Monday, May 17, 2021

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The Sound

Listen to the clown


Slipknot unleashes new concert film

IMG_2579For the last three months, M. Shawn Crahan, better known as Clown from Slipknot, has been living on a houseboat with his family. When you’re a Grammy-winning percussionist for one of the biggest metal bands in the world, where do you park that boat? Lake Tahoe? Lake Powell?

Try Saylorville.

“I’ve been out here for three months. I’ve fished for three full moons,” Crahan said during a phone interview. “It’s probably the greatest thing I’ve done in my entire life aside from the obvious things like having a family and starting a band. It’s helped my life and art. I stare at the stars and create art. I’ve never had a break like this. The water is really helping me.”

Crahan recently directed a concert film, “Day of the Gusano,” documenting Slipknot’s first concert in Mexico City. (“Gusano” means “Maggot” in Spanish, the latter being what Slipknot’s fans call themselves.) The film debuts this month in select theaters. In addition to concert footage, band members meet up with dedicated gusanos.

“Especially in the world we live in, this couldn’t come out at a better time, with all the bullshit happening in the U.S.,” Crahan said. “There’s no better way to prove unity and togetherness than through a rock and roll show. I titled it singular, not plural, because I wanted it to be about single maggots partaking in the festival. That was the idea.”

Prep Iowa

The film spends time with the gusanos before they meet up with Slipknot. Crahan had local crews select and interview the fans, knowing it would be a surreal experience to be the one behind the camera as they talked about being Slipknot fans.

“Day of the Gusano” is Crahan’s second film, following 2016’s comic-based horror film “Officer Downe.” But Crahan said it’s hard to equate the two films, since a feature has a lot more control, and a concert documentary is about capturing chaos.

“The biggest downfall is when I direct something with Slipknot, I have to perform,” Crahan said. “We’ve worked with dipshit directors before who come in with turtleneck sweaters and dumb hats, and they don’t want to listen to some clown. Since the beginning of my career, I’ve been asking for a single cameraman per member. But the day of, something always happens. The camera always breaks or ‘money, money, money.’ ”

“I tell them, ‘You may want to film Clown pissing off the stage, but you were fucking hired to film Sid (Wilson), and if you take your fucking eyes off him you’re going to miss him doing a backflip off the stage into the crowd.’ It’s happened with every film.”

“Day of the Gusano” feels like a convenient breaking point for Slipknot after three years of promoting “.5: The Gray Chapter.” That was Slipknot’s first album since the passing of bassist Paul Gray in 2010, and its first album without drummer Joey Jordison, who was fired by Slipknot in 2013.

“We embarked on that journey and learned a lot about writing, communicating and giving and taking,” Crahan said of the post Gray and Jordison Slipknot. “I was very mad at the world, it was pointing fingers and saying ‘What are you doing without Paul and Joey around?’ I wanted to say ‘How dare you discredit the other seven (members)?’ Are we not worthy of anything? It was an insult. So we dug in and just created, like we’ve done since the beginning. We did the best we could, and in return we got a No. 1 album and toured the world for three years.”

And now, three years later, Crahan is itching to get back into the studio to work on Slipknot’s sixth album.

“Number six. That number alone starts shit. Six is metal. We’ve learned so much, there will be nothing in our way. I don’t have any more time, man. I have a couple albums left in me. I’m not listening to you, the label, the manager or the wife or kids. I’m only listening to the other guys in Slipknot, and we’ll make what we want with our middle fingers in the air.” ♦

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