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SLIPKNOT (CHRIS FEHN)

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ON YOUR OFFICIAL WEBSITE IT SAYS “FORGET EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT SLIPKNOT, SLIPKNOT IS GOING TO BE REBORN IN 2004”. COULD YOU PLEASE COMMENT ON THAT? Yeah – we’re back! Everybody thought that we were down and out, and we weren’t going to make another record. But now we’re back together. Bigger, better and stronger than ever. FOR THE NEW RECORD YOU CHANGED A WINNING TEAM. YOU HAD ROSS ROBINSON AS A PRODUCER FOR THE FIRST TWO ALBUMS, AND NOW YOU’VE GOT ANOTHER “CELEBRITY-PRODUCER”: RICK RUBIN. WHAT DROVE YOU TO REPLACE ROSS ROBINSON WITH RICK RUBIN? WAS IT JUST THE NAME, OR DID YOU WANT TO TRY OUT SOMETHING NEW? Yeah, try out something new. You know, we’re blessed that we can be able to have access to producers like that. And, you know, it’s kind of like, we had the chance. So let’s give it a try while we can. Because to have the opportunity to work with such high-caliber-people can only make us better. IN HOW FAR WAS IT DIFFERENT TO WORK WITH RICK RUBIN? WAS HE KICKING YOUR ASSES OR DID HE LEAVE YOU FULL FREEDOM? Yeah, he definitely has a different style than Ross does. But it allowed us to explore ourselves in a different way. We’re professional musicians, you know, we need to be able to get our ideas out in a professional manner with him. But also he understands the beauty of the band, and he understands that this band can go even futher than it did before. And it was a great experience all around. DID HE HAVE A WORD IN THE SONGWRITING-PROCESS AS WELL, THAT HE WOULD SUGGEST SOMETHING LIKE: “OK, GUYS… I THINK, THAT DRUM-FILL WOULD SOUND BETTER HERE OR THERE!” Absolutely, yeah! He had a lot to say about the lyrics even or about the length of a song. I mean, he is the producer! And he’s a producer that has produced a lot of great records. So, of course, when he says something you take it to heart. You know, we worked really well with him. It was never a fight, it was never anything like that. So, he was very, very instrumental in making this record what it is. YOU ALSO RECORDED THE ALBUM IN THE HOUDINI-MANSION. DID YOU THINK IT WAS STYLISH TO USE A NAME LIKE THAT? We knew that Rick did own that place. And you know, it’s just kind of Slipknot. Of course we would go there and do it. I mean, that’s right up our alley. But it was great because we all got to live together. We were all under the same roof. That’s a great way for us to make a record is to be able to be in each other’s face 24/7. And of course the Chili Peppers did a record there, Manson did a record there. It’s where Rick wanted us to be. And it’s kind of hidden a little bit, too. So we kind of made it our own world. And when Slipknot makes it’s own world, a lot of cool things happen. WHAT FOR EXAMPLE? Just like the record, for example. You know, it came out of all nine of us in that situation. And kind of hidden away from the world a little bit, like the first record we did in Malibu was. On “Iowa” we were a little bit separated, but you know, this time we’re back as a family. And that’s where the magic happens. WOULD YOU SAY, THAT THE MAGIC IS BACK? Oh, it’s so on fire now! I mean, even though those guys had side projects… those guys they had their side projects, are just about – or if not more – excited about Slipknot right now. So, it’s definitely going to be the most exciting year for Slipknot by far. BUT IT’S NOT A SECRET TO THE PUBLIC THAT YOU GUYS HAVE HAD YOUR PROBLEMS IN THE PAST, THAT SOME BAND MEMBERS COULDN’T STAND EACH OTHER’S PRESENCE. HOW DID YOU FIND THE CHEMISTRY BACK, THEN? I just think that, once they put us on the same room again, it’s like riding a bike. It just feels right, you know how to do it. And we all realized through that break how much we missed each other, and how much we missed the beauty that we create in Slipknot. That break did more for this band than anything you could imagine. Kind of like: separation makes the heart grow fonder, you know what I mean? So, once you are away from it you realize the importance and the passion that you have for that. And we’re coming out planning to play small clubs, just going back old school, and it’s just going to be amazing. Of course, the Metallica-thing is going to be huge, but our personal tour is just going to be getting back to basics, stripped down, in-your-face-shows. COMING BACK TO THE CRISIS