Slipknot’s Jim Root: “Guitars Were Depressing Me” During the Pandemic
As a member of Slipknot, Jim Root‘s guitar playing has been a major contributing factor to the band’s success. Yet leading up to the release of the band’s latest offering The End, So Far, Root admitted that he “didn’t have a ton of input” into the music. And while there was a lot of talk that the writing process for the album was anything but normal for the band, it turns out that Root’s lack of input stemmed from a more serious place.
While speaking with Guitar World, Root said he had been battling with severe depression during the pandemic and that had caused him to struggle with writing music or even grabbing the guitar to play.
“No, guitars were depressing me. Everything was depressing me. It’s weird how the wires in your brain will cross up and whereas previously the guitar was an outlet for me to escape stuff, this time when I looked at it, it just reminded me of all the things that I wasn’t able to do because of Covid. So, this positive force in my life turned into this negative thing, which would’ve been absolutely fucking horrifying if I hadn’t been able to pull myself out of it.
“Now I pick up a guitar and I’m like, ‘What would I do without this?’ But back then, I was so far from that place. I was losing any sense of positivity. I had zero purpose at all. And I thought, ‘What difference does it make if I’m here or if I’m not here? What good is my existence? I’ve pretty much accomplished everything in life that I’ve set out to accomplish. How do I set new goals and why should I bother?’ That’s what was going through my head and it was scary.”
I can’t imagine having to go through that. As a person who made their living playing guitar and touring the world with one of the biggest bands, not being able to pick up his instrument must have been devastating.
Root said he tried to make music on his own during lockdown, but he was unable to. Ultimately, he credited working with a therapist to get over some of his issues and his bandmates bassist Alessandro Venturella and percussionist M. Shawn Crahan for helping out during the recording process.
“I tried to do some stuff. If I had felt a little more confident and positive, I would’ve said, ‘Oh, this is great. I’ve got all this downtime to sit and write and be creative.’ I normally write in my house, but I had a bad leak and there was water damage so I had to try to find someplace different to set up my computer and write.
“It just didn’t feel right and gave me anxiety to try to work that way, which made me give up trying. I wasn’t in my comfort zone even being by myself. I was trapped in my head and I overthought everything.
“I was thinking about a bad relationship I was dealing with and trying to figure out the problem. ‘Am I the problem? Do I need to try harder?’ I was questioning everything and coming up with no answers and getting more depressed. I got to the point where I was really struggling to even want to see the next day.”
Regardless of the difficult road Root had to take to get there, The End, So Far has made it to the top of the Billboard 200 and has been a critical success since it came out on September 30.