Although being born into a famous musical family must have its nepotistic advantages, a drummer of the astounding caliber of Jay Weinberg couldn’t possibly get by if he didn’t have real chops.
The son of legendary E-Street Band drummer Max Weinberg, the young phenom followed in his father’s footsteps early on by playing in local New York punk bands before moving on to more established acts like Madball and Against Me!, not to mention the occasional stint filling in for his dad in Springsteen’s group of troubadours.
Weinberg’s resume would be enough to make even the most seasoned drummer salivate, but far and away the bittersweet honor of his life came when he was asked to fill the void in Slipknot that occurred with the departure of the late Joey Jordison.
In a recent interview with Metal Hammer, Weinberg spoke of his journey from Slipknot superfan to bandmate, saying: “[The famous photo of a young Jay meeting Slipknot] was the second time I’d been around the band; the first was in 2001 on the Ozzfest tour when I didn’t know anything about them! I’ve since learned that there are so many serendipitous moments in Slipknot, things from the past that connect many years later.
“It was Halloween, I’d been trick-or-treating dressed as a member [Corey Taylor] of my favorite band, and they’re playing around the corner from my house.
Of course, I’m going to wear my costume to the show! Thankfully, somebody had the presence of mind to film it. I remember being on tour and getting the 10-year anniversary edition of Iowa with the DVD, putting it on and going, ‘Oh my god! That’s me!’ It was 11-year old me and 12 years later I’m in the band. Who could have predicted that?
“If that kid back then knew what was going to happen, it’d blow his mind. I didn’t even start playing drums for about four years after that, when I discovered punk rock and hardcore.
If you showed 10-year-old Jay him in Slipknot, he’d go, ‘Wait… I start playing drums?!’ Ha ha! I like to think I’d be proud of what we’ve achieved in the last 10 years. I always want to believe that 10-year-old me would put on these albums that we’ve done and go, ‘Hey, this is pretty good.’”
He might have never seen his role in Slipknot coming, but that doesn’t mean Weinberg was unprepared. Both his time with Springsteen and his punk experience tempered the drummer for whatever might get thrown his way. He says: “I never felt overawed by the pressure to replace Joey [Jordison].
Up until that point I had always come into existing projects, primarily as the drummer for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band; to me, that’s incredibly intimidating. I was playing to crowds of 80-90 thousand people in stadiums, and I had only been playing drums for three years!
“Having accomplished that, I had set myself up to be this guy who could jump in on a moving freight train, be it Madball or Against Me!. So, I put myself in that context, and I knew how to be myself, I knew how to find my own voice in another artist’s catalogue. But Slipknot was the biggest challenge. That took all my experience and turned the dials up to 20.”