In a recent interview with CityBeat, Slipknot’s founder, percussionist and self-proclaimed visionary, Shawn Crahan, better known simply as “Clown,” sang his (and the band’s) own praises, doing away with a modest approach and giving the impression that “The Knot” may have somewhat of a superiority complex.
“…so many people in the beginning wanted us to fail because we are so great. We have been blowing up since day one because a good idea is a good idea and a good song is a good song and a good band is a good band with a performance.”
While I most certainly do respect Crahan’s love for his band mates and life’s work (because everyone should be proud of what they put their heart into), I must say that much like the Blue Man Group or Insane Clown Posse, Slipknot is a spectacle first and musical act second. I absolutely recognize the fact that Slipknot have won a Grammy, gone double-platinum, have 12 million plus fans on Facebook and a massive and dedicated following, but I don’t necessarily feel that their music and or musicianship is what propelled their career to it’s current degree.
I recently, after many years of curiosity, witnessed Slipknot live at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and I have to say that in comparison to the hype and what I had expected, I was completely underwhelmed. Sure, as far as their music goes, with Jordison’s drumming prowess being the only true highlight, they sounded good, but I wasn’t as blown away with their stage presence as I was led to believe I would be. Their performance was amusing at best between the pyrotechnics, Clown beating beer kegs with an aluminum baseball bat and the overall presence of masked men in bright orange jumpsuits. I’ve heard Slipknot’s albums played by friends and when lazily listening without much enthusiasm, it wasn’t completely clear as to why it would take nine people to create the simplistic sounds I was hearing. Once I had seen Slipknot in a live setting and actually paid attention to what was happening, it solidified my thoughts that in reality only four to five members are relevant to the sound.
I can understand the fresh, unique appeal to the band, as I have admittedly been intrigued in the past, and I get that millions of people thoroughly enjoy their music, but would Slipknot be in the same ranks today had they not debuted with the masks, jumpsuits, and a crowded nine man stage show? It’s hard to say, but when making the claim that you are “so great,” it’s not only ballsy, but it could be misleading to anyone unfamiliar with the band when coming to the realization that Slipknot is a nine member outfit (now eight with the unfortunate and untimely loss of bassist Paul Gray) in which only up to 55% of said members are musically applicable.
Sure, John Lennon was bold enough to state that The Beatles had become “more popular than Jesus,” but will Slipknot still be as celebrated and relevant fifty years after their inception? I doubt it.
Conceptualized and written by: Brian Lion