Interview Outtake: Slipknot’s Clown on the Origin of the “Maggots”
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 percussionist Shawn “Clown” Crahan about the passing of bassist Paul Gray and the band’s future. In this exclusive outtake from our interview, Crahan speaks about the “culture” of Slipknot and why he named their fans “Maggots.”
“We are not a band. And I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks–they can hate Clown all they want–but what separates us from the dumb shit is that we’re a culture and everybody knows it. We’re not just a band, we’re a fucking culture–I know this. We have so many fans that I can’t even tell you because I would be incorrect. And we are one in the same, we are equal, we are together forever. And that’s how you share, is you invite them in.
“So they and us are equal. And they are beautiful, and, without them, I am nothing as a presenter of my art. I can create my art and will create my art as an individual–I can do it in my basement, I can be euphoric. I don’t need…I don’t need people congratulating me or giving me awareness to enjoy what I create, however, because I am the same as them: We share in the same love for what we do. So they deserve everything, they deserve all I have, the best I have, at all times. I am unable to lie or trick. These have never been any issues in my views of what I’m trying to do with our fans.
“And that’s why I dubbed them many years ago, I came up with the, you know, ‘Maggot’ term, and it’s because I used to study maggots, and a lot of people don’t understand, the reason why I named our fans maggots is because if you’ve ever watched maggots eat, they’re absolutely beautiful in all senses of creation. No. 1, they feed off of something–OK, it’s a frenzy, it’s an absolute frenzy. They’re going absolutely ape shit. Their only goal is to feed off of something and it happens to be death. You could say ‘Hey, that’s an animal.’ Well, it’s a dead animal. Or it’s a big pile of shit. Any way you look at it, it’s death, you know. It’s like the worst thing ever and they feed off it. How beautiful is that? So I thought, you know, This is what I want our fans to be. We’re unique, we’re different than any band ever created. So, just like maggots, we’re the only things that deal with death. I mean, there’s other bugs and shit, but the prominent thing are maggots. And the biggest reason why I wanted to call them Maggots was because, do you know what happens to a maggot?
“They turn into a fly.
“They turn into a fly. Now why do I want them to be flies? I’ll tell you why: Because we all grow old and we all grow wiser and we all do not necessarily need what we’ve needed to get by. But we will remember always what it was that helped us turn into what we are. And in the early days, we have always spoken to a very young crowd, an adolescent crowd, who’s having a hard time with life because of society, trying to find their social place in life. They’re a little bit different, they’re in school, they might get teased a little bit because they’re unique and they want to dress like they want to dress. This world’s full of divorce and, you know, bad jobs, bad employers, you know, mean people. And Slipknot represents all these outcasts, and they’re not outcasts in reality, they’re actually very unique and beautiful people that are willing to stand up for what they believe in without catering to the pressures that the world likes to put on them.
“So I have known that if you started with Slipknot when you were 14, by the time you were 24, there was a good chance that you might be married, have kids, have a career, and maybe no longer need heavy music to help you through your angst. However, those kids still, still, come to our shows, because we are such a part of their life that we are a necessity. And they might not even really be into heavy music overall, but they still come and share the experience with us, just like a fly does. A fly, a maggot earns wings through its sacrifice and devours death, achieves wings, flies off to wherever it wants to, then it searches for the death and lays eggs and starts the process all over.
“That’s why our fans are maggots, you know? We are the shit of the world, you know? And I wouldn’t want top be anywhere else. I don’t want to be a crown, I don’t want to be a block of gold. I want to be a big pile of shit–that you’d have to be concerned with when you step in it. I wanna ruin your ideals, your philosophies, you know? I want you to smell me 10 feet before you’re on me. I want you not to be able to look upon me. I want you to gag when you inhale my art. I want you to be affected by my presence, and I want you to swat at our children because they’re in your face and they’re landing on you and you can’t catch them, you are not wiser than them, they are annoying because they will spread, you know, the good word, the ‘Knotian way. So we’re a culture, man. And we had to share our inner feelings with them because they feel like we do, and I will not deny them of that. I will not deny them of how they feel. I will invite them into the house and they will get the same closure that I need. They will.”