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Early Days

Slipknot was formed in Des Moines, Iowa, in September 1995 when drummer Shawn Crahan and bassist Paul Gray started a band named The Pale Ones. The lineup was made up of friends who met through the local music scene, including vocalist Anders Colsefni and guitarist Donnie Steele. Not long after their inception, Gray invited Joey Jordison to a rehearsal because the band were interested in experimenting with additional drum elements. Jordison subsequently joined the band as their main drummer, moving Crahan to custom percussion. Furthermore, Colsefni also took up custom percussion while remaining the band's vocalist. The band then decided to invite Josh Brainard as their second guitarist, bringing their lineup to six members. On December 4, the band made their live debut; playing a benefit show using the name Meld.

Much of the band's early development was retrospectively attributed to late-night planning sessions between Gray, Crahan and Jordison at a Sinclair gas station where Jordison worked nights. It was there, in late 1995, that Jordison suggested changing the band name to Slipknot after their song of the same name. In December, Slipknot began recording material at SR Audio, a studio in the band's hometown. Without a recording budget, the band were forced to self-finance the project, the costs of which came to an estimated $40,000. In February 1996, guitarist Donnie Steele decided to leave Slipknot due to his Christian beliefs. When questioned in 1999 about Steele's departure, Jordison explained: "we were prepared to keep him on, but he didn't want to stay." During the mixing stages of their project at SR Audio, Craig Jones was recruited as Steele's replacement on guitar. However, throughout their time in the studio, the band were adding samples to their recordings but could not produce these sounds live. Subsequently, Jones became the band's sampler and Mick Thomson was brought in as the replacement guitarist. After a complicated time with mixing and mastering, the band self-released Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. on Halloween, October 31, 1996.

Distribution for the demo was initially left to the band and their producer Sean McMahon, before it was handed over to the distribution company Ismist in early 1997. Slipknot received a small amount of airplay on local radio stations off the back of the demo. However, it did not lead to any kind of interest from record labels, so the band returned to the studio to develop new material. It was at this time that the band sought more melodic vocals for their music. As a result, Corey Taylor was recruited from fellow Des Moines band Stone Sour; this moved Colsefni to backing vocals and percussion. While working in the studio, Slipknot continued to do local shows, during one of which in September 1997, Colsefni announced on stage that he was leaving the band. The gap on percussion was filled by Greg Welts, who was affectionately known as "Cuddles." In early 1998, Slipknot produced a second demo featuring five tracks exclusively for record labels. The band began to receive a lot of attention from record labels, and in February 1998, producer Ross Robinson offered to produce their debut album after attending rehearsals in Des Moines. Soon after, DJ Sid Wilson was recruited as the band's ninth member after showing great interest and impressing band members. In late June, Slipknot received a $500,000 seven-album deal from Roadrunner Records; the band signed the deal publicly on July 8, 1998. Two days prior to this, Welts was fired from the band, something which Slipknot refuse to comment on.

Slipknot and emergence

Distribution for the demo was initially left to the band and their producer Sean McMahon, before it was handed over to the distribution company Ismist in early 1997. Slipknot received a small amount of airplay on local radio stations off the back of the demo. However, it did not lead to any kind of interest from record labels, so the band returned to the studio to develop new material. It was at this time that the band sought more melodic vocals for their music. As a result, Corey Taylor was recruited from fellow Des Moines band Stone Sour; this moved Colsefni to backing vocals and percussion. While working in the studio, Slipknot continued to do local shows, during one of which in September 1997, Colsefni announced on stage that he was leaving the band. The gap on percussion was filled by Greg Welts, who was affectionately known as "Cuddles." In early 1998, Slipknot produced a second demo featuring five tracks exclusively for record labels. The band began to receive a lot of attention from record labels, and in February 1998, producer Ross Robinson offered to produce their debut album after attending rehearsals in Des Moines. Soon after, DJ Sid Wilson was recruited as the band's ninth member after showing great interest and impressing band members. In late June, Slipknot received a $500,000 seven-album deal from Roadrunner Records; the band signed the deal publicly on July 8, 1998. Two days prior to this, Welts was fired from the band, something which Slipknot refuse to comment on.

