Korn (stylized as KoЯn) is an American nu metal band from Bakersfield, California, formed in 1993. The band's current lineup includes five members: Jonathan Davis, James "Munky" Shaffer, Brian "Head" Welch, Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu, and Ray Luzier. Korn was originally formed by three of the members of the band L.A.P.D.
Korn released their first demo album, Neidermayer's Mind, in 1993. The band later went on to release their self-titled debut album in 1994, followed by Life Is Peachy in 1996. The band experienced mainstream success with Follow the Leader (1998) and Issues (1999), both of which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The band's mainstream success continued with Untouchables (2002) and Take a Look in the Mirror (2003).
A compilation album, Greatest Hits Vol. 1, was released in 2004, spanning a decade of singles and concluding the band's recording contract with Immortal Records and Epic Records. They signed to Virgin Records, releasing See You on the Other Side in 2005, and an untitled album in 2007. Korn's other recent albums, Korn III: Remember Who You Are (2010) and The Path of Totality (2011), were released via Roadrunner Records, with the latest album The Paradigm Shift (2013) being released via Prospect Park and Caroline Records.
Korn has sold around 35 million copies worldwide. Eleven of the band's official releases have peaked in the top ten of the Billboard 200, eight of which have peaked in the top five. Eight official releases are certified Platinum or Multi-Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and one is certified Gold. Korn has released seven video albums and thirty-nine music videos. The band has released forty-one singles, twenty-eight of which have charted. Korn has earned two Grammy Awards out of seven nominations. The band has received two MTV Video Music Awards from eleven nominations.
Early years and formation (1989–1993)
Before Korn was formed, three of the original members of the band were associated with the band L.A.P.D. – James Shaffer, Reginald Arvizu, and David Silveria. Originally consisting of Richard Morrill, James Shaffer, and Reginald Arvizu, David Silveria joined when he was 16. When the band moved from Bakersfield, California to Los Angeles, Silveria dropped out of high school and Shaffer stayed in Bakersfield. When Shaffer reunited with the band, they found a manager and released an EP entitled Love and Peace Dude in 1989 through Triple X Records. L.A.P.D. released their first full-length studio album on May 3, 1991 which consisted of eleven tracks. The album was entitled Who's Laughing Now. After releasing two albums, L.A.P.D. broke up. They were also briefly known as Creep, recording a demo with a singer named Corey until Shaffer, Arvizu, and Silveria enlisted Brian Welch and Jonathan Davis to form the band that went on to become Korn.
When thinking of a band name, someone suggested "corn", but the band rejected that name, so Shaffer had the idea to spell the name with both a "K" instead of a "C", and a backwards "R", so the band's name would appear as "KoЯn". The logo was designed by vocalist Jonathan Davis. Silveria explained, "the music makes the name, because Korn's a dumb name. But once we get established, it makes the name cool."
Korn rented a studio from Jeff Creath, called Underground Chicken Sound, in Huntington Beach, California. While they were recording at Underground Chicken Sound, a crowd had been loitering outside the studio. The band began playing a prelude to a later song, "Clown", resulting in a larger crowd gathering. Arvizu said the crowd gathered because it sounded so "different." Korn started performing at gigs in the summer of 1993, with members saying that touring was a "pain-in-the-ass." While in Huntington Beach, the band was spotted by Epic Records A&R employee Paul Pontius. Pontius would describe Korn's sound as "the new genre of rock." In 1993, Korn released their first demo album, Neidermayer's Mind. The album had very limited printing, and was not well received by critics or the public. It was released to record companies and to people who filled out a flyer given out at gigs they played for free with Biohazard and House of Pain. With this demo, Korn pioneered the nu metal sound.
By May 1994, Korn began recording their debut album with Ross Robinson. It was finished recording by the end of June 1994. On October 11, 1994, Korn released a self–titled album through Immortal Records, an Epic imprint label, which peaked at number one on the Heatseekers Albums chart, and would eventually reach number seventy-two on the Billboard 200 in February 1996. The album received positive reviews by critics, and it is said to have established the new wave of metal. As well as sparking the nu metal genre, the album also started record producer Ross Robinson's music career. It also influenced other bands, such as Slipknot, Coal Chamber, and Limp Bizkit.
