Festival Producer John Reese Recalls The Slipknot Basement Rehearsal That Led to A Record Deal in The Electric Theater

Posted by Ramon Gonzales in Interviews on July 1, 2020

The music industry veteran recalls his first Slipknot experience as “the violent show I have ever seen.”

To set the stage, there is some heavy history that is discussed in this segment of The Electric Theater. clown welcomes a longtime friend and music industry veteran, John Reese. Prior to his tenure as one of the primer festival producers in the business, Reese spent years as an artist manager working with the likes of Guns N Roses, Danzig, The Stone Roses and many more.

Reese and clown revisit their first connection many years ago, when John was presented a demo for “Spit It Out.” Interest was piqued and a trip to Des Moines ensued. In tow, Reese brought along producer Ross Robinson. The pair would end up in the basement of clown’s house to witness Slipknot firsthand. Reese explains, “The very first song you guys played, in your basement, with Ross and I, and I looked at him two bars in and I’m like, ‘Holy. Fucking. Shit.'”

Reese and Robinson would punctuate their trip to Iowa with a Slipknot club show that Reese described as “…the most violent show I’d had ever seen.” The formative connection between Reese and clown and the retelling of Slipknot history provides some real context to just how pivotal that time in music was. In fact, Reese spared no superlative in saying that Slipknot would ultimately change the world.

The conversation would ultimately steer in the direction of live events and what the forecast looks like in the era of Coronavirus. Both Reese and clown shared sincere concerns for how best to support their community, their culture, and how to operate post-pandemic on both a personal and professional level. While the discussion dealt with very heady talking points, the guys also talked about the monuments moment when live music can safely return with clown painting a vivid picture of how that would pan out three songs into the first Slipknot show, post pandemic.

From the infancy of one of the most important band’s in rock, to the future of festivals from a professional responsible for some 55 different productions, to the course correction that will inevitably happen from Coronavirus, the latest Electric Theater is essential listening.


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