"Godfather of Nu-Metal" Ross Robinson "Didn't Really Like" Slipknot at First | Revolver

"Godfather of Nu-Metal" Ross Robinson "Didn't Really Like" Slipknot at First

Once the producer saw them live, his opinion changed
slipknot 2001 OZZFEST GETTY, Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
photograph by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Ross Robinson has produced a wide range of modern rock and metal bands, from Korn and Sepultura to At the Drive-In and Glassjaw, but the sound he's most associated with is the nu-metal of the late Nineties and early Aughts — so much so that some have dubbed him "The Godfather of Nu-Metal." Among the albums that earned him that title have to be Slipknot's monumental first two LPs, 1999's self-titled offering and 2001's Iowa. But as massive as those records are, Robinson says he wasn't a fan of the band when he first heard them.

"The first demo I didn't really like and it kind of sat there," Robinson revealed in a recent interview with Metal Hammer, referring to the band's self-released Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. "Then, their acting manager, at the time, worked at a radio station in Iowa. She was a programmer, and she only knew one person in L.A. to try to get it signed, and she goes, 'Do you know how to get a hold of Ross Robinson?' And he goes, 'I do, because I manage him.'"

Things changed when the producer flew out to Iowa to see the band play live. "They didn't have masks on," Robinson recalled. "I remember Corey's face, so fucking animated and awesome. They played the next night, and [at first] I was like, 'Oh, man, the mask is not relating like it was in the rehearsal room. His eyes and his face were so cool, this isn't as good.'

"But with the masks, the performance was fucking insane; people were just killin' each other inside the club, and the smile on my face was indescribable. I think the masks allowed 'em to become something other than their egoic self; they were able to let all of their identity go and become something else that they couldn't be otherwise."

As for the Godfather of Nu-Metal title, Robinson said that, after some initial reluctance of accept it, he's come to embrace the designation. "I was extremely resistant to it when they started doing it during the Glassjaw days," he reflected. "I didn't wanna be lumped in with all of the followers and the scene of silliness that happened afterwards, and I had a problem with that. Now, I think it's sweet. If people wanna call me that, good."