Known for their ghoulish horror movie masks and super-aggressive heavy metal form, the band Slipknot emerged from Des Moines, Iowa, in 1995. Drummer Joey Jordison, who died at the age of 46, had joined the group while still known as Pale Ones, after being invited to attend rehearsals by bassist Paul Gray. It was Jordison’s suggestion to rename the band Slipknot, after their song of the same name.
Jordison stayed with Slipknot as they established themselves as a leading exponent of what was dubbed nu-metal, through four platinum studio albums and live recording 9.0: Live (2005). However, their fans were stunned to learn from the group’s website in December 2013 that Jordison had left for personal reasons.
He later insisted he hadn’t quit and was shocked by the announcement, but later revealed he had transverse myelitis, a neurological condition. “I couldn’t play anymore,” he told audiences at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in 2016. “It was a form of multiple sclerosis, which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. “
During his tenure with Slipknot, Jordison earned a reputation as one of the most prominent drummers in the metal-demanding universe. His thunderous but precise playing was enhanced by a keen sense of the theater. On stage, he was strapped to his drum chair as he performed by twisting and tilting at a 90-degree angle. In the band’s video album, Disasterpieces (2002), Jordison could be seen ascending to the sky on his drum riser. Ginger Wildheart of the Wildhearts said Jordison “was better upside down than any regular seated metal batsman.”
With Jordison one of their regular songwriters, the group’s first recording was Mate. Food. To kill. Repeat., A limited edition demo album with a circulation of 1,000 copies, distributed by the band itself. Things got serious when they signed to heavy metal label Roadrunner Records (part of Warner Music Group), and the band made a smashing debut with Slipknot (1999).
This was greatly boosted by the group’s inclusion in the musical extravagance on touring Ozzfest and gained visibility through videos of the singles Spit It Out and Wait and Bleed. The group also projected a carefully cultivated image. Each member was assigned a number – Jordison was No.1 – and wore an individual uniform and mask, with Jordison favoring a version of a Japanese kabuki mask.
Their second album, Iowa (2001), reached No. 3 on the Billboard Mainstream Albums chart and topped the UK album charts, while also giving the band a Top 30 hit in the UK and US. with Left Behind. But despite the album’s powerful material, problems were developing behind the scenes. “We were all high on drugs and drinking and it sucked,” Jordison told Revolver magazine. “It’s a time that I don’t really like to talk about because I don’t like to tolerate drug use of any kind. “
In 2004, Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses debuted at No.2 in the US and No.5 in Great Britain. All Hope Is Gone didn’t appear until 2008, but it jumped straight to # 1 in the US rankings and reached # 2 in the UK. It also gave Slipknot a # 2 US single with Snuff, a dark, gloomy track that proved the band can be melodic and atmospheric as well as just skull crush.
Jordison was born in Des Moines, to Jackie and Steve Jordison, and was joined by two sisters, Anne and Kate. He grew up in the small town of Waukee and was doing poorly in his school work. He started a band at school, first playing guitar, then moving on to drums; his parents bought him his own drums when he was eight years old. Inspired by Kiss, Black Sabbath and Mötley Crüe, he formed the speed-metal band Modifidious, which performed local gigs and released several demo recordings.
After leaving school, Jordison worked in a music store, and then, as he told Rolling Stone magazine, “I was a night manager at a Sinclair gas station from 95 to 97. C ‘ is where most of Slipknot [the album] has been conceived. He worked with future percussionist and Slipknot singer Shawn Crahan during the early morning hours to plan the band’s musical direction.
Jordison has explored many projects outside of Slipknot. In 2002, he formed the Murderdolls, with whom he played guitar. They recorded two studio albums and performed internationally on the Women & Children Last World Tour. He also worked in the studio with Marilyn Manson and Puscifer, played drums on OTEP’s House of Secrets (2004) album and recorded songs with Rob Zombie in 2010. He played drums with Metallica at the Download festival 2004, replacing Lars Ulrich, who was ill, and toured with Ministry (2006) and Korn (2007).
Prior to his departure from Slipknot, earlier in 2013, Jordison had formed alternative metal band Scar the Martyr, but in 2016 he ended it and founded a new band called Vimic. Also in 2016, he joined the death-metal combo Sinsaenum. At the Metal Hammer event in 2016, Jordison shared how he overcame transverse myelitis:
In 2010, Jordison was voted the best drummer of the past 25 years by readers of Rhythm magazine. In 2013, Loudwire readers voted him the best metal drummer in the world, and in 2010 he won the Drummies award for best metal drummer, awarded by an international survey of drummers.