Slipknot: Highway to Hell
“I go to a fucking mall, and I get followed by security,” Thomson says to a group of fans and musicians sipping beer after the show. “It’s like, ‘Hello? I’m shopping.’ Here’s what’s cool, though: In the end, I own your fucking children. Say what you want, I can tell your kids to fucking kill you in your sleep, and they will. He who laughs last, motherfucker.”
The parking lot is full of people, semis and tour buses that form a small maze. Between them, people scurry up and down, dodging the odd patch of pee or puke. Papa Roach’s Coby Dick celebrates his fourth wedding anniversary with a cake that a roadie throws in his face. On the more social of the Slipknot buses (the blue one), a band associate brings in a fan to meet and entertain. “My dad and his girlfriend worship the Devil,” she says, pulling down her hotroad-flame bikini top and gyrating slowly. “His parents were Bible thumpers. My mom was a hippie, and he’s a Satanist. Hey, you guys fucking rock.”
Satanism is definitely in the accusation cards for Slipknot this year. “The only similarity we have with Satanism is that we’re self-indulgent,” Jordison says. “One of the main tenets of Satanism is self-righteousness and making yourself happy. I agree with that. It doesn’t mean it’s evil. I agree with aspects of Satanism as much as I agree with aspects of the Bible.” Crahan is more specific. “We’re 100 percent not a Satanistic band,” he proclaims in his raspy, booming voice. “We’re beyond that. We’re communicating in a way that people won’t understand for years to come.”
Jordison punches the band’s security guard, a massive, very chuckly man named Smitty. A few girls hover nearby, giggling. They aren’t typical Slipknot groupies, who, according to Jordison, are “very quiet, seductive, goth bondage-looking chicks, always with black hair. A lot of them want you to have sex with them with the mask on. You know, if a girl is going to take her pants off that easily for you, who knows who she’s already been with. Probably Crazy Town.”
Though all the members of Slipknot are married or spoken for and don’t “do the groupie thing,” as Jordison says, they get a lot of love from fans. One threw a prosthetic leg at them last week, and another topped that with a real human bone, decorated with the words “People = Shit.” “It’s a tibia,” Crahan says, holding out the yellow-brown chipped specimen. “A girl in Portugal dug it up and gave it to me. I’m going to bury it when I get home. I respect that she did that, but I’m going to put it to rest.”
At another end of the parking lot, Taylor and Economaki are reminiscing. “Remember when we used to shoot assault rifles out of my parents’ basement?” Economaki asks. “M-16s, AR-14s, everything. In a residential neighborhood.”
“Ah, to be young, stupid and drinking Kiwi Lemon Mad Dog,” Taylor says.
It’s hard to tell if they’ve taken time to notice, but this is Slipknot’s moment. They compromise nothing, and they have everyone’s attention. “I don’t think this band can last more than four or five albums,” Jordison says. “Look what we’ve done on the new one. I know we’ve succeeded every time I listen to it. I think four albums will tie everything together. This band is so physical, it’s literally trimming years off our lives. This music is hard to play, and it’s hard on us. But we love it.”
There are already Slipknot side projects. “My tech and I have a fake band called Rapist,” Thomson says, grinning. “With songs like ‘I Was Hard When I Left the House,’ ‘Looking in Your Bushes’ and my favorite, ‘No Means Yes.’ We’re going to be the most hated band in the world. Our whole idea is to have everyone hate us, both men and women. We’re gonna have a female bass player, and we’ll paint bruises and a split lip on her and say that we forced her to play the bass. We’ve also got songs like ‘No One Will Believe You’ and ‘Your Parents Won’t Love You Anymore.’ Ah, yes, my future looks bright.”
Wilson has started work on his own drum-and-bass tracks as well as some hip-hop — all MCs with a death-metal attitude, take note. Jordison plans to stay in it for the long haul as well. “I’ll be in other bands after this, and I’m sure I’ll produce,” he says. “But right now, it’s all about the Knot.”
Crahan and Fehn feel that this band is the only one worth being in. “I’ll probably go back to being an electrician when we’re done,” Fehn says. “I’d definitely have to take some time off to figure out the world again. This is like being in jail. You get back out in society and you’re like, ‘Fuck!’ For one thing, I’d have to buy tickets to shows again.” Lord knows what Jones will do — hopefully nothing involving explosives, germ technology or hacking.
Everyone piles on their buses, the guest of honor on the social bus tonight being Coby Dick. “There’s one rule on both buses,” Crahan says before getting on his. “No shitting. If you need to go, tell the driver and he’ll pull over. Otherwise you’ve got to hot-bag it.” It’s an odd aversion for a man who once saved his morning shits to throw around at showtime. “The crap throwing is what it is,” he says, shaking his head and looking down before looking up, his intent blue eyes contrasted by the dark circles around them. “I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t get this industry: They don’t want to take the time to find the things that will change the world. They just want to turn it out.” He pauses, then finds his thread. “Yeah, so hot-bagging: You take a trash bag, line the toilet, take your shit, tie it up and throw it out the window. Remember, no shitting.” He points a stout finger. “Because we’ll know if you do. See you in D.C.”
As the blue land submarine hums off into the night, pointed toward the outskirts of our nation’s capital, drinks are poured — a completely appropriate, sickly strong mixture of vodka, Red Bull, Chambord and grape soda — and a sloppy party begins. In honor of the South, the soundtrack starts with Lynyrd Skynyrd, all of the musicians air-playing the breaks and riffs they learned as tykes. Next comes Guns n’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction and a band associate’s stories about the song “My Michelle.”
As the night gets lighter and the driver tells road tales from yesteryear, on comes Journey’s Evolution. Steve Perry sings a few people to sleep. The remainder greet the dawn, doze off watching Purple Rain and get some rest before waking up in a place that looks like the last one, to do it all over again.