Joey Jordison: How metal's prodigal son made his return

A portrait of Joey Jordison with black blood running from his nose
(Image: © Travis Shinn)

Few musicians have experienced the extreme highs and lows that Joey Jordison has lived through over the last 20 years. But even by his own momentous standards, 2016 was a big one for the former Slipknot drummer. In Metal Hammer’s world-exclusive cover story back in June, he revealed that he had been suffering from transverse myelitis, a horrific neurological condition that had threatened to leave him permanently paralysed. Meanwhile, he also announced the arrival of two new bands, Vimic and Sinsaenum. It’s been a hectic 12 months, and as 2016 draws to a close, Joey avows that he is a much happier man than he was at the start of the year.

“Oh, man, I’m happier and stronger than I’ve ever been,” he states, cheerily. “Everything that’s happened since I left Slipknot, all the stuff I’ve done with Vimic and Sinsaenum, all of my rehabilitation and everything I’ve been through to get back to doing what I love, it’s all been a godsend. I’m in a great place. If anyone needs proof that I’m back, two new bands and two albums should be enough, ha ha ha!”

It’s hard to imagine how Joey must have felt as he battled with a debilitating condition while also being on the receiving end of endless speculation about his state of mind and the reasons behind his unceremonious departure from Slipknot. But as he states today, the opportunity to clear the factual and emotional decks via Metal Hammer has been a source of profound relief.

“Honestly, I can’t thank you guys enough,” he says. “That interview was a big deal for me. I’ve made a full recovery now, but when I was going through the hardest times and everyone was speculating about what was going on in my life and saying all this shit that wasn’t true, that was scary, you know? So I’m so happy we did it. I want to thank everyone at Metal Hammer, because since 1999 you guys have really taken care of us, and I couldn’t have more gratitude for that type of support.”

After a few years of struggle and uncertainty, 2016 has been a much brighter and busier affair for Joey and, as a result, it’s not surprising that he has trouble deciding on his highlight. From finally speaking out about his health issues and introducing the world to Vimic and Sinsaenum, to picking up Hammer’s prestigious Golden God trophy at our awards show in June, it’s been a year that Joey won’t be forgetting any time soon.

“Yeah, it’s been a wild one in some ways!” he laughs. “Obviously I should say that beating my condition was the greatest thing that happened. But everything has been a blessing. I have to say that the Metal Hammer Golden God award is probably the greatest I’ve ever won. My drums are set up right by it, and I’m looking at it right now. It really is a mindblowing thing for me. I’m so thankful and appreciative of that kind of gesture and being recognised for things I’ve done in my career. That really fuels me, and there’s so much more to come. I think about that award and think, ‘OK, I’ve got more shit to do, I’d better move my ass!’ It means even more to me than my Grammy. This one specifically has my name on it, and when I see that, I’m ultra-heartfelt thankful.”

Joey Jordison and Frédéric Leclercq are at the heart of supergroup Sinsaenum

Joey Jordison and Frédéric Leclercq are at the heart of supergroup Sinsaenum

Having fully recovered from his illness, Joey is now firmly back in relentless workaholic mode. Having unveiled Sinsaenum’s Echoes Of The Tortured, and with Vimic’s Open Your Omen to follow, he is plainly itching to hit the road with a snarling vengeance. Playing live has been such an important part of his life for two decades, and having nearly had his entire career snatched away from him, Joey clearly feels he has some lost time to make up for.

“Everything from playing shows to doing in-store meet’n’greets and all that, this is all the stuff I haven’t done for a long time,” he notes. “So I’m really looking forward to getting back out there to be with the fans. All I do is practise right now. I go to the gym, I eat well, I practise and I make music. The records I’ve made with my two bands has made this absolutely the most gratifying time of my life. Now it’s time get out there and get some shit done!”

This has been a strange and often dark year for all manner of reasons, in the metal world and on a broader, global scale. But if one story from the year offers a beacon of positivity and optimism, it’s the spectacular and enormously welcome return of Joey fucking Jordison. Now he’s back, only the brave or foolish would stand in his way.

Vimic: heading to UK shores in the spring!

Vimic: heading to UK shores in the spring!

What’s next for Joey?

Now he’s fighting fit, the drummer has a formidable to-do list to pursue in 2017. Here’s what he’s got up his sleeve…

TOURING, TOURING… AND SOME MORE TOURING

The first Vimic world tour kicks off in the US with a handful of dates in December, and hits Europe and the UK in February (watch this space for dates). Joey also hopes to take the stage with Sinsaenum in the near future, depending on when the death metal crew’s international lineup find their respective schedules in alignment. “I’m super-excited about getting in a room and grinding it out with my brothers again,” he says. “And I can’t wait to get back on the road.”

HEAVY METAL MOONLIGHTING

Having played drums with the likes of Satyricon, Ministry and Rob Zombie in the past, Joey has inevitably found himself in great demand since his recovery from transverse myelitis. “Some new opportunities have come my way, for sure,” he says. “I’m busy with Vimic and Sinsaenum right now, but if I get some time off, I would love to play with other bands again. Now I’m healthy again, I just want to play!”

HIS OWN RECORD LABEL

Not content with having two bands on the go, Joey is also embarking on a new venture in the near future, this time as a record label mogul. We’re guessing he will be signing some ferocious, heavy shit. “I’m looking at a ton of new bands for the label,” he tells us. “It’s going to take a while to happen, because I’m super-busy and have a bunch of things to work out, but it’s coming!”

RE-TYING THE ’KNOT?

Joey’s return to full strength has inevitably stirred up more rumours about a potential reconciliation with Slipknot. While he expresses no interest in that idea at present, he does admit that relations between the two camps have definitely improved during 2016. “I won’t name names, but yeah, I’ve talked to some people from the band and we’re all on decent terms,” he tells us. “I’ll leave it at that. Anything to do with Slipknot is low-key right now. My focus for the next year is on Vimic and Sinsaenum.”

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