Slipknot Bassist Dead: Admitted Taking Drugs in 2003

Slipknot pose with their award for best metal performance (AP, file)

DES MOINES, Iowa (CBS/AP) While the cause of death of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray remains unknown, in 2003 Gray, who was found dead Monday, admitted to "sporadic" use of illegal drugs.

In 2003, Gray admitted that he was on drugs when his red 2001 Porsche collided with another car in Des Moines that year. No one was seriously injured in the crash. Under a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped charges of possession of marijuana, cocaine and syringes.

Media reports at the time noted that court records included a handwritten note from Dr. Joe Takamine that described discussions with Gray that were "very frank and open about his sporadic use of various drugs and of the long periods of abstinence in between."

A hotel employee found the 38-year-old Grammy award-winning bassist dead in a room at the TownePlace Suites in Urbandale, a suburb of Des Moines, police said in a statement. Police say there was no indication of foul play. An autopsy was planned for Tuesday.

Slipknot emerged in the mid-1990s with an aggressive mix of heavy metal and a vocal style that included growling, rapping and singing. The band has been known for extreme behavior during live performances, including urinating and vomiting on stage, according to biographies.

Tom Ramirez, a drummer from Des Moines who became friends with Gray in high school, said he ran into Gray at a concert a few months ago and thought Gray "looked great." Ramirez remembered Gray as someone who always made time for his fans and old friends in Des Moines.

"He was always accepting and he wasn't stuck up. He was a people person. He knew his friends and who his friends were," Ramirez said. "He didn't forget the little people back here."

Slipknot remains one of the most popular metal bands and can still fill arenas, said David Gehlke, editor in chief of, a heavy-metal and rock website.

The band is on a yearlong hiatus, and Gray planned to play with Hail, an all-star metal band that includes the former lead singer of Judas Priest and covers songs by that band, Motorhead and Iron Maiden, Gehlke said.

"This is going to be quite the blow to Slipknot and their fanbase," Gehlke said during a telephone interview from Pittsburgh.