Source: Bassy (ehenden@online.no)

From the February 15, 1997 issue of Kerrang! Magazine

HANGING WITH THE HOMEBOYS

By Paul Elliott

Girlfriends, babies, flash cars, Sony Playstations, beanie hats and, yes, their fans - these are the things that the guys in Korn love. Paul Elliott corners each member of the band in Las Vegas, and discovers which one looks like a fat cartoon cat and who's a whiny little bitch...

We're backstage at the Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas, hanging out with Korn. In a few hours, they'll play their latest storming support gig with Metallica, but for now they're chilling out - chatting to friends and family in their dressing room, listening to CD's on their swanky tour bus. This is where we're about to corner Korn guitarist Brian 'Head' Welch and begin finding out more about the band than their singer's fondness for fresh corpses.

See, all that we really know about the five in Korn so far is that they're all from the same town - Bakersfield, California - and that one of them exorcises his darkest, most disturbing thoughts through his lyrics. That'll be Jonathan Davis, and now it really is time to see what makes his four mates tick...

Well, three of them, anyway, because Korn's other guitarist, James Shaffer - 'Munky' to his muckers - is refusing to talk. He has a terrible hangover, after spending last night painting America's tackiest town red. We tell him that we'll just have to call him Korn's 'mystery man', to which he nods his approval. To Brian Welch, then. That's him now, striding across the venue's car park towards the gleaming silver bus which is parked in the shade of the late afternoon sun. Brian - 'Head' to his buddies - hauls his big frame aboard the bus, twists the top of a Bud Light, tugs at his distinctive spidery squiggles of hair, adjusts his trousers - surely the baggiest pair of tan cords in America - and settles down on a sofa in the back of the bus. He's ready to talk...


There is, of course, one question you absolutely have to ask a man commonly known as Head. Which is: so why is 'Head' called Head? He lets out a big guffaw.

"My friend, John Charles, and Fieldy (Korn bassist) used to call me that when I was little, 'cos I got a big-ass head. They had baseball caps and they'd say, 'Try this on', and it wouldn't go on, so they called me 'Head' and 'Egghead' and shit. I still don't fit no hat, except the beanies and shit that stretches out. Baseball hats? Forget it! Iím okay with it, though. Big head means I got more brains."

Talk to Head for more than five minutes and he'll soon get around to recommending a few new bands. His current raves include Limp Biscuit and Sublime. He also can't resist pumping up the bus CD player to maximum volume to show off a bangin' remix of Korn's new single, A.D.I.D.A.S.

"We did a country mix of Shoots and Ladders," he says with a chuckle. "It's all banjo, dang-dang-dang-dang! It's fresh. We used to play it after our shows."

Is music the thing you spend your money on?

"What do I do with my money?" he shrugs. "Not much. I get CD's for free most of the time. I just got a car which is not too expensive. There's plenty of time to spend my money on later - on the right things," he adds wisely.

What do you do with your time away from the band?

"I see my girlfriend Rebecca. I spend time with her as much as I can, because I'm not home much. Tomorrow, I'm going to San Diego zoo. The tour's over, so I'll take her there. Have some fun before I got to split. Korn and her, thatís about it. I ain't got time for nothing else!


And with that, old big Head is climbing off the bus and the stocky figure of Fieldy is climbing on. Fieldy immediately picks up the copy of Kerrang! that's lying on the sofa and states: "I'm not kissing your ass or anything, but I fucking love your magazine."

Nice one, geezer. So, er, why Fieldy?

"My old friends used to call me Garfield, like the cat. I guess I reminded them of him," he smiles. "Then they shortened it to 'Field', and Head would say, 'Hey, Fieldy!'. We always add shit on. I call Head 'Headly'. It just stretches. 'Sir Headly'. We have all these names. There's 'Munkdog'. We call him 'Unky', 'cos Munky and Unky rhyme. We're just goofy like that."

Fieldy - real name Reginald Arvizu - says he was born on tour.