SLIPKNOT WENT THROUGH: DO YOU REMEMBER THE LOW POINT OF THAT PERIOD? WHERE YOU PERSONALLY THOUGHT: “OK, MAYBE THIS IS IT! MAYBE THE BAND IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE…” Yeah, there was definitely that point for me. And I was just like: “What the hell am I gonna do?!” And well… that was fun, I guess… you know, or whatever. But I think in my heart of hearts, I knew that we would come back together eventually. Even if it was ten years later, this band just cannot die. You cannot kill this band. And it’s the same nine guys. That just shows right there how much this band means to all of us. Nobody bailed out. It’s the same nine guys. And like I’ve said a million times: three-piece-bands have hard enough times staying together. Imagine this one. So, we definitely worked a lot of things out in the studio, and it’s on fire now! BUT STILL – IN INTERVIEWS COREY FOR EXAMPLE SAID SOMETHING LIKE: “SLIPKNOT IS NOT GOING TO BE THERE FOREVER, WE CREATED THAT BAND JUST TO BE THERE FOR A WHILE!” WHAT KIND OF FEELINGS WENT THROUGH YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU HEARD ABOUT THAT? You know, yeah, that’s what Corey was going through at that time. I’ve said some things to some girlfriends before, that I felt at that time. And then it’s just like: then I’m back, you know. God bless Corey because he said it like he felt. You know what I mean? He didn’t sugarcoat that shit. That’s how he felt at that time, man. And there has been a lot of times where everybody in this band wanted to get the hell out. But it’s not over. We just made a great fuckin’ killer record! And everybody, including Corey, is just so overtly excited right now to start rehearsing, to make a video, to get on tour, and to do the Metallica-tour, and do Ozzfest. I mean, it’s just like, it’s better than it was when we first started. Because now we’re prepared and we understand the business end of things, and we know what we want to achieve. And this isn’t the last Slipknot record, either, this new one. So, whether after this record guys take their time and they do their side projects, and we come back and do this whole cycle again – that’s totally fine, too. You know, what I mean? That’s just the way that it’s gonna be. But all we can really talk about is right now, and how excited we are to get back doing what we do best. And that’s playing live shows. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THE MUSIC BUSINESS IN THE PAST YEARS? What I learned, is that there’s some shady shit that goes on. It’s like, especially when you get to the level that this band is, all the money and all the fuckin’ shit that comes along with that, is just insane. And it’s like, it’s virtually impossible to keep track of. And when you don’t understand something, and you’re trying to fight something that you don’t understand, it really can tear you up. You know, what I mean? And it’s just such crap, that it takes away from the beauty and the innocence of any band. But what I think is, now that we’ve gone through that, just like every other band has, you know… I’m sure there’s a few bands out there, that have the perfect manager and the perfect label and their little life is just fuckin’ perfect. But for the most part that’s not the truth. And it’s just like life. You know, you gotta go through the growing process, you gotta go through the pain and the lies, and figure out what the hell is going on in order to make it better. And now with the management that we have, and all the people that are behind us now, it’s un-fuckin’-stoppable at this point now. You know, what I mean? And it takes pressure off us to where we can focus on getting on tour, rehearsing, masks, cover-alls, all that other stuff that we are hands on with, that much easier. SPEAKING OF THE MASKS HERE… YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A NEW DESIGN FOR THE MASKS. BUT JUDGING FROM PICTURES ON THE INTERNET, JOEY’S MASK DOESN’T LOOK THAT MUCH DIFFERENT. IT ACTUALLY LOOKS, AS IF HE BOUGHT THAT ONE IN VENICE… WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO CHANGE THE LOOKS IN THE FIRST PLACE? Well, it’s just, I like to call it “streamlined” a little bit. Joey’s new mask is fuckin’ bad ass, man. I mean, if you held it in your hands, you’d be like: “Yeah! That is the shit!”, just like everybody else’s. It’s just kind of something a little different, you know? Constantly trying to mix things up, shape things, evolve things, and