Welcome to VENDED

By Cora Dunnwald, News Crew Member

Griffin Taylor (above) always loved singing, but never thought he’d do it as a profession.

VENDED, the band dubbed the ‘second generation Slipknot’ is extremely determined to erase this label and escape their fathers’ shadows. The band houses the sons of Shawn (Clown) Crahan and Corey Taylor, who are both members of Slipknot.

VENDED (ven-dead) was formally announced February 21, and has already amassed over 21,000 followers on their official Instagram account. The band consists of Griffin Taylor, (vocals) Cole Espeland (lead guitar), Connor Grodzicki (guitar), Jeremiah Pugh (bass/ backing vocals) and Simon Crahan (drums). 

VENDED was conceived in middle school, when Taylor and Espeland decided to play together at a talent show. “We did a cover of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ and it was awful,” Taylor said. Both boys hope there isn’t a video floating around of their performance that will come back to haunt them later. Over the next two years, Crahan, Pugh and Grodzicki would join, making VENDED what it is today. “I want these to be my brothers until the day I die,” Crahan said.

VENDED gave their debut show at Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines, Iowa. The band headlined their first show.

The journey to the stage looked different for each of the boys. “My dad bought me a guitar, and I didnt even touch it for a year,” Espeland recalled. “I don’t know why, I guess I just didn’t want to play.” Espeland explained that even though it took him a while to start playing, he knew he wanted to be on stage once he did.

Grodzicki remembered going to a Metallica concert which sparked his passion. “Something just stuck; it made me want to play guitar,” he said. “I guess I started playing, and I guess I never stopped.” 

Pugh’s introduction to this world began like every true grunge kid; Nirvana and Guitar Hero. Pugh recalls playing Slipknot’s ‘Before I Forget’ on the game before meeting his fellow bandmates. “All of the sudden I’m here, and it’s crazy to think about,” he said.

Though Crahan and Taylor were born into the industry, neither of them thought they would perform in a band of their own this soon. “I never wanted to be the same as my father,” Taylor said. He had lived with the pressure of being the son of what some would call a legend his whole life. “I honestly didn’t think I’d become a performer ever,” he said. 

Simon Crahan (above) started playing drums since he could pick up the sticks. “I was born for the stage,” he said.

Crahan knew he was “born for the stage,” but didn’t think his time would be so soon. “I always told my dad that I’d be at least 20 when I first performed […] I wanted to be experienced,” Crahan said. He turned 16 on January 20, making him the youngest in the band. The oldest is Pugh, who is currently 18.

Though VENDED has only played one show so far, the band has been a hot topic in the rock world. “We all know where it’s coming from,” Crahan joked, referencing his father’s band. The boys are all aware that a lot of the attention they are getting is coming from Slipknot fans, but feel that doesn’t diminish their talent.“It took us two years to get here, like we don’t suck,” Espeland said. Crahan expanded by saying, “Not to have a big ego, but I think we sound good,”

There was also a lot of anger from other emerging bands in the culture. “People are saying that we are ruining it for other underground bands, but we are also underground,” Grodzicki said. While VENDED does have the backing of a huge band, the members are adamant they have worked just as hard to get to where they are. 

Just minutes after VENDED was announced, there was a storm of comments dubbing them ‘the next generation Slipknot.’ VENDED as a whole is trying to push back against these statements to form their own identity in the industry. 

“I’ve been compared to Slipknot my whole life,” Crahan said. Both he and Taylor are determined to break out from underneath their father’s shadows. “We are VENDED, we aren’t Slipknot.” After their first show, Crahan declared he “was no longer the son of Slipknot,” on his social media pages. Crahan describes feeling free from the label he was given from birth. He said it feels refreshing to not be a part of Slipknot’s posts, and be more known for VENDED.

The constant comparison to Slipknot plays a big role in the band’s refusal to play any covers. Taylor imitated Slipknot fans who requested him to cover ‘Snuff’, one of the more famous Slipknot songs. He rolled his eyes afterward, expressing the annoyance it brings. VENDED feels they are already being held under such a critical light, and that every move they will make will be directly compared to Slipknot. VENDED also refused to name the genre that they would perform, joking they would play ‘smooth jazz.’ “Everyone who has ever listened to us can’t pick what genre we fit under,” Espeland said, “We are just VENDED.”

The band hadn’t released anything prior to their debut show. Their Instagram sports three posts, and each members’ personal accounts showcase one second of a song. The only phrase they give fans is, “Welcome to VENDED, motherfucker!”

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