windows" and "May 17th" a song written by Shawn. Crowz was to be released October 31st 1997. THE REST IS ALL HISTORY.
Rarely since the fiery crash of Buddy Holly's plane in 1959 have the words "Iowa" and "rock and roll" been used in the same sentence. As we've come to know it, Iowa means corn, livestock, conservatism, and precious little else. And like a thousand other landlocked heartland nowheres, it brims with kids dying from boredom, and with small-minded politicians trying to keep their little slice of Americana quaint, quiet, and soul-crushingly sterile. But the kids aren't all right - they're getting pissed.
And in Des Moines, their rage has a name: Slipknot. Draped in Ed Gein-style coveralls and nightmarishly surreal masks, touting a sound patched from the best parts of metal, hip hop, violent L.A.-style "new metal," and armed with a multidimensional percussive onslaught the weight of a hundred Neubautens, you could call Slipknot equal parts style and substance. You could also call it payback time for Middle America.
Iowa is probably best known as "the middle of nowhere." Most non-residents consider the corn-and-pig-state a geographical black hole. Since rock'n'roll's dawning in the early '50s, Iowa has had no singular voice to put on the musical map. Naming a significant musical entity from the state is inarguably a fruitless task; it simply can't be done.
However, nine freaks from Des Moines, draped in industrial coveralls, surrealistic self-made masks, and an attack that combines violently regurgitated "L.A. neo-metal," death metal, hip-hop, and downtuned screeching horror--are about to leap upon the unsuspecting world like a musical of Clockwork Orange.
"What I want to know is can you watch something that can change you?" That is the question posed by Slipknot's M. Shawn Crahan, more commonly known as Clown. With one view of Slipknot's latest DVD, Voliminal: Inside The Nine, you will be shaken, jarred and have your attention arrested. And yes, to answer Crahan's question, you will be changed, because Slipknot are that type of band.
If any metal band has the power to educate, entertain and change lives, it's the nine-headed, hard rock enigma known as Slipknot. Since their formation in Des Moines, IA, in September 1995, the band has released three studio albums that have sold over five million copies in the U.S. Their latest studio record, Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses), released in 2004, debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 album chart and has sold over 1.5 million copies in the U.S. to date, spawning the singles "Duality," "Vermillion" and "Before I Forget." In November 2005, the band released Slipknot 9.0: Live, a gold-certified, double-live album.
"Slipknot -- which features DJ Sid Wilson (0), drummer Joey Jordison (1), Gray (2), percussionist Chris Fehn (3) Root (4), sampler Craig Jones - 133 (5), percussionist M. Shawn Crahan - Clown (6), guitarist Mick Thomson (7) and Taylor (8), -- is still heavy, still enamored of great, big walls of deeply textured layers of sound. But this time, they've approached their music with an eye towards stylistic expression that completely invalidates any and all comments about heavy metal clichÃ©s. Moreover, they've continued the exploration of melody that began on their first record.
â€œIt gave us more time and energy to experiment in the studio. I was able to come up with more guitar sounds than ever,â€ says James Root.
While the heart of Slipknot remains its music, its soul is planted firmly on stage. Today, Slipknot are playing in sold-out arenas, but the band developed their talents by slogging it out in the Midwest, playing any show they could find. These were frequently one-off shows; the band would travel from their hometown of Des Moines to places like OmahaÂ and Chicago. "There were never any actual tours in those days," says Mick Thomson. "Our shows were like sporting events: Weâ€™d put everything into them and then afterwards, we'd be fucking exhausted. We weren't going to pile into a van -- all nine of us -- and then drive all night to the next show. We'd have fallen asleep at the wheel and died."
"Those early shows were rough, but I loved the small stage," says Paul Gray. "There was something intimate about it.Â It was like an old-school punk show, which is what I grew up with."
"I don't miss that shit at all," disagrees Mick Thomson. "It was 8,000 degrees, you're bumping into people, you're tripping over equipment. Those small stages have low ceilings, so the heat's trapped real low -- right at your head. Those shows are about survival, not about playing."
As difficult as those early shows were for the band, they were just as challenging for whoever might be standing in the front row.
"Shawn used to bring chop saws on stage to grind pipes for sparks," remembers Thomson. "Once, a chunk broke off and sent a kid to the hospital.Â But people who got hurt at our shows were cool about it -- we'd follow them to the hospital and sign some shirts and shit. It was like, you know, no harm, no foul."
