"I have one commandment. Be aware of your own mortality. Because as you live and achieve, the clicker is going down"
Slipknot is an American heavy metal band from Des Moines, Iowa. Formed in 1995, the group was founded by percussionist Shawn Crahan and bassist Paul Gray, after several lineup changes in their early days the band consisted of nine members for the greater part of their tenure-Sid Wilson, Paul Gray, Joey Jordinson, Chris Fehn, Jim Root, Craig Jones, Shawn Crahan, Mick Thomson, and Corey Taylor. However, the death of Paul Gray on May 24, 2010 left the band with only eight remaining members.
Slipknot is well known by their attention-grabbing image, aggressive music style and their energetic and chaotic live shows. The band had somewhat of a meteoric rise to success following the release of their self-titled debut album in 1999. The 2001 follow-up album Iowa further increased the band's popularity. After breaking for their first hiatus, Slipknot returned in 2004 with Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) and once again in 2008 with their fourth album All Hope Is Gone, which debuted at the top spot on the Billboard 200. The band has also released one live album and four DVDs. As of May 2010, Slipknot has sold over 14 million records worldwide.
Early Days (1995-1998)Edit
"I'm an only child, but i've got these brothers, and we found each other and we made something happen"
Slipknot was formed in Des Moines, Iowa, in September 1995 when drummer Shawn Crahan and bassist Paul Gray started a band named The Pale Ones. The lineup was made up of friends who met through the local music scene, including vocalist Anders Colsefni and guitarist Donnie Steele. Not long after their inception, Gray invited Joey Jordinson to a rehearsal because the band were interested in experimenting with additional drum elements. Jordison subsequently joined the band as their main drummer, moving Crahan to custom percussion. Furthermore, Colsefni also took up custom percussion while remaining the band's vocalist. The band then decided to invite Donnie Steele as their second guitarist, bringing their lineup to six members. On December 4, the band made their live debut; playing a benefit show using the name Meld.
A lot of the band's early development was retrospectively attributed to late-night planning sessions between Gray, Crahan and Jordison at a Sinclair gas station where Jordison worked nights. It was there, in late 1995, that Jordison suggested changing the band name to Slipknot after their song of the same name. In December, Slipknot began recording material at SR Audio, a studio in the band's hometown. Without a recording budget, the band were forced to self-finance the project, the costs of which came to an estimated $40,000. In February 1996, guitarist Donnie Steele decided to leave Slipknot due to his Christian beliefs. When questioned in 1999 about Steele's departure, Jordison explained: "we were prepared to keep him on, but he didn't want to stay." During the mixing stages of their project at SR Audio, Craig Jones was recruited as Steele's replacement on guitar. However, throughout their time in the studio, the band were adding samples to their recordings but could not produce these sounds live. Subsequently, Jones became the band's sampler and Mick Thomson was brought in as the replacement guitarist. After a complicated time with mixing and mastering, the band self-released the demo album Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. on Halloween, October 31, 1996.
Distribution for the demo was initially left to the band and their producer Sean McMahon, before it was handed over to the distribution company Ismist in early 1997. Slipknot received a small amount of airplay on local radio stations off the back of the demo. However, it didn't lead to any kind of interest from record labels, so the band returned to the studio to develop new material. It was at this time that the band began experimenting with more vocal melody, something which Colsefni struggled to achieve. As a result, Corey Taylor was recruited from fellow Des Moines band Stone Sour; this moved Colsefni to backing vocals and percussion. While working in the studio, Slipknot continued to do local shows, during one of which in September 1997, Colsefni announced on stage that he was leaving the band. The gap on percussion was filled by Greg Welts, who was affectionately known as "Cuddles." In early 1998, Slipknot produced a second demo featuring five tracks exclusively for record labels. The band began to receive a lot of attention from record labels, and in February 1998, producer Ross Robinson offered to produce their debut album after attending rehearsals in Des Moines. Soon after, DJ Sid Wilson was recruited as the band's ninth member after showing great interest and impressing band members. In late June, Slipknot received a $500,000 seven-album deal from Roadrunner Records; the band signed the deal publicly on July 8, 1998. Two days prior to this, Welts was fired from the band, something which Slipknot refuse to comment on.
