Nathan Jonas “Joey” Jordison was born on April 26, 1975, in Des Moines, Iowa. Most of his childhood was spent in rural Waukee. During this time, he became interested in music. Looking back, he feels it was because instead of putting him in front of a TV, his parents sent him in front of the radio. He learned to play the guitar when he was eight. The same year, he received his first drum set from his parents. While still in elementary school, he formed his first band. After his parents divorced, he moved to another town with his mother. During that time, he began playing with a local band called The Reject as a guitarist, a short gig lasting only several gigs because he was looking for bigger and better opportunities which were just around the corner.
In March 1994, he got a job at Sinclair Garage, working night shifts in Urbandale, which he preferred because it allowed him to listen to music and spend time pursuing his passion, music. In September 1995, Shawn Crahan and Paul Gray started a band named The Pales Ones with other friends, including vocalist Anders Colsefni and guitarist Donnie Steele. Gray was the one who suggested Jordinson because the group wanted to pursue more percussion elements. Almost immediately, Jordinson took over as lead percussionist. Much of the band’s early history goes back to nights at the Sinclair Garage when Gray, Crahan, and Jordison sat around creating the band’s direction. It was also where Jordinson suggested the group consider Slipknot as their name after one of their songs. According to ABC News, Slipknot was known for its energetic live shows. Additionally, they wore masks and elaborate costumes that fit their style of music, metal with elements of hip hop. Jordison was often onstage wearing a white mask with black paint drip and a crown of thorns. As the group continued to tour, their fame grew and eventually became known as one of the groups who kept hard rock alive in the late 90s and early 00s.
Leaving the band
In 2013, Jordison left the band. When asked, he said it was for personal reasons. However, it was later revealed that he was fired in an email. Three years later, he was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, which causes inflammation of the spinal cord causing him to lose feeling in his legs which made him unable to play. According to The Sun, Jordison thinks that other members felt the disease was a substance abuse problem, which is likely why he was unceremoniously fired. Later at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in 2016, Jordison said, “I couldn’t play anymore. Ii was a form of multiple sclerosis, which I don’t wish on my worst enemy.
Besides being the drummer for one of the most successful groups in the late 90s, Jordison was part of several other bands. Murderdolls were founded in 2002. The group’s sound was a combination of horror punk and heavy metal. Most of the group’s lyrics were inspired by horror movies like Friday the 13th and Night of the Living Dead. Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls, they released two albums, released in 2002, and Women and Children, last released in 2010. The group’s success was mainly in the United Kingdom and Japan. Jordison also played drums for an extreme metal band, Sinsaenum, founded on May 5, 2016. Their debut album dropped on July 29, the same year. A second album, Repulsion for Humanity, was released on August 10, 2018. Jordison has also received several awards for his considerable skill playing the drums. In 2010 he was voted best drummer of the past 25 years by Rhythm magazine. The same year, he received the Drummies award for best metal drummer, determined by an international poll of drummers. Loudwire readers crowned him the world’s greatest metal drummer in 2013.
On Monday, July 26, 2021, Joey Jordinson passed away from unknown causes. His family released a statement that he died peacefully in his sleep, adding “empty hearts and feelings of indescribable sorrow.” These same sentiments are echoed by the music community, which Jordison had a profound impact. According to The Yucatan Times, System of a Down Musician Serj Tankian posted “amazing drummer and a fantastic guy.” Meat Heafy, frontman of Trivium, tweeted that Jordison “changed the face of heavy music on the planet as we know it.” Many other musicians echoed these comments, each expressing the sadness and loss of the musical icon. On July 29, Variety posted an article from the A&R executive who signed Slipknot, Monte Connor. He wrote about Jordison and his talents outside of playing the drums, calling attention to his songwriting skills and his guitar playing prowess. He also pointed out that Jordison co-wrote many of the group’s songs with Paul Gray and feels that they are anthems that will live on for generations to come. Connor also recalled meeting the band for the first time and that it was Jordison who pulled him aside first. He was impressed by not only his knowledge of heavy metal music but also Road Runner Records, where Slipknot was later signed, even feeling that he knew more history than Conor, who’d been with the label since 1983. Conor added that Slipknot changed the direction of not only the record label but also music. In closing, he wrote, “Joey was a truly groundbreaking character who will be sorely missed by metal fans worldwide. I feel incredibly lucky to have been a part of his all-too-short but seismic journey.”
Each time a musician is lost, it sends a ripple through their fanbase. Many times people look back and remember where they were when one of their favorites died. However, even when these artists leave the world, the legacy of their music remains, which keeps them alive in spirit long after they’re gone.