"Everyone tried to control us, though," says Corey Taylor.
"Yeah, those fuckers," says Thomson. "We'd be on tour and fire marshals would show up with camcorders and accuse us of all kinds of crazy bullshit. They'd say, 'We heard you set yourselves on fire.'
"Wellâ€¦ okay, we'd done that!" Thomson continues, laughing. "Sid and Clown would spray each other with lighter fluid and then they'd pull out lighters. That got us in trouble. One promoter would call the next -- they'd warn each other and they'd hit us with 'do not' lists. We were castrated."
Surviving for 10 years is an accomplishment for any band. With Slipknot, it feels like some sort of miracle. Personalities frequently collide, side-projects abound, and on-stage fights are common. And yet, year after year, album after album, all nine men keep coming back for more. "We're banded together in hate," says Joey. "Sometimes we hate each other, sometimes we hate the world, sometimes we just hate our own lives. But when we get together, something monstrous happens and we pull this amazing sound out of all that energy."
"Plus," he adds, "we believe in world domination, and this is the band that's gonna get us there."
"You know, we went from being some local band in a basement to selling millions of records," says Gray. "It's going to be a decade since the first album came out. I'm so happy and amazed and proud and thankful for where this band has gone. I've gotten to see the world -- and I get paid for it! I'd have done it for free."
Chris Fehn agrees. "I think the best part about being in this band has been getting exposure to the rest of the world. You realize that everything in the world is the same -- people feel the same, they have the same desires, hopes, fears. Being worldly is a gift that I don't ever want to give back. It changes your life -- especially when you're from a small town in Iowa."
"I always knew we'd go far. I just knew it," says Taylor. "There was no way this band was going to fail. But I never knew we'd reach the heights we've come to. We've traveled the world so many times; all the different countries are like our second homes. To this day, it still blows me away that we took this crazy idea and made it a global sensation."
.5: The Gray Chapter is the fifth major label studio album by American heavy metal band Slipknot. It was released in Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands on October 17, 2014, the UK on October 20, 2014 and in North America on October 21, 2014. It is the first studio album by the band in six years and the first to not feature founding bassist Paul Gray and long time drummer Joey Jordison due to the death of Paul Gray in 2010 (the title of the album being a reference to his name), and the departure of Joey Jordison in late 2013.
The writing process of the record began in late 2013. Wanting to dedicate more time to the album, guitarist Jim Root decided not to tour with Stone Sour in January 2014. Corey Taylor stated that the material contains "gorgeous melodies" and the artistic direction as Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) but yet retains some of its "brutality" from the Iowa era. Unnamed at the time and referred to as simply as "Vol. 5".
Over time, hype was built as the band's main pages were blacked out. The band then announced in May that there would be another Knotfest. The first announcement was for a November Knotfest in Japan. Later, another Knotfest indicated an October festival in California, United States. Meanwhile, Slipknot's main page directory added "/negative", and over the following weeks, snippets and teasers for a new music video were released. These snippets came together in a full music video for Slipknot's first full song since 2008, "The Negative One".
Reception was wildly positive and fans were largely excited. However, the music video, notably, did not show any of the band members. No details of the identities of the replacement drummer and bassist were given. At the end of the video, a new "S" logo was shown. It should be noted that the tribal "S" was designed by Joey Jordison, which is likely the reason for the new logo. A new nonogram was also shown. Instead of three superimposed triangles, the new circle is a nine-pointed star.
Both members were briefly shown in the music video for "The Devil In I", but their identities had not been announced by Slipknot amidst speculation. Jim Root revealed in an interview that founding guitarist and former touring bassist Donnie Steele was involved in some of the studio sessions for the album, but that ultimately Donnie Steele declined to rejoin the band in favor of starting a family with his wife.
Bassist Alessandro Venturella of Krokodil was identified by the unique tattoos on his hands, performing in the video for "The Devil in I". Max Weinberg introduced Jay Weinberg to Slipknot and from there on forged a friendship by going to several concerts and being invited backstage; the band liked what he brought to the table and was told he was free to join if he wanted and he accepted. Corey Taylor stated that two similar Slipknot masks were created for their appearances in music videos and stage performances, as they felt it was disrespectful to have them sporting unique masks.