Slipknot bass player Alessandro “VMan” Venturella has been working with the band since the recording of 2014’s .5: The Gray Chapter, to which he contributed bass tracks along with guitarist Jim Root and Mick Thomson and former touring bassist Donnie Steele. He’s since be come a full-time member of the group. In a new interview with Bass Guitar Magazine, he explained how he landed the coveted gig following the death of founding bass player and major Slipknot songwriter Paul Gray in May 2010 from an accidental drug overdose. Venturella was working as a tech for Mastodon guitarist Brent Hinds when he got a phone call from Root.
“Me and Jim became friends while I was teching,” Venturella recalled. “He was asking if I knew any bass players. When I found out what for, I put my hand up right away. He pointed out, ‘But you don’t play bass?’ and I said something to the effect that I could do whatever he needed from me. Then I just had to make sure it was true.”
For his Slipknot audition, Venturella learned twice the number of songs asked of him and borrowed one of Mastodon bassist Troy Sanders’ Zon four-strings. “Two weeks later I was hanging out with everyone and [founding Slipknot percussionist] Clown said to me, ‘Right! Are you going to do it?’” he continued. “I rang my mum straight away to tell her I wasn’t coming home …”
Venturella added that it has been a challenge trying to fill Gray’s shoes and “do him justice.” The two are very different players. “My approach isn’t the same as Paul’s,” he explained. “I can’t be him and never will be; every player is ultimately born different. That said, if you listen to Paul’s note choices on ‘Vermilion,’ he was all over the shop and it sounded great. I wanted to try things like that.” Read the full interview here.