Enlarge The percussionist says that all nine band members need to approve before a song is declared "done."

Slipknot’s Clown Says Band Members “Fight to the Death” Over Songwriting


Ever wondered how Slipknot get anything done with nine voices in the room? It’s not easy, according to percussionist M. Shawn “Clown” Crahan, who elaborated on the band’s painstaking writing process in a new interview.

Speaking to Minnesota radio station 93X, Clown detailed the process for the band’s currently in-progress new album, explaining that everyone in the band has to participate and feel confident in a song before it’s proclaimed done.

What’s more, he revealed that the band wrote a song called “Without the Gray” dedicated to late bassist Paul Gray many years ago — Gray died in 2010 — and Clown is the one being a stick in the mud about letting it move forward.

He explained:

“We fight like brothers when we write music because everybody wants to be able to write the song, including the nine of us. I laugh so hard because we’ll fight to the death almost over 10 songs.

“And that’s passion, that’s a lot of passion. And I can pretty much say that none of that is because of money or credit that is written, it’s more of who we are – artists, and musicians, and songwriters, and lyricists.

“We paint, we draw, we jam, we write prose… So we take this art more seriously than anyone else. That’s involved with us, I’m not talking about other bands, I’m talking about we take this very seriously. Probably more than you, probably more than the label, probably more than everyone…

“So it’s very important always for everyone to understand that what they hear is a palette of many colors, and those colors are temperatures. If you’ve ever met everyone in Slipknot, you know that we’re all different. We all bring a different color.

“And sometimes when those colors are mixed, a brand new color shows up. For instance, I and the other drummer, percussionist – he can do something, I can do something in a song. But when we do something together, it creates something else.

“So if you have to break it down, Slipknot cannot be without all those colors. It’s like doing a Bob Ross painting without some trees, slamming the brush back and forth – you just can’t have it. So it’s really a simple concept.

“It’s sort of horrible that we have to remind everybody that it’s not a Slipknot song until everybody’s on it, but we still do. And if we weren’t all on it, you would know it, you’d feel it.

“There are so many songs that have never been released because they get taken up to a point, and they’re doing good, then they just sort of fall short because maybe that right brush just couldn’t bring that color yet. So we hold it back.

“There’s tons of music… We have a song that we wrote for Paul Gray called ‘Without the Gray,’ and it’s my fault ’cause I’ve held it, for a long time. I don’t know why.

“It was too close in the beginning, it seemed like it needed to be for us more than for everyone else. And then now, I don’t care, I want it to be for everyone else instead of us. So there’s a lot of music.

“It takes everyone, and if everyone’s not on it, things get held back, and then they don’t make their way.

“So right now, we’re making a new album, and it’s creating all kinds of just fuss. We’ve all been separated for a year, I think it’s safe to say some guys want to be left alone, and some guys are out in the world.

“Just kind of like people want to wear masks and they don’t want to wear masks, it’s just each to their own. I’m 51 years old so I don’t have any more time to listen to people make excuses. You choose your own participation.

“I got busy, whether you like it or not, whether anyone in the band likes it or not, whether the fans like it or not, whether my wife likes it or my new dog – I don’t care. I got busy because I wanted to.

“And many guys in the band also got busy, everybody did to some degree what we could put together. Here’s why I say it like that, that might sound a little threatening and a little big – but here’s the deal…

“I could personally write 10 songs, which I did not write all the music on this album, but let’s say I did – it wouldn’t matter unless everybody put their love on it, and those aren’t going anywhere. Not one of them, not one.

“All these songs we’re doing right now – if the band didn’t feel like they couldn’t be on an album or they didn’t want to work, they’re just gonna be a waste of money, a waste of everybody’s time.

“And that’s just so not the way, we don’t care, we gotta do what’s right. And that’s what we’re doing right now.”

Clown also recently said that the band is excited to move on from Roadrunner Records and that the upcoming album will be their last for the band’s longtime label.

Slipknot are currently in the studio in Los Angeles recording the follow-up to We Are Not Your Kind, released in 2019. They are also working on new masks. Slipknot will bring their own Knotfest festival to their native Iowa in September, then embark on a tour with Killswitch Engage, Fever 333 and Code Orange opening immediately thereafter.

[via Ultimate Guitar]

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