He is one of the most recognised and renowned musicians in the contemporary metal scene. Having excelled with the likes of Slipknot and the Murderdolls, Joey Jordison returns with his new musical endeavour, Scar The Martyr. With a debut album just released, Killyourstereo.com chatted with the main man about the band, plans for Slipknot and the possibility of Scar The Martyr touring down under early next year.
Hey man, how are you?
Going really well thanks.
New band, new album about to come out, it’s a new beginning. How are you feeling about it all?
I’m actually feeling really good about it. I almost have the same feeling with this record as I had releasing the first Slipknot record. It’s really cool man because we worked so hard on it constructing the songs and [with] the production. We just finished rehearsal about an hour ago, it’s feeling really good man so far.
With Scar The Martyr obviously you’ve got a few other musical priorities mixed in with it. How far into the future, in terms of a general timeline, do you have this mapped out? Is the plan to make this go full-time and have a couple of studio albums come out in years to come?
It’s early right now, ya’ know. Our album comes out in a week and we’ve only done one tour [so far] with Danzig and we are going out here on a little, small club headlining run before we hit major tours. But, right now it’s cool. It feels like my first record again. It’s kind of like the feeling I had when we released the first Slipknot [album]. The band is real excited and the fire is all there, so we are ready to get out and take it as far as we can while we’ve got the chance.
I was reading Corey Taylor’s new book – ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven’ – there’s a chapter in there that was interesting about the recording of Volume III in the Houdini Mansion. Were there any interesting tales to tell from this debut Scar The Martyr album?
Like weird ghost stuff?
Not so much that stuff, just any interesting stories?
I have to say this is one of the only records I’ve made where it has been strictly business – there was no fucking around. We were taking it that serious. We went in with a mission and there was no time for slacking off. We knew what we wanted and completely had that fire and hunger. It was something we were craving. We had this great record and wanted to make sure every little bit was executed correctly. It was full on recording all the time. I haven’t done a record this serious since the first Slipknot record.
Talking about how it’s serious, it’s almost a different style than you’ve played with Slipknot and the Murderdolls, what is it going to be like when it comes time to play live? I remember back in the day watching the Slipknot ‘Disasterpieces’ DVD and there’s that footage pre-show of you throwing up before you go on stage.
Oh yeah, you know what, I used to throw up before every fucking show just because it became part of it. I felt like if I didn’t throw up I thought it was going to be a shitty show. But, that’s long gone, I don’t do that shit anymore. Now, I actually play a little more fierce when I’m completely calm before the show. It’s weird. I used to get so amped up before the Slipknot gigs – obviously it worked. It’s just that mentality because in Slipknot everyone is bat shit crazy (laughs). They get me in that mood anyway (laughs). I don’t do that much anymore. Plus, I’m a healthier person these days. Basically now, I warm up for a good half hour and get completely limber. I like warming-up now because now I only have myself to blame if I mess up anything because sometimes I’d go out cold and even though I’d play fine, it wouldn’t feel fine. So, I like to go out and be loose and comfortable, and it just makes it more enjoyable. I don’t like to have to try to play at all, it should just normally happen. I do warm-up a lot now.
Talking about warming-up and playing shows live, you mentioned there with Slipknot it can be crazy. It can be unpredictable when you play live, have there been any Spinal Tap moments when you’ve been on stage throughout the years?
There’s this show we [Slipknot] played, it was right before we went on Ozzfest ’99. It was [at] a convention centre of some sort where we were playing the show. We used to make these really long intros…luckily. We used to make 10 to 15 minute intros to piss the crowd off (laughs), so by the time we got to the stage they [the crowd] would just go crazy. There was this time we got lost in the venue because we didn’t know what floor we were playing on and everyone forgot, and we were all in our masks. We kept hitting all these floors. Some were like a business meeting and some were a banquet. Another floor would open up and it was a bunch of people at their computers (laughs). Our intro had been going on forever and ever. We finally got up there, but it took us like 20 minutes to get onto the stage (laughs). That’s total Spinal Tap.
That’s it in a nutshell.
The reason I call it Spinal Tap is because there’s a part in the movie where they can’t find the stage. We had the exact same thing happen. We were in Chicago at that time right before the record came out.
Going back to the Scar The Martyr debut, listeners interpret things in different ways, but if there was one thing you’d hope listeners can take away after they’ve listened to the album start to finish, what would it be?
I hope the listener after the first listen doesn’t quite understand all of it and instantly requires a second listen immediately. That would be the best because the album shouldn’t be dissected on a first listen, there’s so much in it. You won’t get it for a while. If I could get anything it is that they’re [the listener] intrigued by it so much and they’re bombarded by so much material and so many hills and valleys, and so many different sounds and soundscapes that they instantly go back to the beginning of the album and play it again.
