Published Nov 15, 2016Korn are equally celebrated and derided as nu-metal originators. Born out of a love of both metal and hip-hop, combining the former's aggression with the latter's groove and swagger, the Bakersfield, CA quintet exploded onto the scene with their self-titled debut in 1994, and dragged heavy music into the mainstream with their third album, Follow the Leader. They helped popularize rap-rock, despite never featuring an MC or DJ, and convinced a generation of hard-rocking teens to pick up a seven-string Ibanez, establishing a sound that dominates many corners of the metal world to this day.
At the band's heart is singer Jonathan Davis, who, not unlike late '90s emo singers, uses the group to excise his most personal demons. Yet, where they internalized their pain, penning diary-esque screeds, Davis lashes out at the world, his voice switching from a child-like croon to an unintelligible growl.
Though Korn have encountered numerous roadblocks over their 23-year career — issues with mental health, substance abuse, intra-band fights and shifting musical climates — they remain both prolific and popular, having sold 35 million records to date worldwide. In 2014, Rolling Stone called their debut the most important metal album of the past 20 years. This month they release their 12th studio album, The Serenity of Suffering, as they continue to blaze their own musical path.
1971 to 1988
Reginald Arvizu is born November 2, 1969 in Los Angeles County. His father is one half of the duo Reggie and Alex, with whom he plays guitar, bass and keyboard. After spending several years on the road with his father, the Arvizu's settle down in Bakersfield, where they are the only white family in a predominantly Hispanic neighbourhood. Their house is constantly filled with music, musicians and parties. However, violence between his parents sometimes spills over to their children. His parents divorce and Arvizu stays with his dad while his three sisters move out with their mom. He breaks his arm and smashes his pinky after an accident on his three-wheel motorcycle; he takes up guitar as part of his rehabilitation. Arvizu meets James Shaffer and Brian Welch at Compton Junior High School, where they are the only two "music dudes."
Welch is born June 19, 1970 also in Bakersfield. His nickname, Head, stems from the fact that he had a large head. Welch wants to play drums, but, fearing a large, loud set of drums in the house, his father steers him towards guitar, which he begins playing at age 10.
James Shaffer is born June 6, 1970 in Bakersfield, CA. As a teen he severs the tip of one of his fingers on the chain of his three-wheeler. Like Arvizu, he takes up guitar as part of his rehabilitation. His father played keyboards for both Buck Owens and Frank Zappa while his mother had worked as an actress and dancer. They split up three years later, after which he goes to live with his father and stepmother. He gets the nickname Munky because of his large feet, with which he can pick things up using his toes.
The trio bond over a mutual love of metal bands like Dio and Iron Maiden. Head is the superior guitarist, so Arvizu switches to bass, digging swimming pools for a summer to afford a new Ibanez. He and Head form their first band, Pierced, influenced by glam rockers like Mötley Crüe. In Pierced, Arvizu gets the nickname Gopher, due to his large cheeks. Gopher morphs into Gar, then Garfield, and finally Fieldy. The band fall apart by the end of high school. Arvizu and Welch team up with their mutual friend Richard Moral and form Ragtime, which is short-lived.
Arvizu and Moral hook up with Shaffer to form L.A.P.D., an acronym for Love and Peace Dude. Pete Capra joins on vocals and introduces the rest of the group to funk metal bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith No More, whose groove-oriented sound they incorporate into their music. David Silveria, born Sept 21, 1972 in San Leandro, CA, joins on drums after answering an ad in the newspaper. He is 16 years old. They record a demo, which becomes the Love and Peace Dude EP. The band move to Hollywood.
After seeing the band play at the Whiskey, Triple X Records, who previously released Jane's Addiction's first LP, sign the band. Silveria drops out of high school to facilitate the move, while Shaffer briefly quits and stays in Bakersfield, before reconsidering and reuniting with the group. Welch, who had little going on in Bakersfield, soon follows and occasionally roadies for his friends. Their rehearsal space is next to that of Gerk and Ruckus, an early band of Goldfinger's John Feldman. On the street in front of the building they run into Anthony Kiedis and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who practice nearby, and Arvizu convinces them to come to the group's rehearsal space and see them play.
