Korn Biography

This US band formed in the early 90s in Bakersfield, California, originally under the names LAPD and Creep. They toured widely, playing over 200 shows, before hooking up with producer Ross Robinson and recording their self-titled debut album for EastWest Records in 1994. The album was the first by one of the so-called ‘nu metal’ bands to break into the mainstream charts. The ferocious fusion of heavy metal and hip-hop essayed by original nu metal bands such as Korn, Limp Bizkit and Deftones proved hugely popular with teenage audiences in North America and Europe.

Subsequently based in Huntington Beach in California, Korn originally comprised Jonathan Davis (Jonathan Houseman Davis, 18 January 1971, Bakersfield, California, USA; vocals), Reginald ‘Fieldy’ Arvizu (b. 2 November 1969, Bakersfield, California, USA; bass), James ‘Munky’ Shaffer (b. 16 June 1970, Rosedale, California, USA; guitar), Brian Welch (b. 19 June 1970, Torrance, California, USA; guitar/vocals) and David Silveria (b. 21 September 1972, San Leandro, California, USA; drums), released their first single, ‘Blind’, which was widely shown on late-night MTV shows. The album gave them their commercial breakthrough and saw them cited in Billboard magazine as ‘the first debut hardcore rock act to top the Heatseekers chart and one of the first to crack the upper half of the Billboard 200 in the last two years.’ Much of this success arose from the reputation garnered by their live work, which was bolstered by tours alongside House Of Pain, Biohazard, 311, Sick Of It All, Danzig, Marilyn Manson and Megadeth. A second single, ‘Shoots And Ladders’, featured Davis playing the bagpipes. The 1996 follow-up Life Is Peachy was another ferocious set, although further breakthrough success was limited by the explicit lyrics liberally laced throughout.

In late 1997, Korn established their own label, Elementree. They also made the news by serving a cease-and-desist order to the assistant principal of a Michigan high school, who had suspended a student for wearing a T-shirt featuring the band’s name. The eagerly anticipated Follow The Leader was recorded with help from Guns N’Roses collaborator, Steve Thompson. The album was a commercial and critical success, debuting at US number 1 in September 1998. Highlights included ‘It’s On’ and first single ‘Got The Life’. Their Family Values touring show also established itself as one of the most successful live ventures of the 90s. The band’s prominence on the hugely popular US alternative scene, alongside acts such as Limp Bizkit, Fear Factory and Slipknot, was confirmed by the chart-topping success of 1999’s Issues. Despite an injury to Silveria, the band forged on with a highly successful tour which saw them employing Mike Bordin (Faith No More) to cover for the indisposed drummer.

At the end of 2000, the members of Korn elected to take some time out to recharge their batteries, although Fieldy took the opportunity to record a solo album under the Fieldy’s Dreams alias, and Davis was hired to assemble the soundtrack to the movie Queen Of The Damned. They reconvened to record their fifth studio set, Untouchables, released in 2002. The following year’s Take A Look In The Mirror, although lacking melodic finesse, certainly made up for it in intensity.

Guitarist Brian Welch left the band in February 2005 to devote himself to religion. The remaining quartet subsequently completed the recording of the same year’s See You On The Other Side. The album was the first product to emerge from their new contract with Virgin Records. Further personnel change ensued when drummer David Silveria was put on extended hiatus from the band during early sessions for their next album. ex-Missing Persons drummer Terry Bozzio and Brooks Wackerman of Bad Religion helped them finish the recording of the album, which also featured the band’s touring keyboardist Zac Baird. The untitled album was released to mixed reviews in July 2007.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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