Slipknot's live shows have long been written into metal lore as things of beautifully chaotic, carnage-fuelled madness, but few of the many, many infamous stories from Slipknot gigs over the years have topped the time beloved band DJ Sid Wilson managed to shatter both his heels at once thanks to a stage dive gone wrong. And then dragged himself straight back on stage to finish the show, including the band's very first live outing of what would become one of their most famous songs.
The insane moment in Slipknot history happened at the very first show on the Iowan nine-piece's All Hope Is Gone tour, which took place at the White River Ampitheatre in Auburn, Washington on July 9, 2008. Slipknot were appearing as part of the inaugural Rockstar Mayhem Festival, a touring heavy metal fest that'd become a staple of the North American music calendar each summer until its cancellation in 2015. Six songs in and everything was going swimmingly, with the Nine dropping classic Slipknot cuts from their self-titled debut and 2004's Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses, before revisiting 2001's chart-topping Iowa with the brutally heavy Disasterpiece. Then, ironically enough, disaster struck.
As the band lurched into Disasterpiece's gruelling breakdown, Wilson took it upon himself to attempt one of his trademark death-defying leaps, jumping from an elevated platform behind the band down to the stage about 10-12 feet below.
"I was jumping over Paul [Gray, original Slipknot bassist], and I just landed wrong,” the energetic turntablist later told Metal Hammer. "I didn’t have the right kind of shoes on." Wilson landed awkwardly on his heels, shattering both of them in the impact. Realising his grave error of judgement - and the agonising pain that was now shooting through his body any time he attempted to put weight on either foot - he lurched to his feet and stumbled over to percussionist Chris Fehn's drum set, where he'd hoist himself up and remain for the rest of the song.
pic.twitter.com/I1t5cVK3TNDecember 4, 2022
For many musicians, that'd be more than enough to end their night prematurely. As all Slipknot fans know, however, Sid Wilson is not 'many musicians'. With Slipknot about to play lead All Hope Is Gone single Psychosocial live for the very first time (plus half the entire set still to go), Wilson somehow managed to collect himself, hobble back out on stage and resume playing. A video taken from sidestage on the night even shows the DJ headbanging towards the end of the riotous rendition of The Heretic Anthem that soon followed - despite the fact he's clearly not at full capacity and has one leg raised off the floor as he mixes.
Incredibly, Wilson would continue touring with Slipknot for the rest of that run, DJing from the comfort of a wheelchair. Naturally, being Sid Wilson, he couldn't even let being momentarily handicapped on the road stop him from getting...weird.
“I broke my leg in a motorcycle accident when I was younger, [so] I’ve done full DJ sets in a wheelchair!" he explained to Metal Hammer years later. "This time I was so mad at myself, I had to do something besides just doing my parts, so I started crawling out of the wheelchair and dragging my body across the stage, leaving my legs behind me, limp.”
“A lot of people thought it was an act!" he added of the bizarre wheelchair spectacle. "It was all real. I was in pain every day. I’d take the wheelchair down and roll it under Clown’s drumkit and hang off it with two broken feet. Superhero status, right? I’m fucking Wolverine!”
At least Wolverine had healing superpowers. Sid Wilson is just a maniac. And that's why we love him.