Slipknot’s founding member and percussionist Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan has spoken to NME about the band’s upcoming tour, as well as numerous new releases, career highlights and the importance of nostalgia.
Earlier this week, the masked metal icons announced news of a 2024 UK and European tour to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their self-titled debut album. As tickets have gone on sale, Crahan has opened up to NME about why it was so important for the band to go back to their roots, and revealed that there are plenty of surprises in store for the new year.
“25 years is swirling in our brain now,” Clown told NME. “There’s so much audio and footage from that time, so we’re reminiscing about our culture and the people that felt it. I’m harnessing the energy of [late members] Paul [Gray] and Joey [Jordison]. They weigh heavy on my heart at the moment and there are so many things happening in my mind about yesteryear. I remember it like it was yesterday.”
He continued: “Everything I experienced 25 years ago on that first album set the precedent for me sitting here today, so it only makes sense to try to come back and [celebrate those] things the best we can.”
Not only did the news of the tour arrive in celebration of the anniversary milestone, it also came following the unexpected departures of two members in just five months – drummer Jay Weinberg and keyboardist Craig Jones.
However, according to Clown, despite the rumours going around about the line-up, the iconic masked metallers have got their eyes set solely on the road ahead and have some new material in the pipeline that maggots can’t afford to miss.
NME: Hello Clown. What has it been like to reflect on your debut album, 25 years on?
Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan: “We are completely in reflection mode and reflection can bring tears. Reflection can bring smiles. Reflection can bring energy. Now, we are in a place that we never imagined we would be 25 years on. We’re standing really strong and we’re better as people.
“I think all of us are really, really happy about what we’re creating to the point where we’re scared a little bit. That fear is what we live for and that’s what we’ve always done. That’s why we’re still here.
“We’ve moved away from things that don’t belong and we are continuously moving away from what is in the way. There are no hard feelings. There’s no anger or hate. Nobody’s wrong. No one’s mad, it’s just that we’re very aware of us. If you’re a Slipknot fan, then you know what that means. The future is very very exciting. I’m excited, because no one really knows what we’re capable of – as usual.
“As far as Jay goes, what people need to know is Jay did not leave the band, and what I want to say is that we’re moving on. Like the statement said, we’re choosing to do something different. This space that we’re at right now is a very, very special space, thought about and generated mostly by the OGs [longstanding members Corey Taylor, Mick Thomson, Sid Wilson and Jim Root].”
What else does the band have planned for 2024?
“In 25 years of writing seven albums, we’ve allowed ourselves to do anything and everything we want. We do what we want, as much as we want, when we want, how we want. I’m ready to move on from what has been, and move onto a world that I know needs to be. For instance, normally we’d have about two years on and one-and-a-half years off — we’re not doing that anymore.
“We’re going back to basics. I’m ready to kick everybody in the face again! I’m ready to do a 100-person venue again! I’m ready to do a 500-person venue. We want to play in front of 500 people, but there are a lot of factors that will mean it can’t happen. We’re at the point where we’ve got to ensure safety.
“Nobody knows truly what’s happening. If I were a fan, I would [ask] ‘Why wouldn’t the band play the album in its entirety?’ and ‘Why wouldn’t the band play some special events that seem intimate and fun?’ I’d put money on it – I want to come full circle and get back to when the dream was only a dream. I can’t promise you anything until it’s happening though.”
“As far as the new album, that’s happening, but that’s another plan. These live dates are coming first and we’re here to have a good time. This band has never been happier, and that takes a lot because we’ve been through a lot — drugs, women, money, fame, ego, isolation. But we are on track.”
For a few years now you’ve been teasing fans that the lost album ‘Look Outside Your Window’ is just around the corner. Earlier this year Corey Taylor hinted to us it may be released in 2024 – are we getting close?
“It’s definitely arriving next year. You have my word. The art’s been done. It’s been mixed. It’s been mastered. It is definitely coming out in 2024 and it’s such a great album. Corey is my favourite singer ever, and you’ll never hear him sing in the same way as on this album, so it’s been worth holding it back. It’s such a different, timeless project.”
Speaking of going back through the Slipknot archives, we hear there may be some sort of new documentary on the horizon…
“I’ve harvested relics from our whole career, I’ve just collected and collected all of it. Let’s call it a documentary, but really it could be a film. I’ve recently signed on with some forces for it and I’m going to get a director too.
“A lot of the footage has already been captured, but there is a lot that still needs to be compiled for it to be what it needs to be. So yes, there’s something like that coming, and there’ll be a DVD which would be behind-the-scenes too. Also footage for the 25-year anniversary, there would likely be a package for that, and there’s going to be a reissue of the album, probably.
“I’m working on everything now and there’s so much that we haven’t honed down on exactly what we’re selling! Songs from shows, radio performances, behind-the-scenes footage, live performances, tracks that were never released. Just about everything and anything you can think of.”
In the quarter of a century since you released the breakthrough album, what big moments meant the most to you?
“It’s always been the fact that I get to get up and do it again and again. I’m always amazed at that. There are moments that fucking shocked me up there too. It’s always those moments of complete chaos that always moved me the most.”
Looking at today’s music scene, to what extent do you agree with Bruce Dickinson’s recent comments about the struggle for rock and metal artists to reach stadium level?
“There was this fundamental system behind the way that bands started [previously] which encompassed their philosophies. There’s none of that around any more. I mean, are there big arenas that big companies like run? Yeah. That’s never going to change. But there’s a different model now. I’m not dissing anybody, but you can throw enough money at a project and get them into any venue now.
“When we were first coming up – and especially Iron Maiden– it was just a whole different way of approaching bands. [With new talent, though] people just have to keep going and going and going and going. Where’s the infrastructure supporting them? There’s none.
“So, with what I think when he’s saying, I agree. All the infrastructures to support great music from the ground up to beat those conglomerate stadium bands… I don’t believe that’s there.”
What’s one thing you’d want to tell fans before you head back on tour?
“We miss all of you. Please be conscious of what’s happening because it’s going to be happening very quickly and very smoothly, but it’s probably out of comprehension. So look forward to the future!
“2024 is going to be amazing. Keep your heads up and hail Slipknot.”
Slipknot’s last album, ‘The End, So Far’ arrived in 2022. Tickets for their upcoming UK and European tour are on sale now, including a newly added show at The O2 in London. Visit here for tickets and more information..
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