Leaders of the New School: clown passes the torch to Bryan Garris of Knocked Loose on the latest Electric Theater - Knotfest
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Leaders of the New School: clown passes the torch to Bryan Garris of Knocked Loose on the latest Electric Theater

Posted by Ramon Gonzales in Interviews on May 12, 2021

The latest episode of clown’s conversation series features a discussion rooted in mentorship as the veteran shares a lifetime of rock wisdom with the emerging frontman.

The latest episode of clown’s Electric Theater was a meeting of old school and the new.

Bryan Garris of Knocked Loose sat in for a discussion with the clown as the two traded their musical experiences and found common ground. With Garris essentially at the start of his creative journey, and clown immersed in the culture for literally decades, the notion of mentorship seemed to translate in the conversation.

Sharing stories about the earliest days of their bands to the evolution of touring and facing some of the same obstacles, both clown and Garris are on the same path, only that clown has the ability to caution Garris of the pitfalls that are ahead. He was also able to encourage Garris to stay the course and not succumb to the games that people will try and play. The discussion was one that bridged generations in a way that was casual, sincere, and important for the culture of heavy music.

Watch the complete conversation with Bryan Garris and clown on the latest Electric Theater below.

Knocked Loose’s ‘Live from the Blue Room Livestream’ Friday May 14th – https://knockedloose.live/

1:40 – A native of Louisville, Kentucky Garris finds common ground with clown in discussing the festivals that both Slipknot and Knocked Loose of both played there. The conversation eventually segues into bourbon.

3:14 – clown’s son Simon and Garris have a mutual friend in Griffin Landa from The Acacia Strain who is from Des Moines, IA.

4:00 – clown explains that he allows music to find him. He doesn’t go seek it out. This how is clown came across Knocked Loose. Rather than finding what was new, clown’s son, Simon turned him onto the band. clown expanded on Simon’s own passion for music and he’s been excited to see his son explore his own artistic identity.

6:10 – Garris shared how his band was initially called Manipulator but found out that name was taken. Up against a time line to make the flier for their first show, a friend suggested Knocked Loose and the name stuck.

7:14 – clown explained that The Grateful Dead has a song called “Slipknot” and that there is a Grateful Dead cover band called Slipknot. He went on to explain how things worked themselves out but also confided that for a brief time prior to getting signed, Slipknot attempted to change their name to Pig System – which didn’t go over well.

9:02 – Garris confides that he is glad the name stuck as it’s a good representation of what the band strives for. He also shared his rule about band names, ‘You don’t want a band name that’s hard to tell people in the airport or to your grandma.” Citing Dying Fetus, and his love for that band, he says it would be had to explain that to his grandma.

10:00 – A bit more Slipknot trivia – for the band’s very first show ever, Paul promisied that the band would participate in a Battle of the Bands, ultimately forcing the guys to come up with a brandname before they were ready. They decided on MELD, which they would find out was the name of a card game. Needless to say, the name was short-lived.

11:10 – Garris and clown again found common ground. clown briefly shared that he used to weld and Garris shared that his dad was a welder for many years. He explained that his dad had great stories from traveling the country for work.

12:20 – Associating cities with bands, clown. was trying to think of who he could connect with Louisville, however, the first thing that came to his mind was the Louisville Slugger baseball bat factory. clown said that his favorite part about the factory was the rejects – the bats that don’t meet quality control. clown said he ended up taking them all.

15:15 – Opting to steer clear of any particular genre label, Garris explained to clown that Knocked Loose really takes their inspirational cues from the world of metal and hardcore to create something heavy. For Garris, the importance of the music being heavy is the only real descriptor that matters.

17:10 – Continuing on the topic of skirting category, clown shared that when Slipknot was first coming into they own, they got the nu-metal label and he hated it. The idea of being pigeon-holed as one thing bothered him and the idea was to break the mold, not fit into it. Garris echoed that sentiment and shared that Knocked Loose doesn’t try to be any one thing. They enjoy the freedom of being themselves and playing wherever they want by not conforming.

19:14 – Deducing the world down to left and right brainers, clown says that ultimately creatives and the more business types need to co-exist but that sometimes, the business types come up with labels like nu-metal and it limits the art. clown further explained that part of why he has such a distaste for the concept of nu-metal is because so many of the bands he liked, wee lumped into that.

20:50 – Garris details the solid working relationship he and his band have with their label in Pure Noise. He explains that the team has become friends and the kind of exchange they have feels comfortable in that if he has a problem, he is confident that he can call them and get it fixed. clown shared his experiences with Roadrunner Records and shared how things have evolved in the decades they have been with the label.

23:00 – Garris talked about moving to Los Angeles as a change of pace. He explained that then benefit of being closer to the label and management is a big plus. He also went into the excitement he has about Knocked Loose going out on tour to support Gojira later this year. Garris explains that with every member of Knocked Loose being so different musically, Gojira is one of the few bands that the entire band agrees on which makes the tour something they are all looking forward to.

