Shawn Crahan

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Shawn Crahan
Crahan performing with Slipknot in 2019
Crahan performing with Slipknot in 2019
Background information
Birth nameMichael Shawn Crahan
Also known as
  • Clown
  • #6
  • Bozo
  • Kong
Born (1969-09-24) September 24, 1969 (age 52)
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • video director
  • Percussion
  • drums
Years active1992–present
Associated acts

Michael Shawn Crahan (born September 24, 1969), more commonly known by his stage persona "Clown", is an American musician who is one of the two percussionists/background vocalists and co-founder of heavy metal band Slipknot. When performing with Slipknot, he is also known as #6. As of 2021, Crahan is the last remaining original member of the first Slipknot lineup before their big break in 1999.

Crahan is the oldest member of Slipknot, with extensive involvement in Slipknot's media production, directing Slipknot's music videos. Outside Slipknot, Crahan had two side project bands called To My Surprise and Dirty Little Rabbits. Aside from his musical activity, he also directed the 2016 film Officer Downe.

Personal life[edit]

Crahan was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1969. He majored in Creative Writing. He performed in bands such as Heads on the Wall and One Cup of Fat before forming The Pale Ones, which would later become known as Slipknot. Crahan married his wife Chantel[1] in June 1992, in Des Moines, Iowa. They had four children together: Alexandria, Gage, Gabrielle, and Simon.[2] Crahan is also a filmographer and photographer, having published a Slipknot photo album "The Apocalyptic Nightmare" in 2012. In 2012, he also made his debut acting appearance in the film The Devil's Carnival. He is also a collector of baseball cards. He is a smoker and has been willing to break the law to smoke inside venues along with other members of Slipknot, even when subject to a significant fine.[3]

On May 18, 2019, Crahan announced on multiple social media networks, that his youngest daughter, Gabrielle, had died at the age of 22. Allegedly, her cause of death was a drug overdose and her death came only days after she celebrated five months of sobriety.[2][4]


Film career[edit]

In June 2016, Crahan made his directing debut with the film Officer Downe based on the graphic novel Officer Downe written by Joe Casey and Chris Burnham.[5][6][7] Crahan also directed the music video for the song "A-M-E-R-I-C-A" by Motionless in White and "We Are" by Hollywood Undead.

With Slipknot[edit]

In 1995, Crahan formed a metal band known as the Pale Ones with fellow musician Paul Gray, which featured himself as the band's drummer. Wanting to expand the band's percussion section, Crahan brought in Joey Jordison to fill in as drummer while Crahan's efforts were focused on percussion. The vocalist playing a second percussion kit gave the band a layered, distinctive drum sound. In 1996, they released a song known as "Slipknot", and through Joey's suggestion, the band changed their name to Slipknot and released their first official album. This album would later become known to the band as their demo. Crahan felt that the original vocalist for Slipknot was too guttural, and was the primary reason for Slipknot's inability to get a record deal. He brought in Corey Taylor from another local band called Stone Sour, whose vocals were more melodic. Slipknot got a record deal a couple years later and released their first official album in 1999. Slipknot gained major notability the same year by touring with Ozzfest. In Slipknot's early years, Crahan brought several dead cow heads on stage.[8]

As well as lending his percussion talents to the band, Crahan has also sung backing vocals on a number of songs Slipknot has both recorded and performed live. He also wrote the original draft of "Tattered & Torn", which originally appeared on the band's first album, Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. which featured the original singer of Slipknot before Corey Taylor was brought in as a replacement. A second version of "Tattered & Torn" was released on their self-titled album, and is the version that most people know.

Outside Slipknot, Crahan has founded Big Orange Clown Records, a vanity label within Sanctuary Records, which has so far signed the metalcore band Gizmachi. He also acted as director for, and assembled Slipknot's 2005 DVD, Voliminal: Inside the Nine, while the band was on hiatus.

