Totally True Memoirs of a Metal Producer: Slipknot’s Slipknot
Monte Conner called me. He hired me to produce some band he was signing. He said they wore masks. I coulda sworn he also said they were named after a vegetable or a fruit or something you’d find in a salad, but when I got to the studio, the band said they were called Slipknot, which is not something I’ve ever had in a salad. The check cleared so I didn’t care if they called themselves Snot Piss.
The band basically sounded like Korn with more turntables and less whining. I didn’t like it but I knew my grandkids would so I actually put some effort into making them sound good.
There were nine of them, but only four of them of them were really important. One of the unimportant ones, who called himself Clarabell or Bozo or something like that, was the only one who was in the studio every day. In fact, I don’t think he ever left the studio… he was always there when I left at night and there when I came back in the morning.
Not only that, but I don’t think he ever stopped talking except for when he was recording his parts. Nothing he said made a goddamn lick of sense, but he sure said a lot of it. One day I had the assistant engineer record him in secret, then I had the girl at the desk transcribe it. Here’s the transcription:
“Cold is with the monkey’s ears and toes. By his cockle hat and staff and his sandal shoon. Cats, dogs, and babies, it’s Tuesday! Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day, all in the morning betime, and I a maid at your window, to be your Valentine. Wishes are hopping and trees are west. Then up he rose and donned his clothes and dupped the chamber door, let in the maid, that out a maid. Friends are baskets and hats. By Gis and by Saint Charity, alack and fie for shame, young men will do ’t, if they come to ’t; by cock, they are to blame. ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe; all mimsy were the borogoves, and the mome raths outgrabe. Iggily biggily gollygoops woospiedoo spindingy zowzy.”
And I had to listen to this kind of shit all the time while I tried to make a record. The things I do for money.
Like I said, the only way to get the guy to shut up was to record him. Then he would insist the studio be PERFECTLY QUIET while he worked. But if you think that made it more fun to record him than to listen to him talk, well, as my friend Rob Halford once said, you’ve got another thing comin’. Guy thought he was Brian fucking Wilson. We did 217 takes of him hitting an empty beer keg with a baseball bat because he wasn’t satisfied with it. Then I just ended up having his parts buried in the mix anyway, because an empty beer keg isn’t a goddamn instrument.
There’s another guy who hits things in the band? I don’t remember him. I don’t know if we ever recorded him. I know we never actually recorded the guy with the spikes. A lot of people don’t know this, but he doesn’t actually do anything, he just shares organs with his twin, the guitar player, Mick, so they have to be together at all times.
The bassist was named Paul. He was the easiest one in the band to work with. A real pro and one of only a handful of bassists I’ve ever met who aren’t complete losers.
The DJ guy was the opposite of Krusty: he somehow recorded all of his parts in less time than it takes to actually listen to those parts. I’m not sure how he did it, but I believe meth was involved.
I forget the drummer’s name, but we called him “Short Round” because he needed to tie wooden blocks to his feet to reach the pedals. He actually almost died while we were making this; I didn’t see him while I was walking through the studio one day and damn near stepped on him.
One thing was clear from the start — Corey Taylor was a goddamn star. He was all of Iowa’s biggest, brightest personalities rolled into one: he had the machismo of John Wayne, the wit of Cloris Leachman, and the sex appeal of Tom Arnold.
I admit, I tried to talk Corey out of doing any rapping on the record. I didn’t know better; I hadn’t heard of M&Ms yet. I was worried this farkakta band was going to turn this wonderful legend-in-the-making into the next Vanilla Ice.
But Corey insisted, and I could never refuse him once he looked at me with those beautiful baby blues. Naturally, he turned out to be right.
When we were done making the record, I slipped Corey my card and told him to call me when the band broke up, which I assumed would be sometime within the next year. Imagine my surprise when they went on to be HUGE. Not in the sense of a real band, but for a band that sounds like Korn with more turntables and less whining, I mean.