Iowa and Hiatus

Anticipation for Slipknot's sophomore effort was intense and in early 2001, the band began recording their second album at Sound City and Sound Image studios in Los Angeles. It was about this time that conflicts began to arise between band members due to their extensive touring and recording schedules. Despite this, recording on their second album came to a close in February 2001 and Slipknot embarked on their Iowa World Tour. Iowa, the band's second album was released on August 28, 2001, peaking at number three on the Billboard album charts and at number one on the UK album chart. The album produced three singles; "The Heretic Anthem" (promotional single) "Left Behind" and then "My Plague" which appeared on the soundtrack for the film Resident Evil. In 2002, Slipknot made their first (and to-date only) appearance in a movie, performing the song "I Am Hated" in a scene in the remake of Rollerball. The release of the album and the promotion in support of it resulted in sold out shows in large arenas in several countries. However, in mid-2002, Slipknot went on hiatus for the first time due to internal conflicts, seeing several band members focus on side projects. Vocalist Taylor and guitarist Root revived their band Stone Sour, drummer Jordison created theMurderdolls, percussionist Crahan founded To My Surprise and DJ Wilson went solo as DJ Starscream. At this time, the future of Slipknot was unclear and there was speculation over whether the band had split and the possibility of a third album. Despite this, on November 22, 2002 Slipknot released their second DVD Disasterpieces.

Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) and second hiatus

After several delays, Slipknot moved into The Mansion in Los Angeles, California in mid 2003 to work on their third album alongside producer Rick Rubin. By early 2004, work had finished on the album and they began The Subliminal Verses World Tour with their appearance on Jägermeister Music Tour in March 2004. Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) was released on May 24, 2004, peaking at number 2 on the Billboard album charts. The album produced six singles, Duality, Vermillion, Vermillion Pt. 2, Before I Forget, The Nameless, and The Blister Exists. Slipknot recorded their first live album, 9.0 Live while touring in support of their third album. Released on November 1, 2005 9.0 Live peaked at number 17 on the Billboard album charts. Touring in support of Vol. 3: (The subliminal Verses) continued through 2004 and up to the end of 2005 before Slipknot went on hiatus for the second time. In 2005, several members of Slipknot were involved in Roadrunner United: The All-Star Sessions, a collaboration album of artists signed to Roadrunner Records. 2006 saw Slipknot win their first (and to this date only) Grammy Award, picking up the best metal performance award with the single "Before I Forget". On December 5, 2006, Slipknot released their third DVD Voliminal: Inside the Nine. While Slipknot were on hiatus, several band members once again focused their attentions on side projects; vocalist Taylor and guitarist Root returned to Stone Sour, drummer Jordison toured with several bands and produced 3 Inches of Blood's third album Fire Up the Blades, Crahan founded Dirty Little Rabbits and Wilson returned as DJ Starscream once again.

All Hope Is Gone, third hiatus and Gray's death

Preparation for Slipknot's fourth album began towards the end of 2007; however, work began when the band entered the Sound Farm Studio in Jamaica, Iowa with producer Dave Fortman in February 2008. Work came to a close on the album in June, prior to the beginning of the All Hope Is Gone World Tour on July 9, 2008. Slipknot's fourth album; All Hope Is Gone was released on August 20, 2008, debuting at number 1 on the Billboard albums chart. The album produced five singles; "All Hope Is Gone", "Psychosocial", "Dead Memories", "Sulfur" and "Snuff". 2009 marked the 10-year anniversary of Slipknot's debut album; to commemorate the event, the band released a special edition version of Slipknot on September 9, 2009. Touring in support of the album continued throughout 2008 and 2009, before coming to a close on October 31, 2009, resulting in Slipknot's third hiatus.

During the hiatus, several band members focused on respective side projects; vocalist Taylor founded Junk Beer Kidnap Band and returned to Stone Sour with guitarist Root, Crahan continued working with his band Dirty Little Rabbits, drummer Jordison returned with his band Murderdolls and became the new permanent drummer of Rob Zombie. Percussionist Fehn is now a full-time bassist with metalcoreband Will Haven and Sid Wilson founded the eponymous band Sid.

In 2010, bassist Gray was planning to tour with the supergroup, Hail!. However, on May 24, 2010, he was found dead in a hotel room in Urbandale, Iowa. Circumstances surrounding his death at the time were not immediately known; an autopsy suspected that his death was not caused by intention of anyone, but still did not reveal the cause of it. The day after his death, the remaining eight members of the band held a live unmasked press conference alongside Gray's widow and brother, expressing their feelings about the incident. On June 21, the cause of death was confirmed as an accidental overdose on morphine and fentanyl, the latter being a synthetic morphine substitute.

The band was hesitant to comment on the future of Slipknot. The members made conflicting statements in interviews regarding the situation; drummer Jordison told The Pulse of Radio "there is another Slipknot record already kinda in the making". Vocalist Taylor revealed to FMQB Productions' that he is "very conflicted about whether or not [he wants] to do anything with Slipknot". The band released their fourth video album (sic)nesses on September 28, where it debuted at No.1 on the Billboard Top Music Video Charts. The DVD features Slipknot's complete live performance at the 2009 Download Festival and a 45 minute film documenting their tour in support of All Hope Is Gone, and served as a tribute to Paul Gray.

