Slipknot bassist Paul Gray — who was found dead Monday (May 24) in a suburban Iowa hotel room of causes that had not been announced at press time — helped found the group back in 1995, and over the next 15 years, he'd witness their remarkable ascension from Iowa outsiders to one of the most popular hard-rock acts on the planet.
And though Slipknot sold millions of albums, toured the world and even won a Grammy, the band never lost the bond Gray — and his bandmates — shared with their fans. It was a connection that few groups manage to achieve, and one that Gray cherished, as he told MTV News in 2008, just before the release of Slipknot's most recent album, All Hope Is Gone.
"It makes you kind of speechless, man. Some kid who's so depressed or things are going so bad for them that they actually want to take their own lives, and then they listen to a Slipknot lyric or a song ... and that actually gets them through that? I mean, what can you say?" Gray said. "I'm just happy that we're able to do something and actually touch somebody like that, where they do feel empowered to keep pushing on and keep going through what they're going through, and surviving. It's an overwhelming feeling."
And though it meant having to deal with plenty of heavy stuff, Gray never shied away from spending time with Slipknot's so-called "Maggots." Instead, he opened his Iowa home to them ... he considered it an honor.
"I don't know how they do it, man, but they find my address, my actual home address, and I'll get letters and paintings. I have huge murals, big paintings of us that these guys put hours and hours into. And they'll send them into my house. I don't know how they do that, but ... it's really cool," he laughed. "I've had people just show up at my house, and they're sitting on my back porch drinking beer, waiting for me to come home. And, like, I come home at 2 in the morning and there's these kids just sitting there, and I'm like, 'What the f--- are you doing here?' and they're like, screaming and, like, 'Can we come in and hang out?' And I'm the kind of person who lets them in, tells them, 'Here, sh--, have another beer, whatever, I'll drive you home.' It's crazy, man."
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