that’s what we do. Every time it’s just gonna be a little bit different, a little more eye-candy for people. And it’s cool, it’s totally exciting. What can I say? WITH THE PEARLS ON THE MASKS IT LOOKS A BIT “GLAM ROCKY”, THOUGH. WOULDN’T YOU AGREE? Slipknot is a glam rock band, if you think about it. You know, nine jack-asses just getting it on. It’s totally cool that we do have the ability to do that, though. You know, to change things and blablabla. We’re not in a band where our lead singer cuts his hair, and the whole world hates the band. You know, what I mean? We don’t have to deal with that, but we can change masks. How cool is that? And still be the same guy… CHRIS, YOU ARE ONE OF THREE DRUMMERS IN THE BAND. ON THE LAST ALBUM “IOWA” YOU DIDN’T USE THESE OPPORTUNITIES AS YOU COULD HAVE. ON THE NEW SONG “THE BLISTER EXISTS” THERE IS SOME EXTENSIVE DRUMMING, INCLUDING A DRUM SOLO TO BE HEARD. ARE YOU GOING TO INTEGRATE ALL THREE DRUMMERS/ PERCUSSIONISTS MORE IN THE FUTURE? Yeah, absolutely, yeah! There’s percussion all over this record. Shawn and I worked really hard on making that happen. We spent a lot of time just sitting in the studio, listening to the songs, going: “Huh…what about right there? Ok, how about this right there. Stop it! Shawn, hurry up and get out there and play that what you just thought of!” And it was a great experience for the both of us to let people know, that there are three drummers in the band. And Joey is such an amazing drummer that sometimes it’s hard to even think of anything. You know, you’re like: “God, that’s so bad-ass on it’s own! Do we even need to do anything?” But then when we do, it just makes it so much better. And it’s that much more driving, and that much more pounding. Shawn and I are very, very happy that Rick Rubin knew, that that’s one aspect that we wanted to make better on this record: Letting you know that there is more than one drummer there. And we achieved it. We exhausted everything that we possibly could. You know, I’m not sitting here, going: “God, I wish we would have went back in and played that kind of drum!” We did it! We had so many percussion instruments inside that studio when it was our time, that you could barely walk in there. So, we got everything out, that we needed to get out, and we learned an important thing with how we want to do the percussion in the future, as far as playing everything that we can, lots of different patterns, and at least having it down on tape. So, that during the mix we can pick out the best things and the best sound, and just make it the best that we can. ON THE NEW ALBUM WE ALSO WITNESS THE RETURN OF OLD-SCHOOL METAL GUITAR SOLOS. HOW IMPORTANT ARE GUITAR SOLOS TO SLIPKNOT THESE DAYS? Isn’t that hot?! That’s so killer, because nobody did that for the longest time. And it was like, to me, guitar solos were like, it was almost another song. I can’t play guitar solos, but I know every note of them. And I know live, that he didn’t hit that exactly like he did on the record. You know, guitar solos are very important. And Jim and Mick are fucking amazing guitar players. It’s a facet of their talent that has been kept away. And now it’s showing, that those guys can do that and it’s like… I don’t know, man, it’s just so cool! THE GUITAR SOLO ON “PULSE OF THE MAGGOTS” SOUNDS ALMOST “SLAYER-ESQUE”… That’s kind of what they went for on that song that you heard. I was like: “Just go ahead and rip, man!” And I think, maybe even they did that in one take. They just listened to it and got it together and just went for it. And just “…(un-definable noise)…” You know, just make those things scream. It’s so killer to have that come back. Any true metal fan is gonna love that part! DO YOU SEE IT THE SAME – THAT THE REAL METAL SCENE IS ON THE RISE AGAIN? WITH IRON MAIDEN AND METALLICA SELLING OUT HUGE ARENAS IN THE STATES, AND BANDS SUCH AS EXODUS BRINGING OUT NEW ALBUMS? “Bonded by blood” was one of the first records, that got me intrigued into the metal world. I was just like, just the cover of it, I’m like: “Holy shit! The babies are like…Oh, man!” It was just like: “What in the hell is this?” And that sucked me in to the whole metal world. And once I got into it, man, I never got out of it. But I think that that is so exciting to me, that metal was making a comeback like that. Like with Judas Priest getting back together and playing Ozzfest, Slayer still making records, and Dave Lombardo back into the