After Korn finished recording the album, they began touring with Biohazard and House of Pain. Their record company gave them enough money for their own tour bus. Korn's first gig was in Atlanta. About halfway through the tour, the tour bus that their record company gave them stopped working, and Korn had to find a new one. Their first tour was not very successful in promoting the album. The band went on tour with Sick of It All in January 1995. Later that year, Korn was chosen, alongside Deftones, as direct support for Ozzy Osbourne. The self-titled album went gold in the midst of the tour. It was eventually certified two-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Aside from touring, Korn released four singles. "Blind" was released on August 1, 1994, and "Shoots and Ladders" was released on October 31, 1995. The latter received a Grammy nomination in 1997 for Best Metal Performance. "Need To" was also released in 1995, on April 8. The fourth and final single, "Clown", was released on February 2, 1996. "Blind" was the only single to chart, peaking at number fifteen on the Canadian RPM Alternative 30.
Life Is Peachy (1996–1997)
After the success of their debut, Korn decided to enter the studio again for a second album. By then, the band had created a large fan base, and the expectations for their follow-up album were high. They went back into the studio in early April 1996 at Indigo Ranch Studios, Malibu, California.
The album was released October 15, 1996, and despite minimal radio airplay and television attention, Life Is Peachy debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, and peaked at number one in New Zealand. The album sold 106,000 copies in its first week. Jon Pareles from The New York Times said that the band was "Mad at everybody, including themselves." The album was certified 2× Platinum in the United States, Platinum in Australia, and Gold in Canada.
The first single, "No Place to Hide", spawned a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance. "A.D.I.D.A.S." was released as the second single on March 4, 1997. It became the band's first charting single on Billboard, peaking at number thirteen on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart. The third single, "Good God", was released on July 14, 1997. The band gained more popularity after co-headlining the Lollapalooza music festival in 1997 with Tool. However, Korn was forced to stop touring after Shaffer was diagnosed with viral meningitis. A promotional disc was released in 1997 to promote both the band and the Life Is Peachy Tour featuring Incubus and The Urge, and included three live tracks.
Follow the Leader and mainstream breakthrough (1998–1999)
Prior to the release of the band's third album, Korn produced a weekly online TV show, KornTV, which documented the making of the record and featured special guests such as porn star Ron Jeremy, Limp Bizkit, and 311. The project also gave fans the chance to call in and ask the band questions, an approach that represented one of the first times a band utilized the Internet in such a way. Korn released their third album, Follow the Leader, on August 18, 1998, which featured a number of guest vocalists such as Ice Cube, Pharcyde member Tre Hardson, Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit, and actor Cheech Marin on the hidden track "Earache My Eye" (written by Marin himself).
Korn launched a political campaign-style tour to promote the release of Follow the Leader. The tour took the group, on a chartered jet, all over North America to help promote Follow the Leader. They talked to fans and answered questions during special "fan conferences", which were organized at every stop along the tour route, and signed autographs. Jim Rose of the Jim Rose Circus hosted the entire "Kampaign" tour.
The album was considered by band members a complete success, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 with 268,000 copies sold, and, among other singles, spawning two of their biggest singles: "Got the Life" and "Freak on a Leash". They both exposed Korn to a wider, mainstream audience, with the music videos being mainstays on MTV's Total Request Live. "Got the Life" was the show's very first "retired" video, with "Freak on a Leash" also reaching retirement several months later.
"Freak on a Leash" won a Grammy for Best Music Video, Short Form, and received a nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance. The video also earned nine MTV Video Music Awards nominations for Video of the Year, Best Rock Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction, Best Special Effects, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and Viewer's Choice. It eventually won two awards, one being for Best Rock Video and the other for Best Editing. "Freak on a Leash" failed to enter the Billboard Hot 100, although it did manage to peak at number six on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart. Follow the Leader is considered by members of Korn to be the band's most commercially–successful album, being certified five-times Platinum by the RIAA, and having sold almost ten million copies worldwide.
