Tattoo Artist Paul Booth on His Favorite Slipknot Song
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. Below, master tattoo artist Paul Booth talks about his relationship with Slipknot and his two favorite songs by the band:
“I crossed paths with the guys quite a few times while they were touring for their first album back in the day, in ’99. In 2000 I was involved with co-producing a tour called Tattoo the Earth and we had managed to get Slipknot and Slayer to co-headline. It was during that time that we all really got to know each other, and I think I can safely say that we developed a cool, mutual respect and friendship. Having gotten to know them at that time from spending so much time behind the scenes, I had come to appreciate them that much more. I had taken a number of tattoo artists on this tour as well–hence “Tattoo The Earth”–and I look back remembering the sense of appreciation I felt from all of the respect these guys were giving the tattoo artists on the road. Back at that time the music world was not nearly as connected with the tattoo world as it is now. The tour was meant to, from my perspective, break down some of those old barriers, and I felt Slipknot really played a major role in that goal coming to fruition. Watching some of the greatest tattoo artists talk to some of the greatest musicians in the world about music, and seeing these great musicians reciprocate that interest automatically with the talent from the tattoo world was a great moment. At the root of it all, it was artist to artist, like some kind of summit–minus the stuffy old guys in suits. I suppose the point to all that is the fact that after forming such bonds and gaining a deeper understanding of where these boys were coming from my appreciation for their music was certainly made even stronger. It’s a complicated thing to me to have a favorite for anything. There’s always a multitude of reasons that I generally have for ever calling anything a favorite. So when it comes to trying to narrow down what my favorite Slipknot song actually is, I don’t think I can get it below two, but for me that’s pretty damn good in itself. First of all, I really appreciate it when a band can be so instrumental in helping me strengthen my bond with my inner angst. Of course, we all love music that makes us feel something. Being a visual artist, lyrics are very important for me. While the music itself can make you feel, it’s the lyrics that connect those feelings together and identify with what the musician is trying to say. Whenever I sit down and read the lyrics to a song that is pleasing to my ears–which usually involves hemorrhaging–the paintings that occur in my head while I find myself identifying with the words that I’m reading tend to heavily inspire my creativity.
“That being said, I have to say that the Slipknot song that stuck with me since I had first heard it is ‘Everything Ends.’ That particular song brings me straight back to a very pivotal moment in my life when I was 15, everytime I hear it. Music is the same as visual art in the sense that it’s not actually what the artist has to specifically say, but more about how the listener interprets what the artist is saying. For me, it really defines everything I’ve felt when the Catholic church had finally pushed me past my breaking point and I finally found the balls to denounce Christ and tell the church to go fuck itself. I think I might have even said some of the same things found in the song. I guess it’s just one of those things where certain key phrases can be so effective at connecting you with some painful memories. I really appreciate when music can have the kind of power to cause such a connection. I try to achieve some of the same things in my art. Touching a nerve and making someone think about shit is the core of artistic expression. I guess I just love any form of art that can push me to the dark recesses of my mind, where it can ultimately inspire disturbing images that drive me to expression in my own art.
“The other song that continues to hit the nail on the head for me is ‘Sulfur.’ I guess they made it six or seven years later, but somehow it brings me to the same place. I guess I can’t really narrow it down to one, because I’m busy staying intrigued with the fact that, while they are completely different, the songs both bring me to an identical place and time, that had everything to do with the first moment in my life where I felt my aggression was my power rather than my weakness. Those songs represent, not only the screaming that still goes on in my head to this day, but also the moment that I took charge of my life, put my faith in myself rather than a fairy tale, actually made goals with purpose, dedicated myself to driving my life forward and letting nothing get in my way–which is basically the moment I stopped being a victim and started being a predator. I always thank Slipknot for reminding me of this.”