The list of bands producer Ross Robinson has worked with reads like a Who’s Who of modern metal and alt-rock: Korn, Limp Bizkit, Sepultura, At The Drive-In, Fear Factory and more.
And then there’s Slipknot. Robinson produced the Iowa band’s self-titled debut album, instantly helping put them on the map. But it could have been very different.
Interviewed in the brand new issue of Metal Hammer, Robinson admits that we was unimpressed with Slipknot the very first time he heard them.
“The first demo I didn’t really like and it kind of sat there,” he tells Metal Hammer Editor Eleanor Goodman. “Then, their acting manager, at the time, worked at a radio station in Iowa. She was a programmer, and she only knew one person in LA to try to get it signed, and she goes, ‘Do you know how to get a hold of Ross Robinson?’ And he goes, ‘I do, because I manage him.’”
Robinson explains that he flew out to Iowa to check out the band, where he watched them rehearse at percussionist Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan’s house.
“They didn’t have masks on. I remember Corey’s face, so fucking animated and awesome. They played the next night, and [at first] I was like, ‘Oh, man, the mask is not relating like it was in the rehearsal room. His eyes and his face were so cool, this isn’t as good.’
“But with the masks, the performance was fucking insane; people were just killin’ each other inside the club, and the smile on my face was indescribable. I think the masks allowed ’em to become something other than their egoic self; they were able to let all of their identity go and become something else that they couldn’t be otherwise.”
In the same interview, Robinson says that he’s finally comfortable with the tag ‘Godfather of nu metal’ after years of pushing back against it.
“I was extremely resistant to it when they started doing it during the Glassjaw days,” he says, referring to the New York post-hardcore band he produced in 2000. “I didn’t wanna be lumped in with all of the followers and the scene of silliness that happened afterwards, and I had a problem with that. Now, I think it’s sweet. If people wanna call me that, good.”
Read the full interview with Ross Robinson exclusively in the brand new issue out Metal Hammer, onsale now. Order your copy here (opens in new tab).