Shawn Crahan

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M. Shawn Crahan
Shawn Crahan at Mayhem Fest 2.jpg
Shawn Crahan at Mayhem Festival in 2008
Background information
Birth name Michael Shawn Crahan
Also known as
  • #6
  • Clown
Born (1969-09-24) September 24, 1969 (age 47)
Des Moines, Iowa, US
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • director
  • photographer
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • percussion
  • drums
  • bass guitar
  • piano
Years active 1993–present
Associated acts
Website (External links)

Michael Shawn Crahan (born September 24, 1969), more commonly known by his stage persona "Clown", is an American musician, songwriter, record producer, director and photographer. He is best known as one of the two custom percussionists and co-founder of the Grammy Award-winning heavy metal band Slipknot. When performing with Slipknot, he is also known by his number 6. Crahan is the only remaining founding member in Slipknot.

Crahan is the oldest member of Slipknot, and has been largely responsible for the band's success with his extensive involvement in Slipknot's media production. He is the director behind Slipknot's music videos. Outside Slipknot, Crahan had two side project bands called To My Surprise and Dirty Little Rabbits, both of which have split. He also directed the film, Officer Downe.

Personal life[edit]

Crahan was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1969. He majored in Creative Writing. Crahan's first band was "Modifidius", which he was a member with former Slipknot member Joey Jordison. He also once performed in bands such as "Heads on the Wall" & "One Cup of Fat" before forming "The Pale Ones", which would later become known as Slipknot. Crahan married his wife Chantel in June 1992, in Des Moines, Iowa. They now have four children; Alexandria, Gage, Gabrielle, and Simon. Crahan is also a filmographer and photographer, having published a Slipknot photo album "The Apocalyptic Nightmare" in 2012. In 2012, he also made his debut acting appearance in the film "The Devil's Carnival". He is a smoker and has been willing to break the law and smoke inside venues along with other members of Slipknot, even when subject to a significant fine.[2] He is also a collector of baseball cards.


Film career[edit]

In June 2016, Crahan made his directing debut with the film Officer Downe based on the graphic novel Officer Downe written by Joe Casey and Chris Burnham.[3] Casey wrote the script and Skip Williamson and Mark Neveldine produced the film.[4][5] Shawn "Clown" Crahan also directed the Music Video for the song "A-M-E-R-I-C-A", by Motionless In White and We Are by Hollywood Undead.

With Slipknot[edit]

In 1993, Crahan formed a metal band known as "The Pale Ones" with fellow musician Paul Gray, which featured himself as the band's drummer. Wanting to expand the band's percussion section, Crahan brought in Joey Jordison to fill in as drummer while Crahan's efforts were focused on custom percussion. Combined with a 2nd kit of percussion, played by the vocalist, the band has been given their layered, particularly intense drum sound. In 1996, they released a song known as "Slipknot", and through Joey's suggestion, the band changed their name to Slipknot and released their first official album. This album would later become known to the band as their demo. Crahan felt that the original vocalist for Slipknot was too guttural, and was the primary reason for Slipknot's inability to get a record deal. He brought in Corey Taylor from another local band called Stone Sour, whose vocals were more melodic. In a 2012 interview with Loudwire, Crahan explained how the band's numbers were assigned. When numbers were being assigned to each band member, Crahan insisted that he wasn't going to tolerate any other number than six. If someone were willing to fight him, he'd have fought to the death for it, but no one wanted it.[6] Hence, he also came to be known as (#6). Three years later, however, in another Loudwire interview, he claimed this statement was false.[7] Slipknot got a record deal a couple years later and released their first official album in 1999. Slipknot gained major notability the same year by touring with Ozzfest. In Slipknot's early years, Crahan brought several dead cow heads on stage.[7]

As well as lending his percussion talents to the band, Crahan has also sung backing vocals on a number of songs Slipknot has both recorded and performed live. He also wrote the original draft of "Tattered & Torn", which originally appeared on the band's first album, Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. which featured the original singer of Slipknot before Corey Taylor was brought in as a replacement. This album has since been considered a demo by the band, and their 1999 self-titled album is now considered their first actual album. A second version of Tattered & Torn was released on their self-titled album, and is the version that most people know.

Outside Slipknot, Crahan has founded Big Orange Clown Records, a vanity label within Sanctuary Records, which has so far signed the metalcore band Gizmachi. He also acted as director for, and assembled Slipknot's 2005 DVD, Voliminal: Inside the Nine, while the band engaged a brief hiatus.