He also performed with To My Surprise, recording guitar and vocals for the band's self-titled debut album. The band received little interest due to their album being released amidst the success of Slipknot members Corey Taylor, Jim Root and Joey Jordison's side projects, Stone Sour and the Murderdolls, respectively. To My Surprise was later dropped by Roadrunner Records. In 2007, Crahan began performing as drummer for Dirty Little Rabbits. The band was a supporting act for Stone Sour during their North American tour in Summer 2007,[9] and have released one EP, titled Breeding. They have since signed a deal with The End Records as of November 2008.[10]

In 2009, he contributed to Bring Me the Horizon's remix album, Suicide Season: Cut Up!, by remixing the track "Sleep With One Eye Open". Also in 2009, Shawn remixed Coheed and Cambria's "Welcome Home" and a Suicide Silence track on their Wake Up EP entitled "Wake Up (Clown of Slipknot Remix)". In 2010, he contributed to Escape the Fate's This War Is Ours deluxe edition, by remixing the track "This War Is Ours (The Guillotine Part II)," and in 2011, he remixed "Angels of Clarity" for Dead by April on their compilation album "Stronger." Crahan has confirmed the formation of a brand-new side project called The Black Dots of Death who released their debut studio album Ever Since We Were Children on March 28, 2011.[11] He is the director of many of Slipknot's music videos, DVDs and other artistic projects. He also directed the "We Are" videoclip from the band Hollywood Undead

Crahan generally wears clown-style masks while performing with Slipknot; however, on occasion, when performing the band's song "Vermilion", all band members will wear their own death masks instead.

He also features as the carny "Tamer" in The Devil's Carnival, a short film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman to be screened on tour beginning in April 2012.[12]

Influence on Slipknot[edit]

Crahan has been credited with several things that Slipknot is known for, such as their large percussion section and their masks. Crahan began wearing a clown mask to rehearsals when the band was still fairly unknown, spawning the mask theme that the band is known for today.[citation needed]

Crahan has had several masks throughout his career with Slipknot, all of which are clown themed except for his "death mask", which was used in the video for the song "Vermilion". Crahan's earliest known mask and perhaps his most referenced one is one that he used during Slipknot's earliest self-titled album which is a happy looking clown mask, balding with long orange hair.[citation needed]


With The Black Dots of Death

  • 2011: Ever Since We Were Children

Guest appearances and remixes

Albums produced[edit]



  1. ^ "Slipknot's Shawn Crahan Mourns the Death of 22-Year-Old Daughter: 'The Deepest Pain'". Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Kielty, Martin. "Slipknot's Shawn Crahan Thanks Fans After Daughter's Death". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  3. ^ Doyle, Tomas (January 17, 2015). "Slipknot – Hell Awaits". Kerrang!. No. 1551. pp. 16–21 (page 18). 'It's illegal to smoke in these venues,' Clown explains, puffing away. 'If they catch you, they normally fine you. It's, like, $2000, but most nights we just take the fucking fine so we can smoke where we want. Fuck going outside.'
  4. ^ "Gabrielle Crahan, daughter of Slipknot's Shawn 'Clown' Crahan, has died at 22". Des Moines Register. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  5. ^ "Slipknot's Shawn Crahan To Make Directing Debut With 'Officer Downe'". July 15, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  6. ^ "Slipknot's Shawn 'Clown' Crahan to Direct 'Officer Downe' Movie". Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  7. ^ "Graphic Novel Officer Downe Coming to the Big Screen". July 15, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  8. ^ "Slipknot's Shawn 'Clown' Crahan - Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?". YouTube/Loudwire. August 12, 2015. Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  9. ^ "Slipknot Percussionist's Dirty Little Rabbits To Support Stone Sour". Blabbermouth. July 7, 2007. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved July 12, 2007.
  10. ^ Dirty Little Rabbits (October 14, 2008). "M.Shawn Crahan Interview". Headbanger's Blog. Retrieved December 27, 2008.
  11. ^ "Slipknot's Clown announces new album and free download". NME. January 18, 2011. Retrieved January 18, 2011.
  12. ^ "Chiller".

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Slipknot drummer
Succeeded by
Preceded by Slipknot percussionist
Succeeded by