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Questions from MFKRboard members————————————————————————-

Question 1 – What is your favorite Slipknot show memory? (from: ZzkongzZ)

DaVo: There is a lot of them. I’ve always had a problem with picking out a favorite of anything. So here’s some great memories from early shows.
The first would be one of the last shows before Mich joined at this day long fest at Toad Holler. We arrived late after drinking most of the Sunday away on what we called an alcoholiday. We were already a rough bunch when we showed up. Slipknot had been pushed back to the end of the order because even this early in their existence, no one wanted to go on after them. The club was a country western bar and even when they went on in front of about 20 people, the owner said something to the degree of, “I ain’t having that shit in my place.” and they cut the power to them after a few songs. Members of my party may have done was vandalism to the club and a few items may have went missing.
The night they won the defeated Stone Sour in the battle of the bands stands out because I really never thought they would win. They were just too odd but it was a sign of a change that was coming.
The Dotfest mainly because of the gimps Lanny, Greg and Slick Rick. I remember standing there watching at the crowd began to throw turkey legs toward the stage and for some reason I think they had originally planned on throwing tampons into the audience. However that might have been one of the many ideas designed just to get their manager at the time Sophia to freak out. The show was delayed, they got cut off, there was a scene but they did start late. I think this was because the plan was to have a stunt man dress up like Shawn, come out and do the clown thing and then Shawn would come out in light the “Fake Clown” on fire. I guess they couldn’t get the fire department to sign off on it or something. So it didn’t happen but that doesn’t mean that the pyro gel didn’t sit in the Safari cooler for the rest of the summer. In fact, it might have still been there when it became Hairy Mary’s 23 years later.


Question 2 – The last track on ‘The Hvae Nots’ demo is called “Johnny Hit and Run Pauline”

I found this video on youtube ” Have Nots Intro Johnny Hit n Run Pauline “

The author “pgray60” says its from 1984. What about that? Is that a cover? Why is the band called ‘The Have Nots’ too, if it’s not your band with Paul, Greg etc.? It’s the same song like on the demo. (From: The Shape)

DaVo: Yeah I’ve seen that video and it comes up a few times a year. My best guess is that the band was a “New Wave” cover band that covered a number of songs by the great and mighty punk legends, X. Since X had a song called The Have Nots it’s not surprising that a tribute band would name themselves the Have Nots and cover Johnny Hit and Run Pauline.
The name was something I used off and on for years and I ramble on about it a lot on the Have Nots site( I don’t know if the idea came from the X song or the fact that I had just finished reading the Ernest Hemingway Novel To Have or Have Nots. Their are in fact a number of Have Nots bands with and without the X connection.
Most of you might not know that Slipknot suffered from the same problem. The main headache for Slipknot was the hippy cover band by the same name. They had a rather large following at the time. There was also a Hardcore band from the late 80s. At the time of their first show they played under pig system or pygsustem. They considered heavily changing the name but couldn’t seem to come up with something better.


Question 3 – What is the one thing that you would like to have everyone that ever hears your name via your friendship with members of Slipknot know about you? (From: The Grater Vayne)

That is an odd question. It’s kind of like being asked to describing yourself. What I was to the band was a friend, supporter and confident. I never really loved their music but I always loved the power of it and the self expressive weirdness to it. From the beginning they were more of an art event then your standard band. That’s what drew me to the band but if I wouldn’t have been friends with Paul, I would have more than likely never been in the room in the first place.


Question 4 – Out of all the tattoos, etc. that you did for the band when they were getting started, what is one (or a few) tattoo/piercing that you did for a member that you remember most, and what made it memorable for you? (From: Pyramid Head)

DaVo: OK, this is something that always confuses people. I do not and never have tattooed. I have always pierced but The Axiom at the old E 5th location, subcontracted Tattooists. The first tattoo of the Slipknot logo and I believe the Tribal S were both done at the Axiom. Also Birdman tattooed the screaming face that Paul had on his fore arm. I’m not sure who tattooed the first Slipknot logo which I believe was on Andy. It was either Birdman or Greg. I know that Andy designed it and I remember him getting it but I can’t remember if it was before or after Birdman died. So it might have been Greg that did the first one. I do know that Greg did a lot of the early ones. Also I remember Corey getting a tattoo on his upper arm at the studio long before he was in the band.
Over the years, I believe I have pierced or every member former and present except Donnie. As far as my favorites, meeting Paul when I pierced his lip and Paul walking 30 blocks after having a fight with his girlfriend to get his Prince Albert piercing I gave him for his birthday. Sid getting his tongue pierced and then asking if his “Partying” would effect swelling which was also the first time I met him when his was still a little raver kid. There are others but they are the ones that come to mind.


