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The man who signed Slipknot pays tribute to the late Joey Jordison

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(Image credit: Steve Brown/Photoshot/Getty Images)

“It was raw, seething, emotional, explosive, creative, guttural and beautiful all at the same time, and completely untethered from tradition.”

This is how former Senior Vice President of A&R at Roadrunner, Monte Connor, remembers the moment he knew he was going to sign Slipknot. Connor was listening to a demo version of Spit It Out, and heard a band with the potential to take on the world.

“It did not fit any genre of metal, but seemed to take the best elements from the entire metal palette and combine them all into an utterly unique, multi-dimensional beast,” he recalls. “I saw the band’s true potential.”

In a new essay for Variety, Connor, now VP of A&R at Nuclear Blast, pays tribute to the late Joey Jordison as the group’s main songwriter in their earliest years, and the member of the band who most impressed him when he first stood eyeball-to-eyeball with the masked Iowan band, at a showcase gig in Chicago on on April 4, 1998.

Jordison passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 26, aged 46.

“I met Joey and the rest of the members for the first time just before the show,” Connor writes. “I will never forget how they lined up to meet me, one by one, as if they were rank-and-file soldiers meeting an officer — deadly serious, like they were going into battle. They were wearing their standard coveralls but not their masks — they wanted to look me in the eyes. They wanted to be on Roadrunner and this was the most important gig of their lives to date.”

“I went backstage to hang with the band, and after a few minutes, Joey immediately pulled me aside. He not only had a vast knowledge of extreme and underground heavy metal, but he was an encyclopedia on all things Roadrunner Records. He wanted to talk about Deicide, Obituary, Suffocation, Sepultura and all his favorite bands on the label, and hear some insider stories. He knew as much about Roadrunner’s roster and history as I did, if not more — and I’d been with the label since 1987. I could also tell that as much as he genuinely wanted to talk about those bands, he was also trying to impress me… and he certainly did. In all of my A&R travels I had never experienced a musician who was so plugged into and knowledgeable about the label and even my career. He and his bandmates were about to change not just my life, but the entire trajectory of Roadrunner Records and the music world.”

Connor goes on to describe Jordison in the essay as “one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with” and says, “I feel incredibly lucky to have been a part of his all-too-short but seismic journey.”

Read the full tribute at Variety.com