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by R. H. Michaels

It was a hot night at Safari. Hot enough that even the fish tank developed a coat of steam.

The all ages crowd eagerly anticipated SlipKnoT’s performance. Chants of SLIP-KNOT could be heard, but not for long.

Strobe lights kicked on and a sample loop of a maniacal laugh and ice cream man chimes added to the anticipation. The Clown dropped his power saw, sending sparks across the already charged crowd.

Why the anticipation? It wasn’t just the summer heat and the good cause of the benefit concert. Most of the crowd wanted to see if former Stone Sour front man, Corey Taylor, could pull it off.

He did. By appearances you’d think Corey died and came back as a different man. He prefers the name, Faith, and he showed at least six very distinctive vocal styles.

“It’s full on, that first song, second song, third song. It’s full on and you just feel like there’s this sound in your ear,” said Faith. “You’re on the verge of just skitzing and swinging this big mallet right into the crowd.”

Full on is exactly what their performance was. The band was tight and often had three or more vocalist performing simultaneously. One of those was former lead vocalist, Anders.

“It was crazy. It was weird. I’m not singing as much, but I am moving more and beating on the drums more,” said Anders. “I thought I was going to be a lot less tired than I normally am, but I was wrong.”

There was some speculation that Faith’s arrival would mean Ander’s departure.

“If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t be here anymore…. At first it was a little bit of a shock,” said Anders. “My thing was, ‘let’s see how it sounds.’ We practiced, and everything just clicked. A lot of bands do lots of vocal over-dubs in the studio to make everything fuller, but live they can’t do it because they don’t have enough people who can sing. We can get five going at once.”

And they did. The old and the new meshed well. Vocals contained all of the passion and emotion that fans have come to expect from SlipKnoT, they also attained a crisper sound.

“I was really, really, really nervous at first, but I put all that into the aggression because I wanted this to go over and I wanted people to accept it,” said Faith. “I’ve never pushed that hard in my life, there was times when I had to cut back, and I missed a few lines, but I came right back in. Luckily I had guys on stage to help me out.”

Corey Taylor’s departure from Stone Sour has left many rumors in it’s wake. Faith stresses that he wanted his leaving Stone Sour to be on good terms. It was just time for a change.

“It was something I really wanted to do. Ever since I saw these guys there was this thing in my head going ‘what would it be like to be in (SlipKnoT)? what would it be like to do that?’ I loved Stone Sour, I love the guys in Stone Sour… I just feel like I can expand more here, like I can do more here.”

“Stone Sour and SlipKnoT had a lot of crossover fans,” said Anders. “You never know how things are going to work out, as far as what people think. We were planning on, if we liked it, going for it anyway.”

It definitely appeared that the crowd liked it. The Safari was packed to the walls for the benefit show. Two concerts were held Saturday night to benefit Multiple Sclerosis, and the Sunday show was for Blank Children’s Hospital. Many of the bands had personal ties to the causes.

“I’m doing this for Blank Children’s Hospital because they saved my boy,” said Clown. “They are a god send. I’m gonna take my little “clown” boy up there tomorrow and deliver the check in person.”

The show turned into a circus of fiends. Boys, girls and stuffed animals joined in a great big sing-a-along. Fans can expect many more opportunities to join in the parade.

“I’m looking forward to playing more shows, getting out of town and writing new music,” said Anders.

The only thing they aren’t looking forward to is the bad feelings they seem to attract.

“I can see people trying to start controversy… it cause headlines, publicity, people start talking about it…. but when it gets down to a personal level, it’s wrong,” said Faith.

“There was always competition when you were younger,” said Anders, “but if you have self confidence, you don’t need to feel competition towards other bands.”

“When we first started this band, we didn’t expect anybody to like us. We’re writing the shit because we like it. The fact that people like us bugs people,” said Anders. “What we’re doing isn’t really original, it’s just extensions of our personalities.”

SlipKnoT has always been a cosmic blender of sorts. It’s hard not to find elements of their music that you can appreciate for their craft. Most just like them for the pure intensity of sound. But if you don’t like their music, that’s okay with them.

“I got a wide variety of music that I listen to, but I don’t like everything,” said Anders. “If I like the people who are playing the music, but not the music, I still like the musicians and don’t talk shit about everybody.”

Faith agreed that’s it’s time for bands in Iowa to rise to a new level and support each other.

“Everybody’s got to get out of the basement and get on stage,” said Faith. “No one’s going to hear you in the basement. We’ve all got to support each other.”