Iowa is best known as The middle of nowhere. Iowa has never had a singular voice to put it on the musical map since the dawning of rock’ n’ roll in the early 50’s. However, nine young men from Des Moines, wearing industrial coveralls and surrealistic home made masks. They started their own type of music called L.A. neo metal also known as ultra-violence. This type of music is composed of death metal, hip hop, and down-tuned screeching horror. Clockwork Orange is the only band to come even close to sounding like Slipknot.
The band member’s names are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. As normal people they are Sid Wilson, Joey Jordison, Paul Gray, Chris Fehn, James Root, Craig Jones, Shawn Crahan, Mick Thompson, and Corey Taylor. Each member chose and created their own mask. The members of the band are not defined as individual dew to their number assignments or their masks but dew to their personal instrumental talent. Their line up has changed many times since their start in early 1995. All native Iowans, their rather unassuming, un-happening locale gave the members plenty of space and time to perfect their unusual take on their bond of friendship or as a family unit. The band recorded and distributed the self-released debut Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. In 1996, and the ball has not stop rolling yet. Attracting the attention of a large number of record labels, Slipknot finally signed to Roadrunner records through nationally recognized producer Ross Robinson’s I AM RECORDS imprint in 1997 and entered Indigo Ranch Studios in L.A. with Robinson to record Slipknot the self titled album. Slipknot’s vast array of influences comes seamlessly wrapped up in a 13-song love/hate letter to the outside world. Only about 2000 copies of Mate Feed Kill Repeat were ever released.
Sid Wilson was given the number zero. Sid specializes on the turn table for the band. Sid grew up in and was born in Iowa. At concerts when Sid is not behind the turntables, he is usually found in the crowd, crowd surfing or getting into fights with his fellow Slipknot member Shawn Crahan. Sid has about 8 different gas masks. Sid has been quoted be sayingWearing a mask prevents the oxygen going to my skull. I get hallucinations and stuff. Half the time, I don’t know what’s going on around me. It’s up to the clown to intimidate me and keep me in line.
Joey Jordinson is also known as number one to Slipknot fans. Joe learned to play his musical stying on the drums from his former high school band teacher. Number one is a talkative, diminutive lead drummer for the band. Joey has long black hair with vivid red-steaks, and wears a plain white, expressionless Japanese kabuki mask. Joey also refers to Slipknot fans as Maggots. Joe has been quoted Ross Robinson is insane! Once when we were recording he threw a potted plant at me. It exploded on the wall all over my head and the dirt went in my mouth. It was awesome! He has also been quoted saying When I first came into the band I was like, ‘I have to be either in this band or I have to destroy it because it’s so good’ Joey says he chose Number 1 because well it works for me because it’s kind of a pivotal thing for being in the bands like have to lay all the drums and guitar work. I’m always the person that has to lay something down or be the cement of the band. That’s where the 1 thing came from for me. And on his mask .. I didn’t want to be just held down by one thing, I wanted to keep the whole thing like all options open. Like it’s not something you can be held down to. It can be beautiful, it can be ugly, it can be disgusting, it can be all those things. Right now it’s go like weird looking scars on it and sh!t. I’m marketing it up a lot different so it doesn’t necessarily look the same. It’s cool man I just want people to get out of it what they want.
Paul Gray has been given the number two. Paul is Slipknot’s bass guitar player. Paul Gray is the one of the for founder of Slipknot aside with Shawn Crahan the Percussionist. He says that his mask is supposed to represent his indulgent personality. When we go to radio stations for interviews, we wear the masks and never fail to freak people out. Are the masks a fetish thing? I’m definitely into that stuff. Des Moines certainly has more than its fair share of freaks! Joe told the reporter of Metal Hammer magazine. Paul loves to be scared and to scare people.
Chris Fehn took on the number three. The member who plays custom percussion, Chris Fehn is more or less the joker of the band with a mask that resembles a Pinnochio from hell. Chris was influenced by classic metal drummers like Igor Cavalera and Dave Lombardo. Chris also claims to have seen UFOs at Indigo Ranch. This mask reflects my comic personality. Plus I chose it for the bondage factor. When you put it on, it takes you to another place. It’s very hot, it’s very tight and it hurts – and that goes along with the aggression we create. Chris told metal hammer magazine. Chris is mainly an entertainer of the audience. Chris is a big people person and he loves to amuse people by being a fool.
James Root is number four. James is the bands another guitar player. One of the main guitarist of Slipknot, James Root who, during the production of their album decide to call it quits. He rejoined the band two weeks afterwards. He was then forced to wear a stifling bondage hood. He supposedly the one who changed his attitude on morals or rights from wrongs. James told the reporter at a Iowa radio station The guys chose this mask to tame me. Joining this band takes a little getting used to. I was a timid guy before I joined them. Now I’m a freak! Am I as borderline psychotic as the rest? Ask me in a month! James took a few guitar lessons from Mick and heard about the up and calling band Slipknot from Mick.
