Slipknot is an American Heavy metal/Nu metal band from Des Moines, Iowa. The band was founded in 1995 by percussionist Shawn Crahan, drummer Joey Jordison and bassist Paul Gray. After several lineup changes in its early years, the band settled on nine members for more than a decade: Crahan, Jordison, Gray, Craig Jones, Mick Thomson, Corey Taylor, Sid Wilson, Chris Fehn, and Jim Root. Gray died on May 24, 2010, and was replaced during 2011–2014 by guitarist Donnie Steele. Jordison left the band due to illness on December 12, 2013. Steele left during the recording sessions for .5: The Gray Chapter. The band found replacements in Alessandro Venturella on bass and Jay Weinberg on drums. After the departure of Jordison, as of December 2013 the only founding member in the current lineup is percussionist Crahan. Fehn left the band due to lawsuit on March 18, 2019.
Slipknot is well known for its attention-grabbing image, aggressive style of music, and energetic and chaotic live shows. The band rapidly rose to fame following the release of their eponymous debut album in 1999. The 2001 follow-up album, Iowa, although darker in tone, made the band more popular. After a brief hiatus, Slipknot returned in 2004 with Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses), before going on another hiatus and returning in 2008 with its fourth album, All Hope Is Gone, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. After another long hiatus, Slipknot released its fifth studio album, .5: The Gray Chapter, in 2014. Their sixth studio album, We Are Not Your Kind, was released on August 9, 2019. The band has released two live albums titled 9.0: Live and Day of the Gusano: Live in Mexico, a compilation album titled Antennas to Hell, and five live DVDs. The band has sold 30 million records worldwide.
In the years before Slipknot formed, a state of shifting band membership existed throughout the heavy metal scene in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1991, the biggest heavy metal band in Des Moines was Atomic Opera, with Jim Root on guitar. Drummer Joey Jordison founded a thrash metal band called Modifidious, playing at a club called Runway. Modifidious opened for Atomic Opera on December 1, 1991, at the Runway, after which their guitarist left for the more successful Atomic Opera. Jordison replaced him with local guitarist Craig Jones. Drummer Shawn Crahan formed another Des Moines band called Heads on the Wall, playing funk metal cover songs at clubs and releasing a demo tape in July 1992. A fourth Des Moines band called Vexx played death metal with Anders Colsefni on drums, Paul Gray on bass, and Josh Brainard on guitar and vocals. Colsefni later took over vocal duties, but Vexx never recorded. During this time, Crahan often went to the Runway on Sundays when the club opened to all ages, where he met other young musicians with whom he could jam. By March 1993, Crahan was jamming with vocalist Colsefni, bassist Gray and guitarist Pat Neuwirth, writing and playing songs in Gray's basement, discussing possible band names such as Pull My Finger, but never making a final decision. One of the songs they recorded was titled "Slipknot"; another was titled "Painface", which Colsefni later used to name his band Painface.
In 1993, a new band called Inveigh Catharsis formed in Des Moines, with Gray on bass, Brainard on guitar and Colsefni on drums. Jordison jammed occasionally with this group. Brainard eventually left to join Jordison and Jones in Modifidious, participating in demo recordings at the end of '93 and early in '94. During 1994, Modifidious sometimes played the same shows as Crahan's Heads on the Wall band. Gray formed a death metal band called Body Pit, soon becoming popular in the local scene. Modifidious stopped playing in the wake of death metal's increasing pull. Gray failed to get Jordison to join Body Pit, but soon after he recruited local guitar teacher Mick Thomson, the band broke up.
In September 1995, Crahan and Gray started a band named the Pale Ones. The lineup was made up of friends who met through the local music scene, including vocalist Colsefni and guitarist Donnie Steele. Not long after their inception, Gray invited Jordison to a rehearsal because the band was interested in experimenting with additional drum elements. Jordison subsequently joined the band as their main drummer, moving Crahan to percussion. Furthermore, Colsefni also took up percussion while remaining the band's vocalist. The band then decided to invite Brainard as their second guitarist, bringing their lineup to six members. On December 4, the band made their live debut; playing a benefit show using the name Meld.
Demo recording and beginnings (1995–1998)
Much of the band's early development was retrospectively attributed to late-night planning sessions between Gray, Crahan and Jordison at a Sinclair gas station where Jordison worked nights. It was there, in late 1995, that 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. As they didn't have a recording contract, the band self-financed the project, the costs of which came to an estimated $40,000. In February 1996, guitarist Donnie Steele, a Christian, left Slipknot after discussions regarding the band's lyrics with the producer, Sean McMahon. Jordison said of Steele's departure: "(he) was having these God talks, when we were supposed to be working...We were prepared to keep him on, but he didn't want to stay." Steele himself has said: "I left for a few reasons...I had a lot on my mind spiritually." During the mixing stages of their project at SR Audio, Craig Jones was recruited as Steele's replacement on guitar. However, throughout their time in the studio, the band were adding samples to their recordings but could not produce these sounds live. Subsequently, Jones became the band's sampler and Mick Thomson was brought in as the replacement guitarist. After a complicated time with mixing and mastering, the band self-released Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. on Halloween, October 31, 1996.
Distribution for the demo was initially left to the band and their producer Sean McMahon, before it was handed over to the distribution company Ismist in early 1997. 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; this moved Colsefni to backing vocals and percussion. While working in the studio, Slipknot continued to do local shows, during one of which in September 1997, Colsefni announced on stage that he was leaving the band. The gap on percussion was filled by Greg Welts, who was affectionately known as "Cuddles." In early 1998, Slipknot produced a second demo featuring five tracks exclusively for record labels. The band began to receive a lot of attention from record labels, 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; the band signed the deal publicly on July 8, 1998. Two days prior to this, Welts was fired from the band, something which Slipknot refuse to comment on. Welts was replaced by Brandon Darner, who departed from the band shortly after joining.
