It’s evident to anyone who has ever witnessed the juggernaut that is Slipknot in a live setting that there is something deeper operating under the hood than your average band. Much like in sports, a superhuman amount of preparation, training and trust are required for a beast with this many heads to function at the necessary high level.
“We’re more like an athletic team — we’re more like a team than we are a band in a lot of ways. With the sheer number of people, and we all wear the same thing, and this and that, we kind of have a team mentality and a sports mentality about what we do.”
Jay then went into depth about the importance of maintaining a daily routine on the road:
“It is incredibly physical. So with that in mind, I have kind of a running checklist every day where I kind of live the exact same day every single day when we’re on tour — if I’m in control of that. Sometimes we’re flying on a show day, and that kind of sucks, and I’m not able to get into my flow state that I prefer. But I eat the same exact thing every day; I drink pretty much the same amount of water every day; I know exactly when I’m gonna have my pre-show meal; I know exactly when I’m gonna start getting into the jam room and start stretching and this and that.”
Victory requires practice. Slipknot are no exception to this rule, even on tour:
“I’ll run through a bunch of songs by myself. We’ll run through maybe two, three, four songs together in the room. And then by the time we’re done playing the third or fourth song or something, our tour manager is coming into the room. He’s, like, ‘You guys are onstage in five minutes.’ And then it’s like mad dash, and I’ll be, like, ‘Oh, fuck. I’ve gotta put on my mask.’”
Much like a team’s uniform is a symbol of unity and pride on top of being a mere identifier, Slipknot’s masks serve a similar purpose. Jay explains:
“The mask is the last turn of the key; that’s the last thing that happens before we’re all together. And we have our little band rituals that we do before every show that just brings us all to the… makes sure we’re all on the same page and we’re about to go out to do this thing that means a lot to us. We know it means a lot to everybody who’s there, so we’re gonna give it everything we’ve got. But we all have those individual things. I think the mask is all of our final key to that door that unlocks the stage for us. And I suppose it is kind of unique.”