With Slipknot's sick new song and video "Unsainted" out and the details of their next album We Are Not Your Kind finally revealed (along with their new masks), the attention now turns to who is the mysterious ninth member that's joined the Iowans' lineup following the departure of percussionist Chris Fehn.
Fehn and the Knot parted ways in March when the former sought legal action against the band over monetary matters involving merchandise deals. In response, the remaining eight members issued the following statement: "Chris knows why he is no longer a part of Slipknot. We are disappointed that he chose to point fingers and manufacture claims, rather than doing what was necessary to continue to be a part of Slipknot."
Soon after Fehn's split, speculation about the return of former singer-percussionist Anders Colsefni began when a fan posed the possibility to frontman Corey Taylor on Twitter, who responded in a now-deleted post, "Fuck I would LOVE that." Alas, Colsefni was not interested in the prospect, however, shutting down the idea, saying, "I'm going to take away the uncomfortable conversations that Slipknot might have regarding myself and reported band vacancy by saying: I will NOT be rejoining Slipknot ... It is certainly not for any animosity I have – I simply don't know those guys anymore."
For now, the masked metal juggernaut have a mystery fill-in appearing in publicity shots and the "Unsainted" video wearing what appears to be a Cenobite-inspired look (perhaps the creepiest out of the new batch) complete with a zippered mouth and scar-tissue skin. While the member's identity remains secret, it's not out of the realm of possibility that the Nine would have brought back a former member like they have in past years.
One such occurrence involved former guitarist Donnie Steele, who returned to the fold on bass in 2011 after the band went on hiatus to mourn the passing of Paul Gray. The reunion lasted until 2014, but recent comments from Steele suggest his own parting was not amicable. "Lol don't blame him," the guitarist stated about Fehn's departure in a now-deleted Facebook post, "nobody likes to get lied to and ripped off."
Corey Taylor commented on the Fehn situation and surrounding hubbub as it went down, tweeting (and not deleting), "You think that's dickish, try being wrongfully accused of stealing money from someone you cared about, and having a lot of your fans believe it."
Possible returning members — should Slipknot go that route — could also include the likes of songwriter and producer Brandon Darner, whose short-lived stint with the band lasted only one show in 1998; drummer Joey Jordison, who's been busy with his own group Sinsaenum for a while now following his leave from Slipknot in 2013; or Greg "Cuddles" Welts, who stayed in the band from 1997-1998 as a percussionist known for smashing his kit and throwing pieces into the crowd.
It's also worth noting the possibility that Slipknot may have kept the new staffing within the family, literally. Back in 2012, Shawn "Clown" Crahan spoke about his desire to eventually pass the reigns to his eldest son, Gage.
"My oldest boy, when I do skip, he's gonna take over my slot," he said. "He was sitting on the stair in diapers wearing my mask with sticks while we were downstairs trying to learn how to be a band. When I leave, it won't be like I died and my son came in and tried to fill my place. I'm gonna bail, but I'm gonna hand over the throne and say, 'Hey, I can't do it anymore. You do it. You're my blood.'"
Gage and his younger brother Simon are both percussionists (and the latter has even performed Slipknot covers with Corey Taylor's son), leaving either one of them primed to partake in the family (and band) legacy. Simon has also recently dropped two teasers on Instagram which have generated speculation about his involvement.
But at this point the band has yet to officially comment on the member's identity. Who knows, maybe the guys have reconciled with Fehn? Stay tuned for updates.