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Slipknot’s Clown Details ‘Antennas to Hell’ + Explains Keeping Current Bassist Out of Sight

Slipknot's Clown
Jo Hale, Getty Images

Slipknot percussionist Shawn “Clown” Crahan talks about his disdain for greatest hits albums and why their forthcoming retrospective ‘Antennas to Hell’ is so much more. In his typically candid fashion, Crahan also talks about why temporary bassist Donnie Steele will remain off stage while playing with the band.

Slipknot is set to release a 19-track collection of the best songs from their career, what some might call a greatest hits album. If you plan on labeling ‘Antennas to Hell’ as such, just make sure that Crahan isn’t within earshot — he will definitely take offense. “‘Greatest Hits’ means one of three things to me,” Crahan tells SPIN. “Either the band is breaking up, they’re trying to get off their record company, or they’ve become some pathetic infomercial at two in the morning and their label is sucking them dry while a couple of ‘rock star’ actors try to sell their shit when they should be jamming.”

The percussionist further explains that none of those statements are true of Slipknot’s situation.”The songs were put in a certain order by us, so you get a very unique listening experience; it’s like its own piece of art … Also, I spent two months on the CD booklet,” which Crahan describes as “a huge booklet of some sculpture, photographs and theory that kids can ponder, conceptualize and really enjoy.”

Another added bonus of the collection is the second disc, featuring the bands performance from the 2009 Download Festival. Crahan revealed that his playing was fueled by a shot of Absinthe he did with Marilyn Manson prior to taking the stage, after which the band “kicked the living s— out of that show.”

As for future performances, the band is set to headline this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival as well as two installments of their very own Knotfest. The inaugural run of the festival — set for Aug. 17 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Aug. 18 in Somerset, Wis. — boasts a heavy hitting lineup, including Deftones, Lamb of God, Serj Tankian and more.

After doing so for their first performances following the death of founding member and bassist Paul Gray, the band will again employ former guitarist Donnie Steele to play bass — from backstage. “What gives him the right to be onstage with us right now?” Clown explains. “When we’re going through an experience like this with our fans, they need to concentrate on the eight members that are grieving, not on someone new. This isn’t a diss on Donnie. I love Donnie, but we chose to tour for just one reason — to share the tragedy, pain and grief of what happened to Paul with our fans instead of going through it alone.”

Slipknot begin their 2012 U.S. touring schedule on June 30 in San Bernardino, Calif., for the Rockstar Mayhem Fest and will release ‘Antennas to Hell’ on July 24.

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