"We played so hard, jumping up and down, trying to give a great performance, " he writes in his 2009 memoir, Got the Life. "Anthony and Chad were standing there sort of dumbfounded — and not in a good way. We must have been so sloppy, because we were obviously drunk and out of control. We didn't know any better. We just thought we were doing what we were supposed to do."
In May, 1991 they release a full-length called Who's Laughing Now. The record gets little support from the label and fairs poorly commercially. Clearly going nowhere, L.A.P.D. disbands. Arvizu, Shaffer and Silveria regroup as Creep and record a demo with a singer known only as Corey. Taking a cue from Steve Vai, Munky begins using a seven-string Ibanez guitar, "to make the music really dark and different-sounding and lower," he says in in Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman's 2014 book Louder Than Hell. Unlike a traditional six-string, whose lowest string is an "E," seven-string guitars have a low "B" making it easier for players to hit lower, heavier-sounding notes. Welch joins the band and also starts using one "to fit in."
The fledgling group record a nine-song demo with Ross Robinson. However they elect to boot Corey. "[He was] a little quirky and weird," writes Arvizu. "None of us wanted to work with him." Without a singer, the band aren't able to play any gigs. Shaffer and Welch head back to Bakersfield for a break, during which they catch some local bands. "Just as they were leaving, they heard this powerful voice coming from the stage," writes Arvizu. "They looked back at the dude on the stage and he was dressed like a drag queen. He was wearing a dress, makeup, the full look. The guys didn't care because his voice was mesmerizing." The voice was from Jonathan Davis, whose band Sexart included future Orgy guitarist Ryan Shuck and future Adema bass player Dave DeRoo (Davis's half-brother Mark Chavez would later become their lead singer).
Davis is born January 18, 1971 in Bakersfield, CA. His dad Rick played in bands with Arvizu's father and Arvizu's mother babysat Davis for a time. Arvizu and Davis had even hung out a bit, through their dads, as teens. "Jon was kind of a nerd when he was younger," recalls Arvizu. His parents split when he's three. Davis lives with his mother. He develops severe asthma, and spends the next seven years in and out of hospitals. As a young boy, a female friend of the family sexually abuses him. At 12, he tries to tell his parents, but they don't believe him. Davis later chronicles the abuse and his parents' disbelief in the song "Daddy."
At 13 he gets a drum kit, but his stepdad destroys it during a fight with his stepson. David moves in with his dad, much to his stepmother's chagrin. In Davis's own words to Melody Maker in 1999, "She made it her mission to make life so miserable for me that I wanted to move out."
He embraces his Scottish roots, learning to play bagpipes before getting into pop music at 15. "My favourite band was Duran Duran. I was a child of the '80s," he'll explain to Rolling Stone in 2014. "I loved more of the gothic and romantic kinda shit."
"I stuck out, I was this big dork, basically, and I suffered for it greatly," he'll tell Melody Maker. "I was picked on, called a faggot. Just because I wore makeup and they didn't know how to deal with it." Davis gets the homophobic nickname "HIV," which he later has tattooed on his upper left arm. He begins DJing, working with an events company playing dances and parties around Bakersfield. Although he identifies as heterosexual, constant taunting about his sexuality leads Davis to experiment with a 28-year old man. "I was very in touch with my feminine side and I acted upon it." When he decides he wants out of the relationship, the older man threatens to beat-up the young Davis's parents. Backed into a corner, Davis tells his father, who ensures the issue is "sorted." However, he continues to be embarrassed by his son.
"I'd come to work at his music store and he'd go, 'That's some kid I hired.'" At 17, he gets a job placement at the coroner's office doing autopsies. Davis leaves the house at 18 and attends mortuary school. "I liked trying to figure out how people died," he says in Louder than Hell. "You're cutting a fucking person open and you're not going to jail, that's awesome." Around the same time he begins drinking, as well as dabbling with speed and cocaine, to block out the trauma of his childhood.
