Slipknot’s Clown On ‘Psychosocial’ Video: ‘Our Goal Has Always Been To Infect’

Percussionist also explains why DJ Sid Wilson is rolling around stage in a wheelchair.

For masked Iowan metallers Slipknot, this summer’s inaugural Rockstar Energy Mayhem festival got off on the wrong foot — literally. In Seattle, during the band’s first set of the tour, DJ Sid Wilson (a.k.a. #0) leapt from a riser stationed at the back of the stage and landed hard, breaking both his heels. While such injuries would sideline most rockers, it hasn’t fazed Wilson one bit; he’s vowed to take the stage each and every night of the tour and is employing a wheelchair as his primary means of transport.

But that’s just the kind of band Slipknot are. Dedicated and intense, they simply don’t quit — no matter what their bruises look like.

“[Sid] had to take his cast off last night, and I’m telling you, I couldn’t even look at his feet,” Slipknot percussionist Shawn “Clown” Crahan told MTV News this week. “Both his feet were black and blue — and deep. The bruises go, like, 2 inches in. But he’s up there every night, no problem. He’s so out of his mind, he’s got a big bruise on his face because he’s not used to slamming his head in a wheelchair. So he’s got a huge bruise on his face from smacking his head into his tables. It never ends. You think you’re out of it, and then you’re back in, on some other painful level.”

While Slipknot’s members have suffered innumerable injuries on the road — most of them self-inflicted — Clown said you’ve got to admire Wilson’s work ethic. “He’s in a wheelchair, so that’s pretty much the most extreme injury we’ve been hit with,” Crahan explained. “I’ve had to miss an entire tour because of an illness of a family member, and [guitarist] Jim [Root] broke his wrist one time. But it was always you either miss the show or you don’t. Sid was like, ‘I broke my feet, but I can’t miss a show, so here I am, in this wheelchair.’ The good thing is, he now knows he’s not 25 anymore.”

Other than Wilson’s mishap, Clown said Rockstar Energy Mayhem has been an incredible experience. The fans, he said, are turning out in huge numbers, and the band’s playing as though it never took five years off.

“Everything’s going good — we’re blowing all the carbon out of the motor and just hitting it, man,” he said. “The war is still the war, and we’ve been doing this so long, it doesn’t matter how many years we’re off — we’re just good at what we do, and it feels good when we’re together.”

Once this summer tour is a wrap, Clown said that Slipknot won’t be returning to the States until early 2009, which means fans won’t get to hear them play any new material — beyond “Psychosocial,” the first single off of their forthcoming album All Hope Is Gone — until then.

“It’s just too early to play the new stuff,” Clown said. “And it’s just so great to play a lot of these old songs. We’re not the kind of band that’ll say, ‘Let’s sacrifice all that old stuff to play new stuff.’ We’re kind of loving playing these songs off the first record, and it feels good — it’s just where we’re at.”

While the band is rocking their Phoenix fans on Friday, their video for “Psychosocial,” which was directed by Paul Brown (Korn, Marilyn Manson), will be making its worldwide debut on “FNMTV.” Clown said he had come up with the treatment for the video not too long ago and thinks fans will appreciate the work the band has put into the clip.

“They’re supposed to be called ‘video treatments,’ but I make them more like threats,” Clown said. “I send out these real weird threats that make no sense, and people like Paul say, ‘I feel you, but now I’m going to put in the practical things so we can get the money to do it.’ Basically, the video is a metaphor for where we’re at in our career.”

Without giving away too much, Crahan said the clip, shot at Sound Farm studios in Jamaica, Iowa, where the guys tracked All Hope Is Gone, will feature performance footage shot near a pond in a lush field.

“More or less, we have these giant masks that we’re wearing, called ‘purgatory masks.’ They’re like giant death masks, and they represent ego,” he said. “So the video is based on letting things like that go, and getting back to what we more or less do, which is rock out. With me, the idea was based around going to extremes. I wanted to get a phantom camera, which can shoot 1,000 frames per second; it’s psychotic. Then I wanted to get a 35 mm hand crank, like it’s Vietnam or some sh–. We have both worlds — we have the most extreme on both ends, with nothing in the middle. That’s what the video is, and nobody does that. There’s an art form behind it. The video’s got live performance footage, with serious consideration of location, color and just art, man. It’s pretty awesome.”

But how does Clown feel about the video debuting on MTV?

“I don’t know what to say,” he confided. “Our goal has always been to infect. Infect, infect, infect, infect. And there’s nothing cooler than seeing something so structured and so pronounced, and then watching something filtrate through it. You can put all your lights up and you can have your security and you can have your culture and you can do anything you want, but I was there when the Buggles threw on the first video ever. I saw it all: Duran Duran’s ‘Planet Earth,’ all of it. The fact that I am going to unleash my own vision, and it will be here and there, and it will be penetrating that MTV world — that’s what we set out to do: infect. If someone chooses to dress one way or think one way, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to come in there and change their life forever. I look at [the video premiering on MTV] as an honor.”