SLIPKNOT percussionist Shawn "Clown" Crahan has followed singer Corey Taylor's lead in pushing back against comments from politicians linking the most recent spate of mass shootings to popular culture.
Earlier in the month, President Donald Trump called for curbing "gruesome and grisly video games" that contribute to a "culture of violence" as a response to the horrific shooting sprees in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. This echoed historical patterns of moral panic, such as 1950s concerns about comic books and Tipper Gore's efforts to blame pop and rock music in the 1980s for violence, sex and satanism.
"You know, I don't pay that any mind because art can't be touched," Crahan told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Freedom of speech, you know? Basically, SLIPKNOT's my religion, if you want to go that far. You can't touch this. You can't fundamentally come into this, because this is my life, this is my spirituality, this is my religion that I worship.
"A lot of times, when they divert the plan, the strategy, to things like music, it's just because they don't know what the hell they're doing," he continued. "They created all these laws, and now they can't overturn them or even adjust them. They can't find a happy medium. They can't compromise. And so, when it's like that, they're always going to blame some fraction. And I'm the fraction."
Back-to-back mass shootings in the United States left at least 31 dead and about 50 injured in Texas and Ohio on August 3 and August 4.
In El Paso, a gunman opened fire as customers crowded into a Walmart during the busy back-to-school shopping season, leaving 22 people dead and another 26 wounded. Just hours after the El Paso attack, a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, left at least nine people dead and 26 wounded.
The man accused of carrying out the El Paso shooting explained to authorities that he had been targeting Mexicans.
The Dayton shooter apparently had no clear racial or political animus, according to CNN. But he did have access to an AR-15-style rifle and 100-round drum magazines.
Last week, Taylor told the Independent that music is an easy target because people in authority "don't understand it. There's a complete lack of effort to try to understand it, and a lack of willingness to take any portion of the blame for these events," he said.
"If you're looking for a certain kind of rhetoric, whether it's hating black people or gay people or whatever, there are thousands of sites with people posting about it," he continued. "We're seeing the repercussions of a failure to address that. They still wanna blame the fucking music, and it's been happening since the '60s to '85 with Tipper Gore… Just get the fuck out of my face with that shit!"
Taylor went on to say that the most important factor in the most shootings is the easy availability of guns.
"There are too many fucking guns in America," he said. "I could walk outside right now and find a gun within minutes. There's a very toxic gun culture here, it's a cult, and it worries me."
In the aftermath of the Dayton shooting, Taylor blasted a journalist who attempted to place blame on THE ACACIA STRAIN, the metalcore band whose hooded sweatshirt the shooter wore. "No. You don't get to fucking do that. This isn't about a fucking t shirt. And THE ACACIA STRAIN are not a hateful or vengeful band. Blame the KILLER; not the fucking WARDROBE. You Ghoul," Taylor tweeted.
SLIPKNOT's sixth album, "We Are Not Your Kind", was released on August 9 via Roadrunner Records.