To all the slipknot fans Craig Jones Is number five. Sampling and Media are the fields that Craig covers. A quiet lone member of Slipknot sits behind the action wearing an old race car helmet crowned in nails. Number Five’s diving helmet used to be a cheap plastic Sinclair (gas station) racing helmet to be exact. This sampler’s work is most hearable in songs like Tattered and Torn. Craig usually leaves shows early to keep his anonymity. Sometimes when we’re working our way up on stage, we’ll shove our way through the crowd. When people see me coming they mostly get out of the way. But sometimes they don’t… Metal Hammer quoted Craig. Until you hear the sound they create, having nine members in the band might seem ludicrous. Shawn claims it couldn’t work any other way: We’ve maintained an excellent practice schedule for the last three years. Everybody’s on time, everybody’s always there, and we always practice as a unit. Our music is so reliant on each other that if one guy, even the DJ, is gone, it just wouldn’t be our songs without him. Without one person, something is really, really missing. Everybody has to be present. Even the littlest things make the songs magical.
Personality number six is Shawn Crahan. Known mostly as self ruling and slapstick, the custom percussionist nick named clown due to his mask plays the role of entertaining the audience more than playing his instrument just like his fellow band member Chris. Also the co-founder of Slipknot. Shawn stand higher then the other member, the last time his height was taken he stood at seven feet and two inches. He chose the mask he says because I believe there is something nice in me and something very twisted as well, If someone stares at me when I come on stage I won’t go up until they look away. Shawn proved to New York’s own radio station K-Rock and it’s dis jockey Sorch that he has fun on and off the stage Sometimes I don’t want to play I just want to kill people . Shawn is also the co-producer of Slipknot
Mick Thompson is the man under the seventh mask. Mick is the final guitar player in Slipknot. Mick is the giant, hockey mask clad guitarist. He is fully aware of similarity with Jason Vorhees from Friday The 13th films, and describes himself as a night person. Mick professes to be a fan of serial killers, and loves cats. He first started playing in bands at age 16. His first show was at age 19. Mick enjoys listening to Immolation, Morbid Angel, Jimi Hendrix, Deicide and The Beatles. Brutality balances you out. I’m coming to f#cking kill you. Mick told Sorch of K-Rock, during a recent disagreement about explicit lyrics. And Mick still gives guitar lessons at Ye old guitar shop in Iowa and has done so for the last eight years.
Corey Taylor is considered the heart and the voice of the band. Corey is the eighth and final man behind the mask. Number eight’s only two instruments are a M Shure SM58 microphone and his voice. Number eight took voice lessons for three years when he was still in high school. He worked in a pornography shop in hometown of Des Moines before joining the band. Corey is the alarmingly hypnotic front man who wears a unusually disturbing ‘leather face’ mask with dreads made from his own real hair, and screams out such lyrics as You can’t see California without Marlon Brando’s eyes! Corey is formerly the front man of a local Iowa band named Stone Sour. Corey is unmasked on the cover of his old band Stone Sour, and he called himself Faith, Faith was his first name and his last name. The man with so much to say, tries to put some logic behind the whole mask idea We aren’t hiding behind these masks, we’re actually revealing more to you than you might think. The mask I wear brings out all the sh!t inside me that I hate. Plus it hurts like hell, which helps my intensity.
The band’s jump suits are five different colors. The colors are vermillion red, purple, blue , and the bands personal favorite black. All the band wears the same colored jump suit during the shows. On the back of each jump suit is a tribal S. On the left sleeve is the number of the individual that the suit belongs to. The right sleeve has a skull and cross bones along with a picture of the corresponding individuals instrument. The barcodes on the leg of Slipknot’s jumpsuits and on the band t-shirts aren’t entirely decorative. The barcode’s number has special meaning. It’s the barcode from Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. Slipknot made all their own masks. Leather straps and modifications are taken care of by a friend of the band, named Viken Koundakjian. Who was formaly a part of the band. Just as striking visually as they are musically, Slipknot stresses that the visuals do not take precedence over the music. We never put on the *censored* we wear to try and get people into us, says Joey Jordison. We did it because, after being degraded constantly for trying to play music or do something in Des Moines, it just came to be like we were an anonymous entity. No one gave a *censored*, no one cared, so we were never about our names or our faces; we’re just about music. So we just put it on and it started gettin’ people, and it just started to turn into this big thing. The music’s the most important, though. The coveralls and masks happened, and for some reason it worked, therefore we had to kind of continue with it. We got stuck with it. Now that they’re stuck with it, they hardly feel like themselves without it. Shawn feels that …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. It feels really, really good when we wear our masks for an hour, and then afterwards we take it off, and the first thing we do is go, ‘God, what a relief!’, but we always seem to put ’em back on after a show and walk around the place. And the visual presentation will change over time, just as the music certainly will. 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.