Jonathan Davis of Korn Talks "Wounded Warriors" Short Film
Mon, 25 Feb 2013 06:25:12
Jonathan Davis of Korn, aka "J Devil", gives more than any other musicians—on stage and in the studio.
That's why everything he does continues to resonate with fans two decades into his career. That also brings us to the new short film in which he stars, Wounded Warriors directed by Sébastien Paquet. The film won the "Audience Choice Award" at the 2012 GI Film Festival Hollywood, and it's a passionate, poignant, and powerful look at Davis's trip to the Ramstein Air Base in Germany. He spends time with numerous soldiers, talking to them candidly and hearing their stories. Davis remains completely engaged and engaging, guiding the viewer through the inner workings of the base. He even takes some time to try out various equipment.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Jonathan Davis of Korn talks Wounded Warriors, his experience, the soldiers, military history, and so much more.
Photos: Sébastien Paquet
Watch the Film Below
What feeling do you get watching Wounded Warriors now?
It was amazing to see it on a big screen. It touched a lot of people. It was just real. I can't explain it. It's how I feel about those poor guys. I didn't really realize it. I always went down to Camp Pendleton with my brother-in-law. I really loved the armed forces. I've always been into it. Once I started going there and seeing what our boys and girls do for us and the sacrifices they make to keep our way of life going, it touched me. I had to do something. If I could go in there and make them smile, it's all worth it for me.
In the film, you give every one of those soldiers your full attention. You really connected with each person.
Totally! Other guys who go and do that aren't used to seeing people's limbs and head blown off. I think it helped I worked in a coroner's office. I've seen everything there. It doesn't make it easier, but I know what I'm going into. When those guys go in, they're blown away like, "Oh my God, I don't know what to do". I go in there on a personal level and just thank them so much for what they've done. That's all I can give. I wish I could give them their arms, legs, and lives back. Unfortunately, that shit happens. It's war. It sucks that there are a bunch of people who look down on them for doing what they're doing. They're following orders. It's not their fault.
They're helping us and protecting us at the end of the day.
They put their lives on the line for our freedom to say anything. They fight to keep our rights. You can't say the shit you can in America in places like China or Russia. It's not cool. My heart goes out to them. I wanted to go out there and have a little fun with them too. I got a ridiculous collection of challenge coins now [Laughs]
When did you guys come up with the idea to film your visit to Ramstein Air Base?
It just happened. Sebastien always just films me doing there. I got hooked up with Ramstein. I've always gone to Fort Hood and the big military hospital in Washington D.C. that they come home to from Ramstein, Walter Reed Medical Center.
The film has that heartfelt, touching element, but there's come fun too.
These guys don't get enough recognition period. The film sheds light on the fact that we need to be more thankful. The soldiers deserve to be remembered as heroes and treated as such.
Yeah, definitely! It's like, "What are you guys going to do for the rest of your lives?" They're sitting there with nothing left. There was this guy from Georgia in Russia who was an ally. At Ramstein, it's not just Americans. It's allied forces too. I got to hang with some people from New Zealand, Australia, and other countries. All of these guys are putting their lives on the line for us. These guys aren't even from our country and they're fighting for us. That's fucking amazing.
What was the most eye-opening part of the experience?
The last guy I'm talking to from the embassy…just the fact he didn't blame that kid for fucking his life up was mind-blowing. He was like, "It's not his fault. Those poor people in Afghanistan are totally programmed to hate us". It's the old guard that hates America. All of the young kids are like, "Rock 'n' roll! Let's have fun and be free!" Unfortunately, the elders tell them to hate us. A 16-year-old blew himself up to take that group out. That's so sad. Before my grandfather passed away, he told me all of these insane stories in World War II. My dad's dad was in Germany. He got blown up by a mortar, and he survived it. He was saved by a German sympathizer. There were a lot of Germans who didn't like Hitler and what was going on. He got help. My mom's dad went through hell. He was a P.O.W. He survived the Bataan Death March. It's a miracle I'm alive, dude [Laughs]. He got honored with the Distinguished Flying Cross. It's the third highest honor. I have it all in my office. I researched all of this stuff and got all of his records from the military. The shit he went through was crazy.
Do you keep in touch with anybody from the base?
I talk to Josie [Jocelin Borisow] all the time. She's the MSgt at the beginning of the film, and she's from Bakersfield. She became friends with me and my sister. She's been stationed all over the place. Her main base is Ramstein.
What's your favorite moment in the film?
I cry every time I'm with that guy from the embassy, Jeff Lodinsky [US Embassy/State Department Civilian]. I walked out of the room and balled like a baby. Everybody was balling. I'll remember him for the rest of my life. It's not just him. There were things that weren't on camera that moved me. It's hard for these guys to come home. When you get shot at, do you know what that fucking does to you? I got to see it firsthand. There was a guy who lost his sergeant, his whole fucking platoon, and everything. He wanted to get back and get revenge. It was crazy.
Your affect is so positive on the soldiers. These guys all seem so appreciative.
It's fucked up that they get shit on. They come home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have that from the coroner's office, and I can relate to them. I'd wake up, sweating, and screaming bloody murder thinking of all this shit. I didn't know it was going to do that to me. I remember I was on a plane one time. I was in first class near this old guy. A military person came on, and the old guy gave him his ticket to the soldier. I see stuff like that all the time, and it gives me hope. There are people who appreciate what the military do.
Will you be going back to Ramstein?
I'll be back there. I want to go back. I love that. It's so worth it to see them happy.
Do they tell you stories about listening to Korn?
They'll say, "Your music helped me through, when I was facing this or that. Thank you so much! I can't believe you're here. What are you doing here you have better things to do? Why are you coming to see me?" It's sad they feel so ashamed. They don't deserve that. It takes a little time to make people happy. That's why I'm in music. If I never made another penny and I just got to play and see the smiles on their faces, that's all that matters.
What did you think of Wounded Warriors?
See Sébastien Paquet talk the film here!
See Korn in our "Albums We Hope Change the Game" feature!