band. Right now, that is like: That’s the shit, man! Everything is kind of coming full-circle. And it just shows that metal, you can’t kill it! It stays underneath a little bit, and just kind of hangs out with it’s fans. And it kind of peeks out once in a while. It’s just a beautiful style of music that is very, very important to life, you know, for a lot of people. YOU PROBABLY GOT THE MOST DEVOTED FANS, WHO CALL THEMSELVES “MAGGOTS”. WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR FANS – IS THERE ANYTHING, YOU REMEMBER THAT CLEARLY STANDS OUT IN YOUR MIND? The first thing that stands out to me right now is that DVD “Disasterpieces”. Watching the kids come into the venue and screaming. I mean, the thing hasn’t even started, yet. And they are ready to go. That’s how I used to feel about going to Slayer shows. You know, when I saw the “Clash of the Titans”-tour with Megadeth and Anthrax and Alice in Chains. I mean, I was there eight hours early for the concert. Just like, in my car jamming music, and just couldn’t wait to get in there. And you see that whole crowd of people, thousands of miles away that are just insane. That’s unbelievable to me and it shows that people aren’t just there to see these guys in masks. You know, they are there for the music. That’s what keeps them coming back. That’s what we’ve always trying to preach, that the music is the most important thing. BUT THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, WHERE ESPECIALLY THE MEDIA RATED THE IMAGE HIGHER THAN THE MUSIC. HAVE YOU EVER HAD THE FEELING, THAT YOU WERE PRISONERS OF YOUR OWN SELF-CREATED IMAGE? No, I don’t think, we ever think like that. Those are circumstances out of our control, as far as what other people want to think of this band. And I think that the people that obviously think that way, or are trying to stir up that kind of shit, they don’t like the music apparently. They don’t feel a closeness to the record that the kids do. Because, we’re not on tour in one city every night. So they only get to see us for an hour and a half. And then all they have is the record, and their videos, and their t-shirts, and their posters. And it’s like, you have to go back to the music, and that’s what keeps it alive. A FEW OF THE NEW SONGS ARE REALLY, REALLY CATCHY WITH CHORUSES YOU CAN SING ALONG TO… It just happened to come out that way. We didn’t sit down and just be like: “Ok, guys… it’s time to write our radio-hit!” you know, or whatever. But it just happened to turn out that way, that we’re just better musicians, better writers, and that’s amazing if the world can get to know Slipknot through the radio, when they haven’t been able to before. THERE ARE A LOT OF BANDS THAT TOOK THEIR INSPIRATION FROM YOUR MUSIC, OR MAY I SAY “RIPPED YOU OFF BLATANTLY”… HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THOSE EPIGONES? Yeah, I mean, it’s like, it’s almost a compliment. Hey, we impressed that person that much, that they want to take their art into that direction. You know, what I mean? It’s like: “What are you gonna do?!” That’s what they decided to do. And if other people realize, that that’s a blatant rip-off, then they have to deal with that, we don’t have to. And it’s like – good luck! Because you’ll never get the essence of Slipknot, like the nine of us understand it. And the magic, that happens. That’s something, you can’t rip off. Because it’s so true, and it’s so non-contrived, that I just wish them the best of luck, I guess… YOU ENTERED THE STUDIO WITH 13 SONGS, BUT CAME OUT WITH 23 SONGS. DID YOU HAVE A RUSH OF CREATIVITY? AND HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THE SONGS, WHICH WERE TO GO ON THE RECORD? I don’t even think, we’ve chosen which ones are gonna be on the record, yet. Still, there’s so many great songs, that… It’s gonna be tough for us to do that, but at least we’re gonna have a little arsenal now for movie-soundtracks, all that inevitable stuff, that you end up doing. So, and then we had a lot of songs going into the first record, too, that didn’t make the record. Like “Snap” got released on the “Freddy vs. Jason”-soundtrack, and stuff like that. So, we’ll have some things in our back-pocket, that could be on the next record, and stuff like that. But while we were there, we made the best of our time, and recorded as much material as possible. So we would be able to have better songs to choose from.

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