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Why visual art is so important to Slipknot's Clown

Music isn’t just about making a racket; it’s an artform with limitless possibilities. As Slipknot’s artistic visionary, Clown has dedicated his career to blowing minds.

I don’t think my parents ever pushed me towards art, I just gravitated towards it. As a kid growing up, I started living more and more in my own imagination. My mom would have to snap me out of it, clicking her fingers and shouting ‘We’re leaving!’ and I’d be thinking about a two-headed cobra or something.

But I owe a lot to my mom and dad. My mom liked science fiction and she had thousands of books. She was a genius – a sponge for learning. When she was around I’d be getting these sci-fi books with a picture of some big-titted chick with a brass bra, hauling a giant lizard around and with a big 90 calibre gun or something, and I’d be thinking, ‘Right on!’

My first week of school, I made a dick out of Play-Doh. A big old hard dick, made from all kinds of colours and with a big old ballsack, and I put it in the furnace so it would get hard, and straight away I was sent to the principal’s office... ‘This isn’t healthy! A first grader making dicks!’

The next year, my mom gets called down because I was drawing pictures of naked women. My mom looked and said, ‘Oh, this is alright, this is me...’ and they’re like, ‘What do you mean? This is disgusting!’ and she says ‘He’s fucking nine years old! I’m the only woman in his life. This woman has big breasts and curly hair and so do I, and it’s only natural for my son to want to draw a naked person...’ But I went to a hardcore Catholic school, so they were on my shit!

When I started the band with Paul [Gray], he loved my art. Back then I talked the mad talk and I had a lot of stuff, but I didn’t have a lot of money. The little bit that he saw me do, and my intensity, he fucking loved it. He said, ‘I don’t want to be in a normal band... I love bands that make their own flyers and go out in the snow and put ’em on poles!’ It was always part of it and I’m very blessed.

Not everybody likes art. It’s pretty 50/50 in the world and a lot of people really don’t give a shit about it, but it’s my life. To me, the importance of art is temperature. Music is temperature. You write a song, it’s got a tone, it’s either minor or major, it’s dissonant, it has crescendos, it has all these things. So when I work, it’s about temperature – how does this music make me feel? Where does it take me? What’s the colour? Art and music go hand in hand.

Art doesn’t have to be something hanging on the wall. It can be the design of the new Pepsi can. Art’s all around us, man, from the carpet we choose, to the toilet paper we wipe our ass with, to the forks we use to shovel down food. Everything is an expression of an idea and it’s all from someone’s head.

We take art for granted, because even if you’re the most boring human being in the world and you think art’s for weirdos, let me tell you how much it influences you. Something in your life is dedicated to art, even if it’s a fucking Twinkie. Someone had to design that Twinkie to make sure it all worked together in a nice package so that you’ll buy it your whole fucking life. You would not have McDonald’s if you didn’t have some genius who made the Golden Arches out of french fries. And you can’t change that. You can’t turn the Golden Arches purple... people would keep driving to the next burger joint instead. That’s art.

Art is so important to me that I make sure that everything we do, from the beginning to the end of the package, the t-shirts, the posters, the masks, it’s all a story. There’s no accidental bullshit. It’s real unto the story of Slipknot and it goes real deep.

This band is a barrage of anything you could ever want. You get the music, you get the lyrics, you get the people, you get the intensity, the equipment, the show, you get the masks and coveralls, you get the backdrop, you get the fire, you get everything.

It’s been 15 years of an entwined package. We’re an orchestra. We’re never gonna be recreated – we’re it. We give it all we have and, after 15 years, I see art in all of us, and I love making art come true.


Slipknot's new documentary Day Of The Gusano premieres in theatres worldwide on September 6. Find out more information on the official website.

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