Several songs into their Aug. 2 Hartford, Connecticut concert, the nu-metal shock rockers of Slipknot had a choice to make. Their bassist, Alessandro “Vman” Venturella, had just collapsed due to an “unknown medical emergency” (later to be diagnosed as severe dehydration). And they had been given the green light from promoters to pull the plugs and reschedule.

Twenty minutes into an impromptu backstage meeting, singer Corey Taylor emerged with a verdict.

“We’ve had to modify some shit, but we’re going to keep playing for you,” he roared, as the eight remaining musicians took their spots on stage and guitarists Jim Root and Mick Thomson — who reportedly handled most of the bass duties on the band’s latest album, .5: The Gray Chapter — filled out the bottom. “It’s what we want. It’s what Alex would want, so make some noise for him.”

As the crowd dutifully chanted “Alex,” the band burst into an audio-visual onslaught with the ferocity of a wounded animal backed in a corner. It was the ultimate F-You to pretentious preeners who cancel at the drop of a hangnail. It was oh, so very rock ’n’ roll.

But playing short-handed, it turns out, was totally avoidable, too. For in that very audience were the members of Slip-Not, the nation’s preeminent Slipknot tribute, based right here in the Valley. And that band’s bassist, William Brault, is no stranger to stepping into a national act’s shoes, either.

“In addition to Slip-Not, I also play in a Godsmack tribute called Badmagick,” Brault expains. “So almost exactly a year ago, I got a call from the Godsmack guys saying that their bassist, Robbie Merrill, was feeling really ill and I could I sit in for their Mohegan Sun show. It was right out of the movie Rock Star.

And, he continues, that sit-in strengthened a longstanding personal friendship with Merrill that includes the two buying and borrowing gear from each other. Merrill purchased a custom bass from Brault, and Brault presently owns Merrill’s entire bass rig from Godsmack’s Faceless tour.

In fact, just 24 hours before the Hartford Slipknot show, Brault shared a stage with Merrill in El Paso, Texas. Names were being bandied about to support a Godsmack show there… obviously a Godsmack tribute wouldn’t make much sense. A Slipknot tribute might not be the best fit, either. But luckily, Brault had yet another trick up his sonic sleeve.

“Children of the Korn was our Korn tribute that helped us fund our demo, bought buses and more for our original outfit Split Shift years ago,” Brault says. “After getting signed by No Name/Elektra for two years and touring with Godsmack, Split Shift became a casualty of the ever-evolving music business and the evilness of downloading. But the tributes have taken us all over the U.S. and into the Caribbean. So they asked Children of the Korn to come out to Texas and play with our friends Godsmack, and we kindly obliged and rocked the spot for sure.”

According to posts on Brault’s Facebook page, he also peeped Duck Dynasty’s Uncle Si in the Dallas airport, too.

Catch Children of the Korn locally at Maximum Capacity Aug. 21, and Slip-Not at the very same venue Oct. 23.•

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