VERY rarely does one get to meet a member of their favorite band, not to mention spending 20 minutes on the phone with them, and find out that they are practically neighbors. HEAR Magazine co-founder Ryan LaPointe had the opportunity to do just that.
Audio Interview with #3 by Ryan LaPointe
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Hot off the release of their 5th album, .5: The Gray Chapter, and currently on the Prepare for Hell Tour w/Korn, Ryan had the chance to talk with Slipknot percussionist and current Michigan resident, #3 Chris Fehn. Listen as they discuss Knotfest, new masks, members, and album, living in Michigan, and even the game of golf.
Since Slipknot played those two summer days at DTE (Pine Knob duh) in 1999 for Ozzfest, the Michigan metal fans have never been the same. Watching NINE musicians somehow turn what looked like a clusterfuck on stage into some of the best music ever heard, will be a moment none of us will ever forget. 15 years later, Slipknot returns with their 5th album, .5 The Gray Chapter, and their own music festival, Knotfest. HEAR Magazine’s Ryan LaPointe FINALLY had the chance to interview his favorite band when he received a phone call from percussionist (and Michigan resident) #3 Chris Fehn, while on a day off in Nashville during their Prepare For Hell tour with Korn and King 810.
HM: Hey Chris, let’s start talking about Knotfest. You guys did one in California and one in Japan this year, how’d they go?
CF: They were amazing! We’re trying to bring the European festival feeling to the US and just have it be a big community.
HM: Why did you move the festival from the Midwest to California?
CF: It was kind of a task in Council Bluffs and Somerset but it was time to give it to another part of the country. We decided on San Bernadino where the kids could camp out and create their own little society. It was really cool; it was their own little town for four days.
HM: You guys took a year off between the first and second Knotfest, do you think it will be an annual thing now?
CF: That’s our goal, to have as many as possible. You have to start small, but everything so far has been amazing.
HM: Why did you choose Japan as the first place to do it outside of the US?
CF: We haven’t been to Japan in a long time, and it was just the perfect spot to do it. There are a lot of metal fans over there, and it was off the hook. I think it sold out in like one minute.
HM: How’d it go?
CF: It was insane dude! The mosh pits were proper mosh pits, not some meathead standing in the middle drilling the smaller kids. There was like five big massive circles going on at the same time.
HM: 2014 has been a year of new things for Slipknot, let’s start with the album, when did you guys decide to go back into the studio?
CF: Around December of last year, Jim (Root) had been working on the album at his home in Florida, than Jim and Clown (Shawn Crahan) went out to LA to get things rolling. We all just showed up and started making a record.
HM: “Custer” is my favorite track on the album; tell us about the process of it becoming a song?
CF: “Custer” is kind of Clown’s baby; by the time I arrived a lot of it was already done, but it’s one of my favorites too. Once Corey (Taylor) writes the lyrics and does majority of the singing, that’s when we come in and do the backups. Just trying ideas to see what works and what doesn’t.
HM: What can you tell us about the drummer and bassist on the album?
CF: We’re grateful to have some great musicians to help us out. They aren’t in Slipknot, but possibly one day we’ll see.
HM: The whole band has new masks, how is your new shiny metallic one working out?
CF: Clown had an idea while we were recording at the mansion in Hollywood for me to get a chrome mask, so we told our mask guy and he did. Its three different kinds of metal before you chrome it, its super heavy but looks great!
HM: You tend to go out into the crowd during your shows, do you ever get scared or nervous of what COULD happen?
CF: I don’t, our fans our really respectful. Sometimes you do get the guy who will grab my mask or me out of excitement and I have to rip away violently. Generally I high five and keep moving
HM: Which member of Slipknot are you closest with?
CF: Clown and I have always rolled together; we travel on our own bus and hang out the most. I think even if he played guitar and played drums, it’d still be the same.
HM: You’ve been living in Michigan for a few years, how did you end up here?
CF: I met my wife Melissa, who is from Michigan, and we got married in Iowa. While I was on tour we had a one of the worst winters ever, and when I got home she was like “Fuck Iowa.” She missed her friends and she missed her family so it was only fair we moved there so she could have her friends and family, especially when I’m gone all the time she has support there.
HM: What do you like about living here?
CF: The U.P., its great fishing! All the trees make me feel a lil closed in at times but Michigan is more beautiful than I ever expected.
HM: You’re an avid golfer, what do you like about it?
CF: It’s always been a part of my life since I was a kid. I like that it’s an individual sport, and it’s really all about your mind and finding that quiet place.
HM: Tell me about your experiences playing at Harpos
CF: It was always a nervous day, some of our techs were even robbed. The shows were always off the hook, but that was our first introduction to Detroit and it was kind of scary. It was cool how high the stage was, it felt like we could walk across people’s heads. Now we’ve moved up and playing bigger places and the Michigan fans are still awesome. There is a 0% chance we’ll play there again though, those days are long gone.
HM: Did you ever think you’d still be doing this after 20 years, and has it been everything you dreamed of?
CF: I wouldn’t change it for anything, and I hope we go another 20 years.
HM: What’s your stance on medical marijuana?
CF: It helps a lot of people, and I believe alcohol is a lot worse and the laws should be switched.
HM: During the old Slipknot days, your sets got pretty violent, what was your worst injury?
CF: I jumped off my drum riser, the lights changed, and I tore my ACL. I had to do the rest of the tour hopping around on crutches, it was pretty painful. That’s the Slipknot way though, nothing was going to stop me from getting up there, maybe if my arms were cut off would I not play!
HM: Any chance we’ll see you guys at Rock on the Range again?
CF: yea, I think so, but I don’t like to think further than the next show.
HM: Thanks a lot for your time Chris, anything you want to say to your fans?
CF: Thanks’ for sticking with and us and being the coolest fans on the planet. They really love Slipknot and appreciate what we do and we see it in their faces when they sing back to us. The energy they put back to us keeps us going!
Make sure you check out Slipknot, Korn, and King 810 on the Prepare For Hell tour at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Nov 29th. For more info go to www.slipknot1.com