Thursday, March 19, 2009

Excitement over Slipknot, of all things

Earlier this year, I had the chance to interview Chris, the percussionist from Slipknot. I was completely honored to do the interview, since they're really at the top of the metal game and pure innovation. Today I learned the guys landed their first Active Rock No. 1 hit, "Dead Memories." For a band that's been together 10 years, that's a testament to their talent and determination.

Here's my Q & A (originally published in the Gannett Lansing State Journal and on

Slipknot hits one decade: Alt-metal act's percussionist says future is bright
Anne Erickson Lansing State Journal

Known for pulsating percussion, chunky riffs and intense theatrics (i.e. those creepy masks), Slipknot quickly rose to the top of the alt-metal landscape in the late-'90s, and soon after broke into the mainstream. Now a decade later, the surging 9-piece is still tough. The guys have a No. 1 album (2008's "All Hope Is Gone."). They have a best metal performance Grammy. And now they're going on a full-scale, U.S. arena tour. (That hits the Palace of Auburn Hills on Saturday.)

There's no doubt: Slipknot doesn't mess around.

We chatted with percussionist Chris Fehn, better known as No. 3, during a tour stop in Kansas City, Mo.

• NOISE: This tour marks the 10th anniversary of Slipknot. Congratulations! What's your secret to longevity?

Fehn: I think our music is really strong, and without the music first and foremost, nothing else would be possible for us, so I have to say the music.

• You've all been a part of Slipknot for so long. Do you feel like family at this point?

• Yeah, definitely. We fight like family; we love each other like family. And we've had the same nine guys in the band for 10 years, so I think that's a real testament.

• On your new album, "All Hope Is Gone," do you think you went in a different direction musically?

• I think the only direction we really go in is to try to make good music. We never start out with a plan or any kind of preconceived notion of how we think the record should sound.

• You guys are on the road a lot. What's your favorite thing about touring?

• Playing the live show, without a doubt. The rest is really rough - living on the road and being away from friends and family.

• About your masks: Where do you have those made?

• There are usually a couple of artists who we work with. We get our heads cast and then they'll draw them out.

• When you put on your mask every night, do you feel transformed?

• Not at this point, because I'm just so used to it. But I can remember back when we were first doing this that it was definitely more of a transformation. But now it's kind of like putting a football helmet on to play a game.

• Do you think Slipknot will be around a while?

• Yeah, definitely. We understand that we have a lot of fans and we mean something to the world, so I think that continues to drive us.

• Any last thoughts?

• With the economy the way it is, we really appreciate people taking the time to come out and see us with their hard-earned money, because it means a lot to us to be out there, too. So thank you.

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