The band's fourth album, Issues, produced by Brendan O'Brien, was released on November 16, 1999, featuring cover art designed by Alfredo Carlos, who won a contest held for the fans by MTV. Issues was released during a week of many highly anticipated records. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with more than 573,000 copies sold, keeping Dr. Dre's second album 2001 and a greatest hits collection by Céline Dion from hitting number one.
To celebrate the album's release, the band performed the record in its entirety in front of a live audience at New York's historic Apollo Theater and broadcast the concert simultaneously across many radio stations. This performance marked the first performance by a rock band since Buddy Holly in the late 1950s. This special event featured the New York Police Department marching drum and bagpipe band conducted by Richard Gibbs as well as a group of back-up singers to enhance the more melodic choruses Davis used on the album. A snippet of "Falling Away from Me" was featured on RealVideo with a brief interpretive dance by bassist Reginald Arvizu, and also featured on their official website as an MP3 file, although its release was against the advice of its attorneys and corporate establishment. The album was also promoted by the band's highly successful Sick and Twisted Tour.
Earlier that year, Korn had appeared on an episode of South Park, titled "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery", in which the first single from Issues, "Falling Away from Me", was premiered. The single became Korn's first entry on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching number ninety-nine. "Make Me Bad" was released as the album's second single in February 2000, peaking at number fourteen on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart. A third single, "Somebody Someone", followed with more moderate success. Music videos were filmed for all three singles, with long-time friend Fred Durst directing "Falling Away from Me", and Martin Weisz directing a concept video for "Make Me Bad", as well as a performance-based video for "Somebody Someone", which featured the use of CGI effects. Every video was a staple on Total Request Live, two of which made it to retirement. Issues is considered by some critics to be less hip hop-influenced and closer to alternative metal than nu metal. It was certified three-times Platinum, following up the success of Follow the Leader.
On June 11, 2002, Korn re-emerged into the media with their fifth album, Untouchables. It debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 with 434,000 in sales. The band has blamed Internet piracy for the drop in sales, as an unmastered version of the album had leaked three months prior to its official release date. On April 2, 2002, the Opie and Anthony Show began airing songs from Untouchables. After playing a few songs, the broadcasters received a cease-and-desist letter from Sony Music Entertainment. Opie and Anthony said "The reason for the premature premiere was to infuriate a rival New York station, which disallows their in-studio guests to appear on 'The Opie and Anthony Show.'" The release of this album was preceded by a show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, a day prior to the album's release, broadcast digitally throughout movie theatres in the United States.
The album contained experiments and styles never previously attempted by Korn. Allmusic related: "The band is far more experimental this time out, delivering Helmet-like ringing guitars that melt and morph into each other, a mix of Metallica-esque blastbeats and tight funk drumming from the constantly improving David Silveria, and memorable riffs that take the shape of dark sound structures and offer more than just a collection of chords." The first two music videos from Untouchables, "Here to Stay" and "Thoughtless", were directed by the Hughes Brothers. "Here to Stay" earned Korn a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. "Here to Stay" peaked at number seventy-two on the Billboard Hot 100.
