Cleveland, Ohio; late 1990s: There was a band called Mushroomhead who was very popular in the local area. They wore halloween masks and matching jumpsuits. They had two vocalists, one who sang and one who screamed and rapped. The songs varied from very strange to very catchy with hooks and memorable sing-a-long choruses. Roadrunner approached MRH and offered them a deal, telling them their image and sound was very marketable. MRH felt they could do better, so they turned down the deal.
Des Moines, Iowa; shortly afterward. Roadrunner came across this weird little cult bad called Slipknot. Their image was pretty out there, and somewhat S&M oriented. Many of the guys performed shirtless and a few wore bondage masks, dog collars, leather and chains. A couple members did wear halloween style masks, though none of them were particularly identifiable other than the clown. The singer was a big fat guy named Anders who sang in a low growl, performed shirtless with a dog collar around his neck and a chain between his pierced nipples. The band's sound was strange and not particularly catchy or marketable. Roadrunner approached them and was willing to sign them under a number of conditions. First and foremost the singer had to be replaced with a guy the label knew, Cory Taylor, who could sing in a radio friendly voice and also do a very intense variety of screams, and some rapping. Secondly their image had to be changed; they were to wear halloween masks and matching jumpsuits (ironically, some of the masks looked exactly like members of Mushroomhead, including a pig mask and a gas mask with nails coming out of it,) and their sound needed to be made more radio friendly. The songs had be structured as pop songs, with hooks and catchy sing-a-long choruses. Thus the Slipknot we all know and love was born.
When Slipknot stormed onto the scene in 1999 MRH decided they had to scramble to take the next record deal they could get and change their image to differentiate themselves from Slipknot. They ditched the style that had gained them so much success in the local region. Many original members left the band around this time, so the songs written after this point were never able to measure up to their three independant releases and what the band had once been. Mushroomhead went from a top-notch local/regional band to a mediocre and obscure national. Their image as well as their music went in a continual downward spiral.
Slipknot's career went almost exactly the opposite. They went from an obscure, mediocre local band to a multiplatinum worldwide success. Mushroomhead understandably held a bit of a grudge, but their downfall was largely due to many bad decsions on their part, although Slipknot stealing their image was the catalist for much of this.
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