SLIPKNOT's CLOWN Discusses THE BLACK DOTS OF DEATH Project In New Interview

February 17, 2011 recently conducted an interview with SLIPKNOT percussionist Shawn "Clown" Crahan. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. Are you afraid that your prior success with SLIPKNOT might overshadow [your new project] THE BLACK DOTS OF DEATH?

Crahan: What else am I going to do, bro? I'm proud of SLIPKNOT. We won a fucking Grammy! I've been to Russia. I've been to Bangkok. I've almost sold out Madison Square Garden. I've been on "Conan O'Brian". I've been on "Jay Leno". I've been to the MTV Video Awards. I've walked down red carpets. I've played in front of two people and I just played in front of 80,000 people at Download [festival]. I've played under people like MARILYN MANSON and bands like METALLICA and IRON MAIDEN. My dreams are all fulfilled. If SLIPKNOT gets put on my tombstone, I'm proud of it. It's all up to the fans what they like. If fans want to turn their back on BLACK DOTS because they worship SLIPKNOT, so be it. I'm not going to force them. I don't really care. I do this for me! I'm just doing the best to do the best with my art and give 100%, and that stands for something. It's not to trick or force them. I'm just doing the best I can on what I'm doing now, and what I'm doing now is BLACK DOTS OF DEATH. If SLIPKNOT overshadows what I do, there's no problem in that because I started SLIPKNOT. I mean, give me a fucking break, I'm not someone in the band that just came along later. I started this band, the philosophy of the band, with Paul Gray! There's nothing more to be proud of than that. If there's anything I've ever stood for in life, it's "Fuck it all. Fuck this world. Fuck everything you stand for. Don't belong. Don't exist. Don't give a shit. Don't ever judge me." I am me, I am who I am, I do what I do, and right now I'm doing BLACK DOTS OF DEATH. If people don't like, then they can fuck off. If they do love it, they can fuck off too. It doesn't really matter to me. This is where I'm at artisitically, and this is where I'm going to be. I don't know how much longer SLIPKNOT is going to exist. I'm not a fortune teller. Do I want another record? Of course I do! Is there going to be another record? I'm not a fortune teller. So my priorities right now are A) get everything done for the March 29th release, B) move into an area where the band will do some shows before June, and then C) concentrate everything I have for the tour in June for SLIPKNOT to celebrate my bass player's life, his love for the band, his love for fans, his love music, to celebrate his life, and in return the same thing for the eight of us. So it's just a beautiful thing that's going to happen. It's very short, and there's no talk as to what's going to happen after that. There's no recording. There's no other tour dates. We haven't even released all the dates that we're doing because that's just how we work, and it's really not about that. It's about a celebration of love and life lost, and looking at what we've done. It'll be the first time we've toured without supporting a new record. You briefly mentioned plans for the BLACK DOTS OF DEATH to be performing live this year. Can you give us any more insight into the group's live plans?

Crahan: Oh yeah, it's going 100%. I don't do anything unless it's live. That's what I'm best at. Songwriting is great, the studio is great, that's all fun and dandy, but unless I get to perform it live and have salvation, it ain't worth my time. We could go down to the basement and record a song a day for the rest of my fucking life and have 10,000 records on iTunes, but it's not like sharing feelings with your bros on stage and then connecting with people that need it. I need that connection! I need that person in the front row to go "I feel that way!" And then spend time with them, have a beer with them. In SLIPKNOT, I have so many people that want hugs. That shit's important, man. That's human connection, and I need that with BLACK DOTS OF DEATH. So BLACK DOTS OF DEATH 100% will be performing live. It's going to be an experience. There will be nothing like it. I'm a very dangerous person, and I'm a lot more dangerous in my mind these days than I am physical, where in the early days I was a lot more physical. So the psyche that's going to go into what we do is going to be very dangerous, and we're going to get back to dangerous times. No more safe. When oil spills are going off in the ocean and it takes months to fucking cap it, it's an insult to my intelligence and I have a feeling and frustration about that. The only way to get that out is to play it live and look at your brothers and go "Wow, that was great!" And then afterwards meet people that have your record that want to talk about it is one of the most beautiful feelings you can have. Supposedly the world's going to end next year, and I just want you to know that THE BLACK DOTS OF DEATH will be playing on that day! I can even promise that my family is going to be there on that day. That's how fucking serious I am. We will be playing that night. We're the band that invites the end of the world because we'll be headlining our own show and we will play until it's done. Has a location been chosen for the "end of the world" show?

Crahan: We haven't decided yet, but we're playing it for sure. I mean, we've talked about it because I'm so sick and tired of people buying into shit. You don't think that for centuries people have been talking about the world ending? Why shouldn't it be any better now? Just because we have more TV shows that can decipher codes and repeat messages, all those people can go to hell. I'm playing that night and I'm going to play MY music because I have a 17 year old son who a couple of weeks ago looked at me while we were talking about Paul, and we were having a moment, and he looked at me saying "You know, dad, not to sound weird, but I can't think of any other way of you dying than on stage." And it made me feel really good. I was like "You know, that's sad to think about. I hope it never happens. I hope I'm with you guys. I hope I'm with my wife," but it made me think that I've proven myself to my family how much I give myself to who I am and how much of an artist I am that my own son can recognize that himself and was able to offer that to me. I thought that was just the most intimate thing that he felt that I give so much to what I am that he thought that would be the only way. That made me proud. While on the topic of performing live, do you prefer performing in large or small settings?

Crahan: To be honest with you, I never ask how many people are there. I very rarely ask where we're playing when we're in SLIPKNOT. I never ask how many people end up being there after a SLIPKNOT show. And some of these other bands that I've done, I've been in a van and have gone to these bullshit clubs and played in front of twenty people, and those have been some of my favorite shows. Some of my favorite memories are when SLIPKNOT was nobody and we weren't signed. We played in front of a couple dozen people, and that were some of my best memories. I don't need tens of thousands of people to make me happy. First of all, festival shows blow because you're 30 feet up in the air, 60 feet away from the crowd and you're up their basically fighting your own pain. You got to be inspired to do it that way, and if you can't draw that inspiration, you're screwed! I love having the drum set on the floor without a riser, and just anything goes. If someone wants to jump up and tackle me, then that's real life. That's where it started. I grew up in the 70's, but once I was old enough to get my own grip on things, I was able to get into punk rock. From BLACK FLAG, SCRATCH ACID, THE SEX PISTOLS, THE RAMONES, THE STOOGES, to whatever! I grew up on highly aggressive music that just did not fucking care. Like here in Des Moines, Iowa, these bands would roll into town and play the Botanical Center. They'd rent out a little hall and PA in this large dome, and bands like BLACK FLAG would just roll through. It's just like "What the fuck?!" That's what it's all about. Punk bands just showing up, playing people's basements and just going nuts.

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