Why did Mudvayne wear makeup when they first started only to eventually stop midway into their career? Singer Chad Gray recalled the band's history with their makeup during The Jesea Lee Show podcast, even explaining why the makeup eventually returned..

Why Did Mudvayne Originally Wear Makeup?

Despite Slipknot comparisons often being a talking point in the early days, Mudvayne's Chad Gray reveals that the Iowa-based rockers had zero to do with their initial decision to wear makeup.

As he described to Lee, "We’re inspired by movies. That’s why we wear makeup. We were inspired by modern art, we were inspired by visual art, we were inspired by movies. That’s why we wear makeup."

He adds, "With a movie, you get content, you get a visual and you get a score. With music, if you go to see a show live you get content and you get the score which is music, but you didn’t have the visual. We wanted to bring the visual to the live show. We wanted to make the live show look like a movie.”

Why Did Mudvayne Stop Wearing Makeup?

Simply put, the Slipknot comparisons got tiresome. Gray tells Lee that especially in Europe and the U.K. where press drives a lot of promotion, comparisons to Slipknot were almost always one of the questions.

“Every interview, it was the same fucking thing. We are not the same band. We are not the same bands even looks wise. They’ve got homemade fucking masks that they’ve generated and created on their own and we wear makeup," explained Gray.

“It was frustrating for me to feel the need like I want to get away from this. I’m tired of talking about it. I’m tired of them drawing comparisons. Let’s just take the makeup off."

He also recalls of his first time seeing or hearing of Slipiknot, "I remember when I first learned who Slipknot was, I was like, “What? Really?’ Fuck. Goddamnit.’ Cause nobody else was doing it. But even me, it was like, ‘Oh, they wear masks? Well, ok. Cool.’ At least we were doing something different, cause they were about five minutes ahead of us.”

How Did Taking the Makeup Off Impact Mudvayne's Career?

"I think that was a big downfall for Mudvayne when we did that,” says Gray in reflection. “People fucking loved it, same as people love Slipknot’s masks. People loved it and all of a sudden, bam, we’re just not wearing it anymore."

"People were butthurt by it for sure. And rightfully so. We took the visual away from the music and that was the whole why we did it in the first place.”

Flowers to Slipknot

Despite the comparisons driving them to drop their look, Chad Gray actually has very fond feelings toward Slipknot, recalling that Clown was an executive producer on their debut album and really gave them a platform early in their touring career.

“Clown didn’t really do anything musically with us, but I’m gonna tell you what, I’ve got to give that dude a mad amount of love because that motherfucker took us under his wing and we toured with those guys for the first seven months we ever toured," recalled Gray.

"Clown did his part from a live standpoint. By him doing that, that showed the world that that band gave us their blessing, which was such a huge thing for us because we wore fucking makeup. If that band decided they didn’t like us, we would have lost their entire fanbase.”

He adds, “It was some of the best times of my life cause I got to meet nine really fucking rad dudes that I stayed friends with, two of them until their deaths. Joey [Jordison] and I and Paul [Gray] and I were fucking close to the end.”

Why Mudvayne Returned to Makeup?

Eventually Mudvayne reclaimed the makeup.

“I never really wanted to take it off in the fucking first place," admits Gray, who reveals how he still tried to play into the visual presentation after the decision to lose the makeup.

"I always did different shit, like blood and all that, with Mudvayne and I did a lot of costuming stuff just trying to keep it mixed up," he continues. "But I was always trying to bring back that visual to what we let go of when we took the makeup off.”

READ MORE: Chad Gray Opens Up on Pantera's Comeback + Vinnie Paul's Thoughts

Mudvayne in 2024

While Mudvayne have been working on new music, the band also has some shows on the horizon. The group currently has five U.S. dates booked for May built around their appearances at the Welcome to Rockville and Sonic Temple Festivals. All Mudvayne dates are on sale now.

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