Slipknot is an American metal band from Des Moines, Iowa. The band was founded in 1995 by vocalist Anders Colsefni, percussionist Shawn Crahan and bassist Paul Gray. After several lineup changes in its early years, the band settled on nine members for more than a decade: Shawn Crahan, Joey Jordison, Paul Gray, Corey Taylor, Mick Thomson, Jim Root, Craig Jones, Sid Wilson and Chris Fehn. Gray died on May 24, 2010 and Jordison left the band on December 12, 2013. 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.
Slipknot is well known for its attention-grabbing image, aggressive style of music, and energetic and chaotic live shows. The band rapidly rose to success 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. 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.
Slipknot is considered a nu metal band. The band's members prefer to distance themselves musically from other nu metal bands such as Korn and Limp Bizkit. Slipknot describes its sound as "metal metal" and regards the link to nu metal as coincidental and a result of nu metal's emergence being concurrent with that of Slipknot. The band's sound typically features a heavily down-tuned guitar setup, a large percussive section, samples, and turntables. Using a variety of vocal styles, the music typically features growled vocals, screaming, backing vocals, as well as melodic singing. The band has continually experimented with its sound, most notably developing tracks led by acoustic guitars and melodic singing that first appeared on Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses).
Slipknot's lyrics are generally very aggressive; they sometimes include profanity while exploring themes such as darkness, nihilism, anger, disaffection, love, misanthropy, and psychosis. They often draw upon topics including the music industry, politics, personal strife, and reflection, among others. Rick Anderson of Allmusic said, "those lyrics that are discernible are not generally quotable on a family website". On Vol. 3, Taylor deliberately avoided using profanity in response to claims he relied on it. The album All Hope Is Gone is considered a groove metal album with elements of death metal and thrash metal. The band has also been described as heavy metal, alternative metal groove metal, death metal, grindcore, and rap metal. Slipknot cited both Korn's self-titled album and Limp Bizkit's album Three Dollar Bill, Y'all$ as influences. The members of Slipknot are also influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Mr. Bungle, Nine Inch Nails, Neurosis, Johnny Cash, N.W.A, Skinny Puppy, Kiss, Mayhem, Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, Slayer, and Metallica.
Slipknot is known for its chaotic, energetic live shows that contributed to the band's success. During performances, most of the band's members headbang, stage dive, and fight. The band's early performances included extreme acts such as stage dives from high balconies and band members setting each other on fire. Clown was known to go into the crowd and tie people up with the microphone cord. In later years, they tended to refrain from acts this extreme. Former bassist Paul Grey said this was due to receiving lawsuits and to avoid harming other people, and that it was a "better move" for the longevity of the band. Along with the energetic and unpredictable performances, Slipknot often use elaborate stage setups that use pyrotechnics, elevated stage areas, hydraulic drum risers, and computer screens. Reviewing a Slipknot performance, Alistair Lawrence of Kerrang! said, "the choreographed chaos is too multi-faceted to fully describe". and NME described one Slipknot show as "a scene of chaos".
The band is known for its attention-grabbing image; the members perform wearing unique, individual facemasks and matching uniforms—typically jumpsuits—while each member is typically assigned and referred to by number based on their role in the band (#0 through #8), although the latter practice has diminished following the death of Paul Gray.
The band has said the idea of wearing masks stemmed from a clown mask that Crahan took to rehearsals when the band first started. Crahan later became known for his clown masks, adopting the pseudonym "Shawn the Clown". The concept developed; by late 1997, the band decided every band member would wear a unique mask and matching jumpsuit. Taylor said in 2002, "it's our way of becoming more intimate with the music. It's a way for us to become unconscious of who we are and what we do outside of music. It's a way for us to kind of crawl inside it and be able to use it." The concept of wearing matching jumpsuits has been described as a response to commercialism in the music industry and led to the idea of assigning the band members numerical aliases. According to Taylor, "Originally, we were just going to wear the jumpsuits … we figured we might as well take that further and number ourselves … We were basically saying, 'Hey, we're a product!'".
During their careers, the members of Slipknot have developed their images, updating their uniforms and each member's mask upon the release of each album. The appearance and style of the masks do not usually differ significantly between albums; members typically maintain the established theme of their mask while adding new elements. Jordison, in an interview in 2004, said the masks are updated to show growth within each individual. Slipknot's members have worn special masks for specific occasions, most notably for the music video and live performances of "Vermilion" in 2004 and 2005 when they wore life masks made from casts of their own faces. In 2008, the band wore a set of large masks titled "purgatory masks" during photograph shoots before the release of All Hope Is Gone; in the music video for "Psychosocial" they are seen burning them. Shortly after its inception, Slipknot's masks were homemade, but since 2000 they have been custom-made by special effect artist and musician Screaming Mad George.
The band's image has been the subject of much criticism and controversy, with critics generally accusing it of being a sales gimmick. The band's members object to these claims; according to them the masks are used to divert attention from themselves and put it on the music. Several band members have said wearing the masks helps to maintain privacy in their personal lives. During an interview in 2005, percussionist Fehn said the masks were a "blessing" because they meant the members are not recognized in public. In 2012, Slipknot released an app for iOS and Android called "Slipknot: Wear the Mask", which invites fans to construct their own masks, defining the kind of Slipknot fans they are.
An essential element for the band’s image is the Slipknot logo. The nonagram was created by the band’s members around the same time the band was founded. The nonagram is arguably the best-known sigil of Slipknot and it represents a 9 point star – a symbol of unity, loyalty, friendship and remembrance. The logo is composed of three equilateral triangles each rotated at 0, 40, and 80 degrees. Each star point was meant to stand for each of the nine members of the original band. Despite popular belief, the nonagram is not a Satanist symbol, nor does it reflect something perverted, evil, unclean or sadistic. On the contrary, just as the band has officially declared on various occasions, the nonagram marks the unbreakable bond between its members. Chris Fehn is one of the band’s members who has a nonagram tattoo.
The pre-release of the 2014 album 5. The Grey Chapter also witnessed a major change in the band’s logo and branding strategy. A new nonagram drew the public’s attention towards the band, announcing the beginning of a new era. The black and red color scheme and the minimalist, elegant design received public appreciation and it is still used today.
Slipknot was also a hardcore/thrash metal band from New Haven, Connecticut In the late 80s. Stiemy (bass/ vocals) was previously the singer in FATAL VISION who appeared on the “Connecticut Fun” compilation LP (INCAS,1985). “Connecticut Fun” was also YOUTH OF TODAY’S vinyl debut before officially becoming a “NYHC” band. Stiemy stopped playing music after SLIPKNOT and took up art and a career as a chef. Chang (drums) also stopped playing music after SLIPKNOT. In Chang’s younger years he was a bit of a pyro and torched part of Yale University. ‘F’ (guitar) went on to play drums in another New Haven hardcore band called MALACHI KRUNCH.