Paul was determined to get Joey involved with his new project, despite failing to receive his interest in earlier projects such as Body Pit. Paul met up with Joey at Sinclair's where Joey worked nights, there he tempted Joey to watch rehearsals within Anders' basement. Joey reluctantly agreed and despite missing two rehearsals due to work priorities, eventually made it down to the basement to view a practice session. This basement, was "largely, open spaced", not only was the area so small and cramped but for soundproofing the members used carpet samples and scraps from a nearby pet grooming centre, these made the whole basement smell of Cat piss. The first song that Joey heard them play was a song known as "Slipknot", followed by "Gently" and "Fur". Joey soon realised that he had to be in this band and soon began to play the drums; pushing Shawn onto percussion. A band had formed.
Within the cramped basement new songs were being turned out by the minute, including titles such as "Killers Are Quiet", "Bitchslap", "Do Nothing", "Confessions", "Some Feel", "Part of Me" and "Tattered and Torn". Paul, Shawn and Joey also began to meet up at Sinclair's to discuss ideas and plans for the future. Here they planned everything, here they decided the rules that define the current Slipknot.
4. "We would not allow people to have any sort of influence on the band"
1. "We do not answer to anyone" 2. "We do not worry about trends" 3. "We play what we want"
Shawn and Joey also decided that the band would require three drummers to provide a hardcore audio assault. Shawn wanted a drummer to the left and right with one at the back controlling it all, creating a wall of power, a fist layer... . Joey plays the main set and as a result is the main drummer who holds the band together. Shawn is the "Total Power Drummer" and is all aggression. The third element of percussion was often performed by Anders. Within Sinclair's Shawn and Joey also realised that the band would need another guitarist. Josh formerly of Modifidious and Inveigh Catharsis was called and he soon added himself to the band. Now there were six.
Soon the band decided on a new title for themselves, they toyed with the name of "Pyg System" however agreed on the more simple name of "Slipknot", the title of their first song. The people of Des Moines knew that a new band was forming and they knew who was in it. However no one had heard or seen them. Soon a small performance was given, the band suited in Kiss styled makeup, fitting the music perfectly with the green glowing lights. This spawned the idea of the masks. This idea evolved and following discussions and Shawn turning up to a practice wearing his legendary Clown mask, the sextet decided almost unanimously, with the exception of Donnie, that masks should be worn. Joey came fully equipped with his moulded and expressionless Kabuki Mask and despite difficulty within practices the idea took off, the whole anti-image appearance which fitted so well with their rule of ignoring trends had a great appeal.
Soon Shawn contacted Mike Lawyer, due to an interest in recording some studio work. Mike got an engineer/producer of his named Sean Mcmahon to meet up with them during a practice session. Sean, not only stunned by the wolf skin attire of lead singer Anders, was also blown away by the sheer sound of Slipknot. The band soon started work on their first project, dubbed, MFKR. "Mate Feed Kill Repeat". The band grabbed every available moment to practice, perform and record within the SR Audio Studios, customising the room with posters, lights and many other objects. Many happenings occurred around this studio, including the drawing of corpses on the road outside and a performance in the nude by Joey.
Sean Mcmahon: "I was contacted by former members of a band called Body Pit to check out their new band at their rehearsal space. I did. I was Floored! That band was Slipknot."
Within February of 1996 a great change occurred within Donnie Steele; he found God. He realised that he could not be within such a band as Slipknot with the beliefs he held and as a result withdrew himself from the group, the others respecting his descision. At this crucial point in time a new member was called up; a former member of Joey's band Modifidious, his name was Craig. He had been recommended by Jordison. During his arrival the MFKR album was already in its mixing stages. The mixing of MFKR was anything but smooth. Each song being remixed many times. Strain was added by different view that each member held and things often got intense. Not only was their problems with the mixing but the band was also unhappy with the mastering that was done on the CD, hence they insisted that Sean should do it.