Take a Look in the Mirror and the departure of Brian "Head" Welch (2003–2005)
Due to the album leaking onto the Internet, Take a Look in the Mirror was released on a Friday, November 21, 2003 – four days earlier than its original release date. The album therefore received a weekend's worth of sales, which resulted in a poor showing on the Billboard 200. During its first full week, Take a Look in the Mirror soared ten places from number nineteen to number nine, increasing the album's total sales to 179,000. It is the first album self-produced by Korn. The band explained that they wanted fans to hear the music as it should be. The album presented different styles and themes compared to previous albums. Lead vocalist Jonathan Davis related: "The whole album is about love, hate and my hate of people and just losing my mind. The previous albums I did, I think the last three, I was coming from a place of hurt. And I just finally got to the point where I'm done hurting and I'm just pissed off about it now. It's turned back to just sheer hate and anger. And it definitely comes across on the album." MTV News said that Davis convinced his fans that they "will be shocked, particularly with the album's second track, 'Break Some Off,' which he called 'brutal'." Korn released the single "Did My Time" on July 22, 2003, which was used to promote the film but did not appear on the soundtrack to Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life due to unspecified legal issues. The single debuted and peaked at number thirty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Korn's first and only top-forty hit in the United States. "Did My Time" gave Korn another Grammy nomination in the Best Metal Performance category.
Korn released their greatest hits album, Greatest Hits Vol. 1, on October 5, 2004. The album debuted at number four on Billboard, selling more than 129,000 copies. This album assembles choice tracks from six Korn studio albums released between 1994 and 2003. The first single was a cover of the song "Word Up!", originally composed by Cameo. The single peaked at number twenty-three on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart. Special editions of Greatest Hits Vol. 1 included a DVD titled Korn: Live at CBGB featuring seven select songs from their November 24, 2003 show at CBGB.
In early 2005, Brian Welch announced that he would be quitting the band. In front of a crowd of 10,000, in three services at Valley Bible Fellowship in Bakersfield, California, said "I was addicted to methamphetamines and tried everything ... rehab, stuff on the Internet, but nothing helped me kick it. I was trying on my own to quit and couldn't do it. I wanted to die. No one knew what I was going through. I could not quit. Church was my last shot. I would sit in church high [on drugs]. I would wonder why people would go up to the front after the service. But one day it was for me. I said [to God], 'Show me how to quit.'" In a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, Head described his final moments in the band as very tense; "the last year I was in the band, we were gonna kick out the bass player, Fieldy, and this guy's girlfriend couldn't be on this side of the stage because there were fights with another wife in the band. And obviously the drugs – it's no secret I was into the drugs, so crazy stuff, like having to finish our blow right before we got to the border because they were gonna come check to see if we had anything." Following his departure from Korn, Welch released two autobiographies, a solo album, and formed a band, Love and Death, who released a debut album in 2013.
See You on the Other Side and the departure of David Silveria (2005–2007)
Upon completing their record deal with Sony, Korn partnered with EMI and signed to Virgin Records. As part of this innovative arrangement, Virgin paid Korn $25 million upfront in exchange for a share in the profits of their next two studio albums, including tours and merchandising. Virgin also received a 30 percent stake in the band's licensing, ticket sales and other revenue sources.
The band's first album for Virgin, See You on the Other Side, was released on December 6, 2005, and debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, scanning close to 221,000 copies. The album managed to stay in the top half of the Billboard 200 for thirty-four consecutive weeks. The first single from the album, "Twisted Transistor", was accompanied by a music video directed by Dave Meyers in which hip hop artists Xzibit, Lil Jon, Snoop Dogg, and David Banner portray Korn. "Twisted Transistor" peaked at number sixty-four on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single, "Coming Undone", was released in February 2006, peaking at number seventy-nine on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video was directed by Little X. See You on the Other Side was certified Platinum in the United States, and by mid-2007, the album had sold over 2.2 million copies worldwide.
Korn held a press conference at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on January 13, 2006, announcing the See You on the Other Side Tour. 10 Years and Mudvayne were selected to open all dates of the trek, which kicked off in their hometown of Bakersfield, on what Mayor Harvey Hall officially declared as "Korn Day", February 24. The resurrection of their Family Values Tour was announced on April 18, 2006, which featured co-headliners Deftones, Stone Sour, Flyleaf, and the Japanese metal group Dir En Grey on the main stage. Korn and Evanescence co-headlined the 2007 edition, with Atreyu, Flyleaf, Hellyeah, and Trivium rounding out the main stage.
