Has Metal Lost Its Edge?

Joey Jordi­son pon­ders how we can reignite metal’s shock fac­tor

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Joey Jordison - WORDS: MER­LIN ALDERSLADE • PICTURES: JEREMY SAFFER

From god­fa­thers of shock like Alice Cooper and Black Sab­bath to Mar­i­lyn Man­son and Slip­knot decades later, metal has made ter­ror­is­ing the main­stream a hall­mark of its iden­tity. But in an era where it feels like pop stars are cre­at­ing more con­tro­versy than any­one from our realm, we ask: is metal’s shock fac­tor dead and buried? Joey Jordi­son, who was on the front­lines for Slip­knot’s chaotic, head­line-mak­ing rise to in­famy, breaks it down for us.

DO YOU THINK METAL HAS LOST ITS ABIL­ITY TO SHOCK PEO­PLE?

“That’s a weird one. No, I don’t think so, be­cause with the mu­si­cian­ship that goes into metal, es­pe­cially th­ese days, you re­ally have to prove your­self and get out there. Even if it’s melodies, grooves, what your time sig­na­tures are, how ex­treme you wanna play, how dark you wanna be, what your feel­ing is, there’s al­ways gonna be that el­e­ment, be­cause metal al­ways feels the hu­man soul and the fire. So that’s never gonna die, and that’s the best thing about it.”

ARE WE STILL SCARY, THOUGH? POP STARS CAUSE MORE CON­TRO­VERSY THAN METAL BANDS NOW

“Yeah, it’s al­most re­versed. You know what? In a weird way, I do agree with you on that. There is that el­e­ment of reck­less­ness and dan­ger that is gone.”

CAN METAL RE­ALLY BE THAT SCARY IF RE­AL­ITY TV STARS ARE WALK­ING AROUND IN DEATH METAL SHIRTS?

“Yeah, I mean, you want to ask those peo­ple to go down the track­list­ing of Blessed Are The Sick, ha ha ha! Some­times peo­ple get mad at me for say­ing this, but I think a lot of all this is to do with the in­ter­net, and how it’s easy to be a metal fan all of a sud­den. When I was a kid, I knew when the next Me­tal­lica al­bum was com­ing out be­cause I col­lected all the fanzines. Plus there was tape­trad­ing and stuff like that, you know? Now we have the in­ter­net – and that’s killer! But you had to put a real ef­fort into fol­low­ing it in those days.”

WOULD SLIP­KNOT HAVE EVER GOT ANY­WHERE NEAR AS BIG WITH­OUT THE IM­AGE AND EV­ERY­THING THAT WENT WITH IT?

“No. Ab­so­lutely not. But even though our music didn’t nec­es­sar­ily rep­re­sent, say, the thrash move­ment, or the early heavy metal move­ment, we all grew up on that kinda stuff. But it’s about what grabs you. I mean, Van Halen, to this day, are still one of the undis­puted great­est bands for that, in terms of song­writ­ing, pro­duc­tion, it’s just in­sane. It just ex­plodes out of your speak­ers.”

BUT IF THEY’D ALL LOOKED LIKE PLUMBERS IT WOULDN’T HAVE GOT AS FAR, EI­THER

“Ha ha, no! I think there’s a plumber in The Vil­lage Peo­ple, though...”

MURDERDOLLS ALSO HAD AN IM­AGE THAT HELPED TO BRING THE MUSIC TO LIFE– EVEN IF IT WAS BE­ING DONE IN A MUCH MORE...SCHLOCKY WAY.

“Ab­so­lutely, that was on purpose and there’s no prob­lem with you say­ing that. It was cheesy! We al­ways said in the Murderdolls, I re­mem­ber talk­ing to Wed­nes­day one day, and we were say­ing, ‘Man, we’re just se­ri­ous about not be­ing se­ri­ous.’ We ac­tu­ally ended up writ­ing a song about that that never got re­leased. I mean, it was fun, you know? It was killer.”

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT RE­LA­TION­SHIP BE­TWEEN METAL AND THE MORE HOR­ROR-SLANTED AES­THETIC HAS STAYED SO STRONG?

“It’s in­ter­twined forever. I mean, you see what Rob Zom­bie’s do­ing with his movies, and they are ab­so­lutely amaz­ing. His vision, how he does his shows, ev­ery­thing else. It was awe­some to play in his band and see how he does ev­ery­thing.”

YOU WERE AL­READY A SEA­SONED, BIG-TIME METAL DRUM­MER WHEN YOU TOURED WITH ZOM­BIE. DID YOU LEARN ANY­THING FROM HIM?

“Yeah! I’ve never seen an artist that I’ve worked with – in­clud­ing my own bands – that when I went up to sound­check, I’d be sit­ting in my drum throne for like an hour and a half while Rob goes and de­signs the whole thing. He is so par­tic­u­lar, and that’s what’s re­ally cool about when I was play­ing with him: just watch­ing that level of ded­i­ca­tion to how the show looks, and not tak­ing any­thing for granted. He is full-on from when he wakes up to when the show hap­pens, and that is in­spir­ing. And heavy metal, rock’n’roll, it doesn’t mat­ter what it is; there al­ways has to be some kind of aes­thetic to it. It helps de­fine it.”

DO YOU THINK ENOUGH BANDS ARE COM­ING THROUGH THAT HAVE THAT WHOLE PACK­AGE? THE SOUND, THE LOOK, THE SHOWMANSHIP.

“I do, be­cause no mat­ter what, if metal is con­tin­u­ing, there is al­ways gonna be some­one that is com­ing up and is gonna kick you in your ass. Those are the kids that are hun­gry and want to cre­ate this. You’ve got your sea­soned veter­ans, and we’re gonna do it forever, but there will be ones that are gonna come up and cre­ate some­thing com­pletely out of the or­di­nary that will latch onto peo­ple. It’s cool to look out for, not the next big thing, be­cause I hate say­ing that, but the next group of peo­ple that re­ally con­nect to­gether. Those are the bands that take off.”

WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR A METAL BAND TO TRULY STUN PEO­PLE IN THE WAY THAT SLIP­KNOT DID?

“That’s a re­ally tough ques­tion. I think right now, it’s just cre­at­ing an al­bum that’s a new form of metal that’s gonna take off into the fu­ture. I don’t think it’s about a shock thing, it’s about evo­lu­tion. Bands have been do­ing that since way back. Look at The Stooges, how crazy they were for back then. In the 90s, you had Mar­i­lyn Man­son. You just have to keep push­ing the en­ve­lope, and there’s al­ways gonna be some­one out there that fig­ures that out.”

VIMIC’S DE­BUT AL­BUM WILL BE RE­LEASED LATER THIS YEAR

“SOME OF METAL’S DAN­GER HAS GONE” JOEY’S WAIT­ING FOR A BAND TO SPOOK THE MAIN­STREAM AGAIN

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