How Mastodon Unintentionally Landed Bassist V-Man a Job With Slipknot

Alessandro Venturella: Raph_PH, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons / Troy Sanders: Alfred Nitsch, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons
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After the tragic passing of original Slipknot bassist Paul Gray, the band hired Alessandro Venturella (aka, V-Man) to become their new bassist. Venturella made his studio debut with Slipknot on their 2014 album, .5: The Gray Chapter.

But how did V-Man land this opportunity to join the nu-metal titans? Well, funny enough, among the factors that helped V-Man land this job was his relationship with Mastodon.

During a recent interview with Guitar World, V-Man is asked how he found his way into Slipknot. Per the bassist, he was working with Mastodon at the time and was staying at band singer Troy Sanders’ brother’s place; while at the brother’s house, he ended up getting on the phone with Slipknot guitarist Jim Root and his life changed from there. But, as V-Man puts it:

“I was teching with Mastodon in 2014 and we’d just got back from Australia, where we were doing the Soundwave festival. I was staying with [Mastodon singer and bassist] Troy Sanders’ brother Darren Sanders in Atlanta. One night, Darren’s girlfriend got a call from [Slipknot guitarist] Jim Root. I knew Jim because I toured with Slipknot in 2008, teching with Coheed & Cambria.

“So she passed me the phone and he said, ‘Do you know any bass players?’ I asked if it was for Stone Sour and he said, ‘No – the other band’ and I instantly said ‘I’ll do it!’ I gave him this whole drunken spiel about ‘I’ll give you some slap bass if you need it!’ and we were having a laugh. Then he said ‘Seriously, do you actually want to do this?’ and I said ‘Yes, I’d really love to do it’.”

V-Man was then asked what came after that phone call, to which the bassist says:

“Four days later the manager called me and told me to learn six songs. I thought, ‘Fuck that, I’ll learn more than that’ and sat down on the couch and watched all of Paul’s old videos and DVDs, and crammed in as much knowledge as I could. Some people think it’s well easy to play Slipknot’s stuff, but there’s a lot of chromatic stuff going on and it’s a workout.

“I phoned James Leach, the bassist from Sikth, who is a good friend of mine, and said, ‘Dude, you won’t believe what’s happening’. He told me I needed to downpick as hard as I could, so I worked on building that up.”

That’s an absolutely surreal story – talk about some incredible timing in regard to Root’s phone call. Given the past few Slipknot albums he has been on, what do you think of V-Man’s bass playing?

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