Slipknot is an American nu-metal band from Des Moines, Iowa, formed in 1995.
Slipknot is well known for its attention-grabbing image, aggressive music style, and energetic and chaotic live shows. They have specialised in horror-themed imagery, hiding their identities behind masks (although these would be removed in solo and side projects) and having controversial, confrontational and violent lyrics and stage performances, especially in their early days, where performances featured extreme acts such as stage dives from high balconies, projectile vomiting and band members setting each other on fire. They were seen as part of the ‘nu-metal’ scene, though they have little in common musically or stylistically with the likes of Limp Bizkit, Korn, Linkin Park or Papa Roach. The band’s sound typically features a heavily down-tuned guitar setup, a distinctly large percussive section, samples and turntables. Utilizing a variety of vocal styles, their music typically features growled vocals, screaming, rapping, backing vocals and occasional melodic singing.
The band enjoyed a somewhat 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. Additionally, the band has released one live album, 9.0: Live, one compilation album, Antennas to Hell, as well as four live DVDs.
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. Not long after their inception, Gray invited Joey Jordison 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. On December 4, the band made their live debut; playing a benefit show using the name Meld.
In late 1995, 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. Throughout their time in the studio, the band were adding samples to their recordings but could not produce these sounds live. After a complicated time with mixing and mastering, the band self-released Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. on Halloween, October 31, 1996.
Slipknot received a small amount of airplay on local radio stations off the back of the demo. However, it did not 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 sought more melodic vocals for their music. As a result, Corey Taylor was recruited from fellow Des Moines band Stone Sour.
In early 1998, Slipknot produced a second demo featuring five tracks exclusively for record labels. The band began to receive a lot of attention 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.
Chris Fehn was brought in on percussion before Slipknot began work on their debut album in September 1998. Partway through the recording process of the album, guitarist Brainard decided to leave the band. Slipknot recruited Jim Root to complete their lineup and returned to Malibu to continue work on the album, which concluded in early 1999, allowing the band to go on their first tour as part of the Ozzfest in 1999. The self-titled album was released on June 29, 1999. Slipknot developed a large following very quickly mainly from touring and word of mouth. In early 2000, Slipknot was certified platinum, a first for an album released by Roadrunner Records.
Anticipation for Slipknot’s sophomore effort was intense and in early 2001, the band began recording their second album. 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. 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 the DVD Disasterpieces.
Slipknot moved into 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. Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) was released on May 24, 2004, peaking at number 2 on the Billboard album charts.
Slipknot recorded their first live album, 9.0: Live while touring in support of their third album. On December 5, 2006, Slipknot released their third DVD Voliminal: Inside the Nine.
Slipknot’s fourth album; All Hope Is Gone was released on August 20, 2008, debuting at number 1 on the Billboard albums chart. 2009 marked the 10-year anniversary of Slipknot’s debut album; to commemorate the event, the band released a special edition version of Slipknot. Touring in support of the album continued before coming to a close on October 31, 2009, resulting in Slipknot’s third hiatus.
In 2010, bassist Gray was planning to tour with the supergroup, Hail!. However, on May 24, he was found dead in a hotel room in Urbandale, Iowa. The cause of death was confirmed as an accidental overdose on morphine and fentanyl, the latter being a synthetic morphine substitute.
The band released their fourth video album (sic)nesses on September 28, where it debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 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 served as a tribute to Paul Gray.
Regarding the continuation of Slipknot, Taylor later told NME that Paul Gray would want them to continue and in that spirit he feels that they should, although he feels “on the fence” about returning to the band. Slipknot returned to touring in 2011 for a small run of shows in Europe. They headlined the Sonisphere Festival and Rock in Rio among the likes of Iron Maiden and Metallica and performed at Belgium’s Graspop Metal Meeting. Taylor stated that the shows served as a “celebration and tribute” to the late bassist. Slipknot founding guitarist, Donnie Steele substituted for Gray in the concert shows, however was obscured from the audience’s view, behind Joey Jordison.
Slipknot hosted their first annual music festival, called Knotfest, which was held on August 17, 2012, at Mid-America Motorplex near Pacific Junction, Iowa (in the Omaha – Council Bluffs metropolitan area) and August 18, 2012, in Somerset, Wisconsin. Other bands that played at the festival were Deftones, Lamb of God, Serj Tankian and more. Among the activities the festival offered as part of its “dark carnival experience” were circus big-top tents, pillars of fire, amusement park rides, burlesque performers, firebreathers, stilt walkers, drum circles made of junkyard cars and graffiti walls. The two shows also debuted a Slipknot museum. On Friday 14, June 2013 Slipknot headlined the Download Festival for a second time. Performing to roughly 90,000 people, the band were twice forced to stop their set, once in the middle of a song, in order to allow repairs to be made to the front barricade, which had split open under crowd pressure.
On December 12, 2013, the band announced through their official website’s homepage that long-time member and drummer, Joey Jordison, has departed from the band after 18 years. No specific reason was given other than personal reasons. Jordison is currently the drummer for the band Scar the Martyr.
The band’s 5: The Gray Chapter was released on October 21, 2014 on Roadrunner Records. A music video for ‘The Negative One’ was released August 5.