Slipknot’s Clown to Roadrunner Records: “Get the Hell Away From Me”
Slipknot percussionist M. Shawn “Clown” Crahan recently granted an interview to Minneapolis, MN radio station 93X, and most metal sites are running with the psuedo-scoop headline that the band is hoping to finish their next album by the end of July for a release late 2021 or early 2022. That’s a noteworthy tidbit, to be sure, but not an especially revelatory one if you’ve been following Slipknot’s studio updates and have a basic understanding of how record release timelines work. Instead, it’s the shot Clown fired at the band’s longtime label, Roadrunner Records, that most piqued our interest.
Slipknot have been with Roadrunner since the beginning of their career as a national act and have released all six of their albums through the label, starting with 1999’s self-titled. Seven-album deals were not uncommon in those days, and Clown revealed in the new interview that their next album will be their last with Roadrunner, fulfilling their contractual obligation. What’s more, he doesn’t sound the least bit sad about it, expressing a disdain for the label without explaining why.
Speaking on the currently-in-progress Slipknot sessions in slightly more intelligible than usual Clownese, he said:
“I believe that this album is… It’s God music, man. It’s the center of the beast for me. This is a whole other element.
“We as a band have been trying to facilitate certain ideas in recording and songwriting. Songwriting isn’t always just giving our fans ‘Psychosocial’s and ‘Surfacing’s — without saying it, sometimes we can write those songs in our sleep; it’s so in us. It’s what we don’t know and what we don’t know how to pull out is what is the love for humanity. I wanna make a difference.
“I don’t do a lot of charity because I believe what I’m doing onstage is my charity. It’s bringing everyone together for a night.
“I just think what we’re doing now is really… There’s a lot of things going on. One, we’re getting off our label [after the release of new LP]. And I feel free. It’s got nothing to do with what’s next. It’s just got to do with, ‘Get the hell away from me.’”
If there’s anything we know about Clown it’s that he’ll make his feelings known… it might just take him a lot more words to say it than the rest of us. And the message here is pretty clear: the band is ready to move on.
Speculation time: I wouldn’t be surprised if there is no specific ill will towards the label. It’s not uncommon for major labels to have a high staff turnover rate as the 20- and 30-somethings that occupy most of those jobs are quick to move onto the next opportunity. As such, the people at Roadrunner Slipknot work with now are almost certainly 100% different than those who worked there when the band signed in 1999. Shit, that was most likely already true after 10 years, let alone 20+. It’s also especially notable here because Roadrunner has been through a number of significant shifts and a major label acquisition by Warner Music Group. A significant portion of the label’s “core” was laid off several years ago.
More speculation: I bet Slipknot go the independent route and start handling everything in-house, the same way Metallica have for years. If there’s any other metal band that can do it, it’s them, and they already have the infrastructure in place: a large management company (5B) with which they already have significant investments (Knotfest, hard-hitting journalistic outpost Knotfest.com, etc.), and a rabid fanbase that eats up everything they do. Build that team out a little more and they’ll be set. It’s got to be frustrating for Slipknot to be giving so much revenue over to a record label right now when they likely don’t need the support.
You can watch the interview below if you like. I suspect this is not the last word we’ll hear on this issue in the coming months (unless 5B, upon reading this article, instructs the band to keep quiet on it… in which case I give it about a 50/50 shot Clown obeys). Stay tuned.
Slipknot will go on a massive North American tour with Killswitch Engage, Fever 333 and Code Orange later this year. Dates:
Sep. 25 – Des Moines, IA – National Balloon Classic Field (Knotfest Iowa) [Tickets]
Sep. 28 – Tinley Park, IL – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre [Tickets]
Sep. 29 – Milwaukee, WI – American Family Insurance Amphitheater [Tickets]
Oct. 01 – Noblesville, IN – Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center [Tickets]
Oct. 02 – Clarkston, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre [Tickets]
Oct. 03 – Darien Center, NY – Darien Lake Amphitheater [Tickets]
Oct. 05 – Syracuse, NY – Lakeview Amphitheater – Syracuse [Tickets]
Oct. 08 – Mansfield, MA – Xfinity Center [Tickets]
Oct. 09 – Hartford, CT – XFINITY Theatre [Tickets]
Oct. 10 – Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center [Tickets]
Oct. 12 – Camden, NJ – BB&T Pavilion [Tickets]
Oct. 13 – Bristow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live [Tickets]
Oct. 15 – Burgettstown, PA – S&T Bank Music Park [Tickets]
Oct. 17 – Charlotte, NC – PNC Music Pavilion [Tickets]
Oct. 19 – Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre [Tickets]
Oct. 20 – West Palm Beach, FL – iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre [Tickets]
Oct. 22 – Raleigh, NC – Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek [Tickets]
Oct. 23 – Alpharetta, GA – Ameris Bank Amphitheatre [Tickets]
Oct. 24 – Pelham, AL – Oak Mountain Amphitheatre [Tickets]
Oct. 26 – Rogers, AR – Walmart AMP [Tickets]
Oct. 28 – Del Valle, TX – Germania Insurance Amphitheater [Tickets]
Oct. 29 – The Woodlands, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion (no Code Orange) [Tickets]
Oct. 30 – Dallas, TX – Dos Equis Pavilion [Tickets]
Nov. 01 – Albuquerque, NM – Isleta Amphitheater [Tickets]
Nov. 02 – Phoenix, AZ – Ak-Chin Pavilion [Tickets]