On Saturday, less than a week after [artist id="509070"]Slipknot[/artist] bassist Paul Gray was found dead in an Iowa hotel room, his bandmates released a lengthy tribute video to their late friend, a man who helped form the group some 15 years ago.
The video — posted on Slipknot's YouTube Channel — is little more than a series of interview clips from Gray, but the effect of hearing him speak at length about his childhood, his adopted hometown of Des Moines and his "family" in Slipknot is palpable: He truly was a man who loved his life, his fans and, most of all, his bandmates.
"All these guys, I've know 'em forever ... we've all played together in different bands, different shows, all these people I've known forever," Gray says in the video. "Like I said, they're my family. Every person in this band ... we couldn't have the band without [them]. I mean, we've done shows without people, obviously, when people have gotten hurt, or Shawn [Crahan] had some family problems, and it's never the same. It does not feel like the band until everybody's there. Everybody makes up this whole thing.
"We've all got each other's back, and always have a shoulder for someone to put their head on," Gray continues. "We're family. We do need each other."
In the interview, Gray also speaks about moving to his beloved Des Moines as a teenager and says the city not only led him to form Slipknot, but kept him and his family alive.
"I was born and raised in L.A., and I love Los Angeles ... but I've met the greatest people out here, I have some of the best friends in the world out here, so, yeah, I'd never move from here," he says. "This town actually saved my family in a way, saved my family's life in a way, and mine, so ... I owe this city and this state. So, I'm not leaving."
Gray goes on to describe his "crazy," troubled childhood and how he'd been living on his own since he was 14. "I grew up poor," he says. "We had no money, living in sh--ty, f---in' roach-infested apartments my whole f---ing life. The little bit of money [my mother] had was enough for a down payment on a house out here, our first actual house."
Gray also recalls the day he met vocalist Anders Colsefini at a local music shop, and inadvertently — mostly because he was new to town and didn't know a soul — helped form Slipknot, volunteering to play bass even though he'd never touched the instrument in his life.
"I got out here and ... I didn't know anybody for about six months, actually. I was down in a music store, and I met our original singer for Slipknot down there," he said. "They were talking about needing a bass player for a band, and I'd never played bass in my life, and I was like, 'I don't know anybody, so f--- it, I can play bass.' I never played bass before in my life."
The video closes with a written message from Slipknot, who call Gray their "brother," saying, "This world will be a different place without him."
At press time, the cause of Gray's death remained unclear. Last week, an initial autopsy, revealed no signs of foul play or trauma, and the Polk County medical examiner is awaiting results of toxicology testing, which may not be available for four to six weeks.
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