Yep, you read that right. I had the privilege of speaking with the legend, the fighter, the drummer, Joey Jordison. In this fantasy-come-true conversation I disovered a wealth of integrity behind skilled hands, as well as a strong will and humble gratitude. With an infectious laugh and triumph over illness, Joey has made a place for himself. Just as always, he’s bedded in music, but now with a new vision on life and a new album from Vimic.
Shockwave Magazine: I’m super excited and actually trying to calm myself down for this one, so bear with me.
Joey Jordison: Do you need to take a minute [laughing]?
Yeah, kind of, get a drink or something.
Yeah, take a drink or something.
Well, I’ll just start to throw out there, one of the things that I’ve noticed is: your style has, just, evolved so much in all these transitions that you’ve gone through. I know that came from such trials, but it almost sounds happier.
I am. I am. I’m glad that you noticed that. When people notice something like that it really melts my heart. Thank you very much for saying that, because what I’ve had to endure and go through has been the most trialed of myself that I’ve ever been. The fact that I’ve been able to go through this and come out on the other side, not only happier, but a better song writer, I’m just stronger. I’m just stronger as a human being. Period. Not only just in my strength or my playing, but just in my soul as just being glad to be alive; just loving life, just constantly creating music, and not taking life for granted because it’s a gift and it’s no bullshit to me. This is like, I am here for the long haul and I’m gonna give it my all while I’m here.
Yeah, your story is super inspirational, especially—
On a mental standpoint, on a physical standpoint, you were hit with a lot and you came through in what I would say is better.
Yep, thank you. It’s made me a better person than—It’s okay to talk you about this and I’d like to, because it’s cool to share my story with new people, because I can tell in your voice that you’re truly interested and I can see that you really think it’s something inspirational. I really appreciate that, so thank you.
When this stuff happened to me, most, a lot of people, they just don’t come back from it. They just don’t. They’re crippled for life, they give up, and they’re either in a wheelchair, or they just don’t come back from this. My fighting spirit is to never give up no matter what and I fought so hard. I had to throw music away, I had to kiss it goodbye for a little bit and it sucked. But I knew that if I was going to be able to do this again that I had, with all my strength that I had in my body, mentally, in my heart as well, soulful, spiritually, whatever I had to get through this, I had to do it. I put myself all the way through it and I came back and I’m actually stronger than I’ve ever been. It took a long time to get through it, but—I don’t like necessarily calling attention to my own actions, but since you’re asking, it took a lot. It was not an easy road, but I’m back and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I’m playing music all the time. I play better than I ever have, cause all I do is gym and just work out. Life takes you down troubled roads sometimes, not to hurt you, but to cleanse you. That’s the way I kind of look at it.
When you play now, it’s like you have ten arms.
Your track “My Fate” is kind of my track to get out of my own pity parties.
So, I’m wondering how you came to that one.
How we wrote that one?
When we started that song, it basically started with: we had the riff [Joey breaks into a beats melody]. I just had that riff and I was playing. Then, we started working on the lead of it and I was like, “You know, there’s a lead on it.” Which didn’t even start the song and I’m like, “You know what, let’s start the song off with it.” Just that lead part that we had in a similar song and then we started restructuring it from there. And then, Kalen [Chase], at the same time we were just repeating this riff over and over — I’d sit on the drums, we were just sitting back and forth, I’d be playing the guitar, and then I’d go on the drums, and I’d go back and forth, and we’d just keep working on these riffs, and the open riff, the chords and everything was really easy, but Kalen had it and he started humming from the other room. He’d sit on the couch while we were in the rehearsal room. I can’t really explain how it looks to you, but there’s like a corridor where there’s a couch, but he could hear everything, and when we were working he’d just keep working on lyrics. And then, he’d sing out there, like louder than hell while we were still working on riffs and stuff. We just started building that and what it was is, just basically everything that we were going through at that time, he was kind of speaking for all of us. So, that’s kind of how that song was born and I think it turned out really good.
That’s such an organic way to write music.
Yeah, the way we did Open Your Omen, the way we wrote it is exactly like how a garage band would do their demo tape.
Yeah, we went all the way back to the basics and it was cool doing it like that because you didn’t have the influence of your label, and the huge studio, and cars, hotels, and fancy dinners, all this bullshit that goes on along with being in the record industry. It was done literally in my home, organic, and we went out just to the studio not too far from my house and we just laid it down there. So, it was pretty much born in my home and then we just cruised up to the studio and just laid it down really quick.
It just sounds incredibly authentic.
One of the things I love about your music now is, you’ve always had this super complex way of drumming, but now it’s like everything is this stacked instrumental/vocal, it’s like a delicious layered cake.
It’s amazing. I can’t grasp how you learned to play the way you do.
