LiveDaily Interview: Jim Root of Slipknot

The last four years have been a blur for Slipknot 's Jim Root and Corey Taylor. After the "Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses)" tour cycle ended, the duo jumped straight into the promotion of their side project, Stone Sour, finding success in that band with the melodic ballad "Through Glass."

With their Stone Sour work complete, they immediately headed in the studio to record Slipknot's forthcoming album, "All Hope is Gone," due Aug. 25. Things have been so hectic that Root isn't even sure if the first single, "Psychosocial," has been a radio hit. (It has.)

"Is it doing well?" he asked during an unmasked, backstage interview with LiveDaily in Phoenix. "I don't know. Everything is such a whirlwind right now. It's going to be one of the songs that everyone gets sick of, then? That's a good problem to have."

Root said Slipknot is still in a "vacuum." Iowa's masked men, who go by the stage names of Nos. 0-8, are touring extensively this summer as a part of the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival package with Disturbed, Machine Head and a host of others.

Root--who, in addition to Taylor, is also joined in the band by Sid Wilson (turntables), Joey Jordison (drums), Paul Gray (bass), Chris Fehn (percussion), Craig Jones (samples), Shawn Crahan (percussion) and Mick Thomson (guitars)--talked to LiveDaily about "All Hope is Gone," and why he wasn't excited to put his mask back on, and how working with a new producer made him appreciate the group's previous producer, Rick Rubin.

How's the tour going so far?

A lot better than I thought it would.

Why is that?

Because we haven't played together for pretty close to three years. When you haven't really had a break like I haven't, there's the whole physical thing that I worry about. Then there's "How tight are we going to be?" But honestly--it's kind of cliché--it's like riding a bike. After the first two shows, we kind of found a stride and now we're starting to sound really good. Just like we never had a break. The break that I had was basically from the end of the Stone Sour cycle to when we started recording this album. That was about probably two to three months.

It's been four years between albums, so I think many people believe you have had a break.

Yeah, but Corey and I haven't stopped since '99. We've been going pretty much full-blown.

So tell me about the new album. Advances aren't available.

Bastards. [Laughs] We decided to record it in Iowa, which we've never done, except for the first demo. We were all pretty close to home when we recorded it. Sonically, I think it's amazing. Due to time restrictions, because this tour was starting so soon, and because of the fact that Corey and I had just finished a Stone Sour touring cycle, we didn't get to spend as much time creating as I would have liked to.

So did you feel rushed?

A little bit. It felt a little bit rushed. And it felt like we were trying to do things just to appease a schedule, which I didn't really like. Under those circumstances, I think we came out with a really decent record, for it--for lack of a better term--being thrown together. In some ways, to me, this record reminds me a lot more of the [2001] "Iowa" record. In my mind, before we started doing any of this, I was kind of hoping we could have taken what we did on "The Subliminal Verses" and take that as an evolution and take that a step farther. In some ways, I think we took a little bit of a step backward, like, musically. I'm not saying the songwriting's worse or anything like that. We touched on some cerebral music on "The Subliminal Verses" that we didn't get a chance to revisit on this record. In that aspect, it reminds me a little bit more of the "Iowa" recording cycle. But the touring cycle so far has been amazing.

Did you write the songs before you went into the studio?

No, not really. Usually, when there's a couple of guys at home, Joey and Paul will start demoing things out so we've got a little bit of a head start on the music when we come into the studio. But Joey was out on tour with Korn right up until we started to record this record, basically. So, he needed a little bit of time to decompress after the tour. I think he was still touring with Korn after Corey and I had finished up with Stone Sour. That cut into our time. The fact that we had already agreed to do the Mayhem tour, that was a big clock over our shoulders. Everything happens in cycles. To put a tour together, you've got to get everything done by a certain time so you can make certain tours. Originally, we were going to try to get in the studio sooner so we could try to make the European festival circuit. That would have been too much of a burden on us. We really, really would have been scrambling. But it is what it is. I'm actually really happy with the way things turned out now, especially now that we're touring and everybody's getting along really great and we're getting tighter each show as a band. We just did five [shows] in a row, which normally Corey would freak out about. "We can't do anymore than three in a row. My voice." But he accepted it and came to terms with it and he was actually happy to do it. It's kind of like new attitudes.

