Paul Gray, the man behind the mask

Omaggio di Zoa Studio a Paul Gray

Today we will tell you the story of Paul Gray, bassist of the metal band Slipknot, who passed away on May 24, 2010. As you know, here at Zoa Studio we love a certain type of music but, above all, we love a certain type of people.

Through the words of Gray’s friends and family you will find out why.

Who is Paul Gray

Paul Dedrick Gray was born on April 8, 1972 in Los Angeles (California, United States). He follows his parents to Des Moines, Iowa, where he spends the rest of his childhood. In the early 90’s, he was part of several bands, including Anal Blast where he held the role of bass player, and where he first met Joey Jordison (former drummer of the same group).

He then returns to Los Angeles and there he is immediately contacted by Shawn Crahan who offers him to become the bassist of a nascent group: Slipknot. Gray then returned to settle in Des Moines.

Thus began Paul’s career as a bassist in one of the most successful and most powerful bands in the history of metal, Slipknot. In the band Paul Gray wore a gray suit, marked with the number 2. He had been nicknamed Porky because of his first mask which depicted a pig with a nose pierced by a padlock. His last mask, on the other hand, was inspired by the serial killer Hannibal Lecter.

Style and career

Paul played with the hilt of his left hand and tended, as a rule, to use the pick, although in the songs Wait and Bleed and Purity he played with his fingers.

He also became an Ibanez testimonial and produced the ATK Paul Gray Signature model.

While the Slipknot bassist did not strictly pursue a solo project, on many occasions he stood out without his eight Slipknot mates.

Paul Gray has in fact contributed to the recording of Last Stop: Crappy Town, the last work of Reggie And The Full effect. He also replaced the bassist of the stoner-rock band Unida during a tour in 2003. He also participates in Roadrunner United on the songs “The Enemy” and “Baptized in the Redemption” on the album The All-Star Sessions.

In April 2010, the supergroup Hail! announces his integration to replace David Ellefson, which will never happen.


On Monday, May 24, 2010, Paul Gray was found dead in a hotel room in Johnson, near Des Moines. The circumstances of his death are initially indeterminate. Police estimate that toxicology tests will take four to six weeks.

The autopsy confirms that there are no crimes or trauma and that his body was found several hours after his death. On June 21, 2010, we learn that Paul Gray’s death was caused by an accidental overdose of morphine and fentanyl.

After Paul Gray’s death, Slipknot’s future is uncertain. Drummer Joey Jordison confirms that the group is working on a new album while frontman Corey Taylor is reluctant to continue the adventure.

Dedicated to Paul Gray

On September 28, 2010, the band released the video album (sic) nesses which contains a 45 minute documentary about their tour and dedicated to Paul Gray. Four years later, on October 19th 2014, Slipknot released their fifth album .5: The Gray Chapter, a record that closes the Paul Gray chapter. In the tour that will follow, his replacement, Alessandro Venturella, will wear a different mask from those of the other members of the band.

In an interview, Corey Taylor said about making the album without Paul:

A: you’re dealing with the loss of your brother

B: you’re parting ways with someone who was a huge part of the band and it’s like how do you fill in the blanks. And, at the same time, tell the story  of the loss of that person and really try to work it out musically. 

The regret I have about this album is not having said enough about what Paul meant to me. I didn’t really realise what I had until it was taken away from me. When Paul died it readjusted me in a huge way man, not only in the way I am towards life or towards my career but also how I am towards the people that I care about. So I kind of have been giving retroactively to Paul the credit that he was due for years because when you’re younger there is just this level of selfishness that you’re so afraid to let go of. 

The words of the Slipknot family for Paul Gray

Corey e  Shawn

The day after the disappearance, it is Corey Taylor who starts speaking to the press.

Corey Taylor: yesterday we lost our brother and the world seems a little smaller because of it. He had the biggest heart than anyone I have even known and the greatest soul I have had the privilege to know. He was everything that was wonderful about this band and about this group of people. 

The only way I can sum up Paul Gray is love. Everything he did, he did for everyone around you, whether he knew you or not. And that’s is what is left behind for us, his absolute love. I will miss him with every fiber of my heart as well as everybody at this table and everyone who knew him. He was the best of us.

We miss you Paul, we miss you very much.

Shawn Crahan: there is really nothing more to say than it’s very important that everybody on the outside of us understand that Paul Gray was the essence of the band Slipknot and Paul was there from the very beginning and none of us would be on the path that we are on in life or have the sorts of life that we have without him. We miss you Paul and we love you. Paul loved the fans and he was the kind of person in the band who really wanted everybody to go along in the band and concentrate in the band.

He was a really great friend and jut a great person, he’s gonna be sadly missed and the world is gonna be a different place without him.

In 2018 SLIPKNOT singer, Corey Taylor, posted the following video dedicated to the late bassist  Paul Gray who would turn 46 on the 8th April.

Sid, Chris

Sid Wilson: I met his family through Paul, I didn’t know that at the time but my life changed the moment that I met him and to me that’s the thing: that everyone he met there was a change in their life whether they knew it or not and he was just so good at giving everyone a different perspective you know and I love him for that. I am going to miss him greatly and I love him for everyone he introduced me to and he’ll be missed. I love you Paul. 

Chris Fehn: He was that guy you could always owe him one. You could have called him and he answered the phone and it just felt good man, like he always made you feel at ease and made you feel like you were just part of his family. If you needed somewhere to live you knew you could be living in his house without a doubt. I mean he was that kind of guy and the one thing I’m going to miss the most is that he gave the greatest hugs out of anybody I have ever hugged. I mean you hug a lot of people but man that dude when he grabbed on to you it was just… you could feel him and the love that he had for you at that moment in time. And I learned a lot of things about becoming who I am through him. He had your back, no matter what and that’s a quality that I could always try and take with me through life. My thoughts and my prayers go out to Brenna and the rest of the Gray family and that’s it.

…and Joey

Joey Jordison: I’d just like to say that I miss my brother so much. This is very hard for me right now. I just wanna say that I love you Paul very much. I’ll be sorting this by the world over. God bless him. Thank you for all the great times that we had together. I love you so much.

Gray’s brother and wife

Tony Gray, fratello di Paul: Paul, my brother, my other brothers and my sister up here, we’ll greatly miss you, we’ll get through it. He will be missed. Thank you to all the fans that made him who he was and made Slipknot who they are today. He will be missed.

Brenna Gray: Paul is my husband, an amazing person and I just want people to remember him for just that and his daughter will remember him for the way he was and I just thank everybody for being here and thank you.

Unfortunately, the deaths in the Slipknot and Gray families did not end with Paul’s death. On July 26, 2021, Joey Jordison also disappeared while the same fate fell a few months ago to Tony, his brother, whose words we have just read.

On May 24, the day of Paul’s disappearance, his wife was pregnant. Although she has never met her father in person, October Gray has known him through his legend.



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