26:52 – clown discussed how Slipknot is gearing up to return to the stage again as well after a year of hearing otherwise. He shared that while the guys are currently staying active, the plan is to recoup a bit in August before heading out again in September.

28:28 – While the guys both are hoping for a return to the stage, there is a cautious sense of optimism about the pandemic. While domestically, things seem to be on the mend, places like India are the worst they have ever been with regards to the pandemic and that is a cause for concern.

29:50 – Both guys talked about how the pandemic has resulted in reconnecting with family and reenforcing the importance of that connection. Garris shared that he and this girlfriend have been together for 10 years, while clown and his wife are going on 30.

33:22 – Speaking from experience, clown commended Garris for having an understanding of the value of family and having a good head on his shoulders. He explained that he will need it in on this career path. He explained that you will miss birthdays and anniversaries and that reality is a tough one to face. clown shared that he lost his dad while he was on the road and that it would especially hard.

35:14 – As clown shared that the wild ride that is Slipknot has yet to stop, Garris explained that the work ethic and mindset of Knocked Loose is similar in that they just love the experience of playing. Garis explained that before there was any money in this, the guys were trekking around in a rusty van with no trailer playing to whomever they could because they loved it so much and still do. Garris says confidently that the second that love for meeting new people and discovering new music live is done, he doesn’t feel the need to continue doing it anymore.

39:00 – After revisiting a crazy fan experience in Mexico City, Garris was curious to ask clown when he started to get that kind of fanaticism without the mask. Garris explained that his introduction to Slipknot was the ‘Welcome to Our Neighborhood’ VHS. Garris said immediately after watching it, he went online to try and find out what they guys looked like without masks.

41:20 – Addressing the question about being recognized without the mask, clown shares that it’s not about him, it’s always been about the mask. He explains that people don’t really want who is under the mask because who is under the mask is never represented correctly in the narrative of the press. Garris seemed to share that same experience in that some of the coverage Knocked Loose has received has ran with a stereotypical depiction of a band from Kentucky.

43:20 – In a moment of mentorship, Garris said that he understands the idea of playing the game but he does want to compromise who he is in the process to which clown replies, “Don’t forget, you don’t have to play the game.” Citing his own experience, clown said that Slipknot refused to play the game and came out better for it.

49:40 – The guys connect over the concept of people discovering their music and reaching people that maybe wouldn’t typically listen to heavy music. They both love the idea of reaching someone that they might not have otherwise and feel like the energy of their craft is really what transcends all else.

51:40 – Continuing with the idea of people enjoying the spectacle, clown shared that two of the best things that are ever written about Slipknot came as they were about to breakout on Ozzfest. A local beat writer in Des Moines compared the Slipknot experience to a car wreck. clown explained that people always stop and look at a car wreck to see carnage, even if there is none. He also shared that there is another quote, Slipknot has to be dysfunctional to be functional” and that seems to sum up the chaos that has anchored the band’s intrigue for decades.

55:59 – Getting to know each other on a more personal level, Garris shared that over the pandemic he picked up the guitar and loves spending time playing video games. Both he and clown exchanged their favorites and what they love about the nuances of video games aside from the the gaming experience from World of Warcraft to Fortnite.

59:20 – Being from Kentucky and admittedly a bit of an outdoorsman, clown had to ask Garris if he had any Sasquatch stories. Sharing his profound interest in the Sasquatch, clown dismissed the skeptics by reminding people that at one time, the Kimono dragon and the Silverback Gorilla were once considered myths too.

1:06:30 – Garris shares how he prefers to do the bulk of the driving while on tour and how that evolved from the early days when he used to sleep on the band’s gear in the back of the van. Garris explained that he realized that it was dangerous and clown used that as a teaching moment – he explained that as Garris gets older and wiser he will make more decisions like that out of self-preservation. clown went onto share some horror stories about bus drivers that depict the scary part of touring that few people ever consider.

1:11:43 – The guys get into the role of social media and how that plays a part in their existence as artists. Garris goes on to share that he is really cognizant of making sure that he uses the platform positively and really tries to not indulge the negativity that can easily permeate online.

1:13:27 – clown imparts a bit more wisdom in sharing that he knows 50% of the world loves him, the other 50% hates him and that he is going to spend 100% of his time with the 50% that love and nurture him. There’s no benefit to indulging the negativity.

1:15:40 – Sympathetic to the tough time that everyone has endured this last year, Garris isn’t looking to lecture people on how to use the internet, he just feels like it’s unhealthy for him to participate in that kind of negativity online.

1:18:50 – The guys close things out with a sense of optimism about the world. They both acknowledge that the events of the last year have been surreal but they also seem confident in people’s resilience and feel like things are turning a corner.


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