Question 5 – Do you have any thoughts on what Slipknot has become in the past 17 years of being a band? But between ’99 up until today, what can you say about the huge change they went through. Would you say they matured as a band, or just sold out? (From: Prosthetic William)

DaVo: There’s an old saying, “Your either a business or you are a band.” It is a hard balance to find something in the middle. As Paul used to put it, “Fuck ya, I’m a sell out, my band sells out huge fucking stadiums every night.”
Out of all the local bands from Des Moines, Paul, Shawn and Joey were the only ones that would flat out state, “We are going to be Huge.” Not “We would like to make it.” or “We would like to have a strong following.” but “We are going to be huge and not settle for anything less.”
At first I laughed this off because they were so outside of what would have been considered mainstream at the time. However, the music industry was changing greatly at the time. The main reason was the success of Punk and alternative bands. Major labels were much more willing to take chances then they would have even a few years earlier.
To gain success in the music business or show biz there are really two courses you can take, either you stick to your guns, hone your skills and luck out to be that right band at the right time or you adapt yourself to fit into what is going to sell. The later is selling out. The first is just plain hard work and good timing.
The fact is in 1998 no one was willing to take a chance on them but Ross Robinson and if it wasn’t for his imprint label, they would have never made it. It also help when a Sony A&R rep tried to sign them to Sony and they passed he stepped up to manage them and got them on OzFest. None of this wouldn’t have happened if Sophia John wouldn’t have put them on the radio, managed them and got them in touch with right people.
The reality is that since they have gotten signed, they have continued to take chances. The music has been a continuation of the music that evolved from the start. The stage show has gotten crazier over the years.
Now 15 or so years on, it’s hard to say what they are. The fact that I still hear from fans that the band members took time to hang out with fans and put on a great show, it doesn’t sound like selling out to me or cashing in.
I don’t know how much I want to go into the what has changed in their lives. The reality is that for the most part they are the same people but drive better cars and have a hell of a lot more responsibilities. They have been through the ringer since 2009., health problems, Paul’s death, etc… Everyone thinks that success is this kind of charmed life but especially when it is combined with fame, it can at times be a living hell.
When everyone has their rock n roll fantasies they really don’t consider what they are giving up. It’s been described to me like going to war or prison. You leave and your gone for months or years and you leave behind your family and friends. Everyone goes on living their life but your life is in this holding pattern. Then you come home and everything and everyone is different and you missed out on the transformation, so home no longer really feels like home. There’s the guilt of missing out but their is the overwhelming feeling of not feeling like you belong anywhere. Like you don’t have a home and there is this nagging question of the motivation of everyone around you and who can be trusted.


Question 6 – Back when you were hanging with Paul and Joey at the dawn of Slipknot, did it ever in a million years even occur to you for one split second that they would be This big? This massive machine that they turned into? (From: ZzmasterofcrowzZ)

DaVo: Yes and no. There was that talent and the secret language the two shared. However, there had never been any band signed from Des Moines. In fact the music scene in Des Moines was almost completely unknown to even the people that lived here.
That said there was always something there that wasn’t found elsewhere. A Slipknot show from the beginning was an event. Something people talked about weeks after and looked forward to.


Question 7 – What’s your favourite beer or do you not drink for a healthier life? (From: Uwey)

DaVo: Guinness has been a staple since the early 90s. In fact, Safari was fuild by Guinness Extra Stout and Car Bombs. Every time I saw Paul up until his death he would insist doing on Car Bombs. The last one I had was with him and I never plan on having another.


General MFKR Q’s for DaVo:


Born and Bread?