While promoting See You on the Other Side in Europe, Jonathan Davis was diagnosed with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, a blood platelet disorder that hospitalized him for the weekend and prevented him from performing at the renowned Download Festival. Despite the illness, the band still performed, with guest singers including Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour fame, Trivium's Matt Heafy, Skindred's Benji Webbe and Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows. This led to Korn canceling the rest of their European bill for 2006, including the Hellfest Summer Open Air. It was originally unknown to the public what his ailment was, but the singer revealed in a letter to fans that he was "dangerously low on blood platelets and at a high risk of death from a hemorrhage if the problem was not treated".
In early December 2006 it was announced that founding drummer David Silveria would be taking an indefinite "temporary hiatus" from the band. Korn then performed at the MTV studios in Times Square on December 9, 2006, for the MTV Unplugged series, which was broadcast on February 23, 2007, through MTV.com and on March 2, 2007, across North American, South American, European and Asian MTV stations. Korn played a 14-song acoustic set complete with guest appearances by The Cure and Amy Lee of Evanescence. The performance was eventually cut down to 11 songs for the album, two of which did not air on MTV. Sales of nearly 51,000 brought MTV Unplugged: Korn to number nine in its first week out.
Untitled album (2007–2008)
Korn's untitled album was released on July 31, 2007, debuting at number two on the Billboard 200 with 123,000 copies sold in its first week. The album was certified gold by the RIAA. It concluded Korn's deal with Virgin Records, and features touring keyboardist Zac Baird. Drumming duties were left up to Terry Bozzio, and Bad Religion's Brooks Wackerman, as David Silveria went on a hiatus. Joey Jordison from Slipknot played drums during Korn's live shows until the permanent addition of Ray Luzier (Army of Anyone, David Lee Roth). This confirmed David's departure. "Evolution" and "Hold On" were released as singles to promote the untitled album. The former peaked at number seven on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart. A third single, "Kiss", had a limited release in April 2008. Korn covered the song "Kidnap the Sandy Claws" in 2008, which was originally performed by Paul Reubens, Catherine O'Hara, and Danny Elfman. It was released on Nightmare Revisited.
Ubisoft reported in October 2008 that Korn had "written and recorded an original song inspired by Ubisoft's Haze video game, simply entitled "Haze", which was released on April 22, 2008. Korn also released a live DVD, Live at Montreux 2004, one of their performances with former guitarist Brian Welch on May 12, 2008.
Korn III: Remember Who You Are (2009–2011)
In a YouTube video, bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu affirmed that a charity song titled "A Song for Chi" would be released, featuring Slipknot guitarist Jim Root, Clint Lowery of Sevendust, drummer Dave McClain of Machine Head and former Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch, among many other musicians. The song was intended to raise money for Deftones bassist Chi Cheng, who fell into a comatose state following a car accident in November 2008.
Along with the announcement of the Ballroom Blitz Tour in March 2010, the title for the new album was revealed as Korn III: Remember Who You Are. Later that month, Munky announced that Korn has officially signed to Roadrunner Records. Jonathan Davis later confirmed the record deal: "We're going to go to Roadrunner. [It is] real exciting for us, too, because they're one of the last record companies to let you do what you want to do." Davis continued, "All the great bands around are on that label and everything seems to just work out right and it seems like a good home for us right now." The lead single, "Oildale (Leave Me Alone)", was made available for streaming in May 2010. "Oildale (Leave Me Alone)" was simultaneously released to radio stations, and became a top-ten hit on the Billboard Active Rock and Mainstream Rock airplay charts. A music video, directed by Phil Mucci, received an exclusive premiere on MTV2.
Korn III: Remember Who You Are was released on July 13, 2010. It debuted and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 with 63,000 purchases reported. A second single, "Let the Guilt Go", was released that same month, and managed to peak in the top twenty on the Billboard Active Rock chart. "Pop a Pill" was scheduled to be the third single from Korn III: Remember Who You Are, but plans were scrapped by Roadrunner Records due to unsatisfactory results with previous singles. Korn co-headlined the Music as a Weapon V tour with Disturbed in late 2010 and early 2011. The tour also featured supporting acts Sevendust and In This Moment.
