Jonathan Davis of Korn Talks Disturbed Tour, Discovering The Cure, Acid Bath and More
Tue, 23 Nov 2010 13:10:05
This past summer, Korn ripped through hard rock once again with the release Korn III— Remember Who You Are and their stint on Mayhem. However, they'll be crisscrossing the country decimating all of the cities they missed during that first assault with the upcoming Music As A Weapon V tour alongside Disturbed, Sevendust and In This Moment. Korn III — Remember Who You Are unleashed some of the darkest and most dangerous demons that Korn has ever awakened. It's a powerful, pulverizing, passionate and often poetic album that stands alongside the band's finest work. Easily the best heavy music release of 2010, Korn III — Remember Who You Are demands to be heard live, and fans will get that chance this January…
There's nothing like a Korn show, and this pairing with Disturbed will be unforgettable.
Korn frontman Jonathan Davis sat down for an exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about touring with Disturbed, how he found The Cure, his favorite old record store in Bakersfield, why Acid Bath rules, new music and so much more.
How did the tour with Disturbed come together?
This tour actually came together on Mayhem. Disturbed were about to go out on Uproar, and David Draiman and the guys came out to the Mayhem show in Chicago. They saw us play, and we were all sitting there talking about both tours. It was then that we started collectively thinking, "Let's do a tour together!" Sometimes it happens like that [Laughs]. Everybody was down, and we began to get more into it. Tours like Uproar and Mayhem are killer, but they don't go everywhere. We have lots of fans all over the place, so we came up with this idea of doing this tour together and going to every nook and cranny in the United States we can find that will have us. We really wanted to do shows in places where people really don't get shows. That's why we're doing this in January.
A lot of truly hardcore fans reside in those cities too.
I've talked to zillions of fans, and sometimes they've had to drive 18 or 20 hours to come see the show. I like playing shows like this because those kids are really grateful that bands like ours will come to their town. It's a different vibe.
Is it fun to relive what you did with Pop Sux 2002?
Yeah, man! I've always loved Disturbed. Those guys are great, and it's just going to be fun. The bill is too completely different heavy bands. It makes sense, and it's going to work. Kids are going to get a show that's worth their money.
Will you have any surprises on stage?
I think we will! I'm not sure how much time we're going to have between the two of us, but we're going to pull out some stuff and have a good time.
Do you remember the first time you heard The Cure?
The first time I heard The Cure, I was getting drunk in a high school baseball field in Bakersfield [Laughs]. That's when it really hit me. I believe I'd heard them before in junior high, but they really got me at that moment. I was a freshman in high school, and I was with my friend in that field. I thought, "What the hell?" I loved it!
What was your instant reaction?
I got Pornography right afterwards. That was the one I got into! It's funny because it wasn't how it is now in the digital age where you just grab anything and really dive into it immediately. It was about what was available. In Bakersfield, it was kind of hard. There was a record store called World Records. To find records, you had to have the store order them for you. At that time, it was vinyl.
To go back a little bit, what's the story behind "Sean Olson?"
That was good! Sean Olson used to work for us. He was my tweaker buddy. He was just this funny ass character. The intro of the song is "What's your lie?" He would always come up to me and say, "What's your lie?" [Laughs] He hung out with us for a while. It's hard going back and trying to remember what I was actually thinking at that time, but I know it was about Sean and I delving into that meth-induced, dark place. It really came out in that song.
What are the stories behind the Korn III — Remember Who You Are special edition tracks—"Trapped Underneath the Stairs" and "People Pleaser?"
"People Pleaser" is a good one. It was hard because we wanted to put all twelve tracks on the album, but we had to save some for our special editions and shit like that. I loved all of those songs though. They were all fun to do. "People Pleaser" and "Trapped Underneath the Stairs" are awesome. I actually lived underneath the stairs in the first Korn house. I had a little closet underneath the stairs that I slept in, and I'd go crazy in there being up for days on meth. Ross Robinson knew that so when I started singing, he was freaking out [Laughs]. He was like, "That brings back so many memories!" He used to come over the house and pull me out of the cave under the stairs. There was enough room for a mattress. That was it.
You also say the line "Remember Who You Are" in "Trapped Underneath the Stairs."
Yeah, I was living in garages, closets and under the stairs. It was weird. Before I got in the band, I was living the good life in Bakersfield. I was a mortician working in the coroner's office. I had my own place. It was all good! I gave all that up and went straight back into poverty to be in the band. It was crazy, but I was happier doing that than anything else.
Where has the new material gone?
We're always constantly writing songs. Fuck, I've got like 20 songs. We did three of them, and we'll keep recording some more. I take the Miko on the road with me, and I'm constantly writing. I've got at least 15 that are ready to be recorded. One song I finished is called "Lullaby for a Sadist." It's different for Korn. You have to hear it! There's acoustic guitar on it. It gets very heavy, and it's really dark. It's about a guy who loves inflicting pain on people and how he gets off on it. It's really cool! It's always fun because I'll write a song let Munky get a hold of it and he'll put his flavor on it, and it turns into a whole different monster. It's really cool.
You've always sported Acid Bath shirts. What is it about them that spoke to you?
I just like them! The first thing I remember is I loved the album cover for When the Kite String Pops. It was a John Wayne Gacy painting. "Cassie Eats Cockroaches" is one of the songs that I like. The mixture of samples is incredible. It's some weird, dark shit. I didn't realize how big their underground following was but people will mention them to me.
What else are you listening to?
Pick up Skrillex! Dude, that's the heaviest shit! It's amazing! I've been listening to that.
Will you be seeing Korn when they tour with Disturbed?
What's your favorite Korn track?
Watch Munky of Korn and Michelle Rodriguez in our Rogue on Rogue series here!