It’s The ‘End of One Chapter of Slipknot’s Lineage’ Says Jay Weinberg of ‘The End, So Far’
Slipknot's Jay Weinberg was a recent guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program to discuss the band's new album, The End, So Far. The title fueled a lot of speculation from fans, who pondered its meaning and wondered what this meant next for the nine. The drummer acknowledges it's the "end of one chapter of Slipknot's lineage and the beginning of another."
This latest record finds Slipknot discharging a myriad of different styles, some of which are entirely new to their sound and rather unexpected. Weinberg chalks it up to the band's willingness to let each members express themselves and their individual influences and that finding new territory to chart is quite invigorating.
He's incredibly proud of what the band has been able to achieve in the studio, especially with so many different members having creative input. It's a lot to balance, but there's an "unspoken" vibe to it all, where the band is able to gel on a level Weinberg jokes is live a "hive mind," which also happens to be the name of one of the new tracks.
Read the full interview below.
The End, So Far is an adventurous album for a band that already trades in nonconformity. What's the process for developing ideas into songs that might fall beyond typical Slipknot territory?
Now that I've done three albums with the band, I find that the one kind of consistent thing that we are always trying to find sonic spaces that maybe we wouldn't necessarily have categorized as something within our wheelhouse. We try to turn it into something that we're proud to fit within in the category of 'this Slipknot song.' It's very out of left field for us, but we're going to make it something that's a part of our wheelhouse. We're able to expand and grow as a unit and as individuals.
There have been moments on our last two albums, and this one for sure... "Spiders" comes to mind as a song that definitely doesn't necessarily fit the traditional kind of Slipknot sound, but we're able to branch out and try something that's different that challenges us as artists. The most exciting part of trying to put together a new collection of songs is how we can challenge ourselves to do something that we haven't done before. On this album, we probably exercise that more than we had in the past and it has some pretty interesting results.
There's been a lot of speculation about the significance of the title of this new record. From a band perspective, what's fun about being cryptic and mysterious?
Anything that we do comes with trying to make the biggest statement we can. To sum up a body of work with the title The End, So Far... I remember us being pretty much done with recording and we still didn't have a title for this record.
I was texting with Corey if he had a record title in mind for this, and he texted back, "The End, So Far." I was like, "Oh, man, that is hard. That's awesome."
I completely got it because to us it feels very much like the end of one chapter of Slipknot's lineage and the beginning of another. We are quite fatalistic when it comes to making new stuff. Ever since I joined the band, we kind of joke when we're in the studio, "Oh, man, it's going to be the last one. The Gray Chapter... could be the last one. We Are Not Your Kind... could be the last one..."
I think that's all a way of us communicating with ourselves — let's put everything we've got into this album because tomorrow is never promised. You never really know. So we always treat every album and every show like it's going to be our last. I think it's obvious to us that there's really no sign of slowing down and we're absolutely not stopping, but this is a way to kind of signify the true ending of one era of this band and seamlessly transition into a new one.
Finally, we're able to zoom out a little bit and see the forest for the trees a little bit. The title means a lot. It also spells the dawn of a new age, which is incredibly exciting.
Back to what you said about playing every show like it could be your last, I feel like the pandemic really just reminded us all about how that can really happen. The mentality that this can be the last record or the last song changes things. Do you ever wonder if the classic bands that have been around forever are just as hungry as they were at the beginning and deliver the same type of brutality and effort and energy they did when they were sleeping on people's couches?
You have to keep that mentality really pure no matter how far you might travel from home or how busy you might be. It's always very important to understand why you gravitated to doing this in the first place. We love doing what we do to connect with people and do it on the scale that we do, but in a lot of other respects, it never gets better than when you're just in a room jamming for the love of what you're doing, in the most pure sense of love for creating music.
When it comes to the pandemic, we're one of countless bands all around the world that got a real taste of how incredibly fragile this whole ecosystem is and it's not to be taken for granted. We're so fortunate to be able to do this and to be able to do it on this level. We all kind of got put in the corner, unable to play shows. It really allows us to [appreciate] that this is all so fragile and it's amazing that we're here [and able] to do this at all. Let's treat every day with as much respect as we can for what we do as well. We only get one shot.
As awful as it was to have to endure what we've all endured, it is refreshing to have a renewed sense of who we are and what our purpose is and what our goals are as individuals and as a group. It really gives us some perspective that we've got this opportunity, so let's go for it.
Nine people have input in Slipknot music, which means nine different artistic perspectives. What are your expectations in terms of how each of your band members can affect a song?
