Musicians Who Can't Stand Slipknot

Slipknot has come a long way from their origins as a nine-piece (yes, nine-piece) band from Iowa whose grotesque masks and matching boiler suits were probably their most defining feature. Thanks to their self-titled 1999 album, they quickly became mainstays of the nascent nu-metal scene in the late '90s, as behind those masks were some very talented musicians who created their share of enduring, hard-hitting tracks that remain beloved by heavy music fans to this day. But that's not to say Slipknot is everybody's cup of tea.

Every band, no matter how popular they are or were, will always have their share of haters. And these tend to include fellow musicians, may they be contemporaries, younger talents, or established veterans. Even former members will lash out at their ex-bandmates if they feel they were done dirty. That is very much the case with Slipknot (and at times, lead singer Corey Taylor in particular), which has dealt with detractors from their earliest years in the spotlight to far more recent times. 

They've earned the ire of bands and individuals from various music scenes (as well as a couple of former members), but as they've proven on many an occasion, Slipknot is not a band that would back down when faced with adversity.

Mushroomhead

Of course, there isn't any better place to start the topic than with Mushroomhead, the Cleveland act that predated Slipknot by a few years as a heavy band with masks and way more than the conventional number of members. In a 2006 interview with Midwest Movement (via Blabbermouth), drummer Steve "Skinny" Felton accused Slipknot of compromising their ideals to get to where they were in the metal scene. "They sold out everyone they possibly could to get that check," he said. "They traded a platinum record for dignity, honor and respect." 

Meanwhile, now-former vocalist Jeffrey Nothing (aka Jeffrey Hatrix) had some choice words to say a year later, referring to the Iowa-based band as "Roadrunner-invented clones of us," as quoted by Metal Hammer. In Mushroomhead's defense, it wasn't like Slipknot didn't fan the flames during the peak years of the two bands' rivalry. Speaking to Revolver in 2018, late Slipknot bassist Paul Gray admitted he and guitarist Jim Root tried to punch some fans as they received a hostile reception during a 1999 show in Cleveland. 

It seems the feud has died down, at least for Felton, who, at the 17-minute mark of his June 2020 appearance on the "Talk Toomey" podcast, admitted that Mushroomhead's beef with Slipknot was much ado about nothing. "God bless them, they're still one of the biggest bands out there, man," the drummer said. "It proves that masked heavy metal and that style of entertainment is still relevant – it's still very relevant."

Dave Brockie of GWAR

Sticking with the theme of bands that wear masks and/or costumes onstage, GWAR predates both Mushroomhead and Slipknot. Given how they've been around since the 1980s, it's not shocking that GWAR's late founding frontman, Dave Brockie (aka Oderus Urungus), had quite a lot to say about Slipknot and Corey Taylor, with much of it unflattering or even dismissive.

In 2004, Brockie sat down with Abrasive Rock, which asked him about newer bands that also wore on-stage costumes. He didn't mince any words when it came to Slipknot, hinting that the angry tone of their music didn't seem authentic. "I see Slipknot, and they're 'yeah, we're so mad and evil' blah, blah, blah,'" the GWAR singer quipped. "Okay, whatever. Your misplaced angst is really lost on me, because I know you're rich as f***! You know? And besides that, you're from Iowa."

Speaking to FHM in 2007, Brockie referred to Slipknot as a "GWAR tribute band" and blasted Taylor for being a whiner when he complained in an interview about how hot his on-stage outfit felt. And while he still felt there was no way Slipknot could keep up with GWAR in terms of gimmicks, he was more forgiving when it came to the Iowa band's choice of attire. "They dress up in these silly costumes and we appreciate that," Brockie explained. "I see no reason to denigrate Slipknot or what any other band has done."

Chad Kroeger

Say what you want about Nickelback being one of the most hated bands in modern rock history. But whether you like them or not, the Canadian band has carved out a long and successful career as a no-gimmicks hard rock act with a ton of hooks. That's not exactly the way one would describe Slipknot, and as frontman Chad Kroeger said in a 2017 interview with Metal Covenant, it's these gimmicks that prevent the Iowa metal icons from being as commercially successful as they should be.

