Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor says the band had trouble finding “a direction” following the death of bassist Paul Gray in 2010 and credits the band’s fan base with helping rejuvenate the group. Taylor said Sliknot’s first live performances after Gray’s death were pivotal in sustaining the reeling metal group.
“There were a handful of moments where I can honestly say that, it didn’t feel like the band was over, but we didn’t know… I mean, we were all kind of knocked for a loop,” Taylor told WAAF (via Blabbermouth). “There were a handful of times where it was just, like, ‘What do we do now?’ I mean, that’s what it comes down to: what do we do now? And, luckily, we did it the right way, in my opinion, for us,” he continued.
“People deal with things completely differently, but I knew, for us, that it was gonna take getting back on stage and really kind of seeing if we wanted to do it without Paul. I mean, that was the biggest thing. So we went out and we did the Sonisphere shows [in Europe] three years ago, and it went really well.”
After Taylor told interviewers that he was “on the fence” about regrouping with the band, Slipknot headlined several festivals, including Europe’s Sonisphere and Rock in Rio, in 2011. The band’s founding guitarist, Donnie Steele, substituted for Gray on bass, sitting obscured behind Joey Jordison‘s drum kit.
“That first show was hard for us, but slowly but surely, the audience, man, the fans, they picked us up and they held us there, and they helped us get through it, to the point, by the time we got done with the Sonisphere shows, we knew that, ‘Okay, we can do this. We want to do this. Now what?'” said Taylor.
“There was a few more years where we were just kind of trying to figure out when the right time to make the new album would be,” he continued. “’cause some of us didn’t wanna just run right in and record a bunch of stuff; we needed to feel right about it. And that time came at the beginning of the year.”
“We all kind of got together and kind of put the pieces in place,” Taylor recounted to WAAF. “We played a bunch of stuff for each other and we were, like, ‘This feels really good. Now let’s go into the studio and take these demos and make them Slipknot songs and let’s make some Slipknot music.'”
The band are currently gearing up to release their highly anticipated fifth album, .5: The Gray Chapter, a tribute to the late bassist and the first Slipknot album to be recorded without his input or that of departed drummer Jordison. The album is slated for an Australian release on Friday, 17th October.
It is strongly speculated that Gray’s replacement is Alessandro ‘Vman’ Venturella, a guitar tech for Mastodon and Coheed & Cambria, who also plays guitar in the band Krokodil, as the bass player featured in Slipknot’s new video for recent single The Devil In I sports a hand tattoo identical to Venturella.