After forming in late 1995, Slipknot went through a few lineup changes, ending up as a 'family unit'. Their debut album Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. attracted the attention of various record labels, including producer Ross Robinson1. Through his imprint, I Am Records, Robinson brought Slipknot to Roadrunner Records. Finally they signed up with Roadrunner and released what is generally accepted as their real debut album, Slipknot which went platinum2. A single, 'Wait and Bleed', was released on 28 February, 2000, and it did well in the charts. However, the single was not typical of the album - it had been toned down for airing on radio. This provoked much comment from magazines and fans.
Slipknot are a relatively new band in the heavy metal scene. Formed in Des Moines, Iowa, USA, their music is a combination of neo-metal, death-metal and hip-hop. Their music has both provoked outrage and earned them a massive and loyal throng of fans.
Their music is completely original, like their image. To some, seeing nine Americans in industrial suits and masks, playing some of the most radical and outragous music you'll have heard this decade, will be rather off-putting. Off-putting it has been, and Slipknot have attracted a lot of flak for this. Drummer Joey Jordison claimed that their outfits are due to their anomnity in Iowa. He said, 'No-one gave a f***, no-one cared, so we were never about our names and faces.' This also explains why each member is known by their assigned number.
- 0 (Sid Wilson on turntables)
- 1 (Joey Jordison on drums)
- 2 (Paul Gray on bass)
- 3 (Chris Fehn on percussion)
- 4 (James Root on guitar)
- 5 (Craig Jones sampler)
- 6 (Shawn Crahan on percussion)
- 7 (Mic Tompson on guitar)
- 8 (Corey Taylor on vocals)
The masks, the music, their ideas, and their close-knit nature mean a lot to Slipknot. 6 (Shawn) said:
The masks are extensions of our personalities. Everybody's got sort of a tweaked, demented way about themselves, and we just alter the masks over time. I think things will always be changing with Slipknot. Everybody grows older every year, and with that you change, and that's somethin' Slipknot is always going to do. Everybody fell into a number. There was not one person in the band arguing over a number. It was really weird.
Despite their initially off-putting looks, music and nature, Slipknot cares about their fans and their music. They have strong opinions on the state of music today - so strong they'll not be found in any 'official' article. They are a breath of fresh air in today's stagnant pop music scene.
A typical Slipknot show is nothing less than a musical act of violence. Guitarists 4 and 7 slam out riff after bone-shattering riff, while polyrhythmic industrial-tribal beats fire off with the regularity of a military exercise. At one 1999 performance, 6, one of the group's two percussionists and identifiable by his grinning clown mask, climbed on top of his home-made rig. Gyrating wildly, he slipped, slamming his face directly into a drum rim. Despite the blood that quickly began pulsing from his mask's eyehole, 6 finished the gig, even sticking around to sign autographs afterwards.