Slipknot's first major show in which they would unveil themselves to the people of Des Moines became booked for the 4th April 1996 at the locally known meeting place pronounced, "The Safari". On the day's arrival the room was packed with 200 people. The band arrived in Joey's car and each member sported their individual garments. Paul with a wore wrapped around his head, weaving in and out of his piercings, Josh showing off an executioners hood while Craig had placed pantyhose on his head. Joey and Shawn each used the masks they had always worn, the Clown and Kabuki. Before the band began to play Joey began to incessantly shout, "I need a little Christmas in my drink" repeatedly with each new phrase increasing in volume, energy and power. The band then slammed into their debut song, "Slipknot". By Slipknot's second performance at the club Paul had found a new "Pig" mask. Within this show the band played with another band named, "Stone Sour", Corey Taylor was the lead singer. The band played a total of seven shows at the club in one month alone.
The band carried on playing their shows which were much more "insane" than we see these days (taming of the media,etc...), rather than the same uniform jumpsuits and regular masks the band played in different things, for example Shawn rented out a large purple "Barney" suit and others wore Nun dresses and even ballroom dresses or a Little Bo Peep outfit. The shows were really dark, underground and scary however they still carried an element of humour. The shows would start with strobe lights flashing and a sample from Craig, usually of a mad laugh and "ice cream" man chimes, Shawn would drop a power saw to create a series of sparks to fly over the crowd.
Joey still felt that the band was incomplete. He wanted more; a different sound and a greater variety. Craig was promptly shifted onto samples, leaving an empty vacancy. Hence Mick arrived.
MFKR was eventually finished on Halloween, 1996. The party had began and 400 people turnt up.
The album was sent out to many people and a person named Sophia at a local station managed to hear it and liked it. This lead to the arrangement of Slipknot's appearance in the local battle of the band's contest. The on air tournament that spanned across several weeks soon began with the individual heats. Slipknot faced Corey's band; Stone Sour - they won. Slipknot also defeated "Maelstrom" and "Black Caesar" who came second. Slipknot conquered all. This was one of the band's highlights that fuelled them to their current stardom. The money from the win helped fund the heavily in debt band's new projects and demos.
By this time several record companies had investigated the band, one of these being Roadrunner who felt that they should not pick up Slipknot due to their thought that the vocalist required more melody. This rejection continued and no where could they be signed. Sophia became their first manager due to her contacts and love for this new band.
Things then seemed to get worse; Shawn bought the Safari which took time away from the band despite being a good investment. The band could no longer play in Anders' basement and things were falling apart. There were often tensions between Joey and Shawn and "Slipknot" had no where to play. However they still managed to make it onto the bill for the local "Dotfest" in June. There they played to the largest crowd in their history, a crowd of 12 000, containing many industry people. Not only was the sound dodgy and kept going out but the crowd began to throw chicken bones on stage. At the show Slipknot came out throwing Tampons into the crowd and had several "gimps". This was the first and last time for the "gimps". The gimps were Frank with a gas mask, Lanny with tribal markings in liquid latex, Greg covered with liquid latex and a ball gag in his mouth and Greg's friend Slick Rick in a latex hood. Slipknot had the original idea of having a professional stunt man, Rick, come out dressed as Shawn and then Shawn would come out and set him on fire. They had all the things to do it (for a long time it set in the cooler at Safari) but the city would not issue the permits to perform it so the event had to be abandoned. The set ended with them being cut off and an almost riot breaking out as Andy cut open his arms and tossed CDs over the fence to the fans. Joey quit. But he reconsidered and came back. Some good things did come out of this though, their performance left a mark, they made new fans and most importantly they discovered Sid Wilson (even though they did not speak to him).
Slipknot looked for the success they were not getting and decided to enlist Corey Taylor of rival band Stone Sour, to join the line up. Joey, Shawn and Mick confronted him with the an ultimatum at his work place, "The Adult Emporium". They said, "Join the band or we will kick your ass!" Slipknot provided an opportunity not present in Stone Sour; the band could go places. The music over image policy also appealed. Corey began practising with the band and the first lyrics he wrote were to be used in the song, "Me Inside". This was a very experimental move and everyone was wondering how it would turn out. This change resulted in Anders being pushed back to percussion and back up vocals. Soon this new breed of the Knot performed a show; it turned out it was a charity event for a local hospital. The Safari was packed to the brim. Corey came out wearing a large amount of makeup that gave a dark appearance, this was added to by two latex crosses marked over his eyes. Despite this excitement the show was riddled with technical problems and was the show that resulted in Joey's nickname, "Superball".
