Members: Sid Wilson, Joey Jordison, Paul Gray, Chris Fehn, James Root, Craig
Slipknot is a band originating from Des Moines, Iowa, formed in 1995 and currently signed to Roadrunner Records. There is a debate concerning the group's musical genre, with some classifying them as alternative metal while others classify them as Nu-metal. Aside from their real names, members of the band are also referred to by numbers 0 through 8. Each of them wear different masks.
Slipknot is currently one of the more popular musical groups of the contemporary music scene, with violent stage performances, and music which is perceived as extreme in comparison with other bands in the mainstream market. Their albums and home videos have achieved Platinum-sales status, with Grammy indications in the "Best Heavy Metal" and "Best Hard Rock" categories for songs from all three of their first major-label albums. They recently won the 2006 Grammy for Best Metal Performance, with their song 'Before I Forget'.
The band is also known for its peculiar image: the members wear matching uniform jumpsuits (most of which have UPC barcodes printed on them) and each has a unique mask. They change masks after every studio album, though they rarely have major changes in them. Some members have several masks for each time period.
Initially, the members had a desire to remain mysterious, and preserve their secret identities, refusing to be photographed maskless, even to the point of conducting interviews or posing with fans while wearing their masks (or at least obscuring their faces in some other way).
Today most members of the band have now been openly photographed without their masks, largely as the result of their work in other, non-Slipknot bands.
Vocalist Corey Taylor and guitarist James Root appear unmasked when working with their band Stone Sour
drummer Joey Jordison appears unmasked with his side-project the Murderdolls.
Percussionist Shawn Crahan appears unmasked with his band To My Surprise
Sid Wilson works unmasked when performing as DJ Starscream
Guitarist Mick Thompson appeared unmasked in a Total Guitar magazine shoot
Bassist Paul Gray's face was revealed in a police mugshot leaked through The Smoking Gun.
'Gray and Jordison have also appeared unmasked during various photo shoots and sessions with Roadrunner United.
In the video for "Before I Forget", they performed without their masks; however, the band members' faces are shown only as brief glimpses (mainly close-up shots on their eyes and mouths), with the camera focused mainly on their hands and instruments.
Slipknot's first songs were composed in 1992, during what is referred to by the band members as the "Basement Sessions", conducted in the basement of Anders Colsefini, co-founder of the band. Many of the songs on Mate.Feed.Kill.Repeat, and some that were added to later albums, were written during these sessions. Crahan, being one of the founders, came up with the idea of having three drummers: one that keeps the group together, and two to give a wall of sound. Before Joey Jordison joined, Crahan was the lead drummer.
They achieved a stable line-up in 1995, and released a demo entitled Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat on Halloween in 1996. The demo was well-received, and after they won a local battle of the bands in Des Moines, beating soon-to-be-vocalist Corey Taylor's group Stone Sour, a few major record labels became interested in the group. At that time, the band contained 5 members, but Roadrunner Records didn't want to sign them at first, feeling that the songwriting needed some work. John Kuliak, Midwest Promotion rep for Roadrunner, worked tirelessly to get them signed to the reluctant label. In due course, Slipknot went out to find a new lead singer, and pushed Anders to percussion. They hired Corey Taylor.
Roadrunner Records eventually signed the band, and released their self-titled debut album, Slipknot, in June of 1999, produced by Ross Robinson. Despite receiving little airplay, the album sold very well, due mainly to word-of-mouth. Indeed, it became Roadrunner Records' very first Platinum certified album (sales of over 1 million copies in the U.S.). Regarding the album, one reviewer wrote "You thought Limp Bizkit was hard? They're the Osmonds. Slipknot is something else entirely. And it's pretty impressive." The band's fanbase also increased subsequent to their performances on the 1999 Ozzfest tour.
2001's Iowa, the follow-up to their debut album, was anticipated by fans and debuted at number three on the Billboard Magazine album charts and at number one on the UK album chart. They again toured extensively to promote the release. The band also appeared as themselves in the concert scene of the 2002 movie Rollerball, starring Jean Reno, where they played the song "I Am Hated" from Iowa.
After a hiatus of close to two years, the band regrouped in late 2003 and began writing and recording with renowned producer Rick Rubin, who had previously worked with artists such as Johnny Cash, Red Hot Chili Peppers, System of a Down, Pennywise and Slayer. The band released their third album, Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) in May 2004. Reviews were mostly positive. New Musical Express noted, "At least two thirds of it is still comprised of head-spinning speed metal, but there are signs of genuine progression, not to mention progressive rock, from the off." It debuted at #2 on the Billboard albums chart.
A live album recorded from shows in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Osaka, Singapore & Tokyo was released in November 2005 titled 9.0: Live. Several members of the band also collaborated with other artists on the Roadrunner United: The All-Star Sessions CD released in October 2005. They also appeared in cartoon form in the adult comic Viz (issue 152, Feb 2006), where they appear, singing "People = Shit" at the end of the "Mrs Brady, Old Lady" strip.
DEBATE ON CATEGORIZATION
There is a deadlock as to where Slipknot's music fits.
Those who consider Slipknot to be nu-metal argue that the lyrical themes and instrumental styles of Slipknot is typical of the genre; the use of turntables, sampling and three percussionists to accomplish what one person can do. On the other hand, those who don't consider Slipknot's music to be nu-metal note that some of their music doesn't have a rap-based lyrical structure (although the influence of rap is evident in most of their earlier music). The band's vocals generally reflect the styles of nu-metal (mostly on their self-titled debut).
With the release of Slipknot's latest album, Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses), fans felt that the presence of solos on their albums would end the debate on the band's genre and label them heavy metal. However, it can be argued that this is simply another financially conscious move given the mid-2000s "retro-metal" renaissance, and solos alone do not specify a genre. Some others think that the presence of solos in their latest album is only due to the change of the producer, pointing to the presence of solos in songs released before they signed with Roadrunner. In a Guitar World interview, James Root claimed that Ross Robinson, who produced the self-titled and Iowa albums, had denied Slipknot the use of guitar solos at all, to align them to the musical tendencies of late 90's.
1999 - Slipknot
2001 - Iowa
2004 - Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses)
2005 - 9.0 Live
2000 - "Wait and Bleed"
2000 - "Spit It Out"
2001 - "Left Behind"
2002 - "My Plague"
2004 - "Duality"
2004 - "Vermilion"
2005 - "Before I Forget"
1997 - Crowz
1997 - Roadrunner Records Demo