The Path of Totality (2011–2012)
Korn's tenth studio album, The Path of Totality, was released on December 6, 2011. It was the second and final studio album for Roadrunner Records. The album features contributions from Skrillex, 12th Planet, Excision, Downlink, Kill the Noise, Noisia, and various other EDM artists. The Path of Totality debuted and peaked at number ten on the Billboard 200 with 55,000 copies scanned. "Get Up!" was premiered as the lead single via Spin in April 2011. The single managed to peak at number eight on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart. 150,000 digital copies of "Get Up!" have been purchased in the United States according to Nielsen SoundScan. The second single, "Narcissistic Cannibal", was released in October 2011, with its music video being directed and produced by Alexander Bulkley of ShadowMachine Films. "Narcissistic Cannibal" peaked at number seventeen on the Bubbling Under Hot 100.
After a stint of festival appearances, Korn promoted The Path of Totality during a headlining tour of the same name. Korn split their show into three sections. The band kicked off by playing "rare" songs from their first two albums, including the b-side "Proud", which was previously included on the soundtrack to the 1997 film I Know What You Did Last Summer. They followed with a different stage set up, playing several of their new songs. The setlist ended with hit singles and an encore. Other appearances came from Dope D.O.D., Datsik and Downlink. A special album release performance filmed and recorded at the Hollywood Palladium was issued in various formats through Shout! Factory in September 2012. The Path of Totality won Album of the Year at the 2012 Revolver Golden Gods Awards. This was Korn's first victory at the Golden Gods Awards, a ceremony that celebrates the best in hard rock and heavy metal music. Korn was also inducted into the Kerrang! Hall of Fame during the 2011 Kerrang! Awards.
The Paradigm Shift and the return of Brian "Head" Welch (2012–present)
On May 6, 2012 Head joined Korn onstage to perform "Blind" at Carolina Rebellion. This marked the first time Head had performed with the band since his departure in 2005.
On July 18, 2012, Jonathan Davis told Billboard.com that Korn was getting ready to start recording their eleventh studio album that would be released independently. It was also announced that their next album would not contain any dubstep influences like The Path of Totality. Guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer stated in an interview with the Phoenix New Times that the new album would be heavier, with more aggressive "in-your-face" guitars and vocals. He went on to say that he would be using new recording techniques in the studio to give his riffs a fresh approach.
In January 2013, guitarist Brian "Head" Welch was confirmed to return to the band to play a number of festival shows, including Rock on the Range, Rock am Ring, Rock im Park and the Download Festival. His status in the band was initially thought to be temporary and for touring purposes only. Ray Luzier later announced at the Sabian show during NAMM that Welch would be joining Korn for the whole tour.
Later in January 2013, techno artist Beta Traxx confirmed he was working on a new Korn song for their upcoming album, which he commented would sound "like the past and the future at the same time." It was also confirmed by Ray Luzier that Don Gilmore would be producing the upcoming album. On February 12, 2013, The BK Entertainment Group updated their clients list and confirmed that Korn has signed to their management's independent label; Prospect Park Productions. Later, On June 1, 2013 Caroline Records added Korn to their roster confirming that the band have been signed on to a contract with the label; they are partnered with Korn's management Prospect Park.
On February 18, 2013, Korn posted a photo showing Head as part of the line up, which escalated rumors that he was in the process to rejoin Korn permanently. This was confirmed by Head himself in May, when it was also confirmed that he had been recording as part of the band for their upcoming album.
Fieldy has said of the album "Right now, I will tell you this ... we've done something we've never done before. Normally if we do a new Korn record, we'll normally put 12 or 13 songs and that's how many we make. This time we've made 20-plus songs, and we'll put the best of what we have on there, whatever the numbers end up being. We have so many to choose from, I think it's going to be a little extra special this time." Munky later confirmed this by saying that the band completed 25 songs and 15 of them would be put on the album. Head later elaborated that musically this was Korn's best album.