"Well, show me. Show me. Write one. I have yet to hear one," Kroeger said in response to Corey Taylor's assertion that it's very easy to write a hit single. "They had to put on masks and jump around. How good can your music be if you've got to beat each other up on stage, throw up in your own masks every night?" The Nickelback singer also took shots at Taylor's more conventional melodic hard rock side project, Stone Sour. "He got tired of sitting behind a mask — he wanted people to know what he looks like — so he started Stone Sour," Kroeger continued.

Speaking to 98KUPD, Taylor fired back, claiming he never said it was easy to write hit songs and accusing the Nickelback frontman of living on "planet Kroeger." He also poked fun at Nickelback's unpopularity with many rock fans. "I was so cued up to say some stuff about him and then I just started reading all the comments online," Taylor continued. "I don't have to say a damn thing. He is not a liked person."

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons

Much like Nickelback, Imagine Dragons are another band that doesn't get much love from certain sections of rock's broader fandom. Count Corey Taylor among those who couldn't care less for the Las Vegas band's brand of catchy pop-rock, as he went as far as to declare Imagine Dragons as the heirs to Nickelback's perceived spot as the most hated band in rock. 

During a 2019 appearance on Steve Jones' 955KLOS show "Jonesy's Jukebox," the Slipknot singer reacted to the Sex Pistols guitarist's assessment of Nickelback as the "scapegoat" of rock music. "They really are," Taylor said. "However, they're passing the baton to Imagine Dragons right now, and I love it ... I'll tell you what they are. They're awful."

It didn't take long for Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds to issue a response. In an Instagram post that has since been deleted, he mentioned Slipknot, Foster the People, The 1975, Smashing Pumpkins, and other acts that dissed his band through the years, wrapping up his post with a plea for more compassion and respect in the music industry. "I don't feel anger towards them actually, just more of a sadness that this industry embraces, even celebrates this mentality," Reynolds wrote (via Yahoo). "I wish it felt like a place where artists stood by each other and supported one another — regardless of our different tastes and voices."

Former drummer Joey Jordison

One can argue that former Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison, who died in 2021 at the age of 46, was just as important — if not more important — to the band's signature sound as Corey Taylor. Blessed with lightning-fast speed and precision to match his powerful skin-smashing, Jordison played drums on four Slipknot albums before leaving in 2013. At that time, he explained his departure with that old, generic standby of "personal reasons," but he would go into greater detail in a 2016 interview with Metal Hammer, explaining that he was suffering from a rare nervous system disease and claiming that he was actually fired from Slipknot via email.

"No band meeting? None. Anything from management? No, nothing. All I got was a stupid f***ing email saying I was out of the band that I busted my a** my whole life to f***ing create," Jordison told Metal Hammer. "That's exactly what happened and it was hurtful. I didn't deserve that s*** after what I'd done and everything I'd been through." The drummer further alleged that his former Slipknot bandmates were confused about his medical issues and that they mistakenly thought he was doing drugs.

Although Jordison added that he still felt love for his ex-bandmates, he stressed that he was still hurt by the manner in which he was dismissed from Slipknot. "[The] way they did it was f***ing cowardly," he said.

Former percussionist Chris Fehn

Some six years after Joey Jordison left Slipknot, longtime percussionist Chris Fehn was fired in March 2019, with the band issuing a since-deleted statement that didn't go into specifics but nonetheless accused Fehn of making up stories and false allegations. This came mere days after he took Slipknot to court, accusing the band — particularly Corey Taylor and percussionist Shawn "Clown" Crahan — of creating separate financial companies that collected touring and merchandise money but didn't pay him a single cent. This was on top of the existing company that pays all Slipknot members a share of the profit they make on the road.

That same month, Rock Feed spoke to Joel B. Rothman, one of Fehn's lawyers, who explained the reason why the percussionist sued his bandmates — he was allegedly given an unfair proposal that would leave him on less than equal footing with the rest of Slipknot, all for him to participate in the making of their sixth album, "We Are Not Your Kind."

