Remembering Slipknot’s Paul Gray One Year After His Death
It was one year ago today that Slipknot bassist, co-founder, and songwriter Paul Gray was found dead of an accidental drug overdose in a hotel room in Urbandale, Iowa. A year later, his bandmates prepare to soldier on, at least for the moment, with upcoming summer festival performances.
However, the devastating loss of a bandmate and brother is still very evident in interviews with the band. Frontman Corey Taylor has openly questioned the band continuing on without Gray, recently telling a Michigan radio station that “if this tour doesn’t work Slipknot might be over.” Meanwhile, drummer Joey Jordison has been the biggest proponent of keeping the band going. “As far as I’m concerned, Slipknot’s my baby and I have a bunch of songs written,” said Jordison. “And I’m in rehearsal right now with all the guys and it’s completely on fire.” Today, Jordison also penned an emotional open letter to his fallen bandmate on Facebook.
“Hey Paul, it was so great hanging out with you yesterday and today. Talking and reminiscing about old times and seeing you respond with some of the strongest gusts of wind I’ve ever felt,” Jordison wrote. “Paul, you always told it like it was. There was no one like you. That’s why you were my best friend. All the music that we’ve done together, all the times that we’ve shared, will live on forever. I miss you each and every day.”
A year after Gray’s passing, Jordison and his bandmates aren’t the only ones struggling with the Slipknot bassist’s death. Anthrax‘s Scott Ian also recalled playing with Gray. “Paul loved music so much. I was lucky to have the chance to play with Paul in the Roadrunner 25th anniversary band as well as a Dimebag [Darrell] tribute in Los Angeles, and playing with him was always a blast,” Ian told Noisecreep. “We were like kids learning songs together, really being super anal about learning riffs and making sure we played things correctly. He was a joy to work with.”
Gray’s musical career started in 1989 with the band VeXX, which featured future Slipknot members Josh Brainard and Anders Colsifini. The band changed its name to Inveigh Catharsis Same in 1993, and Gray teamed up with Jordison in 1994’s Anal Blast, which eventually led to Slipknot in 1995. During that time, he had the chance to share stages with many of his peers, from Slipknot’s U.S. tour debut on Ozzfest in 1999 to later treks with Iron Maiden, Puya, Hed PE, System of a Down, Metallica, and more.
Just days before Gray’s passing, Slipknot appeared on the same bill as Korn in Iowa. “I remember we were playing a show with Slipknot in Des Moines a day or two before he passed away,” Korn’s Jonathan Davis told Noisecreep. “He had a lot of great stuff going on in his life with a baby on the way, and was very happy when we saw him. And then, two days later he is dead, it’s so scary. It was sad to see that happen to such an incredible guy.”
“Whenever we had a show, Paul would come out. He played ‘Blind’ on stage with us at a show in LA once. He was our homie for sure. It’s so sad to think how fragile life is, and he passed away at such a young age.”
Watch a video of Slipknot’s press conference about Paul Gray on May 26, 2010