In 1982, heavy metal history was made at a concert in Des Moines, Iowa. Near the end of this legendary show, Ozzy Osbourne picked up what he thought was a rubber bat that the audience had tossed onstage. In the heat of the moment, the rock star bit down on it and ended up gnawing off the head of an actual animal. The extreme act not only cemented his place as a metal god from then on but also sent shock waves throughout the world of rock music. Nearly 15 years later, a group of kids who grew up in the same small, midwestern city formed the band Slipknot.
To say that Slipknot is extreme may be an understatement. Not only are their harsh lyrics combined with an intense, highly physical stage act, all while wearing their horrifying, iconic masks, but the bandmates are now well-known for the various injuries or near-death experiences they have faced onstage, as well as for their excessive alcohol and drug use. And sometimes the craziness of their onstage personas bleeds into their everyday lives, as well.
Without a doubt, several of the behind-the-scenes tales about Slipknot are vile and disgusting, but it’s important to put those stories into context. Several of the members went through hell as children and have endured much tragedy over years, and their bandmates became their new family. And whether it be their graphic shows or revolting offstage antics, the hardships they endure together only strengthen their bond as brothers.
Slipknot band members rarely clean their masks
Slipknot’s philosophy is all about enduring pain, hardship, and all sorts of extremely uncomfortable conditions. According to MTV News, a major rule of the bandmates is to just "sit in it," whatever "it" is. In particular, the band has this mentality regarding their iconic masks. Especially in their youth, when the band was new, washing the masks was simply not a priority when all that mattered was the music and their performances. Drummer Shawn Crahan says he went years without cleaning his clown mask. The unhygienic practice is even worse considering the fact that the masks are always filthy with a combination of sweat, spit, and other bodily fluids.
With the intensity of their performances and the well-known injuries they have sustained during them, it is unsurprising that blood has gotten in the masks, and even vomit as well. Not only has Crahan said that they have all thrown up in their masks at some point, but drummer Joey Jordison admits that in the past, he would get sick at almost every performance without missing a beat. To the band, this inevitability wasn’t a problem but rather "a rite of passage or a badge of courage," says Crahan.
However, fame and wealth have made them slightly less hardcore when it comes to their masks. For every new album cycle, the band gets new, clean masks to perform in. Slipknot has also embraced their well-deserved rock star status by hiring people to work on and clean their masks.
A young Corey Taylor stole to buy food and drugs
Lead singer Corey Taylor has been very vocal about his rough past and the trauma he endured as a child, and he has also openly talked about the measures he was forced to take during this time in order to survive. Luckily, he was never caught, but as a kid, Taylor would steal candy bars and then sell them for a profit so that he could buy some food, according to the book "Raising Hell: Backstage Tales from the Lives of Metal Legends."
But it was not all about survival for Taylor because he admits that he used the money to buy cigarettes as well. The practice escalated in severity when he got older — Taylor began to steal beat-up cars and then sell or trade them, often for drugs. The worse the vehicle’s condition was, the easier it was to steal because nobody cared about it, but the teenage thief got very little back in return. Taylor recollects that "the nicest car we ever got was a ’78 Impala, which we probably got a grand for."
Sid Wilson was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle
News of the several tragedies the band members have faced over the decades has been widespread. Slipknot bandmates are also famous for the injuries they have sustained during their intense performances, but DJ Sid Wilson once lived through an experience outside of their shows that nearly led to his death, according to "Raising Hell: Backstage Tales from the Lives of Metal Legends."
After a car pulled out in front of him from a side street, Wilson tried to swerve around, but his bike struck the back of the vehicle. After flying nearly 30 feet through the air, Wilson landed on his face and slid into a nearby pole. Miraculously, he got up after the accident and then failed to restart his bike because his lung had been punctured and two of his ribs were broken. If he weren’t wearing his helmet, the damage would have been much worse, as Wilson says he "would have been a squashed grape." Understandably, even the tough bandmates were deeply troubled over the near-death experience of one of their brothers.
Some band members believe in the paranormal and conspiracy theories
With the character of Slipknot and the lyrics of their songs, it’s no shock that one of their founding members, who formed the band in his image, is steeped in conspiracy theories. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Shawn Crahan brought up several controversial topics, such as the possibility of chemtrails, the link between the pyramids and Orion’s belt, the mysterious nature of a dark spot on "one of the moons of Jupiter or Venus," and the supposed Sphinx head on Mars.
Joey Jordison also claims that he and fellow bandmate, guitarist Mick Thomson, witnessed a few paranormal events while the band was working on their album, "Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses," at Rick Rubin’s mansion. At 9 a.m., both of the doors to their rooms would swing open all on their own. This led the drummer to believe that something terrible had probably happened at some point at 9 a.m. since the building was constructed in 1918. Plus, Jordison would see a floating "body shape," and lights would constantly turn on and off. He enjoyed the experiences, though, and said "it was great for the creative vibe."
