Interview Outtake: Slipknot Drummer Joey Jordison on Original Guitarist and Fill-In Bassist Donnie Steele
With the release of our new Slipknot special collector’s issue, we’re celebrating Slipknot month on RevolverMag.com, unleashing new interviews, photos, favorite Slipknot song picks from a host of celeb columnists, and much more. So check back right here often. In the issue, we talk to Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison about the passing of bassist Paul Gray and the band’s future. In this exclusive outtake from our interview, Jordison speaks about original Slipknot guitarist Donnie Steele, who stepped in on bass during the band’s comeback shows this summer. In particular, Jordison looks back to Steele’s departure from the group in 1996 due to conflicts with his Christian beliefs at the time, and why he was willing to return.
“I don’t like to speak for Donnie, but I will tell you that [in 1996] we were pretty out there, you know. [Laughs] We were into pretty much watching the most underground, gross, shocking shit—I didn’t know that he was really involved with religion at this time—you can hear it at the end of the bonus track on the self-titled album. It’s chopped up so you don’t really know what we’re watching, like a defecation German video and, like, we’re laughing, Chris [Fehn, Slipknot percussionist] is puking. And we just watched this shit for entertainment, it was funny to us, you know, a bunch of fucked-up… I can keep going on but I don’t want to paint too weird of a picture. [Laughs] But pretty dark stuff and we didn’t know [about his religion], you know. And a couple of times Donnie just wouldn’t come to practice. So we all hop in my Suburban, drive over to his house, and his car was in the driveway. We knock on the door, he wouldn’t come out. Then we find out.
“The guy that was engineering [Slipknot's 1996] Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. record was also that way. We basically made him have a seizure [from everything we were watching]. You know, he came in one day and he went in and he was laying on the floor sweating and then he left. And, like, all we wanted to do is create this disturbing, quirky, fucked-up music, just freak people out and fight everybody. That was our thing. I mean, that’s what we did: Every time we walked into a bar, like, when a local band that we don’t like was playing, like, it’s almost like a record would scratch. As soon as we walk in, you know, and just quiet, we’d walk right up into the front, push everyone out of the way, right into the front and stare at the band where they couldn’t even play their instruments anymore. Then we would wait for them outside.
“Anyways, Donnie, he’s a real mellow dude, he couldn’t take it at the time. Since that time–this is a long time ago–he’s not like that anymore. He had real short hair at the time–his hair is, like, almost down to his ass now–he’s completely different. So that [religion] stuff betrayed him, you know what I mean? And it just takes people a while to kind of find out who they really are. Sometimes it takes a long time, man. I’m still finding out: I mean, life is a beautiful thing and it’s a fun thing but it’s definitely got its twist and turns and, man, it can throw you a curveball like a mother fucker at anytime, so…especially being in Slipknot, man, it’s like a puzzle you cannot finish. It’s like, we’ll know when the last piece is put in and we can finally put it to rest, but we’re not there yet.”