Slipknot recruits co-founder to replace bassist

Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:23pm EDT
 
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By Jason Lipshutz

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Slipknot have decided to stay "within the family" to find a touring replacement for bassist Paul Gray, who died of an accidental overdose last May.

Donnie Steele, an original guitarist for the metal band in 1995-1996, will fill in for Gray for Slipknot's upcoming 2011 shows, the band said on its website. Steele, now 39, reportedly quit the nascent band because of his Christian beliefs.

"Donnie was in the band at the very beginning, and rather than get an outsider, we thought it would be a fitting tribute to Paul to play with someone from within the family," the band explained in a statement.

"Donnie was great friends with Paul and we can't think of a better way to celebrate his memory than with someone who was there with us at the very beginning. The eight of us are looking forward to being onstage again and honoring Paul's legacy with our families in Europe and Brazil this summer."

Gray, 38, was found dead of an overdose of morphine and fentanyl in an Iowa hotel. Days later, his eight bandmates appeared in public for the first time without their signature masks to pay tribute to him at a news conference.

Slipknot kicks off a string of 10 summer shows at Greece's Sonisphere Festival on June 17.