Watch: Slipknot raging on Conan in 2001 might have been the heaviest talk show performance ever

Slipknot perform on Conan 2001
(Image credit: YouTube)

There's precious little metal music showcased on television in 2022, but 21 years ago, with nu metal gatecrashing the mainstream, things were different, as evidenced by this glorious footage of Slipknot storming late night talk show Conan.

On August 10, 2001, just two-and-a-half weeks before the scheduled release of their second studio album Iowa, Slipknot radicalised millions of viewers across the US with  a performance of gates of Hell-opening soundtrack The Heretic Anthem, which had been released as a promotional taster for the album back in May that year.

With mild-mannered host Conan O'Brien looking understandably apprehensive as he introduces the masked Midwesterners with the plea "May God help us all", all Hell breaks lose. One can only imagine the horrified reactions in decent, Christian households across the nation as Corey Taylor roars "If you're 555, I'm 666!"

Slipknot had actually made their network TV debut a year earlier on February 25, 2000, again on the Conan show, where they performed Wait & Bleed after being introduced by their host as "one of the hottest bands in the country."

Their 2001 appearance however is definitely the best of the two, with their relentless, youthful energy and those Satanic declarations a joy to witness on such a mainstream platform. Spotting the late Joey Jordison at the start of the footage is a nice moment too. It adds up to a wonderful, welcome reminder of why Slipknot are one of the biggest bands on the planet two decades later. 

Check the footage out below:

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music. '10 bands that rip off Black Sabbath but get away with it' is her favourite article she's written with Louder so far. When not writing, Liz enjoys various creative endeavours such as graphic design, as well as reading about rock’n’roll history, art and magic.