Friday, May 28, 2010
RIP PAUL GRAY
I took a long time to write this entry mainly because I wasn't sure I should. So often when people in the public eye pass away there comes a slew of folks who pretend to have been incredibly close with the person who passed. I had more than passing relationship with Paul but I was in no way a good friend of his so I wasn't sure what to do. Then the other night I was on the train and I heard two kids cracking jokes about the whole thing, saying it didn't matter because Slipknot wore masks and so forth and so on. That pissed me off and I came home to write not because Paul and I were exchanging Christmas cards but because I wanted to put out there what I knew of the man.
I met Paul when I went on tour with Slipknot many years ago. Clown has asked me to come not as a reporter for MTV but as a fan of the band, a normal guy on the road. I did so and had a kick ass time watching them play, traveling with them and getting to know each member even if only for a short time. Outside of Corey and Clown who I had gotten to know previously, Paul was the easiest to talk to. He walked right up to me and started making conversation, which was a real bonus on a tour bus with nine guys.
What I noticed right away was Paul's absolute dedication to Slipknot and their fans. Everybody in that band is dedicated but Paul took it even further. He was always off the bus talking to the fans, always high energy and always attacked the stage as if this was the last Slipknot show ever. I also applauded Paul because he wasn't the focus, he was on stage with nine guys, four of which had the freedom to run around and jump as well as all the pyrotechnics and stage insanity. Paul still as able to make his presence known on stage and the guy could fucking head bang with the best of them.
Recently the band had a press conference where they called Paul the essence of Slipknot and based on what I've seen I'd say that's a fair assessment. It wasn't just Paul's dedication to the fans and the music but also his desire for the band to be together making music. With nine talented guys in one room fights are gonna break out, egos bruised and bickering a constant. Paul wanted none of that and really worked to try and mend fences or keep issues from boiling out of control. He saw Slipknot as a family and wanted to protect it.
The last time I saw Paul it was very quick but also very genuine. One of the things the entire band has done for me is not pretend they don't know me post MTV. I've remained closest with Corey but I know if I saw any of them they'd act as if nothing had changed. Paul was an incredibly genuine person and somebody who will obviously be missed by those who knew him, respected him and loved his contributions to music. I hope people can be respectful of his passing and not try to turn it into something sensational. A Friend, father, husband, brother and musician has been lost and that is all that matters.