The title of Korn's eleventh studio album is revealed as The Paradigm Shift and released on October 8, 2013. Their first single, "Never Never" was set to be released August 12, 2013.
The band recorded an episode of Guitar Center Sessions for DirecTV on September 11, 2013 which is scheduled to premiere November 1, 2013 on DirecTV Audience Channel. Korn will also be the latest act to be inducted into the world-famous Hollywood Rockwalk on October 8, 2013.
The band brought back their Family Values Tour as a one day festival, on October 5, 2013. The venue and line up were revealed on September 3, 2013.
Style and legacy
The band has stated that their primary influences include Metallica, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Alice in Chains, Sepultura, Faith No More, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, Duran Duran, Fear Factory, Cathedral, Living Color, Helmet, Rage Against the Machine, Slayer, Pink Floyd, Primus, Tool, Ministry, Mr. Bungle, Biohazard, Nine Inch Nails, Pantera, Beastie Boys, Black Sabbath, N.W.A., Anthrax, and Jane's Addiction. Much of their work has been inspired by hip hop music, as suggested in the cover song of Ice Cube's "Wicked", and "All in the Family".
They are the first band to be labeled as nu metal. Alongside this genre, the band has also been labeled as heavy metal, alternative metal, alternative rock, grunge, post-grunge, hard rock, rap metal, funk metal, groove metal and industrial metal. Their debut album mixed metal, rock, hip-hop, groove, and dissonance. Their lyrics focus on pain and personal alienation rather than traditional heavy metal themes. In Nu-metal: The Next Generation of Rock & Punk, Korn was marked as the third biggest nu metal band in the world.
Due to controversies and arguments over the band being heavy metal or not than just with nu metal being heavy metal or not, lead singer Jonathan Davis commented, "I remember when were coming out we were fighting being called a metal band because we weren't a metal band, we were something that wasn't classifiable," Davis says. "Then they came up with 'nu-metal' but that's still cheesy. It's frustrating."
The band's debut album warranted a Parental Advisory label solely because of the album's lyrics. Many of Korn's first works are based on early experiences. The song "Daddy" was described by lead singer Jonathan Davis: "When I was a kid, I was being abused by somebody else and I went to my parents and told them about it, and they thought I was lying and joking around. They never did shit about it. They didn't believe it was happening to their son.... I don't really like to talk about that song. This is as much as I've ever talked about it..." "Kill You" was written about Davis's experiences as a child with his step mother. Follow the Leader marked the first album where the majority of the lyrics did not have origins relating to early occurrences, with songs like "Justin" and "Pretty" written about incidents occurring during adulthood.
Bassist Reginald Arvizu plays his instrument using both the techniques of fingerstyle and slapping. Jonathan Davis was said by Doug Small to be "the eye of the storm around which the music of Korn rages." Small described the band as "a basket-case full of contradictions." Although the band virtually had no support by television or by radio broadcasting in its first four years, Korn would go on to influence Pleymo, Adema, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Evanescence, P.O.D., Cold, Machine Head, Staind, System of a Down, Seether, One Minute Silence, Flyleaf, Kittie, Endo, Taproot, Crazy Town, Otep, Hoobastank, Five Pointe O, Lacuna Coil, Chris Volz, Videodrone, Theory of a Deadman, Thousand Foot Krutch, Breaking Benjamin, Papa Roach, Sevendust, Nonpoint, Saliva, Drowning Pool, Spineshank, Trust Company, Ill Nino, Mudvayne, Shinedown, Coal Chamber, Three Days Grace, Flymore, Trapt, Molotov, Hollywood Undead and other bands. Korn also created a fan-base described by both Doug Small and Eaton Entertainment as extremely loyal.