We all expect a lot from ourselves and we all expect a lot from each other and I think that's just based out of respect for one another, knowing what we all can bring to the table. We hold ourselves to a high degree of whatever it is. We know what it's like when all of us really bring our A game and try to impress ourselves with what we were able to accomplish, crafting the best song we can and really stepping up our game. That's always been my attitude — how can I best contribute to this song to make the best it can be? That's one of the main tenets of allowing each other the space to be creative and contribute in whatever way we can to positively affect the outcome of a song.
With the nine of us, it is pretty unspoken, but we just kind of know when everybody's really giving their all. That starts to show its face once you're very deep into the process. It's hard to put a finger on it. The best moments in the studio are when we listen back to what we've just made and you've been so laser focused on what you're doing that you don't really have the chance to like listen back and be like, "Okay, what have I done for the past week in the studio?"
I just laugh because I'm totally astounded by what we were able to do. When we all sit back in the studio and laugh and can smile and high five, that's great. That means we're on to something good. It takes a lot of effort to get there, but I think that's when we know the nine of us have really pushed ourselves to create something special is are those moments. We really live for those moments.
Slipknot, "The Dying Song (Time to Sing)"
Recently, Matt Bellamy from Muse spoke about Slipknot influencing their new record. What's the most unlikely band that affected your creative thinking for the new Slipknot album?
We've got nine guys who come from very diverse musical tastes and backgrounds. I find it quite fascinating. Each guy really has their vibe that they bring to the table. You have some guys who are into the more mathy side of music you have guys whose favorite band is Pink Floyd, some guys whose favorite stuff is indie rock and then you've got wildcards such as Sid bringing in his DJ influences, which are totally foreign to pretty much the rest of us.
I love Misfits and Neurosis and stuff like that. We're a huge blending pot of musical influences and tastes and I think, subconsciously, that's got to make its way into what we're creating. We also do kind of try to check things at the door when it's not really going to be in the wheelhouse of Slipknot.
We know what our prime directive is — to feed the entity of Slipknot. Some things get left behind, but I think we're all big music fans and we're constantly all of us have an appetite for finding new things and new influences.
Our new record is certainly a really eclectic record and draws from a lot of our influences that might not have made their way into songs before. "Acidic" takes strong influences from blues and stoner rock bands that we love. We've never really been able to flex that muscle within the context of Slipknot. Stuff like that is really rad — let's play our favorite music that we've always wanted to try to inject into here.
I was listening to the newest Aimee Mann record a lot. I don't know if that's necessarily going to find its way sonically into what we do as Slipknot, but subconsciously it made me feel a certain way that I want to emote in my own way with what I'm currently contributing to creatively.
The more diverse anybody's musical taste is and if you're also in the creative mode, you're going to end up making something that's more unique. If you only listen to bands that sound like Slipknot or whatever, that's not a healthy diet of music, necessarily. Having a diverse range of inspirations is super important for us. It's one of those unspoken things — we know we hold each other accountable to bring something unique to the table and that's got to be some kind of reference to our diverse musical tastes funneling into what we're all trying to achieve together. I'm really proud to be a part of that.
Slipknot are chaos. What about the band that seems chaotic from the outside is actually structured and carefully regimented?
Practice and some repetitive things turn into almost trance like states that we find ourselves in where we know the general gist of how things are. Logistics is one nightmare that we're never going to get out of — organizing anything for nine people and having it all go right at anytime is always chaos that not many people see.
What you're looking at onstage is a lot to take in, but don't rehearse like, "Hey, let's all dance like this during this part of the show or whatever."
None of what we do is pre-recorded, pre-meditated too much. We don't play to backing tracks or to a metronome. All the power to the bands who do that, it serves a purpose, but it's just not us. It's a way for us to put the insanity of Slipknot on display. We know what the live performance demands of us and the only way we can reach a level of consistency is if we really throw ourselves into it. Pardon the pun, because it's one of our songs, but it gets like this hive mind where we all end up onstage and all of a sudden we're one brain divided amongst nine people. We know where each other are gonna move and stuff.
Luckily, I'm just in the back sitting behind my drums, so I get to watch all the chaos happen around me. I'm part of it as well — it is a unique thing unto itself. Playing shows night after night you find each other's rhythms and it becomes a structured thing that is like structured unstructured-ness in a way. You develop a level of consistency and you're going to play better shows every sequential night. It's the discipline and that's huge for us. It might look like we're chickens running without their heads, but onstage is the only time in the day where everything makes sense.
Thanks to Jay Weinberg for the interview. Get your copy of Slipknot's new album here and follow the band on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Spotify. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.