Formed in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1995, Slipknot was started by drummer Shawn Crahan, vocalist Anders Colsefini and bassist Paul Gray as "The Pale Ones." The band went through a couple changes in name and lineup before settling on the name "Slipknot" and the current roster of Crahan, Gray, disc jockey Sid Wilson, drummer Joey Jordison, percussionist Chris Fehn, guitarist Jim Root, sampler Craig Jones, lead guitarist Mick Thomson, and lead vocalist Corey Taylor. The band released two demo albums, Mate, Feed, Kill, Repeat and Slipknot Demo, independently before being signed to RoadRunner Records in 1997. It was also during these early years that Slipknot began experimenting with the makeup and masks that would eventually form their distinctive on-stage look.
The early albums gained Slipknot a strong following, which grew tremendously when they attended Ozzfest in May 1999. That June, they released their epynomous debut album, Slipknot. Peaking at #51 on the Billboard charts and having since been certified double platinum, the album gained the band quite a bit of notice from the metal community. Slipknot got right to work recording their second album. They toured with System of a Down in order to promote it, and in August 2001 the band released Iowa, named after their home state. By that time, Slipknot's popularity was enough to shoot the album straight up to #3 and a platinum certification. Following the release of the album, the band parted ways for nearly two years while many of the members worked on side projects, including forming or re-forming old bands, such as Stone Sour, the Murderdolls, and To My Surprise.
Slipknot reunited in 2003 amid speculation about the band's future to work on their third album with producer Rick Rubin. Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) was released in May 2004, peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 and was in the top five in at least half a dozen other countries. The album was in part experimental in nature, as it included songs, such as "Vermillion Pt. 2" and "Circle," that featured significant acoustic guitar play. The next year, on November 1, 2005, Slipknot released their first and as of yet only live album, 9.0: Live, which includes portions of concerts from Phoenix, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada, Osaka and Tokyo, Japan, and Singapore. 9.0 reached #17 on the Billboard charts. In August 2008, the group released their fourth studio album, All Hope is Gone, which debuted at #1.