What a difference a decade can make. 

Back in 2011 and heading into 2012, the members of Slipknot were grieving the death in 2010 of Paul Gray, bassist and a key songwriter in the popular masked metal band, and above all, a close friend.


The band in 2011 had taken some tentative steps toward moving forward by playing a few festivals in Europe and Australia. And by spring 2012, Slipknot’s members seemed more optimistic that the band had a future without Gray and had accepted a headlining slot on that summer’s multi-band Mayhem Festival. Still, nothing was guaranteed. And a split a year later with drummer Joey Jordison added a further question mark to Slipknot’s future.

It was against this backdrop that Jay Weinberg became part of Slipknot’s comeback story. In what was something of a blind date, the drummer in 2014 arrived for an audition. He hadn’t been told what band had requested the audition, and didn’t learn it was Slipknot until 20 minutes before the band arrived. This approach was meant to test Weinberg to see if he’d rise to the occasion.


Looking back now, it makes perfect sense that Slipknot saw Weinberg as a potential replacement for Jordison. The group had a history with the drummer that stretched back more than a decade.

When Weinberg was 10, his father, Max Weinberg (yes, the long-time drummer in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band), was doing a stint as bandleader on “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.” That year, Slipknot had rocketed to stardom behind their double-platinum self-titled debut album and got booked to perform on the late-night show. Knowing his son had started to take to heavy music, Max Weinberg wanted to hip Jay to this emerging metal powerhouse.

“He saw Slipknot come out and play a song off of the first record and was like ‘Oh my God, these guys are crazy. My kid’s going to love this,’” Jay Weinberg said, recounting the story in an early March phone interview. “I believe he went and introduced himself to the guys (in Slipknot) and they were like ‘Hey, yeah, thanks for having us on the show. If you ever want to come out to a show, bring your whole family. We’d love to have you guys.’ And to his credit, he took them up on it.”


The Weinberg family saw Slipknot on that summer’s Ozzfest tour, and Weinberg was blown away by their performance. After the show, the Weinberg family met the nine-member group. In the years that followed, the Weinbergs would see Slipknot and visit with the band when they played concerts near their New Jersey home. Jay Weinberg became friends with the band members, to the point where they stayed in touch between Slipknot tours. 

Along the way, Weinberg got a chance to be part of a big-time band when at age 18 he subbed on drums for his father, who had to miss dates on Springsteen’s tour promoting his 2007 album “Magic” because of his role on “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.”

“You know, it was an incredible experience, and it’s something that for sure I learned so many of the things that I still use to carry myself from day to day in the world of high-stakes rock and roll, so to speak,” Weinberg said. 

Fast forward to 2014, and Slipknot needed a new drummer. Weinberg feels he became an option because he not only was a big fan of the band and had enough skill to play what are often frenetic and complex drum parts, he had been around Slipknot enough to understand the loss the band was still experiencing and the intensity, dedication and work ethic that goes into being in Slipknot.

“There was this whole extreme element of (making) the band’s first music without Paul Gray. Just playing Slipknot songs was such a small percentage of what the task was,” Weinberg said. “It was so much more about finding that right combination, because bands are all chemistry. (It’s about) those relationships and how you work together and communicate with each other and respect what is there and then have respect for yourself and your own dynamic of what you bring to the table…So the fact that they knew I would capture the ethos and the spirit of what was going on, especially with the intense emotion of moving on from a very difficult period of the band’s history and trying to elevate what we’re doing into a new era of the band, was very important and it goes so far beyond music.”

Weinberg clicked with Slipknot during the audition, so much so that the following day, he and the other members of the band – vocalist Corey Taylor, guitarist Jim Root, percussionist M. Shawn Crahan, guitarist Mick Thomson, DJ Sid Wilson, bassist Alessandro Venturella and sampler Craig Jones — went to work on what became the 2014 album, “.5: The Gray Chapter.”

The band’s fifth album, “.5: The Gray Chapter” extended Slipknot’s unbroken string of commercially successful albums, topping “Billboard” magazine’s album chart and earned three Grammy nominations.

Extensive touring followed, which solidified Weinberg’s place in the band, and set the stage for making the sixth Slipknot album, 2019’s “We Are Not Your Kind.” Another chart-topping effort, it’s been hailed as one of Slipknot’s best albums.

Weinberg thinks he’s been able to bring some enthusiasm and excitement that has helped Slipknot move forward and thrive after the uncertain future that followed Gray’s death.

“I can only speak to what I can contribute to our dynamic, but hopefully that did have some effect on my elder statesmen/brothers,” he said.

Even the pandemic didn’t stop the band, as Slipknot kept the momentum going by making a new studio album that will be released later this year. But where the band members worked together in person on “We Are Not Your Kind,” the pandemic made that impossible for the new album.

Instead, each band member had to work separately to craft parts for the songs, and in many cases, record their final tracks under the guidance of producer Joe Barresi. Weinberg is excited about the band’s work, but because the new album is still being mixed, he wasn’t ready to compare it to Slipknot’s other albums. But he said it will be dark, intense and emotionally driven, while offering some fresh stylistic wrinkles.

“I would hope that at the end of the day, we can take those styles of everything that we are and turn them all the way up as much as we can,” he said. “That, to me, is what we’re going for. We want to create a visceral piece of music that’s interesting for us to play, interesting for other people to listen to.”

Weinberg said he hopes the band will debut some of the new songs on this spring’s Knotfest Roadshow tour. There has also been talk of performing a few older tracks that haven’t been played live in many years. Whatever the set list, the goal will be to deliver shows that are fresh and exciting for the band to play and for fans to experience.

“We’re always trying to push the boundaries,” Weinberg said. “We’ve got new music on the way. So that always, when you’re up to this new creative stuff, you hope that kind of starts to show its face in all different ways, whether that’s the visuals of our show taking new shape, guys in the band having new masks. I’m one of those guys. So there’s all these different facets. So what we hope from this tour is just a sharper version of Slipknot than ever before.”


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