Slipknot Envision 'Melancholy' Album in Wake of Bassist's Death
Corey Taylor: 'It's Going to Be a More Saddened Form of Rage When It Does Happen'
As it celebrates its past with the release of a 10th anniversary edition of its second album, "Iowa," Slipknot is eyeing a near-future that includes more touring -- including North American dates next year -- and the possibility of a new album.
But in the wake of bassist Paul Gray's 2010 death, percussionist M. Shawn "Clown" Crahan tells Billboard.com that "we're just taking our time. Everyone is still getting through the grieving process their way, remembering Paul Gray the way they need to and helping themselves get through this time because it's still very fresh and it's still very serious and hurtful and unbelievable."
Because of that, Crahan adds that "there's no talk of a new record, but there's a lot of stuff that everybody's got. Everybody's got ideas and everybody's writing, but it won't happen until we get together as a band and have a big discussion about what it is we want to accomplish. We lost a very important piece of our enigma, and we're not going to get together and bust through it just to bust through it because everybody wants us to."
For his part, however, Crahan expects Slipknot's next recording, if it transpires, to dovetail somewhat with "Iowa," which he recalls as "a very dark, painful time" for the Iowa-based heavy rockers. He predicts that "what's next is a lot of what 'Iowa was,' but different. 'Iowa' was very angry and very hateful and very evil, and...this is my opinion only, but I think (the next album) is going to be very sad. It will have that layer of anger and hate and evil that will come with being just so sad, but... I think a really, really, really special change in our career is coming. I don't think it's going to be better, and I don't think it's going to be worse. I just think it's going to be different. I think that's what we want, and I know that's what Paul would want."
Frontman Corey Taylor concurs with Crahan's expectations, saying that "we know that everything we do on that album is going to be about Paul. It's going to be very melancholy. It's going to be a more saddened form of rage when it does happen, and it'll be a whole path that we've never gone down before." For that reason, Taylor adds, he personally is "not as anxious to make a new album as maybe certain people in the band are, and I know a lot of the guys in the band feel the same way I do, whether they want to admit it or not. It just makes more sense to try and figure things out before we try to get into a studio... I don't want to risk losing what we've built because somebody's trying to prove a point."
Performing live as Slipknot, however, has been "awesome" according to Taylor, which is why the group plans to build on this year's appearances in Europe and Brazil with a run on February's Soundwave Festival in Australia and then a summer tour that Crahan says will run "from middle June to the middle of August, two and a half months...Our U.S. fans will get us, and the band will get to be together and that's really important stuff. We are keeping it alive by committing to these shows."
Taylor adds that "it just makes more sense for us to reconnect as a band the way we always have, go out and tour and just try to find that common ground again. I think we need to do a little more of that before we start thinking about making a new album any time soon."
The "Iowa" anniversary package, released Nov. 1, will certainly sate Slipknot's maggot fan base. In addition to the original album, the set includes the audio soundtrack to Slipknot's 2005 concert film "Disasterpieces" and a DVD that includes four videos and "Goat," an hour-long documentary directed by Crahan. And while the album came from what the percussionist calls "a very dark place" -- due to interband dynamics, conflicts with management and label, and other factors -- Taylor feels that "you could release ('Iowa') today and it would still be just as relevant, just as amazing as it was 10 years ago."
"We'd seen too many bands play it straight or play it safe and make the mistake of doing what they thought they should do instead of what they wanted," Taylor recalls. "For us it made sense to basically give the cold shoulder to anyone who was trying to give us advice and basically go the complete 180 of what the world and the industry thought we were going to do. They thought we were going to give them an album of 'Wait and Bleeds' and 'Spit It Outs;' instead we gave them this ferocious, dark soundtrack for the next five years of everyone's lives."
Besides the Slipknot performances, the band members have been busy with their own projects. Crahan is focusing on photography -- his first book, "Apocalyptic Nightmare Journey," is due out in May -- and has been commissioned to do a "Damage Inc." sculpture for a Metallica art show that's slated for January. Crahan and Taylor are forming a film production company, while Taylor is gearing up for Stone Sour's next album and for a solo tour that starts Nov. 14 in Anaheim, Calif., and will include music and readings from his book "Seven Deadly Sins." He's also planning to write a new chapter for the paperback edition based on his tour experiences.
"Everyone is dealing with their lives the way they have to on their own," Crahan says, "and we're picking up our own pieces and bettering ourselves. And when we're ready, we're going to come together and, as always, just make the best thing we can. I'm sure of that."