You must be pretty pleased, as well, with how the single "Psychosocial" is doing.

That's great, especially because, when we were working on the songs in preproduction, that song, to me, was one of the more linear tunes. After we started building the songs in the studio and layering parts to it, it came together really well. I'm excited that it's doing well. But, to me, it's like a straightforward, late '80s thrash song. When I first heard the demo of that song, it reminded me of a Testament tune. Just because it's got that boom-tat, boom-tat. You can picture the video, straight-up head banging. Or like Megadeth off "So Far, So Good," which is cool. That's the kind of music I grew up on.

So songs with different time signatures?

Sometimes. It depends. I prefer more cerebral, kind of out-there music. I'm more into [Pink] Floydy type of stuff, without being too prog, I guess. Like, more on the Floyd side than the Rush side. When we dive into that as a metal band, it's really dark. Those are the songs that really stick out to me. I'm a big fan of songs like "Danger," "Iowa"--the real creepy kind of songs.

Speaking of creepy, what inspired the new masks for this album cycle?

I don't know; you'd have to ask each individual guy. Mine's the one I wore on the last album cycle. I haven't changed it a bit. As a matter of fact, the one that I'm wearing live and the one I wore on most of the photo shoots and the video that we shot was one that was made for me on the last album cycle. It's basically been sitting in my house for two-and-a-half years and I just never wore it.

Were you excited about putting it back on?

No, not at all. [Laughs] Would you be? Luckily, I had one that I never wore. If it was an old one, they get rusty and they start falling apart. There's a little bit of a stink to them. It's an acquired taste.

Tell me about the album title, "All Hope is Gone."

Well, you know, I'm not really involved. This will show you how quickly we were working. By the time the title of the album came together, it was already decided on. I think I found out, like, two days later. The song in itself is one of the songs we put together at the very end of the recording process. Corey's our lyricist and he's a great lyricist and a great vocalist and he's very metaphorical in his writing. So almost anybody can draw anything out of anything he's talking about. He could be talking about something that's so personal to him, but the way he puts it out there anybody could make it their own, turn it into something very personal to them. To me, "All Hope Is Gone" could have anything to do with the presidential race to the climate to the gas prices. It could be extremely political or personal. The way I look at it, I'm assuming he's coming from a mostly political standpoint. Of course, I haven't read all the lyrics to "All Hope Is Gone."

What was it like to work with Dave Fortman. Was it better than your last experience with Rick Rubin?

Um, no. Dave Fortman really helped me appreciate Rick Rubin as a producer. Sometimes, hindsight is 20/20. Sometimes it takes another situation to kind of make you look back at a different situation and really see how good you had it, you know? Rick Rubin was able to do things that Dave Fortman could never do. I'm not trying to take anything away from Dave Fortman as a producer. He's extremely talented. He wasn't able to get nine people together on the same page and, to me, that's the most important thing in making a Slipknot record. I guess if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

[Note: The following tour dates have been provided by artist and/or tour sources, who verify its accuracy as of the publication time of this story. Changes may occur before tickets go on sale. Check with official artist websites, ticketing sources and venues for late updates.]
 tour dates and tickets
August 2008
1 - Virginia Beach, VA - Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheater
2 - Burgettstown, PA - Post-Gazette Pavilion
3 - Uniondale, NY - Nassau Coliseum
5 - Mansfield, MA - Tweeter Center for Performing Arts
6 - Scranton, PA - Toyota Pavilion
8 - Toronto, Ontario - Downsview Park
9 - Clarkston, MI - DTE Energy Music Theatre
10 - Tinley Park, IL - First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
12 - Atlanta, GA - Lakewood Amphitheatre
13 - Noblesville, IN - Verizon Wireless Music Center Indianapolis
15 - Camden, NJ - Susquehanna Bank Center
16 - Hartford, CT - New England Dodge Music Center
17 - Bristow, VA - Nissan Pavilion
19 - Darien Center, NY - Darien Lake Performing Arts Center

 tour dates and tickets
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