“In this band we’ve earned every drop of what we have...” – hmv.com talks to SlipknotOf all the albums that will hit CD shelves this year, there’s not one that has been as eagerly anticipated as Iowa metallers Slipknot’s new album .5: The Gray Chapter (which can be previewed on the right hand side of the page).
The album is classic Slipknot, a furious blast of power and rage and will delight their legions of fans. It’s their first album since their 2008 effort All Hope Is Gone and their first since they lost bassist Paul Gray, who tragically died in 2010, and their first album without powerhouse drummer Joey Jordison.
All bands are different of course, but in many bands bass and drums are treated as neccessary evils, their parts given out by the singer or key songwriter, or even bypassed completely with continued improvements in technology.
But with Slipknot, the loss of Jordison and Gray left a huge hole, Jordison wasn’t just a drummer, he was a key songwriter and regarded by many as the finest drummer in the world, with drum bible Rhythm even naming him the best drummer of the last 25 years. Gray, likewise, was a lynchpin of the band and a prolific songwriter.
The band won’t name who Jordison and Gray’s replacements are, but they’re widely suspected to be former Against Me! sticksman Jay Weinberg and guitar tech turned bassist Alessandro ‘V Man’ Venturella. They played on the new album and will be with the band for their world tour, which hits the UK in January.
We spoke to Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor about the making of the album, their plans for their new live show and how the new members will have to “earn their spots”…
Tell us about the writing process for the album, because it’s been a while since you last wrote together?
“The writing process for this album was very much like every other Slipknot album, we all throw a bunch of stuff into the bucket and see what comes out. We wanted it to be organic, to have that same urgency we always bring.”
What inspired the songs? And how did you find it writing without Joey and Paul?
“We’re dealing with some heavy subject matter. We lost one of our most important members four years ago and we’re still dealing with that, we’ve parted ways with Joey, we wanted to tell the story of the last four years of this band and what it’s been through.”
What inspired the album cover?
“We’ve always had very striking album covers and this one is no different. This being The Gray Chapter we knew that we wanted something that would represent rebirth. Life is a female concept, men don’t bring life into the world, and when I saw that image of the women painted as a skeleton, I was gripped. When you look at that image from far away, there’s so much black and white that it looks grey. As I’ve been told by Clown, grey is just the perception of black and white by the eyes, it’s almost an illusion.”
What’s your favourite track on the album?
“I haven’t stopped listening to this thing since we finished recording it. ‘AOV’, I love, ‘Custer’, that’s going to be ridiculous live, the first two tracks ‘XIX’ into ‘Sarcastrophe’ is going to kill it live, people are going to rip their heads off. Even a song like ‘Killpop’, which is so different, so diverse and has this weird sexual connotations. It’s my thoughts on the music industry and what’s happened in the last four years. I think this album is going to be very vital.”
How are the new members bedding in?
“They’re not officially in the band yet, you have to earn your spot, I know I’ve caught a lot of flack for saying that, but that’s the way it is. They’re not members yet, they’re playing with us and we’ll see what happens. In this band we’ve earned every drop of what we have, the drummer and bass player will have to earn their spots in this band. If we do another album, and they’re still with us, they can do more of their own thing.”
You’re coming over to the UK in January, are you excited to tour again properly? It’s been over five years…
“The UK tour that we’re getting ready to do, we’re so excited. People have no idea what this place means to us. It was the first place that go to see what this band could be. The UK took us in, propped us up, we’ve had some of our biggest moments there. We haven’t done a proper tour here in a long time and I’m really excited about that.”
Tell us about your plans for the live show, what have you got planned?
“It’s different, but it’s an extension of what we’ve been doing. Clown is just insane when it comes to this stuff and he was showing me some of his plans the other day. Let’s put it this way, less bombs, more fire.”
There are a few new masks this time…
“With every album, some of us have evolved our masks more dramatically than others, but they’ve always changed a little bit. It’s evolution, this band evolves with every album, it makes sense, we’re different people. We don’t talk about them particularly, we trust each other to do them and to get the right representation.”
Slipknot’s new album .5: The Gray Chapter is released on Monday (October 20th). You can pre-order it in store now.