Slipknot's M. Shawn Crahan pushes art book while touring
M. Shawn "Clown" Crahan, energetic percussionist for Slipknot, likes to talk. He'll readily admit that while his bodyguard taps on the door to signal--for the fourth time--that the interview is over.
Crahan is particularly enthusiastic these days about his new coffee-table art-and-photography book, "The Apocalyptic Nightmare Journey" (MTV Books). The tome collects 11 years of manipulated medium format Polaroids, each an exploration in darkness and light, in the form of 187 giant images. Lars Ulrich of Metallica penned the forward for the book after seeing Crahan's photography at a gallery show.
As Slipknot winds its way through the country atop the bill of this summer's Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, Crahan is spending his days off at bookstores signing copies "The Apocalyptic Nightmare Journey" for fans. He's also doing daily book signings at venues on the tour.
"I'm selling the book every day at the concerts," the bearded, bespectacled Crahan said before a signing at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ.. "It's a more intimate setting [there] … [and the book is] a lot cheaper than it is in most [bookstores]," he added, explaining that fans can grab a copy at Slipknot's Mayhem Festival tour stops for the discounted price of $30.
"We're in the corporate world," Crahan said of the book-publishing industry. "The corporate world is a lot different in book-selling than music. My books don't get to be scanned [for the purposes of tracking sales figures], is the best way to say it, when I'm [selling it] at the venue. In rock 'n' roll, I used to own a bar. Bands that were on small labels, they bring in a SoundScan sheet and sell some CDs. I would sign off on it, making it legit and faxing it to SoundScan. And those would count for next week's sales. "
In the corporate book business, Crahan cannot take a form to a venue's general manager and have him or her sign it to prove he sold 100 books.
"It's quite a different business," he said. "But in the end it doesn't matter. I'm not here to try to impress anybody outside the normal world with those kinds of facts. What matters to me is that my publisher, MTV Books, is happy. I want a chance to continue with art books."
Crahan said his goal since childhood was to create an art book and "be on the shelf with a lot of the greats."
"I wanted to take my art from my subconscious and bring it out into a tangible thing for you to hold," he said.
That said, Crahan--who was accompanied by his teenage daughter at the Tempe book-signing appearance--explained that his book tour is geared toward the serious art lover.
"I explain it to people like this: It's as if you're in a classroom of 30," he said. "One kid is going to make a serious living or dedicate his/or her life to art. Where the other 29 might into sports--which, there's nothing wrong with sports; I like sports. I could say computers but there's a smaller percentage that like art. The book tour is going well, but it's catered to that one person. [It] comes down to that one kid.
"So everybody that's here today, whether it's one or another number--I don't care about [that]," Crahan continued. "These are the ones that are dedicated to trying to get an epiphany or revelation of art to push them to a point in their life of creation or imagination. I cater to all sorts of people. And they want to hear my experience with what I've created."
26 - Ridgewood, NJ - Bookends (book signing)
27 - Camden, NJ - Susquehanna Bank Center (Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival)
28 - Burgettstown, PA - First Niagara Pavilion (Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival)
29 - Bristow, VA - Jiffy Lube Live (Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival)
31 - Saratoga Springs, NY - Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival)
1 - Darien Center, NY - Darien Lake Performing Arts Center (Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival)
3 - Mansfield, MA - Comcast Center (Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival)
4 - Scranton, PA - Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain (Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival)
5 - Hartford, CT - Comcast Theatre (Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival)
8 - Holmdel, NJ - PNC Bank Arts Center (with As I Lay Dying and Asking Alexandria)
9 - Gilford, NH - Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion
11 - Toronto, Ontario - Downsview Park (Heavy T.O.)
17 - Pacific Junction, IA - Mid America Motorplex (Knotfest)
18 - Somerset, WI - Somerset Amphitheater (Knotfest)