Who on earth finds a gang of masked lunatics in orange jumpsuits and says, "These Iowa boys are the next big thing?" Every legendary band has it’s “big break” moment, and a small group of people decided to put their energy behind the fire and dried vomit, launching the sick genius of Slipknot.

Slipknot were discovered and developed by a local Iowa DJ named Sophia John. She spun records in the ‘90s at KKDM in Des Moines, which is now called 107.5 KISS FM. Her mother wanted her to be a banker and her father wanted her to be a chiropractor, but she was drawn to music and she ended up breaking the biggest metal band in a generation.

Sophia got in contact with Roadrunner radio rep John Kuliak, who ultimately traveled to Iowa and saw Slipknot live. Kuliak was hooked, sending word back to Roadrunner A&R man Monte Conner that Slipknot were something special. Conner was sent a copy of Slipknot’s first release, Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat., which featured Anders Colsefini on vocals and Josh Brainard on guitar.

“I got the CD, and to be honest, I thought it was shit,” Conner told us in an interview for this piece. “It’s nothing like Slipknot today.” Conner got in touch with Sophia John, telling her he wasn’t into the band, but whenever Slipknot recorded a new demo, Sophia would send a copy to Monte Conner. Sophia sent Conner another two demos, but with Anders Colsefini still on vocals, the Roadrunner rep still didn’t like what he heard, passing both times.

For the rest of the story on how Slipknot got their big break, watch the video above. Special thanks to Monte Conner for speaking with us for this piece!

The Best Metal Song of Each Year Since 1970