Michael Shawn Crahan (born September 24, 1969), more commonly known by his stage persona "Clown", is an American musician, music producer, and artist. He is best known as one of the two custom percussionists and co-founder of the Grammy-winning heavy metal band Slipknot. When performing with Slipknot, he is known as Number 6; being that the eight piece band follows a numbering scheme ranging from 0 to 8. (Number 2 is still assigned to deceased bassist and co-founding member Paul Gray). At 44, Crahan is the oldest member of Slipknot, and has been largely responsible for the band's success with his extensive involvement in Slipknot's media production. Outside Slipknot, Crahan has had two side project bands called To My Surprise, and Dirty Little Rabbits.
Crahan was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1969, Crahan mentioned in an interview at a college that he attended private schools as a child and "never learned to share" because he never had any siblings. Crahan's first band was "Modifidius", which he was a member with fellow Slipknot member Joey Jordison. He also once performed in bands such as "Heads on the Wall" & "One Cup of Fat" before forming "The Pale Ones", which would later become known as Slipknot. Crahan married his wife Chantel in June 1992, in Des Moines, Iowa. They now have four children; Alexandria, Gage, Gabrielle, and Simon. Crahan is also a filmographer and photographer, having published a Slipknot photo album "The Apocalyptic Nightmare" in 2012. In 2012, he also made his debut acting appearance in the film "The Devil's Carnival".
Crahan has stated that he likes animals and owns three cats. However, in an interview at the 2013 Download Festival, he stated that he is afraid of koalas.
In July 2013 Crahan is set to make his directing debut with a graphic novel Officer Downe, written by Joe Casey and Chris Burnham. Perhaps the team will create a franchise on Officer Downe. Casey will write the script and Skip Williamson and Mark Neveldine will produce the film.
In 1993, Crahan formed a metal band known as "The Pale Ones" with fellow musician Paul Gray, which featured himself as the band's drummer. Wanting to expand the band's percussion section, Crahan brought in Joey Jordison to fill in as drummer while Crahan's efforts were focused on custom percussion, giving the band a distinct sound. In 1996, they released a song known as Slipknot, and through Joey's suggestion, the band changed their name to Slipknot and released their first official album. This album would later become known to the band as their demo. Crahan felt that the original vocalist for Slipknot was too guttural, and was the primary reason for Slipknot's inability to get a record deal. He brought in Corey Taylor from another local band called Stone Sour, whose vocals were more melodic. Slipknot got a record deal a couple years later and released their first official album in 1999. Slipknot gained major notability the same year by touring with Ozzfest. In Slipknot's early years, Crahan brought several dead pig heads on stage.
As well as lending his percussion talents to the band, Crahan has also sung backing vocals on a number of songs Slipknot has both recorded and performed live. He also wrote the original draft of "Tattered & Torn", which originally appeared on the band's first album, Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. which featured the original singer of Slipknot before Corey Taylor was brought in as a replacement. This album has since been considered a demo by the band, and their 1999 self-titled album is now considered their first actual album. A second version of Tattered & Torn was released on their self-titled album, and is the version that most people know.
Outside Slipknot, Crahan has founded Big Orange Clown Records, a vanity label within Sanctuary Records, which has so far signed the metalcore band Gizmachi. He also acted as director for, and assembled Slipknot's 2005 DVD, Voliminal: Inside the Nine, while the band engaged a brief hiatus.
He also performed with To My Surprise, recording guitar and vocals for the band's self-titled debut album. The band received little interest due to their album being released amidst the success of Slipknot members Corey Taylor, James Root and Joey Jordison's side projects, Stone Sour and the Murderdolls, respectively. To My Surprise was later dropped by Roadrunner Records. In 2007, Crahan began performing as drummer for Dirty Little Rabbits. The band was a supporting act for Stone Sour during their North American tour in Summer 2007, and have released one EP, titled Breeding. They have since signed a deal with The End Records as of November, 2008.
In 2009 he contributed to Bring Me the Horizon's remix album, Suicide Season: Cut Up!, by remixing the track "Sleep With One Eye Open". Also in 2009 Shawn remixed a Suicide Silence track on their Wake Up EP entitled "Wake Up (Clown of Slipknot Remix)". In 2010, he contributed to Escape the Fate's This War Is Ours deluxe edition, by remixing the track "This War Is Ours (The Guillotine Part II)" and in 2011 he remixed "Angels of Clarity" for Dead by April on their compilation album "Stronger". Crahan has confirmed the formation of a brand new side project called The Black Dots of Death who released their debut studio album Ever Since We Were Children on March 28, 2011. He is the director of many of Slipknot's music videos, DVDs and other artistic projects.
Crahan generally wears clown-style masks while performing with Slipknot, however on occasion, when performing the band's song "Vermilion", all band members will wear their own life masks instead.
He also features as the carny "Tamer" in The Devil's Carnival, a short film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman to be screened on tour beginning in April, 2012.
Influence on Slipknot
Crahan has been credited with several things that Slipknot is known for, such as their masks. Crahan began wearing a clown mask to rehearsals as a joke when the band was still fairly unknown, spawning the mask theme that the band is known for today. He is also credited with coining the term "maggots" to describe Slipknot's fans, stating that as maggots feed off of dead flesh, the youth that make up the majority of Slipknot's fan-base feed off of the dead flesh of society.
Crahan's has had several masks throughout his career with Slipknot, all of which are clown themed except for his "death mask", which was used in the video for the song "Vermillion". Crahan's earliest known mask and perhaps his most referenced one is one that he used during Slipknot's earliest self-titled album which is a happy looking clown mask, balding with long orange hair. Other
Recently, Crahan has announced that he will be working on a documentary which tackles eating disorders. He has since recruited volunteer interviewees by announcing his intentions for the documentary on Facebook.
Crahan is known for his innovation with percussion while recording or performing with Slipknot. When he's with Slipknot, Crahan uses a wide variety of percussion, including a customized set that includes Anheuser Busch beer kegs, which he is usually seen to strike with a wooden baseball bat. On occasion, he has also been seen to use a 55 gallon steel drum. Conventional percussion includes Gretsch Drums, bass drums, and floor toms, and Pearl Competitor Marching Snares.
- 18x22" bass drum (overturned)
- 16x20" bass drum (overturned)
- 12x14" tom
- 13x15" tom
- Vic Firth Customized Drum Mallets
- Beer keg (x2)
- 50 gallon steel drum
- "15 Marching Snare (Midnight Black)
- Two cameras mounted on the rig which he uses to record himself, the band, and the audience.
- Wooden Baseball bat
- Pearl Championship RMALTS Marching Snare Carrier
- Vic Firth Customized Drum Sticks
- 12" red wooden claves
- Franklin Batting gloves
- Sandpaper (on "Scissors" track from Slipknot)
With Dirty Little Rabbits
Crahan uses Gretsch Drums and Sabian Cymbals.
- 18x22" bass drum
- 6x14" snare drum
- 9x12" rack tom
- 14x14" floor tom
- 16x16" floor tom
- 14" AA Rock Hi Hats
- 20" AA China
- 18" AA Medium Crash
- 19" AA Medium Crash
- 18" HH Medium Thin Crash
- 20" HH China