Interview with Jonathan Davis of Korn

KornUnarguably, not since Ozzy Osbourne himself has metal witnessed such a multi-dimensional and transfixing enigma yet utterly relatable frontman as Korn’s Jonathan Davis. His ingenious paraphernalia included kilts, bagpipes and an H. R. Giger-crafted microphone stand, but above all, his steel plated throat and intensely enveloping psychodrama set him apart from the word “Go.” Coupled with the rest of these California assailants’ seven-string guitar bombast, tuning savvy and dangerous albeit slick production quality, Korn garnished multi-platinum record sales, and that’s to say nothing of causing the ground to shake under arenas globally and eventually attaining iconic status.

The quintessential band who single-handedly revamped a genre with their self-titled debut disc in 1994 has undergone some shape-shifting over the years with the departures of drummer David Silveria and guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, but Davis, bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu and guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer have properly stoked the embers of their career, and the threesome are wise enough to know that from chaos comes order. With Ray Luzier now on drums and Munky playing all the guitar parts, Korn are working on their follow-up to 2007’s Untitled, and they are undertaking the effort with original Korn coconspirator, producer extraordinaire, Ross Robinson.

Davis explained that the band who initially brought many gorgeous layers of mayhem to the forefront is going in an alternate route, and consequently is poised to overhaul metal once again. “We are doing it all on tape—on a 16-track tape machine like they did back in the old days when Led Zeppelin did it.”

Before ecstatically jumping onto a tour of intimate venues by Korn standards, Davis, who also expresses himself as a family man, deejay and screenwriter, discussed his lyrical ideas for the new release, his solo endeavors, and the lure of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Your upcoming tour is going to be all classic cuts, correct?

Yeah, we are going to switch the set list around, it’s more geared toward fans’ favorites. More than sort of singles and stuff like that.

With that kind of approach, and working with Ross Robinson again, it almost feels like a rebirth of the band. Would you say that’s accurate?

I think it’s pretty accurate. Ross says that it’s the third Korn album that we are working on. It’s really exciting; I have not been involved with it at all, because I took myself out of it. It’s hard to explain, I have screwed myself for so many years. I am there, and I hear these melody lines and I would say, ‘Munky play this on guitar, Head play this on guitar.’ And they would make these melodies over the top, and now I say, ‘These should have been vocal melodies instead of guitar melodies.’ This time, I just come in and put my voice over the top, and then we’ll put in guitar melodies after that. So right now, they are just writing.

Have you given any thought to vocal themes yet?

Yeah, I have come up with these five symbols for kind of a concept record. I think they are all symbols of the downfall of man, and I think it’s going to be based off of those symbols. I am just starting to brainstorm right now.