He also performed with To My Surprise, recording guitar and vocals for the band's self-titled debut album. The band received little interest due to their album being released amidst the success of Slipknot members Corey Taylor, James Root and Joey Jordison's side projects, Stone Sour and the Murderdolls, respectively. To My Surprise was later dropped by Roadrunner Records. In 2007, Crahan began performing as drummer for Dirty Little Rabbits. The band was a supporting act for Stone Sour during their North American tour in Summer 2007,[8] and have released one EP, titled Breeding. They have since signed a deal with The End Records as of November 2008.[9]

In 2009 he contributed to Bring Me the Horizon's remix album, Suicide Season: Cut Up!, by remixing the track "Sleep With One Eye Open". Also in 2009 Shawn remixed a Suicide Silence track on their Wake Up EP entitled "Wake Up (Clown of Slipknot Remix)". In 2010, he contributed to Escape the Fate's This War Is Ours deluxe edition, by remixing the track "This War Is Ours (The Guillotine Part II)" and in 2011 he remixed "Angels of Clarity" for Dead by April on their compilation album "Stronger". Crahan has confirmed the formation of a brand new side project called The Black Dots of Death who released their debut studio album Ever Since We Were Children on March 28, 2011.[10] He is the director of many of Slipknot's music videos, DVDs and other artistic projects. He also directed the 'We Are' videoclip from the band Hollywood Undead

Crahan generally wears clown-style masks while performing with Slipknot, however on occasion, when performing the band's song "Vermilion", all band members will wear their own death masks instead.

He also features as the carny "Tamer" in The Devil's Carnival, a short film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman to be screened on tour beginning in April 2012.[11]

Influence on Slipknot[edit]

Crahan has been credited with several things that Slipknot is known for, such as their distinctively large percussive section and their masks. Crahan began wearing a clown mask to rehearsals when the band was still fairly unknown, spawning the mask theme that the band is known for today. He is also credited with coining the term "maggots" to describe Slipknot's fans, stating that as maggots feed off of Slipknot, similar to how a maggot feeds off of a dead animal.

Crahan has had several masks throughout his career with Slipknot, all of which are clown themed except for his "death mask", which was used in the video for the song "Vermillion". Crahan's earliest known mask and perhaps his most referenced one is one that he used during Slipknot's earliest self-titled album which is a happy looking clown mask, balding with long orange hair.


Recently, Crahan has announced that he will be working on a documentary which tackles eating disorders. He has since recruited volunteer interviewees by announcing his intentions for the documentary on Facebook.


With Slipknot[edit]

Crahan is known for his innovation with additional percussion in the metal genre while recording or performing with Slipknot. When he's with Slipknot, Crahan uses a wide variety of percussion, including a customized set that includes Anheuser Busch beer kegs, which he is usually seen to strike with a metal baseball bat. On occasion, he has also been seen to use a 55 gallon steel drum. Conventional percussion includes Gretsch Drums, bass drums, and floor toms, and Pearl Competitor Marching Snares.


Conventional Items


  • Beer keg (x2)
  • 50 gallon steel drum
  • 15" Marching Snare (Midnight Black)
  • Two cameras mounted on the rig which he uses to record himself, the band, and the audience.

Unconventional items

With Dirty Little Rabbits[edit]

Crahan uses Gretsch Drums and Sabian Cymbals.


  • 18x22" bass drum
  • 6x14" snare drum
  • 9x12" rack tom
  • 14x14" floor tom
  • 16x16" floor tom


  • 14" AA Rock Hi Hats
  • 20" AA China
  • 18" AA Medium Crash
  • 19" AA Medium Crash
  • 18" HH Medium Thin Crash
  • 20" HH China


Main article: Slipknot discography

With The Black Dots of Death

  • 2011: Ever Since We Were Children

Guest appearances and remixes

Albums produced[edit]



  1. ^ "SLIPKNOT's CLOWN Introduces THE BLACK DOTS OF DEATH Project.". Retrieved 7 October 2015. 
  2. ^ Doyle, Tomas (January 17, 2015). "Slipknot – Hell Awaits". Kerrang!. No. 1551. pp. 16–21 (page 18). 'It's illegal to smoke in these venues,' Clown explains, puffing away. 'If they catch you, they normally fine you. It's, like, $2000, but most nights we just take the fucking fine so we can smoke where we want. Fuck going outside.' 
  3. ^ "Slipknot's Shawn Crahan To Make Directing Debut With 'Officer Downe'". July 15, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Slipknot's Shawn 'Clown' Crahan to Direct 'Officer Downe' Movie". Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Graphic Novel Officer Downe Coming to the Big Screen". Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  6. ^ Childers, Chad (July 28, 2012). "Slipknot's Shawn Crahan Explains How Band Member Numbers Came to Be". Loudwire. Retrieved August 13, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Slipknot's Shawn 'Clown' Crahan - Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?". YouTube/Loudwire. August 12, 2015. Retrieved August 13, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Slipknot Percussionist's Dirty Little Rabbits To Support Stone Sour". Blabbermouth. July 7, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-12. 
  9. ^ Dirty Little Rabbits (October 14, 2008). "M.Shawn Crahan Interview". Headbanger's Blog. Retrieved 2008-12-27. 
  10. ^ "Slipknot's Clown announces new album and free download". NME. January 18, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  11. ^ "Chiller". Chiller. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Slipknot drummer
Succeeded by
Joey Jordison
Preceded by
Anders Colsefni
Slipknot percussionist
Succeeded by