Vman Talks Life On The Road As Mastodon’s Guitar Tech And Early Encounters With Slipknot

Words by Jenna DePasquale

Alessandro “Vman” Venturella regails listeners with stories from the road as a guitar tech, as well as his early brushes with Slipknot.

The current Slipknot bassist got a serious upgrade in touring conditions when he went from van runs with his band Cry for Silence to serving as guitar tech for British rockers Fightstar. An engineer with whom Vman previously worked recruited him to help guitarist Charlie Simpson with his pedalboards. Vman’s expertise in gear impressed Simpson, who subsequently invited him on tour. Buses and catering quickly took over Sprinters and McDonald’s ketchup packets, foreshadowing the bigger and better opportunities that have been consistently around the corner for Vman.

His next tech gig would be with Gallows, with whom he shared an apartment above a studio in London. In addition to setting up rigs, he was the resident chef for the studio, taking after his father, a restaurateur. While he remembers this time fondly for the party atmosphere cultivated among friends, Vman maintained a dedication to being the best guitar tech he could possibly be. His aptitude eventually earned him a spot with Coheed and Cambria on their 2008 United States tour with none other than Slipknot. It was during this run that he linked up with guitarist Jim Root, who gifted him a guitar. This was rekindled when Vman entered the European festival circuit with Mastodon.

Vman received the opportunity to serve as Brent Hinds’ guitar tech while working on a small metal cruise with Bring Me The Horizon. It was a dream opportunity, and the first thing on his agenda was reworking Hinds’ rig with the best equipment available. Vman was almost fired after his first day when Hinds insisted he sounded out of tune, but the pair’s strong-willed personalities adjusted into a tight-knit brotherhood.

A lull in touring eventually led to the creation of a new project with his friends in Vman’s hometown of Watford, England. He would form Krokodil with Daniel P. Carter, host of BBC Radio 1’s Rock Show. The supergroup would play Download Festival before fizzling out under the weight of its members’ other endeavors. For Vman, his biggest opportunity was on the horizon: joining Slipknot.

Let it be known, however, that Vman’s true first encounter with Iowa’s finest was when he was just 18-years-old. A friend of a former partner had won a chance to appear on MTV’s FANatic, a program which would surprise fans with their favorite performers in more mundane situations. Vman was enlisted to “record a song” with his pal, who would receive a once-in-a lifetime visit in the studio from Slipknot. For Vman, this introduction would not be his last.

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Stay tuned for the next segment of the interview when Vman details auditioning for Slipknot and getting fitted for his first mask.