Slipknot’s Percussionist Fails to Deliver
By Kyle Eustice
According to Shawn “Clown” Crahan (#6) of Slipknot, no one really knows the truth about the band and the media has it all wrong. Furthermore, the 45-year-old musician is seemingly not very interested in setting the record straight.
Slipknot has been around for years, since 1995 to be exact. Based in Des Moines, Iowa, the heavy metal band was originally formed by vocalist Corey Taylor (who appears to be the most sophisticated of the motley crew) and the late bassist, Paul Gray. Over the years, there have been multiple lineup changes and the current incarnation consists of 8 members. While several sources such as Wikipedia and allmusic.com report that Slipknot took some time off after a grueling tour schedule for 2001’s Iowa, Crahan is adamant that it never happened.
“There has never been a brief hiatus,” Crahan says. “We’ve never gone anywhere. Why people think we took a hiatus is beyond me. People should not assume anything.”
Enough said. Moving on. Slipknot’s shtick is the stage costumes. In the spirit of, say Gwar, they dress up in scary little outfits and present themselves to the world as some kind of monsters. They also refer to themselves as numerals (rather than their names) and dress in the same red jumpsuits as they sport their individual masks. This is supposed to be an artistic statement that says “we’re products, not people.”
However, Crahan asserts these are not costumes, which upon further investigation, doesn’t really make much sense. Slipknot has played numerous times in Omaha. At a particular show at Sokol Auditorium in the late ‘90s, all members were hanging out by the side of the tour bus sans “costumes.” They seemed like nice, normal dudes enjoying the admiration they were receiving from their fans. Crahan paints a different picture.
“They are not costumes. I do not wear a mask. I just kill people with kindness,” he says.
Ok. Again, moving on. It’s unfortunate that Crahan either abhors interviews or just isn’t very good at them or, perhaps, he just doesn’t understand the purpose of them. After all, the media is usually there to provide a positive preview for the show so more people attend. Oh well. At this stage in Slipknot’s career, they probably aren’t worried about attendance. They have done very well for themselves over the past couple of decades. Beginning with 1999’s self-titled debut and culminating with 2008’s All Hope Is Gone, they have received 7 Grammy Award nominations, winning one in 2006 for Best Metal Performance. But Crahan seems unfazed by the accolades. When asked what keeps him going, his answer was more of a rejection of any of the recognition.
“Subtract the Grammy, subtract the albums. I know I’m going to die,” he says.
As tight-lipped and difficult as Crahan was during the interview, after extensive research, he is either just staying in character or truly is just a terminally angry person. After all, he says he got into drums for “temper management” and insists he “is nothing but dark content.” The masks serve the purpose of keeping them more anonymous and protecting their personal lives, something all band members are very grateful for. They can walk down the street or go to the grocery store without getting recognized.
This was probably very helpful during a tumultuous time for the band that began on May 24, 2010. The body of bassist/Slipknot co-founder Paul Gray was found by a maintenance worker at a hotel in Urbandale, Illinois and the news hit the band like a jackhammer. Over 2 years later, the subject is still a source of extreme sadness. When Crahan was asked how it affected the band as a whole, he would only offer one sentence. “I honestly believe everybody already knows the answer to this question.”
There is no doubt Crahan is a talented drummer. He is filled with passion and intensity for what he does, so much so that during a few shows, he required several stitches for hitting his head on his own drum kit. He appreciates what he does for a living, but is a man of few words. The only thing he loves about the music he makes “it’s the music we make,” he says.
On the solo tip, Corey Taylor and turntablist Sid Wilson have also done well, but that never meant the death of Slipknot. Slipknot was always in the background, waiting in all of its blood and gore for the “numerals” to breathe new life into it. For those of you that are into that sort of thing, the upcoming Slipknot show is the perfect platform to express your love for all things Slipknot. Korn is also on the bill so that just might be the best part.
Slipknot with Korn, November 7, at CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St., 7 p.m. Tickets start at $35. Visit www.centurylinkcenteromaha.com for more information.