Slipknot and emergence (1998-2000)Edit
"I've felt the hate rise up in me...
Kneel down and clear the stone of leaves...
I wander out where you can't see...
Inside my shell, I wait and bleed..."
-Wait And Bleed, Slipknot (1999)
Chris Fehn was brought in to replace Welts on percussion before Slipknot traveled to Malibu, California to work on their debut album in September 1998. Partway through the recording process of the album, Slipknot returned to Des Moines, Iowa for the Christmas period, during which guitarist Brainard decided to leave the band. Speaking about his decision, Brainard explained: "some decisions were made that I wasn't particularly happy with." Slipknot recruited Jim Root to complete their lineup and returned to Malibu to continue work on their debut album. Work on the album concluded in early 1999, allowing the band to go on their first tour as part of the Ozzfest in 1999. The tour proved to expand their audience greatly and their self-titled album was released on June 29, 1999. Slipknot went on to release their first home video Welcome to Our Neighborhood and the two singles; "Wait and Bleed" and "Spit It Out". The singles received some airplay, but Slipknot developed a large following very quickly mainly from touring and word of mouth. The band toured several countries throughout 1999 and 2000 in support of the album. In early 2000, Slipknot was certified platinum, a first for an album released by Roadrunner Records.
Iowa and hiatus (2001-2003)Edit
"Everybody hates me now, so fuck it
Blood's on my face and my hands, and I don't know why
I'm not afraid to cry, but thats none of your business
Whose life is it? Get it, see it, feel it, eat it
Spin it around so I can spit in its face
I wanna leave without a trace
'Cause I dont wanna die in this place"
-People=Shit, Iowa (2001)
Anticipation for Slipknot's sophomore effort was intense and in early 2001, the band began recording their second album at Sound City and Sound Image studios in Los Angeles, California. It was about this time that conflicts began to arise between band members due to their extensive touring and recording schedules. Despite this, recording on their second album came to a close in February 2001 and Slipknot embarked on their Iowa World Tour. Iowa, the band's second album was released on August 28, 2001, peaking at number three on the Billboard album charts and at number one on the UK album chart. The album, like its predecessor, produced two singles; "Left Behind" and then "My Plague" which appeared on the soundtrack for the film Resident Evil. In 2002, Slipknot made their first (and to-date only) appearance in a movie, performing the song "I Am Hated" in a scene in the remake of Rollerball. The release of the album and the promotion in support of it proved great for the band's popularity, to the extent of them selling out shows in large arenas in several countries. However, in mid-2002, Slipknot went on hiatus for the first time due to internal conflicts, seeing several band members focus on side projects. Vocalist Taylor and guitarist Root revived their band Stone Sour, drummer Jordison created the Murderdolls, percussionist Crahan founded To My Surprise and DJ Wilson went solo as DJ Starscream. At this time, the future of Slipknot was unclear and there was speculation over whether the band had split and the possibility of a third album. Despite this, on November 22, 2002 Slipknot released their second DVD Disasterpieces.
Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) and second hiatus (2003-2007)Edit
"I am a world before I am a man
I was a creature before I could stand
I will remember before I forget
Before I forget that"
-Before I Forget, Vol. 3 (Subliminal Verses), 2004
After several delays, Slipknot moved in to The Mansion in Los Angeles, California in mid-2003 to work on their third album alongside producer Rick Rubin. By early 2004, work had finished on the album and they began The Subliminal Verses World Tour with their appearance on the Jagermeister Music Tour in March 2004. Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) was released on May 24, 2004, peaking at number 2 on the Billboard album charts. The album produced four singles; "Duality", "Vermilion", "Before I Forget" and "The Nameless". Slipknot recorded their first live album, 9.0 Live while touring in support of their third album. Released on November 1, 2005 9.0 Live peaked at number 17 on the Billboard album charts. Touring in support of Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) continued through 2004 and up to the end of 2005 before Slipknot went on hiatus for the second time.
