Save for the few maggots who scour Internet fan sites and those lucky enough to sneak backstage during recent Ozzfest tours, the faces of the members of Slipknot have remained a mystery. For a third of the band, the days of anonymity may soon be over.
Three of the band's nine guys are showing more skin than they, as Slipknot members, have ever done before with two side-projects: Stone Sour and Murderdolls. Singer Corey Taylor and guitarist Jim Root spearhead Stone Sour, who recently shot a video for "Get Inside" at the Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood, according to their publicist. And in the clip they appear sans masks (see "Slipknot Members Will Unmask For New Video").
The song appears on Stone Sour's upcoming eponymous LP, due August 27, which also features Slipknot DJ Sid Wilson on three tracks. But maggots looking for more frenzied death metal to tide them over until the follow-up to 2001's Iowa had better look elsewhere, since Taylor and Root are the first to admit that Stone Sour are no Slipknot standby.
"As soon as this mask comes off, it's not Slipknot anymore," Taylor said.
Slipknot make Stone Sour, who take their name from a whiskey cocktail made with orange juice and sour mix, seem tame by comparison. Given Slipknot's pummeling sound, that can be said of most bands, though even Stone Sour's aggressive, melodic rock. For a taste of what's in store, give a listen to the wistful Taylor-crooned "Bother," which appears on the soundtrack to "Spider-Man" as well as on Stone Sour.
"If you're in a band, why do another band that sounds the same as the other band?" Taylor said. "Branch out and do something different. There are things in this band that I can't do in Slipknot. And if I can't do them, I'll lose my mind."
Prior to Slipknot, Taylor formed Stone Sour in 1992 with drummer Joel Ekman. After sifting through several guitarists, in 1995 Stone Sour enlisted the services of Root, who shared ax duties with Josh Rand. In 1997 Taylor quit the band to join Slipknot and the members went their separate ways. Root followed Taylor the following year, and bassist Shawn Economaki eventually became Slipknot's stage manager, while Ekman started a family.
In 2000 Rand told Taylor that he had been working on some songs, and the two soon got together to flesh them out. After re-forming with the old Stone Sour guys, the result of the collaboration became Stone Sour.
Although going unmasked could be construed as an attention-getter akin to Kiss losing their makeup in 1982, Taylor explained that it just wouldn't make sense to bring the masks along to the other gig. It would be like if Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson went off on a musical tangent and brought band mascot Eddie along with him. It's just not done.
"I've gotten a lot of questions from kids asking me if I'm going to wear the mask onstage, and I'm like, 'No, what are you talking about?' I'm not going to make [Stone Sour] Slipknot Jr. As much as I love Slipknot, I don't want that to carry over into what I do for Stone Sour. I want both bands to stand on their own."
While Root and Taylor shed their synthetic skins, drummer Joey Jordison has taken to the cold cream to reveal the face behind the white grease paint he sports in Slipknot. With Static-X guitarist Tripp Eisen, Jordison heads up the gothic horrorcore quintet Murderdolls (see "Slipknot's Corey, Joey Ready Side Projects"). The influence that silver-screen screamfests have had on the group is readily apparent on songs like "She Was a Teenage Zombie," "Dawn of the Dead" and "B-Movie Scream Queen." Marilyn Manson was expected to contribute vocals on one of the songs, but instead he'll just appear in the video for "Dead in Hollywood," their publicist said.
Those tunes, along with 11 others, are slated for the Murderdolls' debut, Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls, due August 20. They'll take their freak show on the road for a small string of dates beginning July 30.
The extracurricular activities aren't a sign that school's out on every metalhead's favorite nine-piece. Slipknot have just been on hiatus, and they're actually playing four festivals in the U.K. beginning August 23. Taylor thinks the time away from his band will have a therapeutic effect as well as a creative boost.
"It's good for us to go out and do stuff," he explained, "so when we come back to Slipknot, we'll once again discover why we love it in the first place."
Stone Sour track list, according to Roadrunner Records:
- "Get Inside"
- "Cold Reader"
- "Blue Study"
- "Take a Number"
- "Idle Hands"
Murderdolls tour dates, according to Roadrunner Records:
- 7/30 - San Diego, CA @ Epicenter
- 7/31 - San Francisco, CA @ Slim's
- 8/1 - West Hollywood, CA @ Whisky a Go Go
- 8/2 - Phoenix, AZ @ Mason Jar
- 8/4 - Albuquerque, NM @ TBD
- 8/5 - Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theatre
- 8/7 - Indianapolis, IN @ Emerson Theatre
- 8/8 - Detroit, MI @ Shelter
- 8/10 - Des Moines, IA @ Harry Mary's
Joe D'Angelo, with additional reporting by Iann RobinsonJoe D'Angelo, with additional reporting by Iann Robinson