By Full Metal Jackie, with Alex Distefano aka 'Evil Alex'
In yet the third tragedy to strike the heavy metal community in less than a month, Slipknot bassist Paul Gray, age 38, was found dead on Monday, May 24, in a suburban Des Moines hotel room.
According to numerous news wires and media outlets including the Chicago Tribune the Associated Press, Entertainment Weekly and even celebrity gossip site TMZ, Gray was found by a hotel employee in the town of Urbandale, just outside of Des Moines in a hotel room. Police officials report that there was no sign of foul play at the scene, but that an autopsy on Gray was pending.
Slipknot, the nine-man heavy metal act was formed in Des Moines in 1995 by original members Gray and percussionist Shawn 'Clown' Crahan. The band today includes DJ Sid Wilson, drummer Joey Jordison, percussionist Chris Fehn, guitarists Jim Root and Mick Thompson, sampler Craig Jones and vocalist Corey Taylor.
Over the course of ten years these masked madmen have not only put Iowa on the metal map, but have toured the globe many times over playing to millions of rabid, die-hard fans, known collectively as 'maggots."
Gray was credited with writing songs on every Slipknot album, and is being remembered by many as a kind-hearted, humble and caring human being.
The band released their self titled debut album in 1999, which included the hit 'Wait and Bleed' and led to them appearing at that year's Ozzfest, where they earned a reputation as being one of the craziest of the so called 'nu metal bands.' Slipknot also released the albums Iowa in 2001, Vol. 3: the Subliminal Verses in 2004 and, most recently, All Hope is Gone in 2008.
Throughout their volatile career, the band has been plagued with internal strife, rumors of several break-ups over the years, and Paul Gray's substance abuse problems, including several arrests on drug charges, and a stint in drug rehab.
Corey Taylor and Joel Ekman were also in the softer alternative rock/metal band Stone Sour, while drummer Joey Jordison has worked with some of the top names in metal, including Metallica, Korn, Ministry, Murderdolls, Otep, 3 Inches of Blood, and currently Rob Zombie.
The band, set many milestones in metal, including being nominated for seven Grammy's and winning one (2008's Best Metal Performance for the song 'Before I Forget'), obtaining a number one record on the Billboard chart in 2008, and selling over 14 million records worldwide.
As the sad news of Gray's untimely death spread across the Internet today, many musicians and bands in the metal world who knew the bass player mourned publicly on Twitter, Facebook and other social network sites.
So far, here is what some in the metal community had to say about Paul Gray:
Mark from Chimaira:
"RIP Paul. Thanks for the music and the memories"
"Much love & respect to the family & friends of Slipknot's Paul Gray. He was an amazing musician & a great friend to many. He will be missed."
Brian from Shadows Fall:
"So crushed by the passing of Paul Gray of Slipknot. Had the pleasure of sharing stages and good times with him around the world. RIP brother."
Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed:
"RIP Paul Gray, I am eternally grateful to you."
[One of the original reports, from Des Moines, Iowa's KCCI:]
URBANDALE, Iowa -- Urbandale police said a man was found dead in a hotel room in Urbandale on Monday morning.
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Police identified the man as Paul Dedrick Gray, 38. They said he was found at 10:50 a.m. at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott at 8800 Northpark Johnston Drive in Johnston on Monday. He performed bass and back up vocals for the band Slipknot since 1995.
Police said there was no evidence of foul play observed, but a complete investigation of the untimely death of Paul Gray will be completed by Urbandale police detectives.
The Polk County Medical Examiner's Office is assisting in the death investigation and will perform an autopsy on Tuesday. Toxicology testing will be completed to determine if there were any contributing factors in the death of Gray, police said.
Witnesses reported that items from the hotel room were carried out of the hotel around 2 p.m.