Conversely, the first time I saw Joey perform in the flesh wasn’t with the ’Knot, but while filling in on drums for Korn at Download 2007, three years after he’d done the same for Metallica. The Dimebag Darrell Tent, as it was christened that year, was packed and then some, with its surrounding barriers eventually being ploughed down by the masses. As excited as I was to see Jonathan Davis and co., I spent the set craning my neck to grab a view of the back of the stage, trying to catch a glimpse of the thundering tubthumper I’d been watching on TV for the past seven years. Needless to say, he put in a hell of a shift.
I’ve been lucky enough to see Slipknot in the years since, mind you, and many of those times with Joey. I was on the barrier for the All Hope Is Gone tour at Sheffield Arena in 2008, where he emerged from behind the stage in his crown of thorns and willow-fingered garb, looking (again) like the coolest thing my friends and I had ever seen. I’d see him again on giant festival stages over the coming years, including the now-iconic Download 2009 headline set, and at Sonisphere 2011, where we stood watching Joey clutch onto the boilersuit of the late Paul Gray and openly sob at the end of the set. His bare, raw display of sadness coming after a 90-minute aural assault, in that brief moment, perhaps for the first time, humanised the band we’d all come to know as a hate machine.