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Intense, loud, and visceral, Slipknot burst onto the nu-metal scene with a hard-edged fusion that used the vernacular of Staind, Incubus, Nickelback, and Limp Bizkit. Slipknot shirt. But beyond the howling vocals, floor-rumbling bass, and machine-gun drums, the band’s chief calling card was their disturbing look, consisting of ghoulish masks, makeup, and generic overalls. No one used names onstage—their outfits bore only the numbers one through nine. It was macabre, but it had the desired effect: young boys were thrilled, and parents were appropriately shocked.
Slipknot came together when the founding members, percussionist Shawn Calvins and Joey Jordison, assembled the initial roster of musicians to play local gigs. After a few minor changes the lineup settled with nine members, an unusually high number for a rock band. “Everybody freaks out that there are nine guys in the band,” Jordison told the Los Angeles Times. Initially, people scoffed at the idea that a metal band would launch in Des Moines, Iowa. But that very dismissiveness ignited the band’s imagination and prompted the device of nameless stage visuals.