"If you had spent 20 years of your life devoted to an enterprise like Slipknot ... and then you were told you were a second-class citizen here, I doubt that anyone who's listening to this would feel any differently from the way Chris felt, which was that he wasn't being given the respect that he deserved," Rothman said. His client, however, eventually dropped the lawsuit in October 2020.

Machine Gun Kelly

The 2021 feud between Machine Gun Kelly and Slipknot was as bizarre a musical beef as you can get. You've got a young rapper-turned-pop-punker in one corner, and elder statesmen of heavy metal in another. And it all started when Corey Taylor dropped a comment on an episode of "Cutter's Rockcast" in February of that year, one where he didn't name anybody in specific but strongly hinted that he was referring to MGK. "I [hate] the artists who failed in one genre and decided to go rock — and I think he knows who he is," Taylor said.

Seven months later, Kelly likewise didn't name anyone while addressing his fans at that year's Riot Fest. But it was blatantly obvious who he was referring to in this YouTube clip, where he launched into a profanity-laced tirade about not wanting to be 50 years old and still wearing a strange-looking mask onstage. He then took to Twitter to insinuate that Taylor was bitter that his verse on one of Kelly's songs got scrapped. "[I]t was f***ing terrible, so i didn't use it," the younger musician wrote. "he got mad about it, and talked s*** to a magazine about the same album he was almost on."

What followed was more Twitter back-and-forth between Taylor and MGK, with the former claiming he voluntarily pulled his contribution and the latter insisting that it was actually bad. To be fair, Kelly has since expressed remorse for how he handled the situation, admitting in his documentary "Life in Pink" that things might have gotten blown out of proportion because his and Taylor's egos got in the way.

Fred Durst

If Limp Bizkit seemingly made music for the average drunken frat bro, Slipknot made music for ... the unfit and unattractive — at least according to Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst. He apparently felt the latter way about the Iowa metallers, as alleged by Corey Taylor during a performance in New York in December 1999. "He said, and I quote, 'Slipknot's fans are a bunch of fat, ugly kids,'" Taylor said, as quoted by MTV. "So I said, 'Fred, you may have a lot of money and be all over the world, but when you talk s**t about Slipknot and our fans ... we will kill you."

Taylor would double down on the anti-Limp Bizkit rhetoric on an Australian TV show, answering a fan's question about Slipknot's feud with the rap-rockers. After retelling the story of Durst's "fat, ugly kids" comment, Taylor quipped that he was one himself before playing the Uno reverse card on his erstwhile rival. "Slipknot fans, for the most part, enjoy all kinds of music, like Limp Bizkit, maybe? So what you're basically saying is that your fans are fat, ugly kids, too?"

It was a classic comeback, but by the 2010s, the feud had considerably simmered to the point that, according to Taylor, Durst's children were big Slipknot fans. The two nu-metal frontmen even went as far as to pose together for photos. Talk about time healing the proverbial old wounds.

Billie Joe Armstrong

Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong also made his disdain for Slipknot known during a live performance. At a September 2000 show in London to promote the release of Green Day's then-upcoming album "Warning," a fan threw a clown mask at the stage early on in the set. Armstrong put on the mask, mockingly pretended to be a member of Slipknot, and threw the item back at the audience. "Oh scary, you've got masks, a***holes," he taunted. "Why don't you try writing a good f***ing song for a change." Much later on in the show, Armstrong took another jab at the masked band, telling fans, "Dedicate this song to the person you hate most in the world. Think about killing the bastard. Take Slipknot, for instance."

Regardless of whether Armstrong's dislike of Slipknot's music was momentary or long-term, that hasn't made Corey Taylor any less of a Green Day fan, if his choice of acoustic cover songs is any indication. Taylor covered "Pulling Teeth" and "She" – both from Green Day's 1994 breakout album "Dookie" — at a 2015 show in New York City, showing reverence to the California pop-punkers despite their lead singer's apparent feelings about his songwriting ability ... or perceived lack thereof.