"My Dad was a musician, and he was on a can tour when they had to stop off in LA and pop me out," he chuckles. "I was born on the road, and here I am again."

You must meet a lot of fans during a tour?

"Yeah," he nods, "it's cool, but it gets kinda scary too, you know? You get people coming up to you who know more about Korn than I know, and Iím in the damn band! It's crazy. We always think about what it would be like if we were in the fans' position. It takes so much just to go up to us - it's already intimidating to go up to a band - and then if you're going to be a dick to those kids, it's fucked. They're working their way up to you and they finally get talking to you, so just be cool, you know? They're just people and we're just people. We pretty much go out of our way, 'cos we remember where we came from."

And when he's not touring or recording or talking to fans or doing whatever else he does with Korn, where will you find Fieldy?

"Playing my Sony Playstation - I play that thing for hours, man," he sighs. "And when I'm home, I love to drive my car. I got a Mercedes E320. I see them all over Europe as cabs," he laughs. "When I was 17, I had a '67 Mercedes, a little hunker, so this is my fourth one. I've always liked Mercedes. I wish I didn't, 'cos they're expensive."


Back in the venue, in Korn's dressing room, drummer David Silveria is relaxing with his lovely wife-to-be. David talks more than Munky, but not much. It's pretty obvious that David's mind is elsewhere.

"I got a lot of things going on," he explains. "I'm getting ready to get married and we have a baby on the way, so I got other really serious things going on in my life outside the band. But I'm into the touring thing. I really think the band is right on the verge of breaking into the next level."

Right now, life is really peachy for David Silveria.

"I'm doing good and I'm very happy," he says.

David's baby is due in September, and he insists he'll be around to witness the birth. So what happens if you're due to go on tour?

"I wouldn't even get on the plane if it was close to the time," he grins.

And the wedding?

"We're having quite a large wedding, and nowadays it's not so traditional to expect the bride's father to pay for everything. So that's where all my money is going."

David Silveria might not be a rich man, but he is certainly a happy man.


But what of Jonathan Davis? Clearly, we can't ignore he man whose brutally honest lyrics, twisted melodies and energized performances have made Korn THE cult metal band of the late '90s. Back to the bus...

"Korn is my life," Jonathan says, sitting cross-legged and playing absent-mindedly with his straggly hair. "The only other thing in my life is my son, just taking care of him. I spend as much time as I can with him. I only get to see him when we're off tour. I did a tour for two months, got to see him for two weeks, did this tour, then I get to go home and see him for a week, and then go to Europe for another month and a half. He's a year old, so it's hard. When I'm not doing the band, I'm spending my time with him and still doing the band on the side, I never stop. I'll be on the phone doing this or that. I'm always involved on the Internet, answering fans' questions on the computer. They're killer kids, man. They're intelligent, not dumb-asses. They're really cool kids. I love every one of them. I sit there and talk to them, and they don't get all stupid on you - they talk about real shit. I like it a lot. It's what keeps me going, man. Music and the fans."

A lot of them have been writing to Kerrang!, urging you to take care of yourself. They're worried that you might do a Kurt Cobain on them, which is why you replied to the fans via Kerrang!'s letter page.

"That was freaky," he smiles. "It fucking touched me, man, that those people care enough to write in about me. It's so cool. I don't fucking realize the shit I do, man. I have no idea on the impact that people feel from this shit. I never thought in my entire life that people would understand me. Ever. I thought people would think I'm a whiny little bitch. Then, all of a sudden, bam! That's trippy. I feel pressures from that sometimes. But I guess we're all a bunch of whiny little bitches. Everybody's like that. You know, guys can cry, they can do whatever they fucking want. I just hate those fucking figures out there who tell them they can't - they gotta be men. Shit like that."

Let's just hope the pressures don't force you to close up like Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder.

"Fuck, no!" he snorts. "If people are fucking interested, I'm gonna tell them. I'm just glad that someone's fucking interested in me. They could all turn to somebody else next week."