Slipknot drummer Jay Weinberg has opened up about his experience with hearing loss in a new public service announcement for the Hearing Health Foundation (HHF).
Per its official website, the HHF is the largest US-based nonprofit funder of hearing and balance research, and aims to “prevent, treat, and ultimately cure hearing loss, tinnitus, and other hearing and balance related conditions”.
In a four-minute video for the organisation, Weinberg said: “I’m here on behalf of the Hearing Health Foundation to talk to you a little bit about hearing loss prevention and hearing protection, because it is a vital component of what all of us do.
“I’ll tell you a little bit of a story. Back when I first started teaching myself how to play drums when I was about 14 or so, I was kind of holed up by myself with some sound-canceling headphones, listening to my favourite records, trying to teach myself how to play. And that certainly helped – playing loud drums, loud cymbals, but having this kind of hearing protection while I was teaching myself how to actually do it, that was super helpful.”
The sticksman went on to recall how he got a “very quick lesson” in the importance of hearing loss prevention and protection once he began playing live with other musicians.
“We had a great day jamming, but then the next morning I had no high-end frequencies in my hearing. I thought I honestly lost my hearing altogether, and I was really frightened ’cause I didn’t know how to deal with that,” Weinberg continued. “And especially when you’re recovering from major hearing loss or a hearing loss event like that, the one thing you wanna do to kind of pass the time is listen to music, and you can’t even do that ’cause it’s too painful.”
He explained that hearing protection is “an absolute must” for anyone who wants “longevity and sustainability in playing music”, adding: “So ever since that day, I’ve never sat down at a kit and played the way I play without hearing protection – not even once. It’s not an option.”
As for the measures he takes on-stage, Weinberg said: “For me personally, I don’t go to a single show without wearing earplugs; I don’t go on stage without wearing earplugs or in-ear monitors where I can hear myself and my bandmates. It’s incredibly important, and if I had not worn earplugs and in-ear monitors from a young age, I might have done a tremendous amount of damage to my hearing.
“So I strongly encourage you, wear earplugs, do it the right way, do it intelligently. You can still rock out, you can still play the way you want to, and you’ll be able to play for the rest of your life. So take care of your ears, keep listening and head to HearingHealthFoundation.org.”
You can watch the video in full above.
Slipknot released their seventh studio album, ‘The End, So Far’, back in September. In a four star review, NME wrote: “Aside from the blood, the gore, the theatrics and the noise, there’s clearly always been much more to the band’s ability to shock and surprise – and now it seems their next left turn of an era could be their most daring yet.”
Meanwhile, it’s been announced that Slipknot will headline Download Festival 2023 next summer alongside Metallica and Bring Me The Horizon.