Costumed, masked and extremely angry“Caution: Women and the physically weak, please take seats on the second or third floor,” reads a post on the community board of the Korean Slipknot fan site. Good advice, perhaps. After all, this platinum-selling “nu metal” band from Iowa, known for wearing masks and industrial jumpsuits onstage, is also known to put on intense shows in which they call their fans “maggots” and play with enough energy to draw blood.
On Sunday, a week after Halloween (which might have been a more appropriate day for macabre masks), Slipknot will perform in Korea for the first time. The performance at Olympic Hall, inside the Olympic Park Complex, is being anticipated as the shock-rock concert of the year in Seoul.
Last year, that title probably would have gone to Marilyn Manson, who performed in Seoul in October. The Korea Media Ratings Board denied Access Entertainment permission to bring Manson to Korea in 1999 and 2001, finally relenting in 2003 only after Manson signed a contract agreeing not to defile religious or national symbols or do anything sexually graphic while on stage. Access Entertainment is the same organization responsible for the Slipknot concert.
“This is a concert that most fans would never have thought could be pulled off in Korea,” says Access Entertainment’s Ko Jae-gwang.
Slipknot came together in Des Moines, Iowa in 1995. During an interview with MTV, when asked why Iowa was the perfect incubator for Slipknot, lead singer Corey Taylor said, “We were presented with a bleak landscape, a completely deserted lifestyle, and we were told to thrive ... and we raged against it. We lost our minds. We sat in our basements and we invented [things].”
After a few adjustments in the lineup, the band settled as lead vocalist Taylor, DJ Sid Wilson, drummer Joey Jordison, bassist Paul Grey, percussionist Chris Fehn, guitarist James Root, sampler Craig Jones, percussionist Shawn Crahan (aka Clown) and guitarist Mick Thompson.
On Halloween 1996, they self-released the album “Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat,” which got the attention of Roadrunner Records. With producer Ross Robinson, they released their self-titled major-label debut album and started touring. They won respect with their live shows the summer of 1999. During Ozzfest that year, Crahan cut his head open twice on his own drum kit, requiring stitches both times.
They released their second album, “Iowa,” in late August of 2001. They had been slated to launch a seven-week tour, cheekily named “Pledge of Allegiance,” on Sept. 14 in Rosemont, Illinois, but after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the name no longer seemed funny, and the tour was postponed.
The band began touring in January 2002, but not only had the fickle rock music scene moved beyond the darkness of bands like Slipknot, touring with a band of nine began wrecking havoc on relationships. When the tour ended, band members concentrated on their individual projects.
Mr. Taylor performed the song “Bother,” which appeared on the album “Spider-Man: Music From And Inspired By,” and revived his old band, Stone Sour. Mr. Wilson began DJing under the name DJ Starscream. Mr. Jordison returned to his band Rejects, where he had originally served as a guitarist. It seemed Slipknot was going to split apart.
But by August 2003, the band had regrouped in Los Angeles, where they began working with producer Rick Rubin on “Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses).” They started group therapy sessions, of sorts, and built a renewed respect for each other. The album was released in May.
They’ve emerged from their private battles with an album that Rolling Stone magazine characterized as a marriage of a little beauty to the usual beast. It “experiments with even newer extremes, which in Slipknot’s case means tunefulness and traditional song structures,” the magazine said.
Their song “Vermilion” appears on this year’s “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” soundtrack. They’ve redesigned their masks. And to add a new twist to changing pop music tastes, they’ll be appearing in Korea.
by Joe Yonghee
For more information, visit the Web sites www.ticketpark.com, or www.allaccess.co.kr. Tickets are 77,000 won ($69) for seats on the second and third floor, and 88,000 won for a standing-room-only spot on the first floor.