Shawn Crahan, otherwise known as "Clown" or "Number 6", isn’t just one of the original members of the band Slipknot, he also helped define their sound and create their unique aesthetic. As the group’s percussionist, Crahan bashes away at his insane, drumline-inspired setup and pushes himself to give the audience the biggest spectacle possible. As Slipknot's behind-the-scenes visual guru, he directs the group’s videos and helps bring their chaotic vision to life.
Even though most of his life has been wrapped up in Slipknot, Crahan isn’t merely "the Clown." Aside from his duties within the group, the percussionist has produced records for other bands, directed a feature film, and even starred in a film from the director of Saw II.
He Indoctrinated Slipknot's Latest Drummer By Making Him Pay His Respects To The Late Paul Gray
Slipknot has suffered a few different member turnovers. In 2010, bassist Paul Gray passed from the effects of substance use, and in 2013, drummer Joey Jordison parted ways with the band. A year later, drummer Jay Weinberg joined the band, but not before Crahan made him pay respects to the group's former bassist. Before Clown allowed Weinberg to fully take on a role behind the drums, he made the new stickman fly to Des Moines and visit Gray's grave. He told Rolling Stone, "I made him pay his respects and say hello. I told him what we’re gonna do, and we got on a f*cking plane and flew to f*cking LA."
After Weinberg paid his respects to Gray, he had to put up with percussionists Crahan and Chris Fehn screaming in his face and giving him the finger while he played.
Before Slipknot Was Signed, His Mom Called Him ‘Kong’ Because Of How He Played His Drums
Before Crahan was slamming on the drums in Slipknot, he was playing percussion in the Pale Ones. In an interview with Loudwire, he said the way he played was a little unnatural. His mother agreed, and told him he looked like a certain movie monster. He told the site:
I was just always blowing up my drums [doing] flips, stage diving... and a lot of things and my mom would always say that I looked like [a] silver-backed gorilla with a lot of rage because I had to play my drums bent over... and that's more or less what it was... my mom loved King Kong... so she just called me "Kong."
He Directed The Exploitation Film 'Officer Downe'Photo: Officer Downe / Magnet Releasing
In 2016, Crahan released his film Officer Downe, which tells the story of a cop brought back to life to continue his fight against villainy. It took nearly three years of hard work. Clown has been directing music videos and behind-the-scene featurettes for his band's DVDs for years, so the film is a natural extension of his work. He admits the film took everything out of him:
I burned out, man. I gave all I've got. The aesthetic and the stylized vision, I think, people are gonna be... Hopefully it's a breath of fresh air for everybody, 'cause I'm coming real different. I'm giving everybody something that's a little extreme on the art, but nothing that you can't grab a hold of, nothing where I'm, like... I lose you. Where you're just, like, "Clown, you're taking too much artistic liberties to screw us all over." I'm putting it in the pocket for everyone to enjoy.
He Made His Acting Debut In 2012’s ‘The Devil’s Carnival’Photo: The Devil's Carnival / Cleopatra
Crahan doesn't just go bananas on stage with Slipknot, he's also an actor who has appeared in horror and exploitation films. In 2012, he appeared in The Devil's Carnival, a short film by the director of Repo! The Genetic Opera and Saw II. In the film, Crahan plays "The Tamer," an assistant to Satan who works at a hellish carnival. Crahan discussed his role with Loudwire, saying it's something he's always wanted to do:
I am very honored to have been asked to be a part of this project. I play a character called The Tamer. And let me tell you, there is a little Tamer in all of us. It's always been a dream and a goal for me to try and act in something that is filmed besides music videos. I am very honored to have the opportunity to have worked with so many talented actors and people who are involved in making this production come to life.