The Big U-Knot: See Randy Johnson's Knotfest Photos - Rolling Stone
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The Big U-Knot: Randy Johnson’s Knotfest Photos

The future MLB Hall of Famer headed to Slipknot’s festival on assignment for Rolling Stone

Randy Johnson Knotfest

Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson was a tower of terror during his 22-year major league career, standing 6'10" and firing 100 MPH fastballs that made batters shake in their stirrups. But after retiring in 2010, the man known as "The Big Unit" put down his glove and picked up a camera, turning a lifelong hobby into a second career.

"I actually started taking pictures in high school," he laughs. "Then baseball took over my life for two decades."

Since then, he's shot for the likes of U2, Rush and Metallica, and last weekend, the future Hall of Famer headed to Knotfest to document Slipknot's new chapter for Rolling Stone. From the pits to the dressing rooms – and everywhere in between – Johnson brought the same intensity to his assignment as he did to each of the 4,100 innings he hurled in the majors, and then some.

"It was electric," he says. "Kind of like taking the mound for the first time out of spring training."

Here, in his own words, are the stories behind his photos.

Five Finger Death Punch's Ivan Moody

Five Finger Death Punch’s Ivan Moody

"They're another band with tremendous energy, and so I wanted to capture some of that, but also try to bring the fans close to the action, to see the emotion that goes into their performance. A lot of times, people think heavy music like this is just loud, but there's a lot more to it."

Anthrax at Knotfest

Anthrax at Knotfest

"When I'm up on the stage, I'm always trying to shoot some of the crowd, too. I like this shot because there's so much happening, and though their set was kind of dark – at least compared to Slipknot's – you can still see the fans, which I think is really cool."

Butcher Babies' Heidi Shepherd

Butcher Babies’ Heidi Shepherd

"This was kind of an unexpected moment that I was lucky enough to catch. Heidi from Butcher Babies jumped off the stage onto the barricade to interact with the fans, and she saw me and made some eye contact. You can plan for just about everything, but sometimes you're just in the right place at the right time."

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