Mrs Clown, says her husband, views Slipknot in the same way the rest of the world seemingly does. “Everybody is just brainwashed to go, ‘Hey, I want OG Clown! Hey, I want the red coveralls!’ Arghhhhhh!” he jokes. “I grow up. I’m a year older every year, so fuck it. It changes. My wife is like everybody else and likes the brilliant idea of 1998 Slipknot: in your face, fuck you, middle finger pressed up against your forehead, ‘We are the ’Knot, we do what we want when we want.’ She’s stuck in that. I get it all day: ‘You gonna wear the red coveralls?’ ‘I don’t know, I have no idea!’”
We won’t ask about the coveralls, then. But what we will dive into is Slipknot’s new album – due to arrive later this year – the band’s past, present and future, and why Clown’s more than happy to have gone “soft”…
So, Clown, we haven’t seen your mask yet, but we do have the first new Slipknot music in four years: All Out Life. The single broke your own YouTube record and got 4 million views in a day. Were you expecting a reaction like that, or do you ever get nervous that you’re going to come back after a time period away and people aren’t interested?
“What would I think if people moved on?! (Laughs) That’s awesome. It’s reality, right? It happens to people all the time – bands, genres… I get it. But it’s not on Slipknot’s clock. We’re not a band – we’re a culture. Last time we spoke [last October, to announce Slipknot’s headlining of Download 2019], I hysterically started laughing and saying, ‘You don’t know anything, do you?’ And then bam: a couple of weeks later arrives All Out Life. I knew that, and you did not. You have no idea what’s coming next. I mean, you answered your own question: 4 million people in a day, and I think it’s up to 16 million now. Does it sound like people are gonna move on? I. Don’t. Think. So.”
You come across as so confident, but isn’t there even the tiniest worry?
“Here’s where I have it. For the people around me, they don’t want to come up with shit – they don’t want to be tied to time and numbers and ideas, because they need a scapegoat. And I’ve always been the fucking scapegoat. But I’ve liked being the scapegoat. Go ahead: everyone blame me. I don’t care anymore. That’s where I get my confidence from, because I’ve had to be confident, and I’ve had to walk in with a clear picture of what we’re doing. I absolutely freak out about what it is I’m doing. But I wouldn’t say that I’m worried, because in art, in my opinion, you have to be confident, otherwise you’ll never commit. [Producer] Rick Rubin told me once that one of my greatest gifts was that I knew how to commit.”
All Out Life was initially teased via a new social media app, designed to discourage people from the attachment to their phones. Is that something you implement in your own day-to-day life, too?
“Oh yeah, I’m done. I’ve seen all I need to see and I’ve heard all I need to hear. I’ve seen the facts and the health issues. But it’s not going anywhere. I’ll partake in little amounts, just like putting salt and pepper on potatoes. But I’m not gonna fucking run my life on it. There’s a big world out there, and I get up and go outside every day, breathing in real air. It lets me know that there’s a life out there – even if it’s cold. I don’t like to go to dinner with people who are on their phone, and I let them know right away. But it doesn’t matter how I wanna live, because it’s only gonna start fucking this world over more. It’s gonna take everybody’s money without even taking your credit card out of your wallet – you’re going to have more money in the internet than you will in your mortgage. I like all those things so I’m not talking shit on them, but you wanna come to dinner with me? Turn your fucking phone off.”