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Slipknot:  And They Blew The House Down!
Backstage Pass Special by Debbie Seagle

In the car on my way to interview Chris Fehn, #3 and percussionist for the platinum selling Slipknot, I was a little worried.  I had read somewhere that  members of Slipknot were never interviewed without their masks and I was going to find myself staring smack dab into the face of a ghoulish pinocchio nightmare.  Okay, in such cases, is it rude to stare at someone's nose?  Would I be able to tear my eyes off that nose and concentrate enough to speak intelligently, or would I be too preoccupied?  There is no etiquette book for these types of situations!  Thankfully I was spared the embarrassment of forgetting myself and reaching out to touch that nine inch nose as I look at it quizzically.  After introducing myself to the band's tour manager, I was escorted onto the tour bus and introduced to Chris Fehn.  Thankfully, Chris was a quiet, calm, smiling un-masked man.

Well, if you are all waiting for me to tell you what Chis, alias #3, or 3 of 9 looks like, keep waiting!  I'm not going to tell.  Not even if you tickle me or offer me money.  Lets just say (girls) that I didn't go blind and I didn't run screaming from the bus. That's just all I'm going to give up. Let's just say that none of them need to wear masks and leave it at that, okay?  So lets mosey on back to the lounge in the rear of the bus and talk to Chris . . .

(Debbie Seagle for) Rock N World:  Well I'm here today because I get tons of requests for coverage of Slipknot by the Rock N World and antiMUSIC readers..  So, I’ve never seen you live before, I’ve heard an awful lot of talk about your show.  I’ve heard your CD, I think its great.

Chris Fehn:  Cool.

RNW:  Very heavy, very dark.  I don’t see the comparisons though, to Korn and Limp Bizkit, the way I hear a lot of people lumping you into a lot of the rapcore scene now.  Any opinions on why people are doing that?

CF:  Oh, its just something to talk about, you know?  Some way to try and categorize.  Its just a bunch of labels that ain’t nothin to me at all. 

RNW:  I agree.  Since I’ve never seen a Slipknot show before and since I’m going to be the eyes and ears of the fans tonight, can you tell me what I can expect tonight from this show that people say "You’ve got to see?"

CF:  Everything and anything! 

RNW:  Its wild?

CF:  Pretty much, yeah.  It would probably be a different interview after you saw it.

RNW:  Yeah, you know what?  I’d love to have a chance to ask some questions.  I’m sure I’m going to have a lot after the show. 

Why the two percussionists? 

CF:  Why not, you know?

RNW:  Okay, true, true.  Why not three guitarists then?

CF:  True.  A lot of bands have those too. 

RNW:  In my research on Slipknot I noticed that there is a very uniform theme throughout the interviews that I’ve read with you guys, and that is that you’ve got a real healthy respect and gratitude for your fans.

CF:  Oh, absolutely.

RNW:  You know, that whole grass roots thing that really got you guys going.  Not a lot of play on MTV.  Radio play now, a little bit more.  But I think that their (the fans') numbers are increasing just because of word of mouth and people seeing the show.  What do you perceive the average Slipknot fan to be like?

CF:  Like myself.

RNW:  Okay, and what is that like?  What attracts them to Slipknot?

CF:  Well, its got to be the music first, you know what I mean?  Any album that I had when I was a kid, you know, I wouldn’t go travel four hours to go see certain bands, but certain ones I would.  I’d be there six hours before anyone even thought about showing up, you know?  Slayer shows and stuff like that.

RNW:  So you listened to Slayer, you listened to Sabbath . . .

CF:  Absolutely!

RNW:  KISS?

CF:  Yeah.  So its like, the kids, that’s how I am too.  If a band really does it for me, I’m going to be all over it.

RNW:  I’ve heard people describe Slipknot as the band that teenagers love and parents hate.  I’m not quite sure why I hear that.  Do you think that parents might be afraid of the image that they see you projecting maybe? 

CF:  Which would be what image? 

