Few albums anticipated the last decade’s sheer unpleasantness quite like Slipknot’s magnum opus Iowa. This manic hailstorm of grind arrived on August 28, 2001 and, had it appeared a year (or even a month) later, it would have been impossible to listen to its nine-man rumble of rubber masks, body fluids, noise-metal churn and the most elegantly-recorded blastbeats ever waxed without getting into geopolitics. It may have felt a bit like post-Columbine angst at the time, but the record’s hellish sound vortex — a hi-def miasma of distant DJ scratches, screams, and guitar lava — has aged beautifully. And songs like “People = Shit” (they believe the opposite, they swear), “New Abortion,” and the brilliantly-titled single “Left Behind” (see also: the series of Christian sci-fi novels of the same name) seemed built for traumatic times.
Looking back, Iowa feels like a direct precursor to a culture of economic fear (“You had a dream but this ain’t it”), reality TV misery (“I don’t mind being ogled, ridiculed, made to feel minuscule”), and endless assembly line of torture porn (uh, pick any song). Naturally, it went platinum. From the roiling clatter to the haunting masks to endless on-stage injuries, nobody did disgusting quite like Slipknot. To celebrate the release of Iowa’s 10th anniversary double-CD reissue (just out, via Roadrunner), here are seven of the most revolting stories you will ever hear about the band straight from their masked mouths. Not safe for lunch.
7. The One With The Fans Who Maybe Should Wash More
Shawn “Clown” Crahan, #6, drums: “There’s one thing that I thinkis pretty gross but I don’t want it to be demeaning to anybody. Istarted wearing surgical gloves at in-stores. I would shake hands witheveryone, of course. But I would look at the line and see folksrubbing their hands on their nose, looking like they hadn’t showeredin four days. I mean, I’ll shake their hand, but when you do anin-store for 4,000 people, you’re like, ‘I just got exposed toCincinnati.’ The other band members thoughts I was an asshole, but Iremember after one in-store, I showed them the palm of the glove andit was black. Not just a little dirt, but pitch black.”
6. The One Where Sid Broke Both of His Heels
Corey Taylor, #8, vocals: “Oh, yeah, Sid broke both of his[heels] on the first night of the Mayhem Festival. He was in so muchpain he was having a hard time doing his parts.”
Sid Wilson, #0, turntables: “Yep, both my heels at the beginning of a show. I was jumping over Paul [Gray, bassist], done it a milliontimes, and for some reason this time I was a little far behind myselfand I had on all 30, 40 pounds of leather and chains, kind of aRoad Warrior thing. I had done the jump in dress shoes lots oftimes. I was cocky and I didn’t look at the arena first. So I jumpedand smashed into my heels and broke both of them. Tremendous amount ofpain. I finished the show, but I did the rest of the tour in awheelchair. Some nights I’d end up crawling around on stage, draggingmy body around. I looked like a guy from Hellraiser.”
5. The One at the Viper Room:
Taylor: “While we were recording Iowa, I was nearlybanned for life from the Rainbow Bar & Grill on the Sunset Strip,where the clientele has not changed in 30 years. I saw oneof my heroes there, a guy I just worshipped, and he was being reallyunpleasant. And that really bummed me out and I got wasted. In mydrunken anger, I started hurling shot glasses at him. I was asked toleave and the owner the next day called my manager and said, ‘If heever pulls that again, he’s banned for life.’ ”
“So I’m already hammered and we go taking off down Sunset, we’rejumping parking meters and we’re in front of the Viper Room and mybuddy looks at me and says, ‘I bet you could put your foot rightthrough that.’ So I kicked that plate glass window, wearing shorts. Itshatters and I turn around and there is a cop car sitting right at thered light. I didn’t even try to run, I just walked over and put myhands on the hood. They were very cool about it, they very politelyhandcuffed me and sat me on the curb right outside the Viper Room.
People are coming out and laughing at me. I just start spitting atthem and cursing them. The cops throw me in the back of the cop carand I just passed out in the back seat. Next thing I know I’m sittingin a chair at the station. And the station gets a call from the copson the scene. They said, the owners are here and if I paid for thedamage they wouldn’t press charges. So we go back to the Viper Room.And I just looked like a lump of shit at that point, and I had justenough money to pay for the damage. I come stumbling across the streettowards the owners with a fist full of the grossest money you haveever seen. It was like you put $500 in your pocket and worked out allday. I remember just putting this revolting money into one of theirhands and I collapsed in my friend’s car. The next thing I know, Iwake up in my hotel, basically naked, some girl in my bed, no idea whoit was and there’s porn on the TV. “
4. The One With the Pee
Taylor: “I can tell you that a person in the band, won’t tellyou which one, was filmed in England on the floor of a shower area,having two chicks piss on him. It was definitely the strangestthreesome ever. And it just fucking shows you how disturbed this bandis that everyone was there, crew and band alike. It was definitely avery strange event.”
3. The One With the Dead Bird
Wilson: “We had a dead bird in a jar. Clown kept it in there fora long time. We’d bring it out on stage and take big deep breaths outof it, see what death smelled like, have that inside you, gets you inthat dark place. It would make you throw up immediately, vomit in yourmask. He had it in there for so long it started getting thisgelatinous liquid in the jar as it decayed. One particular show, earlyon in our career, when the bird was at that stage, Clown huffed it, Ihuffed it, I threw up immediately. But the O.G. Maggots, before wemade it big, they were nuts. They were saying, ‘Let us smell it.’ Sowe put the jar down there and they start pulling out this stuff andeating it! I think it was more disturbing for us. The kids were sickerthan we were. They always had something to prove.”
2. The One With the Pig Heart
Crahan: “In the early days, I would get a lot of dead birds, alot of dead shit in jars, mainly birds, of course. But there was onegirl on the east coast who brought me a cow heart or a pig heart. Ijust remember her coming up and, like, smacking me in the head andthrowing this heart down and being like, ‘Can you sign this?’ ”
1. The One With the Decaying Human Femur
Crahan: “This is the craziest thing that ever happened and itkinda bothered me for a while. We were in a foreign country, I won’tsay which one to protect this girl’s identity. She was living it likewe were living it. Her clothes looked like sewed that shit up herself,really weird material, but it was what she loved.
She gave me a human femur bone that she had written ‘People = Shit’on it. It wasn’t a normal clean, bleached bone. It was brown and dirtyand she had clearly gotten it from a grave. The country where we were,it was very easy to do. This bone had sand and dust on it and in blueball point pen right in the middle, ‘People = Shit.’ I mean, I believethe soul immediately goes when we died and even thought the body isjust a shell, I still want to have respect for those remains. But ifthere’s one thing we are saying in Slipknot, it’s ‘Don’t ever judgeme.’ So I sat her down and had a very personal talk with her. She wasvery deep into our thought processes and really in love with our idea,so in love that she went to these realms. So there was a person [fromwhom the bone was taken] that had no idea they were going to bebrought into our thought process. That’s how circumstantial and randomlife is.”