Simon Crahan has something to announce. “I want everyone to know, Vended is going to be the biggest band in the world. We have stuff cooking that’s going to make fucking people shit their pants.”
If that name and that kind of fighting talk sounds familiar, then it should. Vended’s drummer is descended from metal royalty – Simon is the son of Slipknot’s founder and percussionist Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan. If that wasn’t enough, the band’s vocalist Griffin Taylor is the son of – you guessed it – Corey Taylor.
Those family connections have undoubtedly contributed to the fact that the Des Moines five-piece are one of metal’s most hyped new bands right now. In fact, click on any video or article about the band online, and you’ll find the comments split equally between those heralding them as a bright new hope, and those chalking their success up to their famous parents.
“When people say that kind of thing, I respond back with a clown emoji to be an asshole,” Simon says with a grin. “It’s not like my dad handed everything to us. His fans are the ones who decided to like us. If you don’t like us, you could just not say anything, but you choose to waste five minutes of your day to say something that’s going to make me laugh my fucking ass off, because I know that I am succeeding. I say, ‘Where is your band?’”
Their debut EP, 2021’s What Is It//Kill It, was certainly a middle finger to the naysayers, the sound of a band barely out of their teens working hard to establish their own unique sound and pulling violently from nu metal, hardcore punk and heavy metal.
“We didn’t really take inspirations of what we wanted to sound like,” muses Simon. “We created one whole of styles. It was more like, ‘This is how I play, this is how you play. Let’s write it that way.’”
Still, the influence of Slipknot inevitably looms large, especially when Griffin lets his powerful vocals rip.
“I personally don’t have a problem with people relating us to Slipknot,” Simon shrugs dismissively. “I mean look at our fathers, it’s going to be there. I play drums better than my father and that’s a fact, and when people say Griffin sounds like his dad, well duh, that’s obvious. I honestly think he is going to be better than his dad.”
Simon acknowledges Vended’s association with Iowa’s biggest musical export has given them a head start most bands could only dream of – he’s speaking today over Zoom from the recording studio Clown built in the basement of their home, where Vended recorded their debut EP, and their fifth ever gig was opening Knotfest in LA. But he argues the Slipknot connection has presented other challenges when it’s come to winning the respect of the metal community.
“Yeah, Knotfest was cool, but we had to work those people over to see us,” he says, insisting the band aren’t chasing the easy route. “People think we’re touring in a tour bus, but we’re touring in a van. We’re working our way up like we’re supposed to. It’s supposed to be that way, you gotta earn your stripes.”
Spending his childhood hanging around his dad’s work environment in a way that most kids don’t get a chance to do, Simon knew he wanted to be a drummer from an early age. Intrigued by the drumkits and music gear his dad left around the house, he started playing drums when he was literally still in nappies but quickly moved onto the real thing.
“My dad has videos of me wearing ninja costumes and being a child, but playing drums,” he reveals.
And although he and Griffin knew each other from an early age through their dads, they only became friends when Griff asked Simon to join Vended in 2018. Along with guitarist Cole Espeland, the then-trio immediately planned to hit the road - only for Clown to shoot down their plans.
“He was like, ‘You guys are literally 14, you don’t need to go on tour. Trust me. Just wait and you’ll not regret it’,” recalls Simon, admitting it was the best advice the band could have been given at the time. “And he was right. If we’d gone on tour back then, we would have probably sucked.”
Instead, they spent the next three years gelling, practising six hours a day and nailing their sound, playing their first ever headlining show in Des Moines in March 2020. But it was their set streamed as part of Knotfest’s Pulse Of The Maggots online festival, later that year, that really got them in front of the eyeballs of the metal world. Crammed into a small room barely big enough to contain them, tracks like Asylum exploded in a corrosive onslaught of anger. And their stock has continued to rise from there.
They recently played the UK for the first time with a set at Bloodstock festival and hit the road a month later for a US tour with In Flames, Fit For An Autopsy and Orbit Culture – part of a bill that legitimises their bid to carry on metal’s rich traditions while moving the genre forwards.
“We’re not the first band bringing back the blood and nutrients metal needs, but we’re giving it a push,” says Simon. “I have the confidence, I just know in a year we’re going to be huge. We’re going to take over, so I hope everyone doesn’t get sick of our name.”