Slipknot’s Jay Weinberg: Copying Joey Jordison ‘Would Be Insulting’
When Slipknot announced they would be moving on without Joey Jordison in December of 2013, it sent shockwaves throughout the metal community. Fans speculated how the band would continue without their iconic pillar behind the kit, while still reeling from the death of bassist Paul Gray in 2010. They landed Against Me! stickman Jay Weinberg as Jordison's replacement and now the drummer has opened up about his audition and personal pursuits in Slipknot.
In an interview with Music Radar, Weinberg detailed how he had first been introduced to the band by his father Max, who famously played in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and was the leader of the house band on Conan O'Brien's late night talk show. Slipknot had guested on the talk show in 2001 and Max had come home following the taping, raving about the band he had just witnessed. Since then, the Weinbergs had attended several Slipknot shows near their New Jersey home and Jay had gradually been forging a friendship with the band as he had been inviting backstage numerous times.
When it came time for Slipknot to seek Jordison's successor, their manager — who was also managing Against Me! — gave the young drummer a call asking if he could make it out to Los Angeles, but would not disclose why. Weinberg turned up at Slipknot's studio, recalling, “It was a somber occasion; there was a definite mood in the room of what the band was going through, moving forward without a brother that has been with them for 20 odd years. I wanted to treat the situation with a delicate, careful respect."
He went on to state he was one of the first to know Slipknot had split with Jordison. "So once we got that out of the way, they were, ‘Hey, you’re family to us, you’ve been coming to see the band for the last 15 years, we know you love the band, we love you as a person, we’ve never seen you play drums and we’re curious,’" recalls Weinberg. They wound up tearing into 20 Slipknot songs and then began jamming on new material the next day.
Naturally, the next issue moved on from playing old material to seeing if Weinberg had the knack for living up to expectations playing new songs. "I think being an avid listener to the band for 15 years, that really helps me feel that, okay, I can tap into what Slipknot needs to make this record happen," he said. "After two days of doing that, Clown said to me, ‘If you want to play in Slipknot it’s yours – work hard, show us that you want to do this... this is not going to be easy but we see the passion in your eyes, we see the love for this music in you, it’s yours if you want it.’"
The drummer went on, "Of course, the history of the band feeds into what I think of the band, but when it came time to come up with new material, new songs, I didn't think about Joey Jordison one bit. And I feel it would be disrespectful to do that, and the band wanted me to be completely myself. Because why would I want to be Joey Jordison, why would I try to mimic what he's done?"
Heaping praise unto Jordison, Weinberg added, "Joey's one of the greatest drummers we've ever had the privilege of witnessing. So as a fan of the band and someone who respects the people and the music, I didn't want to come in and try to be a copycat." Adding a personal touch, he stated, "That's not interesting to me, that's not interesting to the band and it would be insulting to everyone involved, including the fans." Weinberg made his debut on Slipknot's fifth album, .5: The Gray Chapter, released in October of 2014.
Earlier this year, Slipknot announced that their own festival, Knotfest, would be returning to Japan after a one year absence. The festival made its Japanese debut in 2014 and so far no other bands have been announced.
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