SLIPKNOT Bassist Knew His Distinctive Tattoos Would Reveal His Identity

January 7, 2023

SLIPKNOT bassist Alessandro "Vman" Venturella says that he predicted his identity would be revealed by the media prior to the release of the band's fifth album, ".5: The Gray Chapter".

".5: The Gray Chapter" came out in October 2014 via Roadrunner. It marked SLIPKNOT's first CD without founding drummer Joey Jordison, who was fired in 2013, and late bassist Paul Gray.

The identities of SLIPKNOT's new bassist and drummer were not disclosed prior to the arrival of the LP, but both appeared — disguised in the same newly designed mask — in the video for "The Devil In I", the first single from ".5: The Gray Chapter".

Nonetheless, a number of SLIPKNOT fans were able to figure out Venturella's identity based on the fact that he sported the exact same tattoo on his hand that was spotted on the hand of the new bassist in the video. Venturella had previously served as a guitar tech for MASTODON, COHEED AND CAMBRIA and others, while also playing in the band KROKODIL.

Asked in a recent interview with Australia's Heavy if he "got in trouble" for having his identity revealed before it was officially announced by SLIPKNOT, Vman said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Oh, no. There was no trouble. It was a funny one, because I remember saying, 'Should I put some black tattoo gloves on or something like that?' And they were, like, 'Ah, no one's gonna get it.' [Laughs] And I was, like, 'Okay.' I've worked for quite a few high-profile bands. If it's not gonna be called out by a fan, it's gonna be called out by someone in a teching position or someone from another band going, 'Oh, that's fucking Vman.' [Laughs] 'That's Vman's tattoo.' I mean, once you've seen [my tattoos], it's pretty [obvious who it is]. And then there was also a good grace period of six months where I just disappeared off the face of the planet. And I was getting messages. I couldn't tell anyone what I was doing. I was, like, 'I'm just away at the moment.' I think it kind of got pieced together pretty quickly."

A few days after the ".5: The Gray Chapter" release, SLIPKNOT singer Corey Taylor was asked by Revolver magazine if he was "pissed" over the tattoo faux pas. He said: "It wasn't something we'd even thought of and it didn't even occur to us until it hit. I was like, 'Aw, man. C'mon.' But the funny thing is, I was doing a radio interview and I was laughing about it. And then the story got picked up by all these media outlets that implied I was incensed, angry, and outraged. No, not really. If you listen to the interview, I'm laughing my ass off. It just goes to show you, in this TMZ world, people are gonna pick up something just so they can make a story out of it. It would be nothing for me to make an argument out of it, but at that point it was like, 'Man, who gives a shit?'"

Venturella contributed bass tracks to ".5: The Gray Chapter" along with guitarists Jim Root and Mick Thomson and former touring bassist Donnie Steele. He made his live debut with the band in 2014 at the first annual Knotfest.

In 2019, Alessandro told Bass Guitar Magazine that he landed in SLIPKNOT after getting a phone call from Root while working with MASTODON as guitarist Brent Hinds's tech.

"Me and Jim became friends while I was teching," Venturella said. "He was asking if I knew any bass players. When I found out what for, I put my hand up right away. He pointed out, 'But you don't play bass?' and I said something to the effect that I could do whatever he needed from me. Then I just had to make sure it was true."

According to Venturella, his role early on in SLIPKNOT was to "fill a great man's shoes and do him justice," referring to original bassist Paul Gray, who passed away in 2010. "My approach isn't the same as Paul's. I can't be him and never will be; every player is ultimately born different. That said, if you listen to Paul's note choices on 'Vermilion', he was all over the shop and it sounded great. I wanted to try things like that.

"After listening to his stems, I honestly looked at bass in a different light and understood how to support everything as the backbone," he continued. "Take the bass out of the mix and everything will fall flat on its arse — and equally, if you mix too bass-heavy, you're not going to get your point across either. Lead guitarists, on the other hand, always need to cut through because that's what the job entails. As the rhythm section, we're there to hold the fort."

Gray passed away from an accidental overdose of drugs.

SLIPKNOT's latest album, "The End, So Far", was released last September via Roadrunner.

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