RNW:  A scary image, I think to some parents who know their teenage kids are coming to the shows.  Like I said, I don’t know, I’ve never been to your live show, but reports I’ve heard of the shows are like, unbridled anger and aggression and release of tensions, etc.

CF:  The key word is "release."  Its not some thing where we’re f***in up the fans, you know what I mean?  Its nothing like that.

RNW:  I haven’t heard of a lot of violence or anything.

CF:  If you want to see violence, you can turn on the TV.

RNW:  For sure.

CF:  That’s some serious s*** there.   This is just music and an afternoon with kids that like the same thing.  That’s all it can be.  Any parent that, you know, that’s how they were brought up then, I guess.  They weren’t able to do their Elvis thing or whatever, I don’t know. 

RNW:  Don’t you think that’s the same though, in every generation?

CF:  Absolutely, there’s always that thing. 

RNW:  Yeah, the "Elvis factor."  One of the things I do for Rock N World is I write a feature column called "Backstage Pass."  What I try and do is give the fans a peek at what its like to be on the road, what its like to be a musician, a touring musician.  Without shattering the illusions or fantasy that music creates.  But I’d like to talk a little bit about what a typical day is like for Slipknot when they are on the road on a show day, and then what a typical day would be like when you have an off day on the road somewhere.  I know I’ve read that some of you guys like to do Nintendo and Play Station.

CF:  Yeah, all that.

RNW:  Some of you like to sleep a lot, some of you like to play on the computer, online, surfing.  You’ve got two great web sites.  But for you, what’s a typical day like on show day?

CF:  On show day?  Like today?

RNW:  A-huh.

CF:  Wake up, usually get something to eat, chill out for a little bit.  Do sound check, then I listen to a lot of music, you know?  Cause that’s the s***.  Music is the s***.  So I just do that.  We’re not during the day gettin all f***ed up or nothing like that.  We’re just, you know, getting a lot of things done that we need to get done, you know?  In a nine person band there’s a lot of work that has to be done too, between all of us.

RNW:  I can imagine.  Are you guys writing right now?  Writing for the new . . .

CF:  All the time!

RNW:  I don’t want to go too much into the masks and the coveralls, I think that’s been covered a million times, but as far as you being #3, 3 of 9, I understand that the numbers now kind of mean something to each one of you, as well as the masks being some sort of an extension of your personality or an exaggeration of your personality.  So what does three mean to you - what significance has it taken on for you and the appearance of your mask?  How do they relate to you?

CF:  Well, all numbers are important.  Numbers are very, oh how do I explain this?  There’s, everything is numbers.  Spirits and all that stuff, you know?  Its like, mine personally, I don’t know.  It just came, its given to me.  It wasn’t something I picked or . . . cause my favorite number is eight.  But the mask is just a thing that happened.  It kind of allows you to do things you might not normally do or say, but I guarantee with this band we still would.  We’d be slammin just as hard and being just as f***ing crazy as if we didn’t  have this stuff on.

RNW:  Do you think there’s going to come a time when you guys are going to get away from that or . . . 

CF:  You mean, like, the masks?

RNW:  Yeah, kind of like with KISS, you know, they did the make-up for a while and they were really anonymous and that was really cool for a while.  And then they just kind of got tired of it and then they were like, the make-up’s giving me a rash and I don’t want to do this s*** anymore.  Now they’re back, so . . .

CF:  I don’t know, I mean, we’re not going to today.

RNW:  And your mask is, what would you call that persona?

CF:  The persona?

RNW:  Yeah, is it Pinocchio, lets say?  Childlike, mischievous?

CF:  Yeah, absolutely, all that. 

RNW:  Have you ever had any thoughts of modifying it or changing it at all?  Do you have an idea for other things you could do?

CF:  There’s some stuff in the works, for the next record I think.

RNW:  Does that apply to everybody?

CF:  I don’t know.

RNW:  Are we going to be seeing some different faces now?

CF:  Don’t know.  I don’t yet.  Always constantly thinking about stuff.

Click here for the rest of the Slipknot interview and special
 

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