Slipknot, Mudvayne, Mushroomhead, Motograter – Nu Metal Bands That Wear Masks and Paint

Mushroomhead formed in 1993 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Slipknot formed in 1995 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Motograter formed in 1995 in Santa Barbara, California.
Mudvayne formed in 1996 in Bloomington, Illinois.

“Some nu metal bands such as Motograter, Mushroomhead, Mudvayne, and Slipknot wear masks, jumpsuits, costumes, face paint, corpse paint or body paint.” – Wikipedia

“They’re not the first masked band, we’re not … no one was. I think there’s a Beatles video where they’re wearing masks and costumes.” – Waylon from Mushroomhead; in reference to the Slipknot “feud”

“In the history of rock there has always been a theatrical element. From obviously Alice Cooper and KISS, the Residents, DEVO, obviously GWAR, that was a huge influence on us. Those were all early bands, you know, and a lot of rock n roll and early metal had a theatrical edge to it. So it’s normal that bands continued to do it. It was GWAR, us, Mudvayne, Motograter, Slipknot… There are a lot of bands that did it and I understand the need and the why. It’s just even the fun factor of it, it’s like Halloween every night for all of us, we get to dress up and have a party. That part I understand. You know, longevity and success sometimes depends on what your definition of success is. Everyone’s got their own meaning behind it, but we just do it for ourselves, so I think that’s part of our longevity. And also I’d like to say that every band that thinks that’s easy to get out there with a costume and a mask and stay there and play, I’d say “give it a try”… it’s little different, you know (laughs).” – Skinny from Mushroomhead

“All of us are big into theatrics. I wish more bands dressed up and did the theatrical thing. People like seeing a show. They like visually being stimulated, and not just like a dude in a Hot Topic T-shirt and tight pants playing guitar that spent five hours on his hair. I’d rather see theatrics, I’d rather see a live action horror movie like right in front of me.” – Waylon from Mushroomhead

“Mushroomhead members still think it’s amusing that bands like Mudvayneand Motograter have never caught hell from the media or Slipknot’s fans for wearing masks on stage. And while the beef may be dead, leave it to the ‘Head to nevertheless reaffirm their beliefs that they were on the right side of the argument.” – NoiseCreep

“We were doin’ it before them,” says St1tch. “They just got a deal before we did. And that’s pretty much the only story. A lot of the beef just comes from the fans. Rival fans. It’s crap, I don’t care. Have a good life guys. Who cares?” – Stitch from Mushroomhead in reference to the Slipknot “feud”.

Slipknot is known for its attention-grabbing image; the members perform wearing unique individual facemasks and matching uniforms (typically jumpsuits), while each member was typically assigned and referred to by number based on their role in the band (#0 though #8), although this latter practice has diminished somewhat in recent years following the death of Paul Gray.

The band has claimed that the idea of wearing masks stemmed from a clown mask that percussionist Crahan would bring to rehearsals when the band first started (Crahan would later become well known for his various clown masks, adopting the pseudonym ‘Shawn the Clown’).

The members of Mushroomhead have identified themselves by wearing masks and by its distinct “X Face” logo – commonly worn on the masks of most members, as well as clothing and merchandise. The band originally adopted masks and stage names to not conflict with their original bands. The band’s look has evolved over the years, featuring alterations to bring them up to date and freshen up the image for new albums and tours. In January 2013, Mushroomhead Video Director, Mask maker and Make-up artist Dave Henson Greathouse competed in Season 4 of original SyFy series “Face Off”, a special effects prosthetic makeup reality show competition.

The feud erupted (mostly among fans) due to the image similarities between the bands; such as the masks and costumes worn on stage. Before signing Slipknot, Roadrunner Records was interested in signing Mushroomhead, but Mushroomhead passed on the deal. As of 2009 the rivalry is now officially over as confirmed in several interviews with Waylon, ST1TCH and Skinny. Following the death of Slipknot member Paul Gray in 2010, Mushroomhead posted on their official Myspace page: “R.I.P. Paul Gray, This feud needs to end. Much Love and Respect to the guys in Slipknot“.

In 2012, Slipknot singer Corey Taylor has stated that he never had a problem with the band he only had a problem with the behavior of their fans due to a situation Slipknot faced when they played in Mushroomhead’s home town in Cleveland, OH and said there was never a real feud between bands but the feud was between Mushroomhead fans and Slipknot fans. He stated that doing a tour with Mushroomhead, Gwar, and Mudvayne would be beautiful! The same year Mushroomhead members joined Slipknot’s Sid Wilson on stage in an impromptu performance during Wilson’s DJ set.

In 2014, the singer Jeffrey “Nothing” Hatrix stated about the feud between the two bands: “Fans are very loyal to the bands they like. Members of both sides have said they are over it and that it was never really between the bands. Let’s all move on”.

Although Mudvayne was known for its appearance, Gray described its aesthetic as “music first, visuals second”. When L.D. 50 was released, the band performed in horror film-style makeup. Epic Records initially promoted Mudvayne without focusing on its members; early promotional materials featured a logo instead of photos of the band, but its appearance and music videos publicized L. D. 50. The members of Mudvayne were originally known by the stage names Kud, sPaG, Ryknow and Gurrg. At the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards (where they won the MTV2 Award for “Dig”), the band appeared in white suits with bloody bullet-hole makeup on their foreheads. After 2002, Mudvayne changed makeup styles (from multicolored face paint to extraterrestrials) and changed their stage names to Chüd, Güüg, Rü-D, and Spüg. According to the band, the extravagant makeup added a visual aspect to their music and set them apart from other metal bands. Since 2003 Mudvayne has largely abandoned makeup, but said that a future return to it is not out of the question.

Motograter are best known for their homemade instrument, the “Motograter”, designed with industrial cable and guitar pieces that creates a unique bass sound. The band is also known for painting themselves in a tribal style body paint for live concerts. Motograter is widely recognized for their “tribal” appearance and sound and are well-known for featuring auxiliary percussion instruments, known as the Smurs or Smur Drums.

“They’re a five-piece act, they don’t have a bass or a guitar. They play this thing called a motograter, it’s an instrument that Bruce Butler of MOTOGRATER designed. It’s a percussive instrument that replaces the bass and guitar in one. They’re crazy, they all have shaved heads, and they paint themselves with a combo of grease, white & black paint, and dirt. It’s the most raw thing I’ve ever seen. Wait till you see these guys, you’re gonna sh.t!” – Dez Fafara (Coal Chamber/DevilDriver

Article by the Nu Metal Messiah

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