Joey Jordison remembered by Roadrunner A&R who signed Slipknot

"He knew as much about Roadrunner's roster and history as I did, if not more"

Monte Conner, the former executive A&R at Roadrunner Records who signed Slipknot, has paid tribute to Joey Jordison in a lengthy new essay.

Slipknot’s founding drummer died last Monday (July 26), passing away peacefully in his sleep. A cause of death has not yet been confirmed.

“Joey’s death has left us with empty hearts and feelings of indescribable sorrow,” a statement from Jordison’s family read. “To those that knew Joey, understood his quick wit, his gentle personality, giant heart, and his love for all things family and music.

“The family of Joey have asked that friends, fans, and media understandably respect our need for privacy and peace at this incredibly difficult time.”

Thousands of tributes have been pouring in for the late musician including one from industry vet Conner, who is currently VP of A&R at Nuclear Blast Records. Conner signed Slipknot to heavy metal juggernaut Roadrunner Records in 1998.

“Joey Jordison was one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” Conner wrote in an essay for Variety. “Fans know him for his explosive, no-holds-barred drumming style, but most don’t realize he was also a gifted songwriter, arranger and guitarist who understood the art of crafting huge choruses and hooks. Along with the band’s bassist, Paul Gray (who died in 2010), Joey wrote the majority of the band’s music, with vocalist Corey Taylor adding the unforgettable lyrics that would resonate with and speak to the ‘Maggots’, as the band called their fans.”

Slipknot's Joey Jordison
Joey Jordison. CREDIT: Martin Philbey/Redferns

Conner went on to recall hearing the band for the first time. “As senior VP of A&R for Roadrunner Records, the band first came onto my radar in late 1997, as bands often do, from right within the label’s walls. In this case it was via our Midwest regional radio rep, John Kuliak, who was tipped off to the band by Sophia John, one of his contacts at KKDM-FM, a  station in Slipknot’s hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. After seeing the band live and calling me to rave about what he had witnessed, John put me in contact with Sophia, who regularly sent me new demos (two songs at time, coming a few weeks apart) for several months. During this time, Corey Taylor replaced the band’s original singer, Anders Colsefini.

“Finally, in early 1998, I received the demo for ‘Spit It Out’ – and heard what I’d needed to hear. It was the first track they’d written that contained all the elements that ultimately would define Slipknot and put them on the map: It was raw, seething, emotional, explosive, creative, guttural and beautiful all at the same time, and completely untethered from tradition.”

Conner then remembered meeting Jordison for the first time, explaining that he was blown away by his knowledge of Roadrunner and its history.

“He not only had a vast knowledge of extreme and underground heavy metal, but he was an encyclopaedia on all things Roadrunner Records,” he continued. “He wanted to talk about Deicide, Obituary, Suffocation, Sepultura and all his favourite bands on the label, and hear some insider stories. He knew as much about Roadrunner’s roster and history as I did, if not more — and I’d been with the label since 1987.”

Slipknot
Slipknot in 2000. CREDIT: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

He added: “I could also tell that as much as he genuinely wanted to talk about those bands, he was also trying to impress me… and he certainly did. In all of my A&R travels I had never experienced a musician who was so plugged into and knowledgeable about the label and even my career.”

“Joey was a truly groundbreaking character who will be sorely missed by metal fans worldwide,” Conner concluded. “I feel incredibly lucky to have been a part of his all-too-short but seismic journey.”

You can read Connor’s tribute in full here.

Slipknot paid tribute to Jordison on Friday (July 30) by sharing a moving eight and a half minute video made up of live performances, behind-the-scenes footage, interviews.

The band captioned the video: “Our hearts go out to Joey’s family and loved ones at this time of tremendous loss. Joey Jordison’s art, talent, and spirit could not be contained or be held back.

“Joey’s impact on Slipknot, on our lives, and on the music that he loved, is incalculable. Without him there would be no us. We mourn his loss with the entire Slipknot family.

“We love you, Joey.”

Following the news of Jordison’s death, Download boss Andy Copping recalled the time that the drummer “saved the day” by stepping in to help Metallica at the festival.

Sharing an image of the late musician onstage with Metallica on Instagram, Copping remembered Lars Ulrich being a “no show” for the group’s scheduled headline performance in 2004 (he’d been taken to hospital after falling ill, leading his bandmates to enlist a stand-in).

Others who have paid their respects include Metallica, Papa Roach and Skin of Skunk Anansie.

Meanwhile, Slipknot fans have been sharing footage of Joey Jordison’s final gig with the iconic metal band.

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