When I was at university and I studied music and some of the old school drummers from jazz like Buddy Rich and Art Blakey and then even contemporary drummers from metal like Tomas Hakke from Meshuggah [they] really stand out that they’re technical and some of the things they do are just crazy. For yourself, who is well adept at playing technical stuff as a musician, is there still styles of music or stuff that you listen to that kicks your ass and you’re like, “I have no idea how I’d be able to play that?”
I’ve been playing for a while now, so I’ve tried almost everything. The stuff I try to excel at the most is big band drumming. It is really an art form. A lot of people think it’s boring but with the accents you’ve got to hit that are way off time and [knowing] when to explode – you’ve really got to make them [the drums] explode and you’ve got to get really quiet and use brushes sometimes. Drumming, professional, professional drumming in big bands, those drummers are on another level because they never get the credit they deserve. I watch these guys and they are so overshadowed just by the songs. The songs are so good, but watching those drummers, what they’re doing is so dynamic. The thing with drums that’s a problem is, yeah they’re fun to hit and they’re fun to play fast, but dynamically, big band drummers are so amazingly underrated. I was listening to Billy Cobham’s ‘Spectrum’ the other day. That record, almost every time I’ve listened to it – I don’t know how many times? – I’ll take a long break from it and then listen to it again, but it seems each time when I get back to it, it just re-blows my mind (laughs). Those types of records are on another level drumming-wise. That’s when you’re talking about a drummer making his drum set a real instrument – not just stuff you bang on. We are talking about when drums become musical.
Billy Cobham is a fantastic drummer and one I’ve listened to quite a bit. How you are talking there about big band music, you’ve played with a few musicians…
Yeah man, that’s how I grew up. I was playing in jazz bands and big band because my step dad was a jazz musician and I played with his band all the time. Plus, jazz bands through sixth grade and all the way through my graduating year and also in concert bands. I used to get so frustrated with my concert band because I used to think, “I fucking hate this! It’s so limiting.” (laughs). What I didn’t realise at the time, because I was young, was how much that can shape you as a musician. I went back prior to Slipknot getting big and those were the drummers that really get me off. It’s not something I’m totally surrounded by; there are so many great metal drummers. I get it, I’m one of those guys. If I’m going to get inspired by drumming I don’t even listen to metal. I don’t even fucking listen to metal at all – it does nothing for me drumming-wise. We’ve got that part covered. I can always get better for sure, I’m not saying I know it all by any means, but when I get real inspired, I like to take other aspects of music and put it into my style. That helps me be an original drummer because I like so many styles of music. You see drummers like Tomas from Meshuggah or Danny Carey [Tool] the list goes on and on, they aren’t just metal drummers. That’s when drums are a real instrument.
Like you were saying there listening to different styles of music, obviously Scar The Martyr and Slipknot will be the priority again soon, what is still on the bucket list? Could you conceivably see yourself doing a big band-type project in the future?
You know, I would love to because that’s something I started with. If I had a chance to sit in with someone, maybe I’d start with Des Moines bands or something like that? There’s still a lot of life left and still a lot of stuff to do. There’s still a list of things to do, so I’m going to try and do as many as I can.
Doing a bit of research I know there is a bit of murmurings Scar The Martyr could possibly be in Australia next year, I know you probably can’t really mention it at this stage…
I can’t yet, but I hope so (laughs).
In terms of Scar The Martyr at the moment, if you get a phone call hypothetically from a member or members of Slipknot saying we are ready to go back and start writing and recording, do you have to almost put Scar The Martyr on hold?
Well, not now, no. Because…(laughs), I’m just speaking for myself, I tried that [and was like], “Hey man, time to get together.” And, it didn’t work. I understand though, it is just the way it is. That’s why I’ve got this band right now. That’s what I’m most passionate about at the moment. That doesn’t mean Slipknot is going anywhere. We are still completely, 100% together.
Are there any final words you want to pass on for fans down here that are keen to check out Scar The Martyr?
The main thing is I just [want to] thank them so much for their support and the fact that they take the time to lend an ear to what I’m doing right now in my career. Without the fans we really are nothing, so thanks to all of them.
Thanks for that Joey, really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us today.
Yeah, no problem.
I’m really digging the new album and look forward to hopefully having you back in Australia sooner rather than later.
Yeah, sooner (laughs).
No worries, thanks Joey.
Scar The Martyr’s debut album is out now via Roadrunner Records.