The Real Reason Chris Fehn Left Slipknot

One of the prime musical oddities to come out of Des Moines, Iowa, is Slipknot. Iowa might not be known for producing musicians in a way that, say, Seattle or Los Angeles is, but Slipknot powered through the Midwest in all of their heavy metal glory despite being halfway between the two sides of the continent that would've given them an easier time breaking into stardom.

Slipknot is perhaps as famous for their heavy screams and driving rhythms as they are for their unique aesthetic. Each member of the band would take their place on stage, usually wearing some sort of matching jumpsuit and always wearing their signature masks. To young metalheads across the country in the early 2000s, the masks were the only way to identify which of the musicians was which.

The band was founded in 1995, and the band is still touring to this very day. Granted, a few of the members have branched out to take on other heavy metal projects, so the band's body composition isn't exactly the same as it was in its early years. Other former members of Slipknot left the band for less pleasant reasons. For example, Chris Fehn.

Chris Fehn takes his leave

Fehn joined Slipknot in 1998, according to the Des Moines Register, and played with the band until he split in 2019. Fehn was the band's hard-pounding and wild percussionist. You probably wouldn't recognize his face, but his mask could be picked out from any lineup, with its elongated nose that made the drummer look like a demonically possessed, Lovecraftian version of Pinocchio.

When Fehn left the band, he did so with a lawsuit, and Corey Taylor, Slipknot's frontman, prepped fans for the storm that was about to happen before the news broke. Taylor tweeted the morning of the incident: "You're gonna read a lot of bullsh*t today. This is all I'll say. JUST YOU WAIT TIL THE TRUTH COMES OUT. Long Live The Knot."

The mystery and the sentence consisting of all capital letters makes this tweet sound "heavy metal," right? According to Loudwire, Slipknot then published an official statement on their website (now removed) about parting ways with Fehn, saying: "Slipknot's focus is on making album #6, and our upcoming shows around the world, our best ever. Chris knows why he is no longer a part of Slipknot. We are disappointed that he chose to point fingers and manufacture claims, rather than doing what was necessary to continue to be a part of Slipknot. We would have preferred he not take the path that he has, but evolution in all things is a necessary part of this life. Long Live The Knot."

What the lawsuit was all about

It turns out that Chris Fehn discovered some business dealings that he thought were a bit on the shady side. Certain members of the band had created businesses without Fehn's knowledge, as the Des Moines Register reported. Since their band's pay model includes a profit share system, this could've potentially meant that money was being moved around in ways that affected Fehn's share. Fehn filed a lawsuit against the band's manager, Corey Taylor, and fellow percussionist Michael Shawn Crahan, along with six of the business entities, claiming that the money was flowing disproportionately to Crahan and Taylor.

"My client really is just hoping to figure out a way to work this out with the people he's worked side by side with for the last 20 years," Fehn's attorney, Joseph Dunne, told the Des Moines Register. Apparently, though perhaps to no one's surprise, that's not how Slipknot's management saw the situation.

It's argued that Fehn was the band's employee

According to NME, the band's manager, Rob Shore, was also named in the lawsuit. Shore claims that Fehn was never a partner in the band in the first place, but was instead a hired employee.

"Mr. Fehn performed with Slipknot and received a fee for doing so," Shore's attorney said in a filing for the case. "He is not a shareholder, owner or member of any business entity he names as a defendant in this action." A later filing states that all members who aren't Taylor or Crahan are also employees.

In the end, the lawsuit is likely to come down to what papers were signed, regardless of anything that may have been said or implied, which is kind of a bummer for the guy, since he was a huge part of the band for most of its existence. No question but that issues surrounding money, especially when someone feels they're not getting their due, are understandable reasons for any band member to quit. It doesn't look like Fehn will be rejoining Slipknot anytime soon.