Corey Taylor was arrested outside the Viper Room
Even though the lead singer of Slipknot was never caught for the thefts of his youth, Corey Taylor nearly faced some jail time later on in LA, according to Spin. After nearly getting banned for life from the Rainbow Bar & Grill on the Sunset Strip because he got wasted and threw shot glasses at someone described as a former hero whom he once admired, Taylor was asked to leave the bar.
The thoroughly intoxicated singer then walked in front the Viper Room, and his friend dared him to kick through a window. Once he easily shattered the glass with his foot, Taylor turned around to see nearby cop car stopped at a red light. Accepting the circumstances, Taylor did not attempt to run and instead just walked over to place his hands on the hood. The police instantly, yet politely, took him into custody. The only reason the famous musician got out free was because he paid $500 to the owners that same night to replace the window.
Slipknot members have an obsession with urine
As a part of Slipknot’s extreme performances, bodily fluids are incorporated into the band’s act as much as possible (regardless of how disgusting it is), but the members probably use urine more than anything else. This goes back to the origins of the band, as Shawn Crahan says that even before Slipknot was formed, some of the members used the old carpet from a pet store to soundproof the room they practiced in, which reeked from the pee of numerous cats and dogs.
Crahan also hired a drum tech because he was willing to drink the fluid, says Rolling Stone. But by far the most scandalous story was told by Corey Taylor, who claims that another unspecified band member once had a threesome in England that involved a certain type of shower infamously referred to as "golden." And according to Taylor, the bizarre event was filmed.
Shawn Crahan kept a dead crow in a jar
All of the other revolting Slipknot tales pale in comparison to the time that Shawn Crahan left a dead crow to rot in a jar that he carried with him. The disturbing drummer let the bird decay for so long that the jar eventually contained a gelatinous liquid. During shows, Crahan would bring the jar out so that he and his bandmates could take huffs from it and usually throw up. Slipknot did this to "see what death smelled like, have that inside you, [and get] you in that dark place," says Sid Wilson.
Crahan had the jar for every performance, and they were all afraid that it would break and make them all sick, says former drummer Anders Colsefni in "Raising Hell: Backstage Tales from the Lives of Metal Legends." Then, during one performance, the fans demanded to have the jar. After the band made the mistake of tossing it down to them, Sid Wilson claims that the crazy fans opened the jar and did much worse than just smell the disgusting substance: They ate it.
Slipknot fans can be just as filthy as the band
As you might expect, fans who’ll willingly eat a jar of decomposed crow probably aren’t the cleanest people. Knowing this, Shawn Crahan decided to start wearing a latex glove when shaking fans’ hands at events, which might come as a shock, given the thoroughly sickening antics of the drummer. He chose to take the precaution because he’d reached a point where he’d witnessed too many gross habits from a lot of people who clearly looked like they should bathe more often.
Understandably, his bandmates thought he was an "a**hole" for wearing the glove, but Crahan would be proven right. The drummer says that at one event in Cincinnati, he encountered around 4,000 people, according to Spin. By the end of the day, the glove wasn’t just dirty — it was pitch black from shaking nearly all of the fans’ hands.
Shawn Crahan has received some morbid gifts from fans
Decades ago, when Slipknot was new, Shawn Crahan used to receive numerous morbid gifts from fans, which were mostly dead birds or other creatures in jars. But a girl on the East Coast made a deeper impression when she approached Crahan, slapped him to get his attention, and then threw either a pig or cow heart on the table in front of him, according to Spin. Once she had his attention, the fan asked Crahan to sign the organ.
Yet these macabre interactions were dwarfed by a different fan in another country who gave Crahan a human femur with the popular Slipknot phrase "People = Sh*t" written on it. Since the bone was dirty and brown, it looked like it had come from a grave. As someone who believes in respect for the dead, the gift troubled Crahan, though he is firmly behind the Slipknot ethos of "Don’t ever judge me." So, the drummer sat down and had a deeply personal heart-to-heart with the fan.
Slipknot endured a barrage of projectiles in France
There is no denying that Slipknot have a significant corps of devoted followers, but the band has also had their fair share of negative encounters with the public. One of the worst occurred during a performance in 2005. When Slipknot was set to perform at Fury Fest in Lamont, France, they were blamed for the excessively high ticket prices, even though it was not their fault. In reality, the racetrack venue raised the rent, so the promoters were forced to increase the ticket prices and figured that people would be fine with forking over some extra cash since Slipknot was so popular at that point, according to "Raising Hell: Backstage Tales from the Lives of Metal Legends."
The situation escalated when a local radio station publicly blamed Slipknot, increasing the hostility toward the band. This resulted in many concertgoers launching a barrage of whiskey bottles, dead animals, wrenches, and all sorts of things at the band throughout their performance. Slipknot overcame the onslaught and finished the show, with Corey Taylor rubbing it in their faces that they could not stop the band from performing. The last act of defiance while standing still in the spotlights left him open to take a direct hit from a 9-volt battery to the head, along with a glass bottle and a "fistful of coins" that almost struck him in the face. Taylor admits it was one of the most difficult performances of his life.
