The 2012 Rockstar Mayhem Festival is officially underway, with Slipknot playing a solid yet shorthanded set as they try to work around the fact that guitarist Jim Root is out of action while recovering from a burst appendix.

Percussionist Chris Fehn spoke to Loudwire about working without Root and how it’s hard deciding which songs to play in the set. He explained, “It always is [tough] when you’ve got more than one or two records, and it’s hard for us to do live too. We’re not sure what we want to do new and what we can play live, what we can’t play live cause a lot of it has to do with Jim [Root] not being here and stuff like that, which is a big hole in the Slipknot camp right now, but it’s always a good problem to have [deciding which songs to feature]. Sometimes what we want, what the fans want, it’s a whole different situation. It is difficult, but there’ll be more to come.”

On day one of this year’s run, which also marked the band’s first performance in the U.S. since the death of Paul Gray, Fehn was amped to return to the stage. “It’s exciting and that’s the best part out of all of this is the live show for us. Meet and greets are fun and meeting fans is fun, but when it really comes down to it, we’re just all sitting around waiting to play and it’s exciting,” says the musician. “It’s hard to believe we haven’t played America in all that long, but we’re definitely excited and ready to rage.”

Fehn admits that it’s a bit surreal looking at the touring lineup and seeing Slipknot headlining on a bill that features several of his idols. “Slayer, Anthrax, Motorhead – those are my bands,” says Fehn. “If you would have told me when I was listening to those bands that I’d be doing this today, you would be out of your mind. It’s still an injustice for me to have those bands opening up for my band, but they’re definitely respectful of our band and we’ve done it before, so it’s all good.”

Slipknot, along with Slayer, Anthrax, Motorhead and many more top metal acts, will be out on the Mayhem Festival all summer long.

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