Paul Gray
Model(s) Used: PGB
Band: Slipknot
Ibanez: What originally inspired you to start playing music?
Paul: I've been a music fan as far back as I can remember. I think the band that actually made me pick up an instrument was Slayer. I saw them on the Hell Awaits tour, and I knew I wanted to do that. So I got a guitar. My first guitar ended up getting traded for meth, not by me but by some friends of mine [laughs]. There were other influences, but that show really was what started it all for me.

Ibanez: I know that you write a lot of the music in Slipknot. How does that process usually work for you?
Paul: I write a lot of stuff at home during the time off. I'll have a bunch of riffs, full songs, and partial pieces put together. When it's getting close to time to record, Joey and I will meet and put some basic songs together just to get something started. Everybody can come in and put their input in on all the ideas, too. We write on the spot, too. Somebody might just be noodling around, and we'll start putting something together based off of that idea. There's no real set way of doing it.

Ibanez: What is the song you're most proud of on "All Hope Is Gone"?
Paul: I really do like them all. I actually listened to the CD yesterday, and I'm very proud of it. It's our heaviest album, and yet it's our most experimental album. We've never done a song like "Snuff" before. If you listen to it, it's still a Slipknot song all the way. It's got that Slipknot feeling to it. I can't think of any songs on the new record that I don't like.

Ibanez: Where have some of your favorite places or cities been to play over the years?
Paul: So far, my favorite show on this tour has been Madison Square Garden. I mean hey, we fuckin' played Madison Square Garden! [laughs] It was just an amazing show. I just love playing. So the arena shows aren't any better than the club shows or the festival shows to me. I like it all. I like the hot and sweaty little clubs, and we don't get to do those much anymore. When we do, I love them. If we get to play in front of 100,000 people at Download festival, I'm down with that too. I love it just as much.\r\n\r\nAll the crowds have been great everywhere on this tour. I can't believe the amount of support that our fans have given us in enabling us to do this for so long. I bow down to those kids for everything. Without them, we wouldn't be able to do this at all.

Ibanez: What things did you originally like about the ATK bass, and what were some of your main goals with the Paul Gray Signature bass?
Paul: My tech found an old Ibanez ATK that was left-handed one time, while we were on tour. So he picked it up for me. I plugged it in, and the tone that came out of that thing was just unbelievable and really versatile. With that one huge pickup, you can get the biggest lows and mids but still get really sharp highs. It's such a well-rounded bass. You could play in the Chili Peppers with that bass or you could play in Anthrax from back in the day. I liked the fact that the neck was a little wider, too. The string spacing is really nice. I told Ibanez that I would gladly join up if they brought that bass back, and they did. I love that bass. They look great, and the workmanship is amazing. My inlays are pretty intricate, and they do an amazing job on them. It's like the guys that build the wooden ships inside the bottle. They really put a lot of work into it.

Ibanez: How would you describe the sound of the Paul Gray bass, and how it fits into the general sound of Slipknot?
Paul: Well like I said, it's just so versatile. With nine guys, it's easy to step on each other's toes. I can adjust my sound to fit whatever part it happens to be. If it's a percussion heavy part, I can adjust the bass to have more mids and highs. That way it cuts through, but it never gets over the top or too muddy. On other songs, I can crank the low end and fill everything out. It's a big band, and we could easily make it sound like shit [laughs]. That bass allows me to change a lot of things, so that it never gets muddy on stage. I couldn't be happier with it.

Ibanez: Who are you listening to right now?
Paul: You know what? I've been listening to a lot of David Bowie. I haven't been listening to too much new stuff. This time off, it's been Bowie. I've also been listening to Alice Cooper and The Clash, and none of that stuff came out anytime within the past few years [laughs].\r\n\r\nFor more info on Paul Gray and Slipknot, visit their website:\r\n

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