Slipknot constantly prank rival bands and each other
Most of the time, Slipknot is responsible for any hostility that arises, especially with other bands. Joey Jordison admits that the band would actively seek out fights by menacingly standing in the way of rival musicians, according to "Raising Hell: Backstage Tales from the Lives of Metal Legends." Avoiding any confrontations, the other bands’ members would laugh nervously and then exit out a back door.
In a much more lighthearted manner, Corey Taylor would prank other bands by pulling a joke called the "rhino" where he would confront the band wearing nothing but a sock. Usually, he would freak out the opening band by running onstage this way while jumping up and down, but one time he took the prank step further. Still as the "rhino," Taylor entered the stage with a case of cold beer while the band was performing and began to hand the drinks out to the performers.
Slipknot members aren’t safe from their fellow bandmates, either. Since Taylor is terrified of sharks, Jordison once scared the crap out of him via a 6-foot prop shark in his bunk, causing him to nearly faint from the scare. On the other hand, Crahan once put Jordison in a wooden box for three hours before a show. However, Jordison seems to have enjoyed the experience.
Corey Taylor freaked Marilyn Manson out
Slipknot and Marilyn Manson have toured together more than once, building a relationship of mutual respect and admiration for each other’s work. In what Corey Taylor describes as a friendly competition, the musicians sometimes mess with each other, but then it always gets very weird. When the two performed at Ozzfest in 2001, it was their first tour together, so things got out of hand very quickly, according to Rolling Stone.
The wild singer admits that he was wasted throughout much of the tour but does remember his massive flex to prove who was the master of the shock factor. After Taylor threw up into a cup and then drank it, Manson "freaked out" a bit at first. He then tried to retaliate by barging into the rival band’s dressing room wearing tighty-whiteys while doing a little dance before rushing back out. The Slipknot members were not impressed, though, and instead were rather confused by the experience.
GWAR’s feud with Corey Taylor
The public feud between Slipknot and Limp Bizkit is well-known: Fred Durst called Slipknot fans "a bunch of fat, ugly kids," so Corey Taylor’s response was that "when you talk sh*t about Slipknot and our fans… we will kill you." However, Taylor also had a mini feud with the lead singer of GWAR. After Taylor stated that he did not want Slipknot to become irrelevant like GWAR, Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie) took offense and gave a lengthy response, according to Blabbermouth.
Not only did Urungus tell Taylor to shut his "whining trap," but he also went into detail explaining that the rival singer was full of himself and should just stick to making music instead of talking about himself all the time. But then the GWAR frontman took it a step further and said, "People will eternally remember you as the scary clowns who had the lead-singer that whined like a little b*tch every time he got in print." Ultimately, the feud was resolved shortly after, but the barrage of insults still infuriated Slipknot fans.
Slipknot fans trolled a knitting and crochet guild with the same name
To their die-hard fans, the band is the one and only true Slipknot, with this firm belief verging on a "Highlander" level that "There can be only one!" But the name "Slipknot" is certainly not unique. As Joel McIver points out in his book "Slipknot: All Hope is Gone," a Grateful Dead cover band also called Slipknot performed in the Deep South.
While the cover band has apparently avoided any serious harassment from the loyal metalheads, according to MTV News, a English knitting guild which responsible for the handicraft magazine Slipknot wasn’t so lucky. When the official band website went down in 2002, irate fans discovered the guild and sent numerous obscene emails and phone calls to some of their members. Fortunately, the situation did not escalate any further, and neither side ended up taking any legal action, but the experience left many knitters very unhappy with the band and its fans.
Joey Jordison died tragically
Drummer Joey Jordison was with Slipknot at the beginning, as a founding member who helped shape the band into what it became. In fact, according to Rolling Stone, in 1995 it was Jordison who recommended the band, who had gone by the names the Pale Ones and Meld until that point, change their name again, this time to Slipknot. He left the band in 2013, but not for acrimonious reasons: he’d been diagnosed with the neurological disease transverse myelitis and was unable to play the drums anymore. It took years of physical therapy before he could return to music. The experience was something that he said "I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy."
Tragically, on July 27, 2021, it was announced Jordison had died in his sleep the day before. He was just 46 years old. No cause of death was initially given, but his family released a statement: "Joey’s death has left us with empty hearts and feelings of indescribable sorrow. To those that knew Joey, understood his quick wit, his gentle personality, giant heart, and his love for all things family and music. The family of Joey have asked that friends, fans, and media understandably respect our need for privacy and peace at this incredibly difficult time."
The outpouring of support on Twitter and through the music world following the announcement showed Joey Jordison was an inspiration for so many.