Slipknot wants to bring a taste of 'evil' new music to the Iowa State Fair
“This place is my life,” Slipknot co-founder and percussionist Shawn Crahan, or Clown as he is known on stage, said as he announced that the band will be playing at the fair for the first time next summer. The Des Moines Register
What’s the one word Corey Taylor uses to describe new Slipknot music?
“(It’s) gonna be evil,” he said.
That’s coming from the 45-year-old frontman who helped mold modern metal by shouting to the masses that “I push my fingers into my eyes” and “If you’re 5-5-5 then I’m 6-6-6.”
“It’s going to be ridiculous,” said Taylor, a Des Moines native. “Let’s put it that way.”
Escaping a stormy Iowa winter, the destructive Des Moines nonet started 2019 in a Southern California recording studio — enlisting ".5: The Gray Chapter" producer Greg Fidelman to track an unnamed sixth studio album that could be released as early as this summer.
Slipknot offered a taste of its impending brutality on “All Out Life,” a single released last Halloween. Nearly six minutes in length, the track melds thrash guitar with hot-blooded percussion and a melodic intensity synonymous with Slipknot.
Still, Taylor said "All Out Life" isn't “nearly as dark and vicious as the rest of the stuff that we have that we’re working on.”
Slipknot brings “All Out Life” to Iowa’s capital city this summer for a first-time performance at the Iowa State Fair Grandstand. The first confirmed North American show for the band this year, limited tickets for the Aug. 10 show remain at iowastatefair.org.
In an interview with the Register, Taylor discussed the new single, album and upcoming performance at the Iowa State Fair. Read highlights from the conversation below.
The first taste of new Slipknot music released in four years, “All Out Life” features a rare on-the-nose proclamation from Taylor to listeners: “Old does not mean dead/New does not mean best … We are not your kind/I challenge you to all out life.”
It’s a socio-political message, Taylor said. The song challenges listeners — often drowned by an in-the-moment media cycle — not to forget the past when chasing what’s in the present.
“We are not your kind” offers a rallying cry; Taylor penned it in-part because he didn’t see others using music as a force to “take a hard look at what you believe.” The track's been streamed 27 million times on YouTube and 17 million times on Spotify.
“… people are way too pissed about the wrong things and not pissed enough about the right things,” Taylor said. “(The song sets) the tone for getting people to stand up and go, 'We’re not gonna allow this. We’re not gonna allow people to run us down for religious beliefs, for the color we are, for what we stand for. For who we chose to love.’ All of these things. There’s nobody doing it, man. Everybody’s too worried about their pockets. Everybody's too worried about their paychecks.
“That was me, basically, drawing a line in the sand and going ‘Guess what? You don’t get to do this anymore.’”
Don’t expect the whole of Slipknot’s sixth album to be a political outcry, though. Taylor plans to take listeners on a mostly introspective pilgrimage, outlining a battle with depression that led to a divorce and forced him to “figure out who I was.”
A recovering drug and alcohol addict, Taylor said he stayed sober during his two-year downturn. The journey influenced a cathartic writing process.
“All I was doing was giving and I found myself absolutely, completely tapped,” he said. “You could see it in my skin. You could see it in my eyes. That’s basically the journey I’m going to take people on this album … show them what happens to depression when you have no chemicals to fall back on.
“It’s a pretty dark ride.”
Slipknot spent two decades climbing the ranks of Des Moines venues, from cutting teeth at the Safari Lounge to opening for Megadeth at the Ankeny Airfield to headlining Wells Fargo Arena.
The band created and headlines one of the world's biggest rock festivals, Knotfest, debuted twice at No. 1 on the all-important Billboard 200 chart and earned a Grammy Award in 2006.
But a Grandstand show? During the Iowa State Fair? That’s “massive,” Taylor said.
“The fact that it’s damn near sold out and we’ve still got six months before it even happens? That, to me, is such the testament of the work we've put in with this band,” Taylor said. “To the legacy that we’re tried to carry with us and the fact that we’ve carried the Iowa culture with us for this long."
Taylor remembers his nights as a teenager on the Midway, being heckled by the water tank jockey ("you could hear him for miles," he joked) and eating deep-fried Snicker bars. He’s a self-proclaimed fiend for fair rides who joked about taking his bandmates on one spin too many shortly after joining Slipknot.
“I got Clown (Shawn Crahan, percussionist) and Joey (Jordison, former drummer) to go on some of the more gnarly rides,” Taylor said. “I can’t remember what it’s called, (but) a total bag blower. Just crazy. If you don’t roll over you’re gonna be wearing somebody else’s vomit. I made those guys ride it like four times in a row. We got a picture where I’m screaming, loving it, and those guys look like they’re gonna blow chunks.
“It was so rad.”
From the archives: Corey Taylor is Iowa’s biggest geek. Here’s the proof.
And, having rehearsed about 20 songs, Slipknot plans to take fairgoers on a ride on its own.
“It will definitely be the heaviest set at the fairgrounds,” Taylor said, laughing.
Why’s it an important night? Because Slipknot’s conquered Madison Square Garden, the Forum in Los Angeles and Wembley Arena, but nothing may compare to a homecoming at the Iowa State Fair.
“We’re still Iowa guys,” he said. “We’re still an Iowa band. We take that very seriously. We’ve never forgotten the things that we learned. And that's kept us hungry. That’s kept us wanting more. That’s kept us chasing the title. Chasing the mantle that all of the bands who inspired us have held.”
Limited tickets remain to see Slipknot at the Iowa State Fair. Find more information at iowastatefair.org.
So, about that time: What led to Ozzy Osbourne infamously biting the head off a bat in Des Moines?
2019 Iowa State Fair Grandstand lineup (so far)
Aug. 8: For King & Country
Aug. 10: Slipknot
Aug. 11: Zac Brown Band
Aug. 14: Gabriel Iglesias
Aug. 16: Luke Bryan
Aug. 17: Pentatonix
Aug. 18: Hootie & The Blowfish with Barenaked Ladies