As week two of the 2022 Knotfest Roadshow approaches, Iowa-based metalworkers Slipknot have shed any rust that may have formed over the past two years of forced shutdown. With a new album on the horizon, the band hit the road with shows featuring In This Moment and Wage War through mid-April, then again with Cypress Hill and Ho99o9 in May and June.
Thursday night, the Knotfest Roadshow takes to the stage at the Peoria Civic Center arena for a night of loud, rambunctious, and raw heavy metal mayhem. Before the tour hit full steam, Slipknot member #0 – aka Sid Wilson – told me about the upcoming album and what the band is doing to pass the time on the road.
Mike Sorensen: Hello. I appreciate a few minutes of your time today.
Sid Wilson: Yes No problem.
MRS: I know you’re gearing up to do some touring throughout the summer, so I’m sure you’re staying pretty busy.
SW: Yeah. Spring and summer.
MRS: Along with that you have the new album which is about to be released. I don’t think the date was released, but I know they said you were almost done. Is it correct?
SW: Yeah, as far as I know, all the family members have finished recording parts, and it should be in the final stages. In fact. It’s been a bit difficult with the COVID restrictions and everything and trying to do the studio sessions. So it took a little longer than I would like, but, yes, we managed to put it together.
MRS: I know you released a single last November, and it seems to be an ongoing trend. It’s a great song and the video is great fun with footage from last year’s concert. A lot of bands do more where they just release four, five, six singles before they even announce an album. You didn’t do that. Is it more important for you to wait for the full album?
SW: Yeah I think so. We don’t do that too much. We released, like, a song or a teaser or something. It kind of inflates the fans. I think with our fans, just letting them know there’s a new album and the material coming more than anything, they just want to know that we’re going to make more music.
MRS: Yeah. I don’t think anyone is going to be disappointed just based on the single single so far. It’s a great sound.
SW: I don’t think anyone will ever be disappointed with what we’re doing because we’re going to stay true to ourselves and make the music we feel is necessary to release everything. You know what I mean? It is also a kind of therapy session. I think when they listen to it, it just goes through that and doesn’t approach it from a rock star perspective and what we think the world would think of us to do some type of creativity. We just want to give the most honest representation of ourselves overall that we can.
MRS: Is there a word that’s ready to go out on the album. Can I crack the album title for you guys?
SW: I don’t know if we’re ready to share on the title yet.
MRS: I thought, but I had to try.
SW: Yeah. With us, we always release it as a band when the album title comes out, you’ll hear it from all of us before you hear it from an individual.
MRS: So you have the two legs of the Roadshow tour that were announced, and the opening acts you chose for them are quite different for those two legs, like In This Moment on the first leg and Cypress Hill on the second. What happens in this process? Is a whole band decision as to what you look for in the shows.
SW: It’s usually a combination of things we want to do and have been talking about for a while. I’m friends with the Cypress Hill guys, and we’ve always wanted to shake things up. And it’s always been a matter of logistics and being able to lock down both groups at the same time, both being icons. It’s as if the schedules always appear all the time. So it’s just being able to determine availability for both hands, which is happening right now. So that’s great. And then others who aren’t necessarily new to the scene, but are still pretty young guys doing this stuff, and some of us in the band, they’re pretty close to those guys. It’s cool to see people switching genres and innovating, not being afraid to try new stuff, you know what I mean? It’s similar to what we experienced. We appreciate bands like that.
It’s good to have female vocal groups as well. You don’t see enough of what’s going on in the industry. It’s good. It’s nice to have all the bands that the fans seem to like in different genres and still be able to create the same kind of vibe in the live show. I think it’s just a matter of building more bridges across the music scene. People are used to seeing us hanging out with fans who are just online with us. But the thing is, music fans don’t just listen to one solid line of music. They dive into all the different genres and subgenres of every style of music. So I think it’s only fair to bring a show like that to the fans.
MRS: Absoutely. And I saw the Roadshow a few years ago in St. Louis, and it was a great mix with Volbeat and Gojira was with you guys, so that was awesome. It was also the loudest show I’m sure I’ve ever seen in my life. That being said, although it was incredibly loud, everything sounded crisp and clean. How much does it cost through reps? You know, you have nine guys on stage trying to avoid tripping over each other and getting that sound mix. It seems like an intense process.
