A little more than a year ago, at the end of a bruising world tour, Slipknot decided to take a much-needed break.
Frontman Corey Taylor and guitarist James Root kept busy with Stone Sour, who released an album earlier this year (see "Slipknot's Taylor Gearing Up For Stone Sour LP — And Tenacious D Tribute") and Joey Jordison spent months on the road, drumming for Ministry. Other bandmembers reacquainted themselves with their families, relaxed, and, like percussionist Chris Fehn, worked on their golf games.
Percussionist M. Shawn Crahan, however, hasn't been golfing, touring or even writing new music: He has been consumed with making the band's new DVD, "Voliminal: Inside the Nine," due December 5. And the man who's known by the band's followers, affectionately dubbed "maggots," as Clown, said the group's relative inactivity shouldn't be a source of stress: Slipknot are not down for the count — at least, not yet.
"I don't think a lot of people understand this, but we're not a normal band," Clown said of "the greatest rock band out there right now." "We are the kind of band that — because of its magnitude, it's nine people — believes in taking time off between conceptual cycles. So, we just got done with a three-and-a-half-year thing, and we played over 240 shows in 34 countries, and now, we get a break from each other — a spiritual, mental, physical break. And when we get back together, it's business, man."
Clown said the band plans to regroup either in late summer or fall '07 to begin working on new material. Clown added that a few of the Slipknot dudes have been writing, "because that's always going on, because everyone in this band's so creative," and even hinted that some members might be meeting in January to work on tunes together. "We're all alive today, so things are good," he said. "Do we want to get together and make a fourth record? Why wouldn't we?"
Until then, the world's maggots will have to make do with "Voliminal," which Clown said is more like an art film than a music DVD. It runs 90 minutes, and is even being screened in multiplexes in cities across the nation — including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver, Boston and Atlanta — on its release date.
"Voliminal," which was created and directed by Clown, began when the rocker decided to collect as much footage as possible during the recording of 2004's Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) and its subsequent tour. "It was needed," he explained. "I wasn't sure if the band was going to be together or not [at the end of the record cycle], and I just thought it'd be a shame if we wouldn't have collected possibly the last days of this band, or — what I was hoping for, and what we were all hoping for and what we all got — the reunion of our friendship. If that was the case, cameras really needed to catch it all."
And boy, did he ever capture it — Clown sifted through more than 300, 60-minute tapes for "Voliminal." "I demanded realism," he said. "I wanted to have someone in there filming that they weren't comfortable with, someone they'd be able to stand up to, in their own kingdom, and say, 'Hey, motherf---er, get the camera off of me, now!' "
"Voliminal" was shot on hand-held cameras, and, according to a press release, "brings the viewer as close as one can get to the band." The DVD also includes live footage, music videos and interviews. Clown admitted he's got the directing bug now, and said he's finishing up several screenplays and would like to get back behind the lens in the not-so-distant future. But the most powerful part of working on "Voliminal," he revealed, was seeing himself on tape, and realizing he needed to make some serious life changes.
"I just got out of the hospital [two weeks] ago, because basically I've just been stressed out and not taking care of myself," Clown explained. "The hardest thing for me in making this film was to watch myself. I got to see myself behave in situations, and talk amongst others and most of the time, friend, I didn't like what I saw. Being in the hospital, I had a lot of time to think. And working on this really brought me into a personal realm, to take a real good look at me.
"I saw myself be frustrated, I saw myself argue with people when it wasn't warranted, and I can actually say I was wrong. And that was tough," he continued. "You can't get any of that time back. I wouldn't change what I did, but I'm willing to now look at it and make proper adjustments. I feel very blessed to have been able to get that from something I worked on, and that's why this film is so important to me."