"some music was meant to stay underground..."

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Band Photo: Korn (?)

From: Bakersfield, CA, United States
Last Known Status: Active

Background

As a kid, Fieldy spent much of his adolescence "standing around in dirt fields, drinking beer, watching other kids fight." At some point, Fieldy and some friends decided their time would be better spent taking out their frustrations on musical instruments instead. And rock music would never be the same.

So Fieldy, James "Munky" Shaffer, David Silveria, Brian "Head" Wetch, and eventually, an assistant coroner with a troubled past named Jonathan Davis left Bakersfield for Los Angeles and collectively became known as Korn. It helped that they all had common influneces - the angry, urban stylings of hip-hip, the heavy, riff-driven angst of metal. But the sounds emanating from this band's Huntington Beach rehearsal space would soon set an entirely fresh musical precedent and set off a wave of imitators that eventually threatened to engulf the band itself.

After touring for nearly two years, Korn was signed by Immortal and released their now-classic eponymous 1994 debut. Korn opened with the prophetic, gravel-throated challenge "Are you ready?!" before kicking into the heaviest guitar sound yet heard in rock, thanks to the team of Shaffer and Welch, who tuned their already-low 7-string guitars even lower and played with no regard for the traditional harmonic consonance. The sound was metallica sludge, but tempered oddly by bassist Fieldy and drummer Silveria, who added a mix of porn-soundtrack funk and hip-hop rhythms tha was puzzlingly aggressive and chill. Next, nursery rhyme-like melodies were woven into the dark mix, helping make Korn the creepiest, heaviest debut since Black Sabbath. But Davis had no desire to sing about devils and witches; he was busy exorcising real-life demons. Songs such as "Faget" and "Shoots and Ladders" were discomfortingly personal confessions of shattered childhood, and by album's end Davis was literally in tears in the harrowing "Daddy."

And so they began to amass a following that would send their next album, 1996's brutal yet cheekily titled "Life is Peachy," into platinum sales. Years of touring followed again as the band fortified its fan-base to the degree that their next album, 1998's "Follow the Leader," would debut at No. 1 on the Billboard's Top 200, as would "Issues."

Korn Interviews and Features

Below are our features and interviews with Korn.

Interview

Shane Gibson Talks Northern Light Orchestra

Guitarist Shane Gibson has made a name for himself touring with Korn and backing Jonathan Davis for his solo material. Outside of Korn, Gibson works a wide range of projects from the Arnold themed comedy act Schwarzenator to the female-fronted DeFable. Most recently he recorded guitar tracks for the all-star group Northern Light Orchestra. The band includes such rock and metal icons as David Ellefson and George Lynch on their "The Spirit of Christmas" album. Sample tracks from the album can be found at the Northern Light Orchestra MySpace page. Shane spoke with me about the recording of the album and what his other bands have in store for the future. More...

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