Michael Romeo

BIOGRAPHY – Mick Thompson

Mickael “Mick” Gordon Thompson, or as his fans have affectionately come to know him as, “7,” is the lead guitarist for Slipknot, a Grammy-winning, American heavy metal band. Mick joined Slipknot in 1996, and the original guitarist, Craig Jones, became Slipknot’s sampler. In addition to his pseudonym, “#7,” which appears in the liner notes of the Slipknot albums he has played on, Thompson sports a “seven” tattoo on his left arm. In addition, his custom Ibanez and Ovation signature guitars have “seven” inlayed on their necks, thus proving how serious Mick takes his role as “#7.”

Slipknot is most famously recognized as a band with an attention-grabbing image, that plays heavy, aggressive music, and consistently delivers energetic, yet chaotic, live performances.  In 1999, following the release of their self-titled debut album, as well as a successful tour as part of the Ozzfest lineup, Slipknot enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame. Iowa, the group’s second effort, catapulted Slipknot even higher. The band then took some time off, and then re-grouped in 2004, releasing the Rick Rubin-produced Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses). This album peaked at number four on Billboard, backed by the strength of four singles. While touring in support of The Subliminal Verses, Slipknot recorded a live album, 9.0 Live, which also had an impressive Billboard debut at number seventeen. 2008 saw the release of the fourth Slipknot album, All Hope Is Gone, which debuted at number one on Billboard.  Thompson and the band celebrated the tenth anniversary of their debut album in 2009, but tragedy struck the band, as they were on hiatus in 2010, as bassist Paul Gray passed away. Despite this terrible tragedy, Slipknot has been nominated for seven Grammy’s, winning one in 2006. They have confirmed that Slipknot will release a fifth studio album.

Mick Thompson’s guitar technique consists of very fast and extremely accurate alternate picking. He also uses a liberal amount of pinch harmonics, and also likes to employ an occasional lick complete with sweep-picking. The sweep-picking influence comes from Thompson’s admiration for Racer X, and guitarists like Randy Rhoads. As a young, budding guitarist, Thompson found a real challenge when trying to emulate players of this high caliber. Nonetheless, through sheer perseverance, Mick is now able to sprinkle his leads with flashes of real fretboard wizardry.

As previously mentioned, Mick has a series of Ibanez MTM1 and MTM2 Signature Model guitars. He also has an Ovation MT37 Signature Model acoustic guitar. Prior to endorsing Ibanez, Thompson was an endorsee, as well as, a longtime player of B.C. Rich guitars, up until late 2004. In fact, Thompson had even designed a signature model B.C. Rich, based primarily on their “Warlock” model. Along with his guitars, Mick has a line of guitar pickups, known as Seymour Duncan Mick Thompson Signature Blackouts. He has also used EMG pickups, and Mick prefers Black Dunlop Jazz III picks. When it comes to amplification, Thompson uses his signature Rivera KR-7 model, along with its matching speaker cabinet. Mick also uses a wide array of effects, such as an Ibanez Tube Screamer, Dunlop Hendrix Fuzz, Dunlop Carbon Copy Delay, Dunlop Rack Wah, DigiTech Synth Wah, DigiTech Whammy Pedal, Boss MD-2 Mega Distortion, just to name a few!