Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From Metal Legends is a new book from acclaimed rock writer Jon Wiederhorn. The book offers the audience a peek into the debaucherous, hair-raising world of some of the most prestigious names in metal.
There are a bunch of gnarly anecdotes shared in the book, some of the most gruesome come in the form of musicians describing the most hectic injuries they’ve acquired on stage. In an excerpt shared with Consequence Of Sound, Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor and Slayer and Exodus guitarist Gary Holt have delved into their most gag-inducing injuries. Check out what they had to say below:
“I think I almost broke my neck or cracked my skull when I fell off the stage at Ozzfest ’99. We were doing a show in either Detroit or Indianapolis and I was singing on a monitor. I slipped and landed on top of my head and twisted my neck. I could move all my fingers and toes so I was like, “F*ck, okay, I’m fine” and I finished the show.
“But I’ve had MRIs and X-rays, and my C5 and C6 vertebrae basically fused together and destroyed the disk in between and the bone was growing into my spinal cord. The only thing I could think of that could have caused that was that fall at Ozzfest. But my doctor said the injury could have happened long before that and over time the bones grew back in an abnormal way.
“At least that explained why I was having so many physical problems at the time. The MRI showed that the bone was literally choking off the fluid and damaging the nerves on my spinal cord. My doctor couldn’t believe I was walking. That tells you how bad it was. They replaced the disk, jacked up the vertebrae, and shaped the bone back so it wasn’t going into my spinal cord anymore.
“When the doctors operated they had to go through my neck so they wouldn’t sever any of the spinal cord and now I’ve got this gnarly scar on the front of my neck.”
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“I’m the poster boy of onstage injuries. Nobody can touch me — maybe the occasional dude who’s too hammered and falls offstage and breaks his neck. But I’ve hurt myself bad. I’ve taken headstocks to the forehead when [ex-Exodus guitarist] Rick [Hunolt] and I both were playing those pointy Jackson guitars. We’d both cut each other open, bleed all over the place, and get butterfly stitches after the show.
“In 2011, we were out in Europe with Death Angel, Kreator, and Heathen. I used to drink several shots to loosen up before a show. And I tripped over some cabling from the monitors and I went up completely horizontal in the air and landed flat on my back. [Death Angel vocalist] Mark Osegueda and [guitarist] Rob Cavestany were standing right there on the side of the stage. And everyone was going, “Oh my God. Wow.” I got up and I said, “Oh, I’m fine.”
“It’s crazy. I didn’t feel hurt at all. Three days later I got up in the morning and lit a cigarette and coughed and my rib, which I had apparently cracked before, actually broke one hundred percent. I crawled in the back of a bus at 7 a.m. I couldn’t even breathe. And there were people there still partying. My tour manager was shitfaced and he’d been Sharpied. He had dicks and boobs and buttholes drawn all over him. I told him I had to go to the hospital and from there I did seventeen shows in a row on morphine with a broken rib.
“Playing in pain is just part of the gig. I view it like being a football player. You gotta get out there and play no matter what happens. If I can somehow, someway, pick up a guitar and play, I’m gonna do it. I’ve read stuff in the metal press all the time about some guitar player who hurt his foot and canceled the next show. I’m like, “F*ckin’ pussy. Get out there. People paid money to see you. Toughen up.”