Vulgarity in lyrics
Prior to the release of 1998's Follow the Leader, Gretchen Plewes, a Zeeland high school assistant principal, said in an interview for a Michigan newspaper that Korn's music is "indecent, vulgar, obscene and intends to be insulting" after giving a student, Eric VanHoven, a one-day suspension for wearing a shirt with the Korn logo on it. WKLQ was filmed giving away hundreds of free Korn T-shirts, which were donated by the band, outside the school. Ottawa County policemen helped hand out shirts as well. Korn filed a cease and desist order against Plewes and the school district for their comments. They also threatened with a multi-million dollar lawsuit, but both suits were dropped due to the band members' personal lives.
Former band members
In September 2009, Korn guitarist Munky, in an interview with Altitude TV, alleged that the band had denied a request by Welch to rejoin the group. Welch denied the claims via his Myspace, stating that Korn had been asking him to rejoin but he had turned down the offers after Jonathan Davis and Munky had refused to meet him when Welch visited Fieldy socially. He also claimed that for four years he had not been paid royalties due to him. Weeks later, in reference to Korn's early albums, Davis stated in an interview with The Pulse of Radio that Welch had not contributed to writing material because of his drug usage. Welch joined the band onstage for the first time in seven years at the Carolina Rebellion festival on May 5, 2012, signaling peace between both sides. The band announced via Facebook on November 8, 2012, that Brian "Head" Welch will return as a special guest to play a string of festivals with Korn throughout 2013. Welch officially rejoined the band on May 2, 2013.
Pittsburgh Music Magazine commented during a review of Korn's first show with returning guitarist Brian "Head" Welch, that "as far as reunions go don’t hold your breath for former drummer David Silveria to come back (more on Korn’s end than his), but rather look forward to the release of the new record that promises to be a return to the old formula." The magazine had been spending time back stage with members of Korn who appear to have stated to the magazine the unlikelihood of Silveria ever returning to Korn.
Awards and nominations
- Grammy Awards
The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Korn has received two awards from seven nominations.
- MTV Video Music Awards
The MTV Video Music Awards were established in 1984 by MTV to celebrate the top music videos of the year. Korn has received two awards from eleven nominations.
- MTV Europe Music Awards
The MTV Europe Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony established in 1994 by MTV Europe. Korn has received one nomination.
- MTV Asia Awards
The MTV Asia Awards is an annual Asian awards ceremony established in 2002 by the MTV television network. Korn has received one award.
- Revolver Golden Gods Awards
The Revolver Golden Gods Awards is an annual awards ceremony established in 2009 by Revolver Magazine. This ceremony celebrates the best in hard rock and heavy metal music. Korn has received one award from five nominations.
- Kerrang! Awards
The Kerrang! Awards is an annual awards ceremony established in 1993 by Kerrang! Magazine. This ceremony celebrates the best in hard rock and heavy metal music. Korn has received two awards from three nominations.
- MuchMusic Video Awards
The MuchMusic Video Awards is an annual awards ceremony presented by the Canadian music video channel MuchMusic. Korn has received one award from two nominations.
- Drummies! Awards
The Drummies! Awards is an annual awards ceremony presented by Drum! Magazine. This ceremony celebrates the best drummers in many different music genres. Korn has received two awards from six nominations.
- Current members
- Jonathan Davis – lead vocals, bagpipes (1993–present)
- James "Munky" Shaffer – guitars, backing vocals (1993–present)
- Brian "Head" Welch – guitars, backing vocals (1993–2005, 2013–present)
- Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu – bass (1993–present)
- Ray Luzier – drums, percussion (2007–present)
- Current touring members
- Zac Baird – keyboards, piano, backing vocals (2006–present)
- Former members
- David Silveria – drums, percussion (1993–2006)
- Korn (1994)
- Life Is Peachy (1996)
- Follow the Leader (1998)
- Issues (1999)
- Untouchables (2002)
- Take a Look in the Mirror (2003)
- See You on the Other Side (2005)
- Untitled album (2007)
- Korn III: Remember Who You Are (2010)
- The Path of Totality (2011)
- The Paradigm Shift (2013)
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Image from Discogs