In 2005, several members of Slipknot where involved in Roadrunner United: The All-Star Sessions, a collaboration album of artists signed to Roadrunner Records. 2006 saw Slipknot win their first (and to date only) Grammy Award, picking up the Best Metal Performance award with the single "Before I Forget". On December 5, 2006, Slipknot released their third DVD Voliminal: Inside the Nine. While Slipknot were on hiatus, several band members once again focused their attentions on side projects; vocalist Taylor and guitarist Root returned to Stone Sour, drummer Jordison toured with several bands and produced 3 Inche of Blood's third album Fire Up the Blades, Crahan founded Dirty Little Rabbits and Wilson returned as DJ Starscream once again.
All Hope Is Gone, Gray's death and third hiatus (2008-present)Edit
"And the rain will kill us all
We throw ourselves against the wall
But no one else can see
The preservation of the martyr in me"
-Psychosocial, All Hope Is Gone (2008)
Preparation for Slipknot's fourth album began towards the end of 2007; however, work began when the band entered the Sound Farm Studio in Jamaica, Iowa with producer Dave Fortman in February 2008. Work came to a close on the album in June, prior to the beginning of the All Hope Is Gone Tour on July 9, 2008. Slipknot's fourth album; All Hope Is Gone was released on August 20, 2008, debuting at number 1 on the Billboard albums chart. The album produced four singles; "Psychosocial", "Dead Memories", "Sulfur" and "Snuff". 2009 marked the 10-year anniversary of Slipknot's debut album; to commemorate the event, the band released a special edition version of Slipknot on September 9, 2009. Touring in support of the album continued throughout 2008 and 2009, before coming to a close on October 31, 2009, resulting in Slipknot's third hiatus.
During the hiatus, several band members focused on respective side projects; vocalist Taylor founded Junk Beer Kidnap Band and returned to Stone Sour with guitarist Root, Crahan continued working with his band Dirty Little Rabbits, drummer Jordison returned with his band Muderdolls and became the new permanent drummer of Rob Zombie, percussionist Fehn is now a full-time bassist with metalcore band Will Haven and Sid Wilson founded the band, Sid named after his first name. In 2010, bassist Gray was planning to tour with the supergroup, Hail!. However, on May 24, 2010, he was found dead in a hotel room in Urbandale, Iowa. Circumstances surrounding his death at the time were not immediately known, an autopsy suspected that his death was not caused by intention of anyone, but still did not reveal the cause of it. The day after his death, the remaining eight members of the band held a live press conference alongside Gray's widow and brother, expressing their feelings about the incident. On June 21, the cause of death was confirmed as an accidental overdose on morphine and fentanyl, the latter being a synthetic morphine substitute. The band was hesitant to comment on the future of Slipknot. The members made conflicting statements in interviews regarding the situation; drummer Jordison told The Pulse of Radio "there is another Slipknot record already kinda in the making". Vocalist Taylor revealed to FMQB Productions' that he is "very conflicted about whether or not [he wants] to do anything with Slipknot". The band released their fourth video album (sic)nesses on September 28, where it debuted at No.1 on the Billboard Top Music Video Charts. The DVD features Slipknot's complete live performance at the 2009 Download Festival and a 45 minute film documenting their tour in support of All Hope Is Gone, and serves as a tribute to Paul Gray.
Regarding the band's afterthoughts on the incident of Gray's death, Taylor explained to NME that Gray would want them to continue, and in that spirit he feels they should. He has taken inspiration from Vinnie Paul, who lost Dimebag Darrell in 2004 as well as Avenged Sevenfold who lost their drummer The Rev in December, 200p. It has been confirmed that Slipknot will be returning in 2011, headlining the 2011 Sonisphere Festival in the United Kingdom, the Graspop Metal Meeting 2011 in the summer, and the Rock in Rio festival in September.
Slipknot has also confirmed that they will complete and release their fifth studio album.