What a difference a decade can make.
In 2011 and into 2012, the members of Slipknot mourned the 2010 death of Paul Gray, the popular masked metal band’s key bassist and songwriter, and most importantly, a close friend.
By 2011, the band had taken a few timid steps forward by playing a few festivals in Europe and Australia. And in the spring of 2012, the members of Slipknot seemed more optimistic about the band’s future without Gray and had accepted a headlining spot at the multi-band Mayhem festival that summer. However, nothing was guaranteed. And a split a year later with drummer Joey Jordison added another question mark to Slipknot’s future.
It was in this context that Jay Weinberg became part of the Slipknot comeback story. In what was sort of a blind date, the drummer in 2014 arrived for an audition. He had not been told which band had requested the audition and he had only learned about Slipknot 20 minutes before the band had arrived. This approach was intended to test Weinberg to see if he would rise to the occasion.
Looking back now, it makes perfect sense that Slipknot saw Weinberg as a potential Jordison replacement. The band had a history with the drummer that stretched back over a decade.
When Weinberg was 10, his father, Max Weinberg (yes, the longtime drummer of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band), had a stint as bandleader on “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.” That year, Slipknot had risen to fame with their self-titled, double-platinum debut album and been booked to perform on the late-night show. Knowing that his son had begun to take an interest in heavy music, Max Weinberg wanted to invite Jay to this emerging metal powerhouse.
“He saw Slipknot come out and play a song from the first album and was like, ‘Oh my god, these guys are crazy. My kid is going to love this,'” Jay Weinberg said, telling the story in a phone interview. early March.” I think he went and introduced himself to the guys (in Slipknot) and they were like, ‘Hey, yeah, thanks for having us on the show. If you ever want to see a show, bring your whole family. We would love to have you guys. And to his credit, he accepted them.
The Weinberg family saw Slipknot on this summer’s Ozzfest tour, and Weinberg was blown away by their performance. After the show, the Weinberg family met the nine-member group. In the years that followed, the Weinbergs saw Slipknot and visited the band when they performed concerts near their New Jersey home. Jay Weinberg became friends with the band members, to the point that they kept in touch between Slipknot tours.
Along the way, Weinberg was lucky enough to be part of a great band when, at age 18, he replaced his father on drums, who had to miss dates during Springsteen’s tour promoting his 2007’s “Magic” album because of his role on “The Tonight Show Starring Conan O’Brien.
“You know, it was an amazing experience, and it’s something that definitely taught me so many things that I still use to carry me day-to-day in the world of high-stakes rock and roll, to so say,” Weinberg says.
Fast forward to 2014, and Slipknot needed a new drummer. Weinberg believes he became an option because not only was he a huge fan of the band and talented enough to play the often frenetic and complex drum parts, but he had been around Slipknot enough to understand. the loss the band was still going through and the intensity, dedication and work ethic that drove Slipknot.
“There was this whole extreme element of (doing) the band’s first music without Paul Gray. Just playing Slipknot songs was such a small percentage of the task,” Weinberg said. “It was much more about finding the right combination, because bands are all about chemistry. (It’s about) those relationships and how you work together and communicate with each other and respect what’s there and then respect yourself and your own dynamic of what you bring to the table… So the fact that they knew I would capture the ethos and spirit of what was happening, especially with the intense emotion of moving on from a very difficult time in the band’s history and trying to elevate what we’re doing into a new era of the band, was very important and it goes so far beyond the music.
Weinberg clicked with Slipknot during the audition, so much so that the next day he and the other members of the band – vocalist Corey Taylor, guitarist Jim Root, percussionist Mr. Shawn Crahan, guitarist Mick Thomson, DJ Sid Wilson, bassist Alessandro Venturella and sampler Craig Jones – went to work on what became 2014’s album, “.5: The Gray Chapter”.
The band’s fifth album, “.5: The Gray Chapter,” continued Slipknot’s unbroken streak of commercially successful albums, topping Billboard magazine’s album chart and earning three Grammy nominations.
An extensive tour followed, which solidified Weinberg’s place in the band and set the stage for the release of Slipknot’s sixth album, 2019’s “We Are Not Your Kind.” been hailed as one of Slipknot’s finest albums.
Weinberg believes he was able to bring some of the enthusiasm and excitement that helped Slipknot move forward and thrive after the uncertain future following Gray’s death.
“I can only speak of what I can contribute to our momentum, but I hope it has had an effect on my statesmen/elder brothers,” he said.
Even the pandemic hasn’t stopped the band, as Slipknot have kept the momentum going by releasing a new studio album to be released later this year. But where the band members worked together in person on “We Are Not Your Kind,” the pandemic made that impossible for the new album.
Instead, each member of the band had to work separately to create parts for songs and, in many cases, record their final tracks under producer Joe Barresi. Weinberg is excited about the band’s work, but since the new album is still being mixed, he wasn’t ready to compare it to Slipknot’s other albums. But he said it would be dark, intense and emotionally charged, while offering some new stylistic wrinkles.
“Hopefully ultimately we can take these styles from all that we are and augment them as much as possible,” he said. “For me, that’s what we’re looking for. We want to create a visceral piece of music that is interesting for us to play, interesting for others to listen to.
Weinberg said he hopes the band will debut some of the new songs from this spring’s Knotfest Roadshow tour. There was also talk of playing a few older tracks that haven’t been played live for many years. Whatever the set list, the goal will be to deliver fresh and exciting shows for the band to play and for the fans to experience.
“We always try to push the envelope,” Weinberg said. “We have new music on the way. So always, when you’re up to this creative new stuff, you’re hoping that stuff starts to show its face in different ways, whether it’s the visuals for our show taking on a new shape, the guys in the band having new masks. I am one of those guys. So there are all these different facets. So what we’re hoping for from this tour is just a sharper version of Slipknot than ever before.
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