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Slipknot's story was tough to tell on latest album
Slipknot is not taking its latest spate of success for granted.
True, the masked and costumed heavy metal band from Iowa logged its second No. 1 debut, and fourth consecutive Top 5 album, with last fall's ".5: The Gray Chapter," along with the rock radio hit "The Devil In I." But coming in the wake of original bassist Paul Gray's death in 2010 and drummer Joey Jordison's acrimonious firing during 2013, Slipknot was on uncertain ground.
"I don't want to say there was trepidation, but there was definitely kind of anxiousness," frontman Corey Taylor acknowledges by phone from New YOrk. "On one hand we were definitely ready to get back into it; we felt like we had allowed ourselves to grieve and kind of come together again.
"But on the other side of that was, 'What are the fans gonna think? What are the fans gonna think of the new music? What are the fans gonna think of these two new guys on stage? What are they gonna think about how we're playing? How are the new songs gonna fall in line with the old stuff?
"I mean, there was a lot of stuff going through our heads."
Ultimately, Taylor says, the group decided the best way to deal with those questions was to cast them aside.
"It would be crazy to think there wasn't that moment of, 'What's gonna happen?' but in true Slipknot fashion we didn't let that hold us band from really kind of going at it full force," says Taylor, 41. "And luckily we've been shown that just wasn't the case whatsoever. The fans love the album."
Taylor credits guitarist Jim Root and percussionist Shawn "Clown" Crahan with stepping up on the musical end and "filling in the blanks" on "The Gray Chapter." Lyrically, however, the frontman felt he had raise his game, too, and get beyond the existential angst and anger that populated Slipknot's previous efforts.
"We all knew that if we didn't at least try to talk about what we had gone through, obviously after losing Paul, anything else would come off as disingenuous," Taylor explains. "So it was important to tell that story and really make sure we told it well. We knew what we were going to say; we just had to find the right way to say it.
"So in a lot of ways I think that kind of took some pressure off of us. Sometimes you'll spend your life trying to find the right message. Luckily, we knew what we wanted to say. And once we figured out how to say it. When we decided, 'Hey, we're gonna write this for us. Hopefully everybody's with us,' that took a lot of pressure off."
Taylor says the band has been gratified by the reception Slipknot has been getting on tour and is enjoying the "different kind of energy" the new rhythm section of bassist Alessandro Venturella and drummer Jay Weinberg (son of Max Weinberg from Bruce Springteen's E Street Band) have brought to the group. That's made Slipknot's future feel a bit more certain, though Taylor says that -- again, in typical band fashion -- nothing specific has been determined yet.
"There's definitely be more," says Taylor, who recently published his third book, "You're Making Me Hate You," and is working on several recording projects with his other band, Stone Sour along with a role in the upcoming Crahan-directed film "Officer Downe." "We'll probably tour 'til summer of next year and then we'll take some time off and kinda let the scene breathe again. We all have things we do in our lives that we'll take time to go and do, and when it feels right to come back we'll come back.
That's the way we've always done it, and it's worked so far."
Slipknot, Lamb Of God, Bullet For My Valentine and Motionless in White
6 p.m. Tuesday, July 28.
DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.
Tickets are $30-$60 pavilion, $30 lawn with a $90 lawn four-pack.
Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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