Their next show was on 17th September, again at the Safari. This show was a great improvement however nearly a year on from the MFKR release an announcement was to be made. Just before Slipknot were about to storm into their final song, "Scissors", Anders made an announcement, "This will be my last show" he stated. This stunned both band members and the audience. Following this sudden change the band returned to the studio to re-record the songs on their untitled second CD - minus Anders' vocals. Of these songs included, "Gently", "Do Nothing", "Slipknot", "Tattered and Torn", "Me Inside", "Carve", "Coleslaw", "Scissors", "Windows" and "May 17th" a song written by Shawn.
To cope with Ander's departure a new member was brought in, he was named Greg a.k.a Cuddles (a tattooist @ axiom piercing). Cuddles was extremely insane and very much like Slipknot's DJ, Sid. He would smash up the sets and even throw his drum kit into the crowd. Cuddles joined the band despite warnings from family and friends and he is also responsible for the tribal "S" tattoo on Anders' leg. Cuddles had previously drummed for the "Havenots" a band which Joey and Paul had been in. Cuddles is the naked guy in the MFKR inlet. Cuddles played his lst show in the Summer of 1998, he was the only member of Slipknot to be sacked, this was due to his lazy attitude towards the band. He moved to South Dakota and started up the tattoo parlour, "The Ultimate Prick", this has since been shut down. Following Cuddles' departure there was one show in Malibu which took place wile auditions were occurring, hence there was a replacement and that was Brandon, he played one show and wore the "liar" mask.
One night Joey and Shawn checked out a clan named "The Sound Proof Coalition" at the Safari containing the DJs, A-Rock, Loodachris, Phase II, Rek, Sub Two, Iniversoul and Starscream. Starscream, a.k.a Sid Wilson introduced himself to them and told them they rocked at Dotfest, Shawn said they needed a DJ, Sid said he was the man. Following pestering by Sid he was allowed to view a practice and following a session of head butting it was decided he was fit to be part of the group.
Auditions were being carried out for a Cuddles replacement, these auditions brought about a person named Chris Fehn, he had seen the band played and had previously asked to become a roadie. He was soon added to the group, despite being put through a vigourous ordeal. This included his initiation test commonly known as the secret track on the self titled album.
Soon after this event Slipknot came up with the barcode, number and coverall ideas. A new song was also written; it was called, "Spit it Out". Slipknot now had offers flying in from mainly internet reports. However the band really wanted Ross Robinson to work on the project and he was contacted through Sophia. Robinson checked out the demo tape and flew into Des Moines to view a practice session and a live show. After watching the practice (which very few are aloud to see) he knew the band would go far. Ross not only felt the vide of the music but the vide of the passion; a passion he himself had felt. This was the beginning of a wonderful creation. He then saw Slipknot perform live at the Safari on 2nd February 1998. Word soon got back to Slipknot that he was willing to record the album, label or not. Ross later signed them onto his own label, "I am recordings". Ross then got in touch with Roadrunner and the band publicly signed to Roadrunner Records outside of the Axion Studio (tattoo parlour) in Des Moines. Following a call on the 23rd September, Slipknot drove out to LA to begin the recording of their album. The band practised solid for a week and soon began the recording that left the band sore. They then travelled upto the legendary Indigo Ranch to carry on the recording. To add a necessary expression to this music, Ross got Corey to explain his lyrics to all the other members, so they could "feel it". This took the music to a higher level; it made it raw expression and emotion, it added an element not seen before.
Despite the many changes that had occurred within the Knot, another was to occur. This time it was Josh's time for departure, he left due to "family life" and would not have been able to cope with the extensive touring that lay ahead. The band knew instantly who they wanted to replace him, the Atomic Opera star, Jim Root. Jim originally said no to the offer due to his desire to stay true to the band he was currently working in. However after a bad show he called Shawn and essentially joined the band.