It really comes from– first of all it’s the heart, the brain, the soul, and just years of practicing, knowing what you want to do, and striving to find those counterparts, the right people that you can communicate with through music. Not necessarily through words, but through your heart, through your brain, what you want to say. That’s what makes a great band. Not just like, “Can you play this? Can you play this fast, or can you play this fast?” No, you’ve got to be able to communicate musically with each other, otherwise your band, it’s just not going to work.
I considered, once, trying out drums and then I heard you, and I thought, “Okay, maybe I’ll go somewhere else because the bar is set.” I would say you are probably, my drumming idol, so I’ve been freaking out all week.
Thank you. Listen, anything that I do, you can do. Trust me. I don’t like saying, “Trust me,” but anything I can play, you can play.
Okay, when I upload a video and make a fool of myself, I’ll make sure to donate it to you.
[Laughing] Well, you have to practice. I didn’t say you didn’t have to practice. Anything that anyone else can do, you can do.
That’s something that somebody says who has that raw talent that others of us have to really work for. I can barely drive.
You can barely what?
I can barely drive.
[Laughing] Well, look at this, you made me laugh and not many people can do—[laughing]. So, thank you [laughing].
Hey, anytime, making my day too. So, what would you say Vimic’s message is?
Well, that’s the thing. The message is: that’s why I named the record Open Your Omen, because through those lyrics, they’re open-ended enough that no matter what, the way Kalen especially writes his lyrics, the message all the way from the ending is the first song and the beginning is at the very end, which is the beginning of the next record in our careers. All the way through that whole record, Open Your Omen, is everything that we have gone through and all the messages that are in there. They’re gonna explain so much to you, but what it is, is keeping it open-ended enough for a listener to be able to read it and get their own interpretation. It’s not exactly about this or this is what this song is about. We know what they’re about, but like I said, they’re open. It’s like to where you can get your own meaning. They’re not just scribbled lyrics, but they mean something and the beauty of it is what people get out of this and that’s why we can’t wait to get out and meet our fans and see exactly what it means to them. That’s the whole trick of this record and that’s why it’s such a majestic piece. It’s one of my favorite records I’ve ever done in my life.
So, it’s abstract and also relatable.
Yes, yes, yep. It’s related to certain things. The thing is if we say exactly what we are thinking about, it takes away from the magic of what it is. That’s why I say we kept it really open-ended for people just to enjoy and get their own meaning out of it. I don’t want people telling me exactly what a certain song means when they wrote it if I had my own conclusion, and the way the song makes me feel, the way it makes me feel about. That’s what music does. It’s supposed to open up your heart and it’s supposed to grab something out of you. It’s supposed to mean something to you to where you can get something out of it that mean something only necessarily to you. If I tell you exactly what all these songs are about, it’s going to ruin the magic for you, because that’s not a gift to you. That’s just giving it to us, and then you’d just have to deal with what we say. That’s not right. We know what these songs mean, but the thing is, like I say, open-ended to where no matter what, every person can get something out of this.
So, it’ll be like hearing my own story.
Yes, that’s why the album is called Open Your Omen. Read the lyrics, listen to the album, crank it up as loud as possible. I’m telling you, you’re going to get a whole new look on life. Just listen to the lyrics, listen to the music, and be objective. That’s why it’s called Open Your Omen.
I better get out and buy a new stereo system. Like now.
[Laughing]. What’s wrong with the one you have?
It’s not gonna be good enough. I can feel it.
[Laughing] I’m telling ya, this will explain a lot to you. That’s why I can never listen to Open—like, I either choose not to listen to Open Your Omen or listen to it from front to back. I can’t pick a song. The thing is if I listen to one song, I’ll know exactly what the one before is like and what it was leading to. It will tell you everything. It’s very well constructed lyrically and musically. I’m just really, very, proud of it. I just want the fans to either objectively listen and like it or leave it. It’s up to you.
I’m so excited for the idea. It’s like a book you can’t put down, because you’ve got to know what’s next.
Yes. That’s a great compliment. I really do appreciate that. That’s probably one of the best compliments I think I’ve actually ever had. I’ve been doing interviews all day, but that’s the best compliment that I’ve gotten so far. So, thank you very much.
Well, compliments are easy if they come from the heart.
Yep, they do.
You’ve been doing interviews all day, so I’ll shut it down and say thank you so much for making my musical dreams come true.
Awe, thank you. You know what, you are welcome and I will continue to do so. It’ll be my job.
I believe you could do anything, with your story, anything.
Thank you very much.
Sorry Shockwave readers, you won’t be receiving much of a closing line from me. I’m busy shopping for new speakers to blast Vimic’s new album, Open Your Omen. Somebody has to irritate the neighbors and it might as well be this rocker. Really, though, maybe they should just take a minute to listen and connect to the music. Or, at least, stop flipping me off in the morning.