Any project with Joey Jordison’s name attached to it will receive a fair amount of attention. After all, Jordison is the rhythm backbone of Slipknot and a driving force behind the Murderdolls. Yet with a stronger industrial influence and a backing band of noteworthy musicians, Scar The Martyr proves that Jordison is no one trick pony. And while we’ve heard a handful of songs and previews, as well as had some chances to see them live, fans will get to hear Scar The Martyr’s self-titled debut in full on October 1.
Before going back on the road for Scar The Martyr’s upcoming headlining jaunt (see dates below), we had the chance to speak with Jordison. During our chat, Jordison discussed how Scar The Martyr’s music and lineup came together, and what he hopes to pursue with the project. Plus, Jordison gives us clarification on Slipknot’s plans for 2014 (or lack thereof), and how Murderdolls “ran its course.”
The whole thing is a year and a half, maybe a little more, in the making. At the time, when this whole thing started, it was just me making music for myself up in the studio, the same place [Slipknot] did All Hope Is Gone. And I was just sitting there working on material, writing songs and I caught myself after three or four songs listening back to everything and going “Fuck. Well, I don’t have any plans right now, so instead of demoing stuff for later on or just being bored, I should make a project out of this because it turned out too good.” So then I kinda went back to the drawing board and started mapping out like, “Okay, if I’m going to do another project I want it to be something full on.” I didn’t want something half-assed or anything like that. So I started really honing in on what I wanted to do, and I started writing material. I started up at Sound Farm, the same studio, went back in and started laying down tracks, most of which ended up on the Scar The Martyr album. Once I got in there, it was a domino effect. I’d get one done, then I’d go in and fix a little bit and rearrange some shit, and then I’d already have an idea for the next one and it just snowballed. It just continued from there. And then I started thinking about the musicians that I wanted to bring into it once I knew I wanted to do it full time.
You were mentioning the musicians you wanted to bring in, I remember being surprised but impressed upon first hearing that Chris Vrenna [ex-Nine Inch Nails/Marilyn Manson], Jed Simon [Strapping Young Lad] and Kris Norris [ex-Darkest Hour] were on board. How did they ultimately become involved?
Basically, once I knew I was going to do the record, I had to find a vocalist first. That’s how I got in touch with Henry Derek, through a mutual friend of mine. He recommended Henry, and I sent Henry a bunch of songs. I sent him like 5 songs, like “Blood Host,” “Dark Ages,” “My Retribution,” “Last Guy on Earth” and “Never Forgive, Never Forget,” I think. And he sent a couple back and I was auditioning a bunch of singers at the time, and I was like, “Fuck, that is the sound!” And once I had Henry, once I knew I had the vocalist locked in, that’s when I knew, “Okay, it’s time to pursue other people.” So then I got producer Rhys Fulber. Once we had Rhys, we all got together in Iowa and started making the record, but I needed lead players. That’s when we started talking about lead players in the studio and that’s how we ended up with Jed and Kris.
I’ve known Jed since Slipknot toured with Fear Factory in 2004, the Jagermeister tour, that’s when we met for the first time. Jed came in and fucking killed it. I was just blown away at what he did, and of course he had a great working association with Rhys. Then James Murphy, who I worked with on the Roadrunner United album, recommended Kris Norris. They’re two totally different styles of players, but they’re fucking amazing. And their styles, the way the bounce off each other, is just great because they’re very unique. Having those two guitar players, really helped shape the record and brought a lot of character.
With Chris Vrenna, that was kind of a no brainer for me because I’ve known Chris for a long time. I just wanted to bring in a great keyboard and industrial bit and make a lot of soundscapes on the record. He was a no brainer. I called him up, got him up to Iowa and he started working instantly and we started collaborating in the studio. We didn’t finish the whole record with keyboards in Iowa. He went back to LA and I had some Slipknot shows to do. So I went and did those, and flew directly into LA after the Slipknot shows and Chris had the whole album done, like with his sections. There wasn’t one thing I had to change; it was fucking perfect. So the whole recording experience, and the whole time that was taken to get this whole record done, has been quite a journey. But it’s completely rewarding. When I listen back to it, I couldn’t be happier.
I know that you’ve been a fan of industrial music for a while, and you can hear that in the music. But would you say once those four got involved, the sound of the project definitely took a different turn than you originally anticipated?
Yeah, I think that’s why I was so particular about finding who I want to be involved with this. Everyone is such a master of their craft and instrument, but once they were involved in what we’re doing, that’s what was going to help shape it. I mean, I can have all the riffs in the world, and drumbeats and all this shit, but without their characters and their influence on the record, and how they played, that’s how the sound started to develop. Seriously, I couldn’t have asked for better people to be involved in this record, because it came out so amazing.
