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Slipknot’s Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan Talks Mayhem Festival, Knotfest + Upcoming Album

M. Shawn Crahan
Mary Ouellette, SheWillShootYou.com

Percussionist Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan of Slipknot was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. Crahan talked about how the importance of headlining Mayhem Festival this year, his mindset onstage, what launching Knotfest means to him and much more. If you missed Full Metal Jackie’s show, read the full interview with Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan below:

You guys have obviously done Mayhem before. Are you guys looking forward to being part of it again this year?

Yeah you know it’s always very exciting for us. We started the very first Mayhem, we were the very first headliner and it’s gone on and it’s been very successful and very great for the fans, coming back and being asked to headline again it’s a very comfortable slot. I will tell you that Mayhem was one of the funnest tours we ever did. You make so many great friends and it’s more of a community to be able to hang out afterwards and you really get close to your peers and your fans so we’re really looking forward to coming back.

This tour kind of ends a time period in our life that we’re chosen to share with our fans of all ages due to circumstances that we’ve been dealing with for quite some time and we’re ending it in America and we got a lot of special surprises ranging from songs and set and just different things. We’re going to treat every show like it’s the last show even though it’s not going to be the last show. This is going to be a very, very, very exciting summer.

Clown, onstage Slipknot is totally take no prisoners – suiting up to go onstage, do you feel a sense of brotherhood with the other bands or does a “Seek and Destroy” mindset take over?

Well, first of all the bottom line is that there’s always respect, and I respect any band at any level for pursuing their dream especially when it comes to the dream that I wanted my whole life which was to be a part of music and to share it with people that need it to get by the day in their lives. So there’s nothing but ultimate respect for everyone who adorns the stage and no matter your slot during the day, it doesn’t matter there are people there to partake in the beauty of your art.

The flipside of that is there’s no competition with us but when we take the stage it’s do or die and it’s usually die. We’re not really thinking about anything prior, it has nothing to do with who’s before us or who started, it had to do with what we are there to do. What we are there to do is pretty much almost kill ourselves to the point of performance, being tight as a band, giving a physical, mental, spiritual aspect of performance and at the end of the show we go back, we like to feel 190 percent fulfilled of the Church of the Knot, the alter that we adorn.

We’re always on the side of the stage representing our brothers in other bands, these are bands that are mentors to us and people that we respect and so there’s no competition, if there is it’s only with ourselves.

Talking more about the onstage experience for the members of Slipknot, which is more exhausting, the physical energy exerted during a Slipknot show or the rage?

I can’t speak for anybody else but myself ‘cause I usually get in trouble when I speak for other people so I’ve learned my lesson not to do that but for me I’ve been known to pace for quite a while when I walk onstage and that’s just because I’m becoming one with my shell. My shell is comprised of a motor and that’s my heart and I have to talk to it and I have make sure it’s alright, it’s gonna make it. Once I become at peace and become at peace with all the people in my life that I’m sacrificing to be there at the moment such as my wife, my kids, both my parent who passed and obviously I’ve had a rather close friend pass and once I become at peace with all of that the rage that you speak of – I don’t necessarily consider it rage it’s something further passed that.

That is the hardest thing to overcome because when I’m onstage I no longer exist, I disappear. I disappear into a realm until someone reminds me that we’re on our last song and then I have to start looking around like “Oh this is it for tonight.” So the physical aspect doesn’t even occur to me because the brain, the soul, the mind is so far gone that that’s what’s the most dangerous thing and the hardest thing to overcome because it’s the very thing that tries to kill me.

You mentioned Knotfest. Is the idea behind Knotfest that it’s a roadtrip destination or is it more of an event for the hometown Iowa fans?

Ever since the beginning of our career, we’ve always wanted everything right now. One thing we’ve always wanted to do is just do things our way and we’ve always talked about having our own festival. As we got onto our second record, we realized that there were a lot of goals that we had to focus on for ourselves, the evolution of our music, performance onstage so on etcetera, etcetera. There’s a right time and a right place for everything and a lot of people wondering when there is going to be another record and they know when there’s another record, there’s another tour that follows it.

We felt instead of trying to go out and make this summer something Knotfest oriented for the whole summer, we decided let’s go do Mayhem ‘cause we love it and then let’s end the whole thing with a couple shows with all of our exciting ideas, let’s incorporate everything we’ve wanted to bring back to rock’ n ’roll, a different mindset, a different concept, festival oriented. Then we’re gonna go away for a short period of time, way shorter than people think and we’re gonna get back together and write and album and then a tour cycle will follow that.

Instead of trying to put something all summer long and deal with all that, we’re just going to do a couple and then hopefully when we come back maybe during the time we’re off maybe Knotfest will go on without us and then when our new album comes out maybe we’ll begin it with Knotfest. These are all just ideas but we’re at least going to start, I’m not a fortune teller so we’re at least gonna get two of these done and have a blast doing it but it’s something we’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember.

You touched on new record stuff, Corey [Taylor] tweeted at the end of May that Slipknot demos are now being put together. What finally put everyone on the same page about making another album?

Well the funny thing is that I think it’s a giant game to us because when was the last time you actually picked up a real phone that’s connected in your house and called someone and said “When are you going to be home?” so you can pick up that real phone. Everything’s internet and on the cell phone…

Wait a second, are there still phones that are still plugged into the wall in the house? I didn’t know.

That’s the point, everything is instant and I watch kids all day long texting useless information, there’s no communication so it’s kind of a game to us and I think it’s funny for the last year or so that there’s been all this controversy of “Nothing’s been written” and “This guy doesn’t want tour” it’s kind of a joke from us on to all of you ‘cause we’re not going anywhere. We’ve never planned on going anywhere and you might hear one guy say one thing and another guy say another thing but aren’t they separate people? Aren’t they allowed to feel the way they want to feel and say what they want to say in the moment?

The bottom line is we’re not going anywhere, of course you’re gonna get another record, of course we’ve been writing since – we write everyday regardless of what we’re dealing with. Corey’s writing lyrics every day, who knows where the lyrics are going, Joey’s writing music every day, who knows if they’re all going to be the new songs. I’m doing art and photos and videos every day, everybody in the band is writing so none of that ever stops. It’s who we are it’s what we do and we just kind of sit back and we watch the great big joke of press and people talking and I guess that’s how some people make money but what I’ll say is all that matters is our fans and us and of course things are being done. Like I said there will be an album before you can blink.

Really excited about Mayhem this summer and also of course Knotfest so looking forward to everything that is coming and everything beyond.

I would like to say a couple more things really quick. I would just like to say how grateful we are for all the support that we’ve had from everyone around the world and just about every medium that exists. We love everyone, we appreciate the support, it has helped us, it has been noted, it has been needed and it just proves that Slipknot is not a band, we are a culture. I can’t believe the support that we’ve been given and I do believe I can speak on behalf of the entire band and say thank you we love all of you that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing right now. So we love you and the last thing I’d like to say is if you don’t come out and see us this summer, don’t b-tch.

Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.

See Slipknot on Loudwire's Top 50 Hard Rock Songs of the 21st Century


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