Slipknot drummer Jay Weinberg guested on the Sailor Jerry Podcast with host and Bronx-frontman Matt Caughthran.
Quickly diving into the world of all things Slipknot, Caughthran asked Weinberg what the climate has been like in the band. Citing the healthy tour schedule for Slipknot last year, punctuated by the release of "The Chapeltown Rag," Weinberg said he was lucky to get back to the business of playing shows and said getting back into the rhythm has only fueled the creativity the band had while cooking in the studio.
The two discussed the interactive Jam With Jay series that gives fans the opportunity to send in their submissions while performing along with pro-shot/pro-mixed footage from Weinberg himself. He elaborated on how the idea came about from a fan that decided to take some drum-cam footage shared by Jay and record himself playing along to it. Combined with the remote jam sessions of friends and cohorts Two Minutes to Late Night, Weinberg says the infancy of Jam with Jay began to shape.
Caughthran went on to explore Weinberg's musical lineage, asking the drummer about the kind of impact his famous father Max Weinberg had on him. What Jay revealed was how he was exposed to a healthy musical education early on, explaining how he was all of five years old and already well-versed in his favorite album at the time, The Who's Quadrophenia.
The younger Weinberg shared that while he knew Bruce Springsteen and the entire E Street Band, they were more his father's friends and co-workers before he realized the kind of impact they all had as musicians. Though he would come to realize their influence later, Weinberg cited his father's tenure on the Conan O'Brien show as especially formative.
Jay shared how he and his father connected when he began finding bands he liked were appearing as the musical guest on Late Night. He talked about riding the train from Jersey, doing his homework en route, so he could join his dad at work and catch a set from a band he liked.
Weinberg would go one further and shared how his father actually introduced him to Slipknot following their debut performance on Conan. Max was floored after seeing the band, knowing his son Jay would love 'em. The father and son would eventually take in a show as a family and cement what would be a lifelong relationship and an eventual career connection with Slipknot.
Calling his immersion into music a "slow burn" Weinberg explained the timeline of his evolution as a drummer. Initially dedicated to hockey, Weinberg said that in his early teenage years he began playing music and things went from zero to sixty with what he referred to as a vertical learning curve. Weinberg went from recording demos and playing local shows to finding himself being courted by Bruce Springsteen to play drums on tour - all in a matter of three years.
Jay's first show on his own with Bruce Springsteen was a 3-plus hour marathon. Jay went from sharing the set with his father to learning and playing hours worth of songs every night - he was a fresh high school graduate backing a rock music icon. The story is almost unbelievable if it were anyone but Jay Weinberg.
Jay recalled how early in his tenure with Bruce, he was asked to play "The E-Street Shuffle" at a festival overseas. Weinberg said that it was the kind of song that was impossible to just wing and because of that, he had to shake his head "no" onstage to the call. He shared that the boo from the crowd of 70,000 fans as a result was something that he will never forget.
The two would also dig into the artists that influenced Weinberg and the range is as vast as you might expect. Jay attributed the strength of this local music scene with prompting him to be especially receptive to all kinds of music. Identifying with Jersey heroes like Bouncing Souls and Thursday, Jay explained how that his thirst for knowledge would eventually lead him to find bands like Joy Division, Neurosis, Black Flag - from Warped Tour to Ozzfest, Weinberg found he had a healthy appetite for it all.
Weinberg also recalled what it was like to unknowingly audition for Slipknot. He recalled how on the same day that he submitted his final to complete college he got a call to meet at an undisclosed destination to play drums for an undisclosed band. When he arrived, he found that he had about 20 minutes to prepare to play drums for Slipknot.
While the experience would be understandably rattling to anyone, Weinberg took the approach that if nothing else, he would get at least this one opportunity to play some of his favorite songs with one of his favorite bands. Relishing every second of the set, Weinberg poured himself into the live run through of some 20-Slipknot songs as both a consummate professional and a passionate fan.
It was enough to land him the gig... And the rest is history.
Relying on the education he got with Bruce, Weinberg approached his new gig with Slipknot with the same reverence for the art, respect for the legacy, and assertiveness necessary to execute at the level the band needed when it came to contributing to his new team. He shared how he, clown and Jim (Root) fleshed out ideas and found their creative chemistry for nearly a year before he ever stepped onstage with the band.
First contributing to .5: The Gray Chapter, Jay explained how his tenure and hundreds of live shows since has only helped him to become better acclimated to the kind of intensity requisite to the band's creative process. Citing the same vertical learning curve he experienced with Springsteen, Weinberg said his baptism into the universe of Slipknot challenged him in a way that prompted him to get better both as a musician and as a member of a team. Weinberg explained the Slipknot boot camp as the greatest learning experience of his life.
Speaking specifically about the genesis of "The Chapeltown Rag," Weinberg said that the absence of live shows really drove the band to invest all that energy into the studio space. Drilling down details and getting meticulous with the creative process, Weinberg explained how the recording of the song was great but sharing the result live is really where the work resonates. Confiding that he gave his everything into each note the track, he is able to perform it with the unique pride which ultimately adds to its live power.
The complete conversation with Jay Weinberg of Slipknot and Matt Caughthran of The Bronx on the Sailor Jerry podcast can be streamed below.