SW: It took many years to lock this in, so I can’t really say there’s an exact formula for you. I think it’s just a matter of years and years of going through the ups and downs to try to make it work smoothly. I will say that it has not always been perfect. It took us a long time to get there, but now we are able to bring this symphony of heavy metal to where everyone is heard. Every element of the songs is in there. We’re just trying to reproduce the best version of the album that we can, live for everyone. I think that’s the key to trying to hit the level of your recording, which I don’t think anyone can really do once you’re listening to a tape. That’s one thing we don’t allow ourselves to do, play tapes. It’s always been hard work, but I really think it’s just by practice. We’ve played so many shows in so many places.
We did a TV show, I think it was somewhere in Europe, and they had all the bands playing on tape, basically lip-syncing, rigging instruments. We got there and they were like, “Okay, where’s your tape?” We said, “We don’t have a tape.” All of a sudden, the production gets carried away. “They don’t have a tape, what are we going to do?” We were like, ‘We’re going to plug in our instruments,’ and they were very stressed about it, but then we plugged in our stuff and we did everything. With the advice of our sound engineer, their sound engineer succeeded. So I think it’s just a matter of old school standards and getting that practice.
MRS: Another thing I noticed about this tour is that it feels quite heavy on the Midwest run and through the East Coast and more rural areas. Is it because of Slipknot’s origin? Is it an intentional choice?
SW: I think it’s just a question of where we’ve been able to play. The pandemic has been a mess for tour schedules. At one point, no touring schedule for anyone, and a lot of bands like us had to stop touring in the middle of an album cycle, which nobody wants to do. And there are a lot of places that haven’t had the opportunity to experience that, so it’s a lot of catch-up work. So I think it’s more or less about trying to get into all the areas that may have been missed in some of the early trials there before the pandemic, just making sure everyone in Has enough.
MRS: You go out in the spring during the first stage, then until the end of summer during the second. What do you guys do apart from the 2 hours you’re on stage? What are you doing for entertainment or fun while you’re there for so long?
SW: Other guys have set up video games. They take them everywhere and play online against other people. We also have a mobile studio. There’s a practice room, a jam room, and we practice every day before the show. Some guys are doing drills and athletics, but all we can do is keep going. And actually having this room to write and record is a huge thing because it’s actually what allows us to have so much material ready to be able to continue to provide tracks.
Everyone’s schedules at home, what they were when we started in the late 90s, now almost everyone has families, wives or girlfriends and stuff going on. Over time, it all keeps growing, and the amount of stuff you do keeps growing. So when you’re young and hungry there’s just the band and then as you get older there’s all these other logistics that come into play that you weren’t aware of until you reached further to adulthood.
All of these things also become equally relevant in your life. Having stuff like that on the road for us, it allows us to keep creating so much together and lots of ideas to develop when the time comes. So anything you can do to keep your life going much like when you’re home.
For me, I like having bikes and scooters and stuff like that. So you can actually walk away from the bus and experience some things in town, which wasn’t so easy. You do what you can. I even like to stop, like at a KOA campground, so fishing and hiking and stuff like that. It takes you away from the daily rush of the music rush.
MRS: Curiously, the fishing seems to have come back a lot. I read Adrian Smith’s book last year and have heard it come up several times in interviews over the past six months or so. So it’s interesting that it straddles the hard rock and heavy metal scenes.
SW: Yeah, I’ve been doing that almost my whole life. So ever since we started touring, I’ve been trying to fish and do that yeah.
MRS: I understand the need for something a little different to clear your head a bit. I can get that. Well, I think that’s about all I had for you. Is there anything I haven’t asked that you think fans should know about the tour, the album, anything to come?
SW: Everything has been difficult with the pandemic. We are trying to pull it off right now and current events are trying to understand everyone’s individual situation and they may not all be the same for everyone.
So be patient with each other and get out and move if you can. I’ll see you there for live music therapy.
Slipknot take the stage in Peoria Thursday night and will be back in the area when they hit Moline on the tour’s second leg on June 5. For more information on these shows or other stops on the tour, go to knotfest.com/roadshow/.