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Slipknot’s Jim Root at ’90 Percent Now’ After Disk Replacement Operation

Liz Ramanand, Loudwire
Liz Ramanand, Loudwire

Being in Slipknot has its price: a physical one. DJ Sid Wilson has broken his feet multiple times from his notorious leaping feats and over the summer, frontman Corey Taylor underwent immediate surgery for a broken neck and was forced to dial back his frenetic stage presence while wearing a neck brace on tour. Guitarist Jim Root followed in Taylor’s footsteps, going under the knife for emergency neck surgery and detailed it all as a guest on The Jasta Show podcast.

“What happened was I had this really sharp pain in my shoulder blade for, like, two and a half, three months. It just would not go away,” Root told Hatebreed singer Jamey Jasta on The Jasta Show (transcription via Blabbermouth, audio below). He went on to describe the injury, detailing, “And it was starting to freak me out; like, this is bad. And that evolved into my left arm kind of going numb a lot. And it just got to the point where I couldn’t ignore it anymore and I went and got an MRI.”

Root explained the similarity to other metal icons like Slayer‘s Tom Araya who has famously had surgery on his neck, which has prevented him from headbanging since. “I think it’s exactly the same thing that Corey [Taylor, Slipknot singer] went through just previous,” the axeman continued, “so I went to the same doctor that he went to.” After undergoing an MRI, Root said he had just begun to walk away from the office when he received a call from the doctor, who said, “You need surgery as soon as possible.”

Taken aback, Root explained the surgery was at an inopportune time. “I’m leaving in three days to start a two-week tour and then I have literally two weeks off and then we’ve gotta start another month of touring that’s all flying. It’s all Mexico and South America and New Zealand and Australia and Taipei [and] Japan. It’s, like, I don’t have time to recuperate from something like this,” he told the doctor.

“Well, you have to do it, because you’ve got two blown-out disks in your neck. We need to replace C5 through C7 in your neck. It’s causing nerve damage, and the longer you let it go, the nerve damage could become permanent,” the doctor warned Root. Fearing the same fate as Araya, Root wondered, “‘Does that mean I’m not gonna be able to bang my head anymore?’ Because, I mean, it’s muscle memory. After 17 years-plus of playing guitar a certain way onstage, it’s hard to not do that. So especially right after that tour, I had to kind of rethink the way I was onstage, but hopefully it’ll get to the point where I’ll be able to do that again.”

Rather than infusing the disks in the guitarist’s neck, they were actually replaced instead. “I had it about two or three months ago and it’s kind of been bugging me just where the surgery actually was,” Root told Jasta. “And there’s still a little bit of pain in my nerves because [the doctor] said now my nerves are swollen and the paths that they go through, through my bones and vertebrae, it’s gonna hurt for a while. But pretty much I’d say I’m 90 percent now,” he concluded.

In late November, Slipknot percussionist Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan had revealed that he and Root would begin writing the successor to 2014’s .5: The Gray Chapter in February. Root told Jasta he feels the record will be more guitar-centric with primary songwriters Joey Jordison (drums) and the late Paul Gray (bass) no longer with the band. “I don’t know how to even begin to approach the next stuff that we’re gonna start working on,” said Root, adding, “I definitely think a lot more of the members need to be a lot more involved; I think it’ll be a lot cooler that way.”

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