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MASTODON Accidentally Had A Hand In SLIPKNOT Hiring Bassist V-MAN

Thanks to Mastodon's Troy Sanders' brother Darren Sanders.


Bassist Alessandro "V-Man" Venturella joined Slipknot in 2014, filling the mighty shoes left by Paul Gray after his death in 2010. But how'd V-Man actually get the Slipknot gig? It was a combination of previously being a guitar tech for Jim Root in 2008 and dumb luck.

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In an interview with Guitar World, V-Man revealed he was staying with Mastodon bassist Troy Sanders' brother Darren Sanders, who got a call from Root asking if he knew any bassists that'd be interested in Slipknot. V-Man said he was a little tipsy at the time and went on a rant about everything he'd bring to Slipknot, and was eventually offered an audition.

"I was teching with Mastodon in 2014 and we'd just got back from Australia, where we were doing the Soundwave festival. I was staying with Troy Sanders' brother Darren Sanders in Atlanta. One night, Darren's girlfriend got a call from [Slipknot guitarist] Jim Root. I knew Jim because I toured with Slipknot in 2008, teching with Coheed & Cambria.

"So she passed me the phone and he said, 'Do you know any bass players?' I asked if it was for Stone Sour and he said, 'No – the other band' and I instantly said 'I'll do it!' I gave him this whole drunken spiel about 'I'll give you some slap bass if you need it!' and we were having a laugh. Then he said 'Seriously, do you actually want to do this?' and I said 'Yes, I'd really love to do it'."

Of course just saying "I'll do it" didn't mean that he was hired to join Slipknot right then and there. V-Man said he was told to learn six songs for the audition, and even got a little help from SikTh bassist James Leach in practicing for it.

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"Four days later the manager called me and told me to learn six songs. I thought, 'Fuck that, I'll learn more than that' and sat down on the couch and watched all of Paul's old videos and DVDs, and crammed in as much knowledge as I could.

"Some people think it's well easy to play Slipknot stuff, but there's a lot of chromatic stuff going on and it's a workout. I phoned James Leach, the bassist from SikTh, who is a good friend of mine, and said, 'Dude, you won't believe what's happening'. He told me I needed to downpick as hard as I could, so I worked on building that up."

So there you have it, folks! The real secret to success is to get drunk at Darren Sanders' house and wait for his phone to ring. Also, don't do that – we don't want the Sanders family mad at us.

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