Return to the stage, Antennas to Hell and Knotfest

Regarding the continuation of Slipknot, Taylor later told NME that Paul Gray would want them to continue and in that spirit he feels that they should, although he feels "on the fence" about returning to the band. Slipknot returned to touring in 2011 for a small run of shows in Europe. They headlined the Sonisphere Festival and Rock in Rio among the likes of Iron Maiden andMetallica and performed at Belgium's Graspop Metal Meeting. Founding guitarist, Donnie Steele substituted for Gray in the concert shows, however was obscured from the audience's view, behind Jordison.

Slipknot has also confirmed that they will complete and release their fifth studio album with no plans of replacing Gray. Jordison confirmed that the writing process for the band's fifth studio album had already begun and that he had written 17 songs. Slipknot performed at Mayhem Festival 2012.

On May 29, 2012, Roadrunner Records posted a teaser video on their website titled Antennas to Hell. Later that day, Corey Taylor revealed on Twitter that Slipknot will release a greatest hits album on June 17, 2012. He also tweeted saying the band are not recording new material yet but are putting together demos for a new album.

Slipknot hosted their first annual music festival, called Knotfest, which was held on August 17, 2012, at Mid-America Motorplex near Pacific Junction, Iowa (in the Omaha – Council Bluffs metropolitan area) and August 18, 2012, in Somerset, Wisconsin. Other bands that played at the festival were Deftones, Lamb of God, Serj Tankian and more. Among the activities the festival offered as part of its "dark carnival experience" were circus big-top tents, pillars of fire, amusement park rides, burlesque performers, firebreathers, stilt walkers, drum circles made of junkyard cars and graffiti walls. The two shows also debuted a Slipknot museum. On Friday 14, June 2013 Slipknot headlined the Download Festival for a second time. Performing to roughly 90,000 people, the band were twice forced to stop their set, once in the middle of a song, in order to allow repairs to be made to the front barricade, which had split open under crowd pressure.

.5: The Gray Chapter

Production of the band's fifth album began in late 2013. Taylor described the album as "very dark" and a cross between Iowa and Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses). Guitarist Jim Root sat out Stone Sour's tour in January (and it was revealed later that he was fired from that band), to write material for Slipknot.

On December 12, 2013, the band announced through their official website that long-time member and drummer, Joey Jordison had parted ways with the band after 18 years citing personal reasons. Jordison later posted on his official Facebook page that he "did not quit Slipknot", and that he was both "shocked" and "blindsided" by the news. Both Jordison and Slipknot have independently promised to release further details about the split. Taylor noted that Jordison would not be appearing on the new album as he did not partake in any songwriting sessions prior to his departure.

In July, 2014 the band began releasing teasers regarding the release of their fifth album on their website and social media using cryptic messages and gory imagery. Their first song in six years entitled "The Negative One" was released on August 1 and was accompanied by a music video four days later directed by Crahan. The video did not feature any band members. On August 24, Slipknot released an official radio single entitled "The Devil In I" and the name of the upcoming album was revealed to be .5: The Gray Chapter through iTunes, with an expected release date of October 28. This was later revised to October 17 for the Netherlands and Australia, October 20 for the UK and October 21 worldwide.

Slipknot began their North American tour in support of the album on October 25 at the second iteration of Knotfest. The tour dubbed the "Prepare for Hell" is co-headlined by Korn with King 810 as support. They have also been confirmed, along with several other major acts, to be performing at 2015's Soundwave festival in Australia. A bassist and drummer were brought in to replace Gray and Jordison respectively with Crahan designing a mask for them to wear which would differentiate them from the band. The official video for "The Devil In I" was released on September 12 featuring musicians wearing slightly modified versions of the band's older masks with the exception of Taylor who wore a brand new mask. The identities of the drummer and bassist shown in the video were the subject of speculation among fans, but their names were not officially released by the band. Taylor later admitted that he was "upset" at the leak of the identity of the bassist, alleged to be Alessandro Venturella because of a unique tattoo on his hand. Root told Guitar World that the identity of the drummer will not be released. Taylor said that that neither the bassist nor the drummer are permanent members of the band. On December 3, a former Slipknot road crew drum tech posted a photograph he took of a touring band personnel list that confirmed bassist Alessandro Venturella and drummer Jay Weinberg as members of the tour.

Slipknot's new albums single, "The Negative One", was nominated for the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance at the 57th Grammy Awards.

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