Venturella explains how Jim Root was integral in landing the new gig, how filling Gray’s shoes was a tall order, and how his first show in a mask was a physical challenge unlike any other.
Words by Jenna DePasquale
Current slipknot bassist Alessandro “Vman” Venturella describes how he went from serving as a guitar tech for Mastodon to performing with one of the biggest bands in modern metal.
A fateful call with Jim Root in 2014 was Vman’s gateway into Slipknot. After the pair had crossed paths several times on various tours, Root reached out to get recommendations on a new bassist for Slipknot. Despite being a guitar player, Vman enthusiastically volunteered, stating that he would work out the kinks of mastering the bass as he went along. After tirelessly practicing in the Atlanta home, Vman was flown out to Los Angeles for a whirlwind audition.
Hollywood’s Sunset Sound recording studio was the backdrop for one of Vman’s most critical days. While musicians less well versed in gear would have accepted the subpar amp that was provided, Vman took control of his fate, opting not to proceed with his audition until he had equipment that would yield his best possible performance. After a successful technical transition, the bassist let his work speak for itself, which prompted Slipknot to invite him back to their L.A. home.
Still, Vman had to be patient as his long term fate with the band was being determined. His biggest goals were to perform on a record, as well as go out on tour. He would ultimately check both of those boxes, starting with tracking bass on Slipknot’s fifth studio album .5 The Gray Chapter. The 2014 record was in a demo format while he was being integrated into the band, making the next logical transition a spot on the finished project, which would even include an original Vman riff. While filling the shoes of Slipknot’s late bassist Paul Gray was a tall order, Vman embraced their different approaches to the instrument, interpreting Slipknot’s sound as his own.
Astute music fans would soon recognize Vman as Slipknot’s newest member after his Metallica and Megadeth inspired tattoos were recognized in a music video. Nevertheless, his persona for the band was carefully cultivated. Naturally, before Vman could accompany Slipknot on tour, he had to brave the intense face molding process that is required to be fitted for a mask.
Picking clay out of his nose was just the beginning of the learning curve that comes with playing guitars on major tours, rather than the behind the scenes work he had mastered as a tech. The transition to perhaps one of the biggest productions in heavy music would have been overwhelming to even the most seasoned artist. Still testing his physical limitations, Vman passed out mid-show, leading him to be hospitalized for severe dehydration.
By learning from his mistakes and constantly adapting, Vman is now thriving as a permanent member of Slipknot. Watch the Part 3 interview clip below