Slipknot and emergence (1998–2000)
Chris Fehn was brought in to replace Darner on percussion before Slipknot traveled to Malibu, California, to work on their debut album in September 1998. Partway through the recording process of the album, Slipknot returned to Des Moines for the Christmas period. During that period, guitarist Brainard decided to leave the band. Brainard said, "some decisions were made that I wasn't particularly happy with". Slipknot later recruited Jim Root to complete their lineup and the band returned to Malibu to continue work on the album. Work on the album concluded in early 1999, allowing the band to go on their first tour as part of the Ozzfest lineup in 1999. Ozzfest greatly increased Slipknot's audience, furthering the band's success with their self-titled album that was released on June 29, 1999. Slipknot released its first home video Welcome to Our Neighborhood, which was directed by Thomas Mignone, and the singles "Wait and Bleed" and "Spit It Out", which were also directed by Mignone. The singles received some airplay, but Slipknot quickly developed a large following, mainly from touring and word of mouth. The band toured several countries throughout 1999 and 2000 in support of the album. In early 2000, Slipknot was certified platinum; a first for an album released by Roadrunner Records.
Iowa and hiatus (2001–2003)
Anticipation for Slipknot's second album was intense. In early 2001, the band began recording the second album at Sound City and Sound Image studios in Los Angeles. Around this time, conflicts arose between band members due to extensive touring and recording schedules. Recording of their second album ended in February 2001 and the band embarked on their Iowa World Tour. Entitled Iowa, Slipknot's second album—released on August 28, 2001—peaked at number three on the Billboard charts and at number one in the UK. The album produced three singles; "The Heretic Anthem" (promotional single), "Left Behind" and "My Plague", which appeared on the soundtrack for the film Resident Evil. In 2002, Slipknot appeared in Rollerball (2002), performing "I Am Hated". The release and intense promotion of the album resulted in sold-out shows in large arenas in several countries.
In mid-2002, Slipknot went on hiatus because of internal conflicts, and band members focused on side projects. Vocalist Taylor and guitarist Root revived their band Stone Sour, drummer Jordison created Murderdolls with vocalist Wednesday 13, percussionist Crahan founded To My Surprise and DJ Wilson went solo as DJ Starscream. For a while, the future of Slipknot was uncertain and there was much speculation about whether there would be a third album, or if the split would become permanent. "I don't have a problem with anyone in Slipknot," Jordison protested. "I've seen comments from Corey saying there are things to be resolved, but I have no fucking idea what he's talking about."
Nonetheless, on November 22, 2002, Slipknot released their second DVD, Disasterpieces.
Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) and second hiatus (2003–2007)
After several delays, 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 on the album had finished and the band began The Subliminal Verses World Tour with their appearance on the Jägermeister Music Tour in March 2004. Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) was released on May 24, 2004; it peaked at number two on the Billboard album charts. The album produced six singles; "Duality", "Vermilion", "Vermilion, Pt. 2", "Before I Forget", "The Nameless", and The Blister Exists. Slipknot recorded its first live album, 9.0: Live, while touring in support of the band's third album. Released on November 1, 2005 9.0: Live peaked at number 17 on the Billboard album charts. Touring in support of Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) continued through 2004 and up to the end of 2005 before Slipknot went on hiatus for the second time.
In 2005, several members of Slipknot were involved in Roadrunner United: The All-Star Sessions, an collaborative album recorded by artists signed to Roadrunner Records for the label's 25th anniversary. 2006 saw Slipknot win their first Grammy Award, picking up the Best Metal Performance award for the single "Before I Forget". The single went on to be featured on the set list of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. On December 5, 2006, Slipknot released its third DVD Voliminal: Inside the Nine. While Slipknot was on hiatus, several band members again focused their attentions on side projects; vocalist Taylor and guitarist Root returned to Stone Sour, drummer Jordison toured with several bands and produced 3 Inches of Blood's third album Fire Up the Blades, Crahan founded Dirty Little Rabbits and Wilson returned as DJ Starscream once again.
All Hope Is Gone (2008)
.5: The Gray Chapter (2014)
We Are Not Your Kind (2019)
Look Outside Your Window (TBA)
(#6) Shawn "Clown" Crahan – custom percussion, backing vocals (1995–present)
(#5) Craig "133" Jones – samples, media, keyboards (1996–present); guitar (early 1996)
(#7) Mick Thomson – guitars (1996–present)
(#8) Corey Taylor – lead vocals (1997–present)
(#0) Sid Wilson – turntables, keyboards (1998–present)
(#4) Jim Root – guitars (1999–present)
Alessandro Venturella – bass (2014–present)
Jay Weinberg – drums (2014–present)
TBA; "New Guy", "NG", "Tortilla Face" – custom percussion, backing vocals (2019–present)
Donnie Steele – guitars (1995–1996); bass (2011–2014)
Anders Colsefni – lead and backing vocals, custom percussion (1995–1997)
(#4) Josh "Gnar" Brainard – guitars (1995–1999)
(#2) Paul Gray – bass, backing vocals (1995–2010; died 2010)
(#1) Joey Jordison – drums (1995–2013)
(#3) Greg "Cuddles" Welts – custom percussion, backing vocals (1997–1998)
(#3) Brandon Darner – custom percussion, backing vocals (1998)
(#3) Chris Fehn – custom percussion, backing vocals (1998–2019)