Slipknot be crazy. If you need more evidence than watching nine masked Iowans in jumpsuits pumping out death metal riffs, drumming on trash cans, and screaming lyrics such as "People equal sh*t," read these true stories about the maggot-loving, corpse-huffing, drug-and-alcohol vacuums in Slipknot. The band has been a mainstay on the metal scene since the late '90s, when they appeared out of the American heartland like a real-life extreme metal horror freak show version of Devo, screaming about how much they hate everything until they were coughing up blood. True Slipknot stories more than live up to that description.
Somewhat improbably, Slipknot hit the zeitgeist; the band obliterated nu metal peers by making real metal cool again before the New Wave of American Heavy Metal swept in and changed the landscape of heavy music. The band's members were unapologetically aggressive and hateful; you can practically hear the winds of despair blowing through dead wheat on the outskirts of small-town, meth-riddled Iowa in the hopelessness and violence of their first two albums. Their music is pure catharsis in the form of metal.
The first lyric on Slipknot's debut album is "Pain! Here comes the pain," and the album sold two million copies in the US alone. It was also voted the number three metal debut of all time by Metal Injection readers, and was embraced by legitimate, established death metal musicians as much as it was by Korn and Kid Rock fans whose favorite movie was The Fast & The Furious.
Slipknot has continued its assault on mainstream music ever since its debut. If you think the band members are getting soft more than two decades into their career, think again: these WTF stories show their proclivity for setting things on fire, drinking stuff you’re not supposed to drink, fighting with knives, and rubbing one another with sh*t. If you think the masks, screaming, and anti-social nihilism is an act, you'd be dead wrong.
Most wacky celebrity facts involve an A-lister enjoying weird food or having a collection of 50 sombreros. That’s not the case with these stories about Slipknot. It seems like the only things these guys enjoy doing is trying to one-up each other with their legitimately crazy behavior. Some gonzo stories about Slipknot will trigger those of weak constitution, so if you have issues with people eating a rotten bird corpse or drinking puke, you may want to read some less crazy celebrity stories. If you’re still here, you’re ready to dive into the infernal swamp of Slipknot.
What's the craziest thing you did when you were a teenager? If it wasn't ODing on coke and amphetamines and you're trying to become one of the most famous metal singers on the planet, you need to seriously rethink your dreams.
"At a place like that, there's only two things to do, really - you take drugs, and you f*ck. Crank was just starting, and I was a total speed freak and really into coke. I remember waking up one morning in a dumpster. And, instead of taking me to a hospital, they took me somewhere and dumped me in a trash can, thinking I was dead. So I come to, I've got no shoes on, I've got no T-shirt, I've got blood on my face. I'm 12 miles from my house, and I proceeded to walk from there. The whole way home. I was like, I've gotta get out of here."
Mick Thomson, the gargantuan guitar player (6'4" and about ten feet wide at the shoulders) otherwise known as #7, proves the adage "you can take the boy out of Iowa, but you can't take the Iowa out of the boy." In 2015, he and his brother got into a knife fight on the front lawn of a residence in Clive, IA. When cops showed up, they found the intoxicated (duh) guitarist covered in non-life threatening, but kinda serious, stab wounds.
The brothers refused to press charges against one another, but were charged with disorderly conduct. In case you're wondering, Thomson was 42 at the time.
Every performer needs to get into the right head space to achieve purity in his or her art. This is especially true of musicians, whose job requires manual dexterity, athleticism (for drummers, at least), and showmanship. Some stretch before a gig, some do vocal warm ups, some skateboard or job.
In the early days of the band, the members of Slipknot had their own special way of getting into the mood before a show. Clown (percussionist Shawn Crahan) kept a dead crow in a jar, which he was allowing to "ferment" (decompose). Before each show, he took a big whiff of its terrible scent and passed it around to his bandmates. Wouldn't you know it, fans wanted in on the action, and they ended up eating the rotting bird.
Said DJ Sid Wilson of the ritual:
“We had a dead bird in a jar. Clown kept it in there for a long time. We’d bring it out on stage and take big deep breaths out of it, see what death smelled like, have that inside you, gets you in that dark place. It would make you throw up immediately, vomit in your mask. He had it in there for so long it started getting this gelatinous liquid in the jar as it decayed."
While recording Slipknot's second album, Iowa, vocalist Corey Taylor was in such a terrible place he self-harmed during vocal takes. "I was cutting myself while recording songs in the studio. I was bleeding everywhere. I just wanted something, I didn’t care what it was."
The intro to the album, a track called (515), consists of layered, anguished screams and white noise. The screams were taken from recordings of DJ Sid Wilson having an emotional breakdown in the vocal booth because his grandfather had just died.
While the band was recording Iowa, its manager, the now-deceased Steve Richards, was creating unnecessary tension between members. As Mick Thomson recalls:
"I should dig Steve Richards up and beat his fucking corpse. Every once in a while I think there may be a God that put a cyst on his brainstem and caused him to be a fuckin’ zombie. The dude just stepped into our lives and tried to cause rifts between band members because, as long as you’ve got them occupied, you can be raping them and stealing from them and they’re not noticing because they’re too caught up in stupid shit to see a bigger picture."
Clown recalls similarly depressing memories about making the record:
"It was a disaster because the world got in. Drugs, women, just listening to, 'You guys are gonna be huge.' Everybody wants our money. So I hate the album, but it is brutality at its finest. People are like, “Do another Iowa.” And I’m like [extends middle finger], 'Sit on this! You know why? We almost all died.'
It was bad. There were chemicals. I was probably the worst, man. My wife was very ill during those times. I felt really isolated because I couldn’t be with her. So out of the sadness of not being together, there’s that frustration and anger, too, that she’s taking care of three kids and we’re being lied to about money and we’re still broke. I was just anti-everyone in the band, coming for everyone in the band."