Source: April (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From the April 1997 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, pg. 26
KORN MAKE THEIR OWN ROAD RULES
by Eric Gladstone
Weep not for Korn. Although they've been mostly ignored in their
career by MTV and commercial radio, the Orange County, Calif., band has
gold and near-platinum sales under its belt, and a sophomore album, Life
Is Peachy, that debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's Top 200. Korn will be
headlining Lollapalooza this summer and have earned an unexpected
nomination in the heavy-metal category at this year's Grammy Awards.
Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis is pleasantly shocked by the industry
nod, but he can't help chuckling at the heavy-metal tag. "They gotta come
up with a new name for it," he says.
Korn aren't heavy-metal, but their music defies any other simple
moniker. Their cross-pollinated sound values tone and texture over
distortion and volume, incorporating hip-hop rhythms, industrial-strength
guitar, violent fantasy and grim reality, macho posturing and sensitive
The latter comes courtesy of Davis. Tall, frail-featured and
soft-spoken, Davis in person is the opposite of his seething, dervishlike
onstage character. His singing ranges from the guttural seizure scat of
Peachy's "Twist" to Cypress Hill-style chants to Trent Reznor-ian whine.
And while the album has light-hearted moments (such as a bagpipe version
of War's "Lowrider"), it also features the raging "Porno Creep," the
epithet-obsessed "K@#*%!" (pronounced cunt) and the nine-minute "Kill
You," a "tribute" to Davis' ex-stepmother.
"That's how I deal with my life: by screaming about it," Davis says
matter-of-factly. "Basically I just want to capture that
fucking-pissed-off 13-year-old: 'I'm getting hair on my dick; my voice is
dropping.' That period of my life really fucked with me."
That explains much about the song that finally got Korn on MTV,
"A.D.I.D.A.S.," which is both a nod to Davis' endorsment-deal Adidas
stage-wear ("Basically I ripped off Run DMC") and the elementary school
acronym (all day I dream about sex). The video features a rain-soaked
multi-vehicle accident in which Davis and band members David Silvera
(drums), Reggie "Fieldy" Arvizu (bass), James "Munky" Shaffer and Brian
"Head" Welch (guitar) are zipped into body bags and unloaded onto mortuary
"I was an autopsy assistant starting when I was 16 years old," Davis
says of his pre-Korn night job at the Kern County coroner's office in
Bakersfield, Calif. "I could cut up flesh and not have to go to jail. I
think it gave me some kind of wierd power over people." Unfortunately,
"Pulling too many dead people out of cars spooked me," he says (the singer
hasn't driven in five years).
Davis was "working on becoming a deputy coroner" when his future band
mates, all fellow Bakersfield natives who had already migrated to Los Angeles,
saw him perform in a bar back home and drafted him on the spot. Having since
toured relentlessly with everyone from House of Pain to Marilyn Manson, Korn
are a shining example that performing remains a viable path to success and a
reminder that even major-label bands need grass-roots support. They have
coupled that experience with a '90s sense of marketing, using a web site
as a vehicle for broadcasting live performances.
And even on a day when they are meeting investment advisers and buying
tuxes for the Grammys, Korn stress the importance of staying close to their
fervent fans. That's whether they are "skate kids... industrial kids...
hip-hop kids," says Munky. "They're hardcore."