“We basically just went around and screwed up people’s bands” – Slipknot’s actual genesis revealed by Mick Thomson

Author Benedetta Baldin - 17.5.2024

Whilst Wikipedia can be a great source of information, sometimes this information can be misleading, or perhaps not even accurate. This is unluckily the case for Iowa’s metal band Slipknot. According to the encyclopedia, the late drummer Joey Jordison was a founding member of the masked group. Given that they hold privacy about the identities of the instrumentalists, this could be why there have been some doubts for quite a long time. Slipknot released an album titled “Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat.” in 1996. Recorded as a six-piece, vocalist Anders Colsefni and guitarists Josh Brainard and Donnie Steele left the band by 1999.

The remaining three, drummer Joey Jordison, percussionist M. Shawn “Clown” Crahan and bassist/vocalist Paul Gray, would add other six members, forming the classic nine lineup.

It was this lineup that recorded the band’s highly influential 1999 self-titled album, now widely regarded as their debut. Considering Jordison’s contentious ousting from the group in 2013 and the ongoing legal disputes between the band and the late musician’s estate, some might view Crahan’s recent assertion that Jordison wasn’t actually a founding member as a case of sour grapes.

In an interview earlier this year, Crahan, vocalist Anders Colsefni, and late bassist Paul Gray, were the ones who served as the core of what would eventually evolve into the Slipknot that we all know and love.

Mick Thomson, who joined the band in 1996, has offered his side of the band’s origin story. In a recent video shared by Fishman Music, Thomson told the inception of Slipknot as follows:

Before Slipknot, Paul and Andy and I — Andy was our original singer of Slipknot — were in a band called Body Pit, a death metal band. And they just lost their drummer. They got me in the band, and the drummer and other guitar player left, so we were looking for a drummer. So we were writing songs — me, Paul and Donnie, we were working on stuff, and I actually got some things on a four-track that never really ended up going anywhere. But we’d written them. So we were doing that stuff, and we were looking for a drummer. Well, at the same time, our gear is there where we were practicing, which was our singer’s house, Andy. So, Clown would come over. He knew Andy. Clown comes over and starts playing with Paul and Andy, jamming stuff in the basement on the Body Pitstuff, really — it was where Body Pit practiced. We didn’t have a drummer, so there was some down time when they started doing that stuff. And then that’s kind of how that started.

Paul and Andy were doing it with Clown. I didn’t know Clown, really; I’d met him before. And Paul and Andy and I were in this thing. So it was them just dicking around with a friend of theirs. It was separate; [they were doing] different music. And then we never really… How are we gonna find a technical death metal drummer in Des Moines? Joey. But Joey didn’t wanna do it. But Joey did wanna do the Slipknot stuff with Andy and Paul and Clown. So, that’s kind of how that went. Our band died. See, Joey was in a band with our other guitar player on the first record, Josh, and Craig [Jones, now ex-Slipknot sampler/keyboardist, etc.], who did our sampling stuff.

They were both the guitar players in Joey‘s band. So it’s kind of like you took me, Paul, Andy, Joey, Josh and Craig, and threw those bands together and then added Clown. Clown was kind of the — he was the pivotal thing on that, because basically you had two bands that sort of broke up around him, and reformed around that idea.

So I guess, in a way, it’s like two different bands sort of dissolved and turned into the other thing. We never really looked at it like that, because just the chronology and the way it happened and it wasn’t the intent.What’s funny, though, is we went around and broke up another band — we broke up Corey‘s [Taylor, Slipknot vocalist] band [Stone Sour] by stealing him. And then we eventually needed another guitar player, so we got Jim[Root, Slipknot guitarist] from Corey‘s band to come in. So, yeah, it was a very incestuous kind of thing. We basically just went around and screwed up people’s bands and shit.”