When Slipknot used to set themselves on fire all the time, because Slipknot

Slipknot's Clown on fire
(Image credit: Slipknot / YouTube)

The shit that Slipknot got up to on the road in 1999 is now ingrained in heavy metal legend. After inking a monumental seven-album deal with Roadrunner Records, their  very first tour was heavy metal touring mega-event Ozzfest. Before them on the bill were Puya – a salsa-loving Cuban prog band – and alt-metal also-rans Flashpoint.

Imagine going from that to seeing nine men in masks and boiler suits. One of them’s got nails coming out of his head. That one’s a clown. And that one’s jerking his nose off. Turns out, they also have a bit of a flair for self-immolation.

Because in those days, Slipknot really liked catching fire. In interviews, Corey Taylor’s since revealed that he has burns up his legs from when his overalls were set aflame onstage. To commemorate their tenth anniversary back in 2009, the band revealed the extent of their affinity for being en fuego with a compilation of fiery moments, which you can watch below.

The collection seems to exclusively cover shows from around their first two albums, 1999’s Slipknot and 2001’s unfuckwithable Iowa. Because once you leave your mid-twenties, catching fire becomes passé, apparently. The heart and soul of the footage is Chris Fehn, the band's #3 and professional nose wanker before his 2019 exit, genuflecting before and/or battering a flaming oil drum. Props to him for being able to keep time when hitting something on fire with a stick that small.

That’s just the starter, though. Midway through the footage, we’re greeted with Clown setting his own arm on fire. There was probably a good reason for it at the time, although we can’t quite see it. Corey’s trying to give an imposing speech, declaring, “Old people rule the f**king world; that’s why the young people have to kill it,” but your badass levels decrease when the guy behind you is casually wandering about while ablaze.

Clown seems cool with it, until band DJ Sid Wilson steps in and decides to even him out. He didn’t put him out, no; he set the other arm on fire. Apparently that was the moment that crossed the line, as The ’Knot’s founder responds by wildly flailing.

The moral of the story is don’t fuck about with fire, kids. If you do, you’ll end up like Slipknot, who paid the price for their recklessness by winning a Grammy and becoming the face of a new generation of metal. Oh, wait...

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.