ARTISTdirect.com editor-in-chief Rick Florino recently conducted an interview with SLIPKNOT percussionist Shawn "Clown" Crahan about the 10th-anniversary reissue of the band's second album, "Iowa". A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
ARTISTdirect.com: What do you think the cinematic equivalent of "Iowa" would be? If you were to compare it to a movie, what would it be?
Crahan: Well, a lot of times back in that tour cycle, we'd make it snow when we played live. There was snow falling on stage. I would say, not necessarily "The Shining", but if you can imagine that child running through the maze at night with the snow falling and back-stepping his footprints to trick his father. It's not so much the movie itself. However, think about this kid running through a maze. I guess the metaphor would be life and having forces out of control, which would be the weather. It's deep snow coming down. It's freezing. You've got to fight all of this. He's running. Sometimes, he has to back-step and use trickery to move forward and be able to survive. That scene would depict "Gently" pretty well. The song is about being in your head but almost being threatened by life and knowing you have to go to places in yourself to make it. That child back-tracking his steps and waiting for his father to go by so he can move forward and survive is kind of what it was. I wouldn't say "The Shining" as a story at all or even Jack Nicholson in it. I think you understand. Also, I'd say "Apocalypse Now" going down the river not to fear but to face yourself.
ARTISTdirect.com: That's the perfect analogy.
Crahan: That's why Colonel Kurtz was at the end of river and Captain Willard [Martin Sheen] was on his way down the river to basically confront himself. Colonel Kurtz needed to be killed like a solder in order to complete his circle of life, but Willard had to go confront what he could become. He had to make a decision. He could've easily stood by Kurtz's side like those other gentlemen had and even done more damage. Good and evil is going on in one's head. The whole time down the river, you're wondering what's going to happen. Is he going to turn to the dark side? Or, is he going to stay human and face life? That would be another good example. "Apocalypse Now" is movie to more clearly explain that. You're going down that river, knowing that at the end of it you're going to be looking at yourself and what you could become. You have to decide whether it's right or wrong.
ARTISTdirect.com: What is your fondest memory of [late SLIPKNOT bassist] Paul [Gray] from the "Iowa" days?
Crahan: You know, that's a really good question. It's a really hard one to answer and think about. It's hard to answer because you're taking me back to a beginning time and an end time of that cycle. It began immediately when we got home from the first cycle. Paul, Joey [Jordison, drums], and Jim [Root, guitar] were in Paul's little brother's house in the basement beginning. A lot of people don't understand. A lot of shit went on during the first cycle. You have your whole life to make your first record and you do it. You're so excited. You get added to Ozzfest, and you're like, "Holy shit, we're playing with BLACK SABBATH, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, and all of these bands. FEAR FACTORY were headlining the second stage and we got to play with them. We're on Roadrunner!" Then, you go out and the band is taken away from you. Your baby is taken away. We were blowing up right from the beginning. Once we started blowing up, it got taken from us. I'd say the second record is not necessarily us trying to get it back, but us letting the outside world everybody but the nine know they have no understanding what our ability is, what it is we're doing, what we're going to do, why we do what we do. Basically, you can't have it, you will never have it, you will never own it, you will never understand it, you will never get what you want out of it because we will do what we want, when we want, how much of it we want, and however we want. I think my fondest memory is watching my friend just dig so deep and write this phenomenal fucking record. He didn't write it alone, but he's a serious, serious part of that record. That's his record.
Read the entire interview from ARTISTdirect.com.