Slipknot's V-Man On Paul Gray's Legacy: "I Can't Be Him And I Never Will Be"

In a new interview, Slipknot bassist Alessandro 'V-Man' Venturella discusses filling the late Paul Gray's shoes.

Slipknot's V-Man On Paul Gray's Legacy: "I Can't Be Him And I Never Will Be"
Jonathan Weiner

Replacing someone in a much-loved band is tough, and even tougher if they were fired or left under unpleasant circumstances. But replacing the member of a band who's died is especially difficult, especially when they were a loved and appreciated part of that specific act. Now, Alessandro 'V-Man' Venturella, who joined Slipknot as bassist after the tragic death of founding member Paul Gray, has spoken about the process of taking over for Paul in a new interview.

Speaking to Music Radar, V-Man said that to learn about his role in the band, he went over old recordings of Gray's work so he could “delve deep into what he did and the tonality of what was happening.” He also goes on to say that rather than replace Paul, his primary objective is to “fill a great man’s shoes and do him justice."

“My approach isn’t the same as Paul’s," says Venturella. "I can’t be him and never will be, every player is ultimately born different. That said, if you listen to Paul’s note choices on Vermilion, he was all over the shop and it sounded great. I wanted to try things like that."

READ THIS: In pictures: Remembering Slipknot's Paul Gray

Not only that, but V-man feels that reviewing Paul's recordings with a critical eye allowed him to better understand his instrument. “After listening to his stems, I honestly looked at bass in a different light and understood how to support everything as the backbone. Take the bass out of the mix and everything will fall flat on its arse -- and equally, if you mix too bass-heavy, you’re not going to get your point across either. Lead guitarists, on the other hand, always need to cut through because that’s what the job entails. As the rhythm section, we’re there to hold the fort.”

The interview isn't entirely dire, though -- V-Man also takes a moment or two to examine his own unique practices on the bass, and even have a laugh at the sheer size of his equipment as bassist for Slipknot.

“I know my rig is stupidly over-the-top," says Venturella. "I know players like Cliff Burton made basic sound great, but I love big rigs. Even when I was playing dingy shitholes in the UK as a kid, I ran dual heads and 16U racks. My in-ears sound incredible, so it’s worth it. I’m sure any great player could go through a SansAmp into the desk -- but they’ll always sound better if you put a £6000 compressor in front!”

Catch Slipknot live at one of their upcoming tour dates early next year:

January 2020

14 Dublin, 3Arena
16 Manchester, Arena
17 Newcastle, Utilita Arena
18 Glasgow, The SSE Hydro
20 Sheffield, FlyDSA Arena
21 Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena
22 Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
24 Birmingham, Arena
25 London, O2 Arena

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