This is more of a question about the long term, but what do you hope to accomplish with Scar the Martyr that you felt you couldn’t do with Slipknot or even the Murderdolls?
Well, with Scar the Martyr, it’s just another project. And the thing is, if I was going to do another project, it had to be a proper one. Not saying anything really negative against the Murderdolls, but, it’s not like we were pushing any boundaries or anything like that. Not knocking the Murderdolls, because it was awesome and I loved that band, but it ran its course, you know? I wanted to get back to doing more music that pushed boundaries more, took more involvement and that was more constructive. So that’s why if I was going to do another project, it had to be fucking full force, and that’s why I got some top notch musicians to help me out.
You mentioned how Jed and Kris are very different guitarists. It must be a lot of fun to have them on stage playing with you in a live setting.
Yeah, it’s fucking great, man. Not only are the great players, but they’re great live players and they’re great people. I mean, I made some great friends out of this, which is just a bonus. It’s kind of cool because they inspire me. Watching them play and, not only writing stuff for the next Scar the Martyr release, but the way the band gets along. It’s really a meeting of the minds in a lot of ways. Everyone kind of came in not knowing anyone else in the band, so it’s kind of like all of us coming in not knowing each other and now forming such a strong bond, it’s just magical in a lot of ways.
You just mentioned that you’re working on new material, so does that mean that Scar the Martyr is not a one off thing? This is a band that’s going to be moving forward?
Well, our first record comes out [in October], but this is a full time band now.
Well I have to ask since I know while you’ve been rather adamant about Slipknot returning to the studio, it wasn’t until recently that your bandmates felt the same way. And now a lot of your bandmates are saying that 2014 will be the year Slipknot returns. What does 2014 actually entail for Slipknot, and what does that mean for Scar the Martyr?
Well, honestly, with all the he-said-she-said crap that goes on in the internet world or interviews or anything like that, I mean, it’s been well known that the Scar The Martyr record is now coming out October 1 and I’m going to be on tour for at least a year if not more with that band. That’s my plan. We’ll still do Slipknot shows here and there, but as far as a Slipknot record, we’re all just working on material. There IS going to be another Slipknot record, I promise. It’s just that timing factor, you know? We all have other things that we’re doing right now.
So there’s no definite time plan for Slipknot.
No, no there’s not.
You started to talk about this earlier, regarding the Murderdolls. I know that Wednesday 13 has also been speaking out about how there’s no way the Murderdolls will return anytime soon. What exactly happened towards the end of the short comeback in 2010 that made it run its course?
Well, nothing really happened, it’s just we went out and did some. I really loved the last Murderdolls record [Women And Children Last]. It’s just that, for me personally, I had enough of it, you know? I mean, it was fun but it’s not where my heart lies in music. I lie more with drums and the more heavy and darker aspects of music. I need to push myself in different areas and I can’t rely on the Murderdolls to satisfy me artistically.
So you’d agree that the chance of the Murderdolls returning any time soon is unlikely?
Any time soon? Not likely, no.
So you mentioned that Scar the Martyr will be touring in support of the new album for at least the next year. I know you’ll be going on a headlining tour soon, and you’ve toured with Danzig already, but any other big tours in the works?
We have our tour coming up that’s all headlining dates. We’ve got a European tour coming up then we’re jumping on another tour, which is kind of iffy right now. We don’t know which way we’re going, but it’s a big tour, but I can’t say it yet because of the political reasons [editor’s note: shortly after conducting the interview, Scar The Martyr announced U.S. dates with Sepultura and a UK tour with Alice In Chains, though it’s unclear if those were the tours he was referring to]. But the thing is, Scar the Martyr is going to be touring now for probably another year and a half.
Without giving anything away about that big tour, is there any band you’d ideally love to see Scar the Martyr touring with?
You know, honestly, right now we’re cool to tour with anyone. We’re really not picky. As long as there’s a good audience there and they crave heavy music, that’s where we’ll go.
Check out dates for Scar The Martyr’s fall headlining tour here:
09/27 Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room
09/28 Little Rock, AR @ Juanita’s
09/30 Tulsa, OK @ The Vanguard
10/02 San Antonio, TX @ White Rabbit
10/03 Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
10/04 Dallas, TX @ Trees
10/05 Shreveport, LA @ Riverside Warehouse
10/06 Sauget, IL @ Pop’s
10/08 Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s