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Slipknot’s Shawn Crahan Explains How Band Member Numbers Came to Be

M. Shawn Crahan
Mary Ouellette,

While each of the Slipknot band members having a number assigned to them is just part of the fun of following the group, percussionist Shawn Crahan reveals that there was no master plan on how they would lineup and after deciding to adopt the idea, everything fell into place.


Crahan tells Cincinnati’s City Beat, “Back when we started we were going to wear a mask and I started wearing coveralls so we all started wearing coveralls, then there were so many of us, we put our bar code on the back. Then we wanted numbers — I wanted numbers. It was kind of ironic, because everyone fell into a number.”

Crahan recalls, “I wasn’t going to tolerate any other number than six. Like if someone was going to fight me for it, I was going to fight to the death for it, but nobody wanted it. Joey wanted to be number one, Paul wanted to be number two, the original guitar player, and the other drummer three. Mick, he is like ‘I have to have seven. F— everyone. It’s my lucky number.’ Corey was like, ‘I want eight, infinity.’ When Sid joined the band, ‘I am not a number. I am zero. I am filth.’ It was kind of magical, honestly.”

The percussionists says that the masks they wore were more of a representation for the band members, but the numbers were assigned more subconsciously without any major thought of what they meant.

Speaking of numbers, the amount of extended Slipknot family has grown over the years with outside project. Crahan says while there was initially some eyebrows raised because everyone was so focused on the band, but over time the members came to respect the need to explore the creative process even when there were breaks in the schedule.

He says, “The side projects are good. I wouldn’t even call them side projects. I take Stone Sour very seriously. It is their own band on its own merit. It has its own fan base and they do very well. I would never call it a side project. It would kind of be insulting to Corey and Jim and the other guys in the band because they have worked so hard to make it what it is, which is a band.”

Crahan says his own non-Slipknot outings are more “side projects,” adding, “I jam because I have to. Since we have started, I have had three bands, none of which have done s—, which I don’t care because I just love to play and haven’t repeated myself.” He concludes, “Side projects are elements of letting people be themselves where they can’t necessarily bring that entity into this thing called Slipknot. It’s healthy.”

Next: Slipknot on Top 21st Century Hard Rock Songs List

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