Over his career, the weight of drummer Joey Jordison’s sonic footprint has been chasmic. He embodied the type of spirit that budding musicians look up to, and was a true talent – whether as a fierce revolutionary behind the kit, a co-founder of Slipknot or simply an artist who never stopped creating. The music world's outpouring of adoration and grief over Jordison’s passing on July 26 was a reminder of just how great his influence was, through his time with Slipknot and beyond.
But it was his ability to apply himself to so many different projects, all exercises in creativity, expression and experimentation, that set him apart from his peers. In an old episode of the Metal Hammer Magazine Show, Jordison spoke about one of his many projects, Scar The Martyr, as well as life in Slipknot after the death of Paul Gray.
Put together by the late drummer in 2013, Scar The Martyr was formed with the help of Henry Derek, Kris Norris, Strapping Young Lad guitarist Jed Simon and Nine Inch Nails’ Chris Vrenna, following a demo recording session derived from the fear that any of his unused material would be left to waste. The band would go on to release one self-titled album and two EPs.
"I have a new project now, Scar The Martyr, and it's a project that I’ve been working on for quite a long time," Jordison told us in 2013. "It started last year around the beginning of summer, or spring into the summer. And it was just me initially demo-ing songs because I had so much material – because if I didn’t demo it, I was gonna risk losing it and I did not want that to happen.
"So I set up as if I was actually going to make a record, I didn’t wanna go up and just half ass it. 'I’m gonna go in, I’m gonna do it right'. So I started demoing all this material and then I started thinking, ‘while I’m here, let me see, let me expand let me try some new things, lets start you know, experimenting’. So I started experimenting with different sounds – one song led into another, and that one led into another, and then I started different styles and I started making this whole thing and it started growing and growing.
"I was like 'Shit, well, I can’t just lose this stuff, and its not time for Slipknot yet'. I need to move on it so, I need to find a singer. And a friend of mine recommended this guy Henry Derick, a singer in LA, so I took this material that I had demoed, sent it to him and he sent it right back to me and I was like 'Oh my god, this is perfect'. It usually doesn’t work this easy, and I’m like, 'This is great'. So I had fun with him, we talked for a long time, and I kept sending him songs, he kept sending them back, and that's basically how it is so I’m like, okay this is gonna work.
"So, I set the date, we went in with all the demos that we did, and then we wrote some more songs while in the studio too. We just started going. We started with drums first and got those all done. And then went right to the guitars, rhythm guitars and then I went to bass. And then Henry did some rhythm and bass guitars on two songs and then of course all the vocals.
"And then when we had that, I needed lead players and I needed some keys on this stuff so, I got in touch with Jed Simon from Strapping Young Lad. Amazing guitar player, amazing lead player and he's a good friend – I know him from when he used to tech Fear Factory when we were on the Jagermeister tour years back, like in 2004. Initially I got in touch with him for this to lay some leads down, and he was totally down to do it. And the other guitar player was Chris Noris from the band Darkest Hour, we got in touch with him through James Murphy, who I worked with on Roadrunner United – he came highly recommended from James. So I met him and we totally hit it off. And so, I had two lead players now.
"As far as the keys and the sampling, I've known Chris Brenna from NIN for a while now. I sent him the stuff and he went through it. These musicians that I’m talking about heard all the songs fresh, so they’re super excited and they got right in on it while they were inspired. They didn't sit on it – they didn't have have time to, like, I’m recording that day.
"The beauty of the record, it was on total fly, an inspiration. Sometimes we come up with great ideas and then after you hash them out and go over and over them they become boring and you lose them. So that was one of the best things about it – we already had the songs but all this extra flavour that we threw on it is what really made the album have colours. It had soundscapes, it had hills and valleys it had a structure it had a scheme.
"It's like a movie when listening to it, and they’re all amazing musicians and I couldn’t be happier with this.
As the show's host Alexander Milas marvels at Jordison’s “magnificent effort” in being able to juggle numerous projects at the same time, the musician revels in his enthusiasm over his new passion project, stating that “everyone is so excited that I’m working with and I love that, that makes me feel really good”.
He continues: “As a musician that plays different instruments, I think a lot of musicians that are multi-talented like to try different things all the time. With Slipknot right now we’re on hold, and I just can’t wait. You know, I had all this material and I’m like, I need to do something until we get back together.
“But Slipknot’s not going anywhere, like you just saw with the shows. And we’ve got more shows to do still, we’ve got more shows coming up. And the love is there, and after Paul’s death. Man, it's weird still not seeing him on stage. I don’t like bringing it up, but I’m just saying it how it is, you know he’s sorely missed. He’s a huge part of our band.”
Questioned as to whether Jordison regards his fans as family, he replies, “Exactly, it's a family, man. Yeah, that's the thing with doing these shows. We’re keeping the spirit alive, we have to, for Paul’s memory, and for the future of our band.
“And all these things that we do, it all fits, it's all part of the puzzle and it's basically just going to lead up to being the best Slipknot record we’ve ever done. Because there is a reason it has to be. Because Paul wouldn’t want anything less and we can’t accept anything less than that. Because all eyes are going to be on us regardless. So, you know, in the future it will arrive. And we’re taking those steps now by doing those shows and destroying.”
Replying to Milas' comment on Slipknot's 2013 Download performance being a "triumph" and a "celebration", Jordison says: "Looking out there and seeing that type of response, I mean, it’s beautiful, you know? For a lack of a better word, but that's really what it is. It's such a celebration of music and life, it can not get any better at those shows. I mean, really honestly, it can not get any better than that."
Slipknot’s next album would be The Gray Chapter in 2014. However, prior to its release, the band announced on December 12, 2013, that Jordison would no longer be a part of the group, citing that he decided to leave due to personal reasons. The drummer would soon reveal on his official Facebook page that he "did not quit Slipknot" and that he was "shocked" and "blindsided" by the news.
Listen to the full episode below: