Published Sep 25, 2019Slipknot have been shocking the world and stoking metal fans for decades, from their highly experimental but brutal sound to their unnerving mask-adorned appearances and unwillingness to compromise who they are for anyone. From their days fighting for a record deal without losing one of their nine members to headlining some of the biggest metal gigs to ever happen, the band have come a long way for a band whose success seemed impossible on paper.
With the recent release of their sixth album, We Are Not Your Kind, we decided to tell the band's story in our monthly Timeline feature. In advance of that, here are five noteworthy facts you may not know about the Iowa metal kings.
1. The idea to have all of the members wear masks started with Shawn "Clown" Crahan trying to freak out his bandmates
Original vocalist Anders Colsefni helped Crahan move homes, and in the process Crahan found the original Halloween clown mask buried in his belongings. Crahan began wearing it to band practices to the dismay of his bandmates, and Colsefni eventually started wrapping his face in electric tape. Founding drummer Joey Jordison eventually brought up that if two members were going to wear masks, everyone had to design their own mask to create a uniform for their band.
2. Slipknot were demonized following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, causing them to pass on touring opportunities and struggle to get radio play
The release of their sophomore album, Iowa, came just a couple of weeks before the 9/11 terrorist attacks while they were scheduled to co-headline a North American tour with System of a Down. The tour was delayed by a week following the attacks. Songs such as "People = Shit" and "The Heretic Anthem," on top of their imagery, caused countless bans on the band. Schools weren't allowing students to wear their shirts, radio stations wouldn't play their music and they struggled to get their lives back on track. The Iowa tour cycle was one of their shortest after they continued to pass up tour opportunities over fear of public perception of them at the time, but the shows they did play were their largest up to that point.
3. The band were dirt poor until after their third album cycle, despite massive success
Slipknot were selling out arenas from their debut record onwards, but finding themselves constantly scrounging for money. Their manager at the time, Steve Richards, was later found to be unfairly distributing their money, causing financial struggles for the members. "He wrote us into a bunch of different corners legally that took us a long time to unravel. It took us a long time to get back. Not only did he bill us for a bunch of money, he left us in debt because he ran that debt up in our name. That was one of the reasons we toured as much as we did on Vol. 3. We didn't make any money really on Vol. 3 because we were all paying back all of the debt that he ran up in our name," says vocalist Corey Taylor.
4. During the recording of Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses), producer Rick Rubin only showed up a handful of times despite the recording happening in his own home
Slipknot worked with the legendary producer for their third album, marking their first recording without Robinson since Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. They flew out to Rubin's home in Los Angeles, nicknamed The Mansion, and stayed there for the duration of recording, but Rubin rarely showed up. "If you're putting all of the cards on the table, the people who produced that album were Greg [Fidelman] and us. Rick would have been an executive producer because I think [he showed up] six times," says Taylor. "I was at his house and only saw him twice, so you tell me if we enjoyed the experience with Rick Rubin. I will never say anything bad about his legacy or the work he did prior to us, and I respect the man, but I would never work with him again."
5. Sampler and keyboardist Craig Jones did not appear publicly without his spiked bondage helmet until 2010
Jones has been known to not say a word to interviewers from the time he joined the band up to today and kept himself almost entirely anonymous the whole time. Longtime producer Ross Robinson has commented on Jones' presence during studio sessions as "disturbingly quiet," while interviewers have long tried to get him to speak to no avail. Following the sudden death of bassist Paul Gray, the remaining eight members and Gray's widow held a press conference to discuss their future and what was known of his death at the time. Jones appeared without his iconic mask in public for the first time ever, but still remained silent the entire time.