DaVo: Born in Des Moines, raised in Pleasant Hill, Iowa and then cut my teeth in Des Moines.


Is it true that you were invited to become (or being considered as) the sampler before 133 took over that layer of SlipKnot?

DaVo: Yes and no. Yes because Paul asked but no because he knew I wouldn’t join. It was a very drunken conversation and I have to admit for a second I thought about it. However, I clearly passed because I didn’t think it would be right to be in a band that I wasn’t 100% into the music. It would feel like lying. Also I thought about how uncomfortable it would be on stage in one of those latex mask.


How many bands have you been in and what was your first band? Was it a punk band?

DaVo: It depends on what you would consider a band. I started a number of bands or incarnations of bands that never made it out of the basement or garage because of lack of members or there was no place to play. The only band that I’ve been in that I would consider a working band is the Have Nots.
That said, there must have been at least 6 versions of the Have Nots before Paul joined. Also there was the projects that never happened like Lords of Filth, Pride, Psycho Girl, etc…
When the Have Nots ended and Slipknot took off or at least seemed like it was going places, I decided to focus on Promoting shows and bring national acts to Des Moines. From 96 to 2001 I would work as a independent promoter or talent buyer at Safari and then Hairy Mary’s bring countless bands to Des Moines and making sure all ages shows continued.

First album bought?

DaVo: The first record I bought with my own money would be Agent Orange’s Living in Darkness.


Who is your musical hero and biggest inspiration?

DaVo: Damn there are so many of them but here’s a few John Doe, Jack Grisham, Joe Strummer, Steve Soto, Keith Morris, Dr Know, Gary Hodges, Chuck Dukowski, Dave Alvin, Jeffery Lee Pierce, Nick Cave, Dee Dee Ramone, Colin McFaull, Johnny Thunders, Fat Mike, Black Randy, Charlie Parker, Alice Bag, and anyone who ever was asked, “Why?” and replied, “Why the Fuck Not”


How would you describe the atmosphere at the old Slipknot shows when Andy was still the lead vocalist?

DaVo: I’ve been asked this a number of times over the years. The early performances where a little more like performance art.


Favorite movie?

DaVo: Meet John Doe


How well did you know the Slipknot guys back in the day? Who did you hang with the most?

DaVo: Paul Gray was one of my best friends in the world. We hung out endlessly. I was in the Have Nots with him and Joey. Since Shawn owned Safari and I was one of the main promoters, we spent a lot of time together. Also I was and still am close with Sophia John who was their manager at the time. Pretty much everyone in the band or would be in the band hung out every night at Safari. Often they were put to work, like Andy who would staple flyers on poles from 24th st to 42nd st. I got to know Sid, Craig, Mick, Josh, Jim, and Chris either through booking or Slipknot.


Do you have a Good Ol’ story from the old days for us that involves the MFKR-era Slipknot? Maybe from an old gig? Something that pops into your head instantly and you’ll never forget?

DaVo: This isn’t really a Slipknot story but it’s from the period and involves Shawn. As the owner of Safari it was Shawn’s responsibility to take care of the talent’s contract rider. The first big show I did with Shawn was Social Distortion and often bands put things on their rider as a joke. One such item is Soylent Green from the 1970s classic movie by the same name. For the days leading up to the show I had Shawn running around Des Moines looking for Soylent Green. The funny part is no one at any of the stores seemed to caught on. When he asked me what it was, I’d fight off the urge to say, “It’s People.” and say I was unsure maybe some kind of cleaner or something. It wasn’t until the night before when their road manager stopped by to check out the club, that Shawn found out the truth. He asked the RM point blank what the hell it was and went on about how he couldn’t find the stuff and had been all over town looking for it. The guy smiled and looked at me and then we burst out laughing.


Do you have a favorite Slipknot song? (both old and new)

DaVo: Spit it Out cause I know who it is really about. Do nothing/bitch slap because it always makes me smile thinking about the humpty hump.


Thank you DaVo for kindly stopping by and answering our questions!

DaVo: You are welcome, hope I wasn’t too long winded and everyone enjoyed it.

-Interview by Finnur/Master of Crowz of & (August 2013)

Click here for more info on DaVo.