1993 to 1995
Arvizu, Shaffer and Welch convince Davis to quit Sexart and his relatively lucrative job as a mortician and move to L.A. The newly constituted group change names once again, settling on Korn, with an inverted "R." Davis is credited with the stylized logo that looks like a child's handwriting.
Without the salary he was making as a mortician, Davis takes a job as a manager at Pizza Hut and lives in his friend's garage. "The band weren't dark yet; it had, like, killer grooves and good riffs, but there was some happy edge to it," Ross Robinson will tell Rolling Stone. "When [Davis] walked into the room, it went dark and goth."
Korn start playing gigs around Southern California, and a buzz starts to build around their bizarre hybrid of metal and hip-hop. "A lot of [West coast hip-hop] was real minor key and dark," says Arvizu in Louder Than Hell. "If you could take that to the next level, you could make heavy metal."
Robinson meets a band called Deftones at their show in Bakersfield. They give him one of their demo tapes. Korn hear the tape and, recognizing kindred spirits, book a gig with the Sacramento band. "Jon and Chino [Moreno, Deftones lead singer] were doing almost the same moves and wearing Adidas jumpsuits," recalls Arvizu in Louder Than Hell. The two groups become fast friends.
They field offers from Warner Bros. and Epic Records, but ultimately sign with Immortal because they had signed Cypress Hill, House of Pain and Funkdoobiest. In 1993, they record a demo called Neidermayer's Mind with Robinson. W.A.S.P. were recording in the same studio, and at night, the band would use their gear. Davis later claims that the demo version of "Blind" was recorded with one of Blackie Lawless's guitars.
With Robinson, Korn head to Indigo Ranch studio in Malibu to record their debut for just $14,000. The producer chose Indigo because "I knew that recording raw and vintage, the album wouldn't sound dated, ever. So we didn't have any '80s reverbs." There's a cabin on the property where the band sleeps, although they are more often partying, inviting friends and getting extremely drunk.
Further complicating matters, Davis and Head are both addicted to crystal meth. They trick Robinson into taking them on a drug run before recording the vocals for "Ball Tongue." The group's rowdy behaviour leads studio owner Richard Kaplan to threaten to kick the band out. During the day however, Robinson, a health-nut, would push things like wheatgrass chlorophyll on the band, balancing out their intake.
After leaving Indigo, vocals are recorded in Davis's father's studio Fat Track. Davis tells Rolling Stone, "[Robinson] had his way and was digging in to me and pulling shit out. I was already writing stuff about it, but to get the performance out, he really just poured salt on the wound." Davis breaks down into tears while recording the vocals for "Daddy," a song about Davis's molestation as a child and his parents' subsequent refusal to believe his claims. Robinson keeps recording, encouraging the band to jam out the song's ending while Davis sobs in the vocal booth. This is the take that makes it to the album.
Korn is released in October. It sells 1100 copies in its first week. In 2014 Rolling Stone will call the album "the most important metal album of the last 20 years." The band shoot videos for "Blind," "Shoots and Ladders," "Clown" and "Faget" (which is not officially released) with a young director named McG, who later gains fame directing the Charlie's Angels films and producing the TV series The O.C. "Shoots and Ladders" is notable for its lyrics — which consist of Davis reciting nursery rhymes — and its bagpipe intro, played by Davis. The use of bagpipes becomes one of the band's calling cards, appearing on numerous Korn recordings.
The band head out on tour with Biohazard and House of Pain. "At the time, that was like an insane dream come true," says Arvizu. "We were into everything, from Pantera to Ice Cube," Welch tells Rolling Stone. "We liked the samples on the Cypress Hill stuff. The first record was about mimicking some of the hip-hop stuff that was going on in that day." They buy an RV for the trip. Davis kicks his speed addiction on the four-day drive from Huntington Beach to Atlanta.
They tour with Marilyn Manson and Danzig the following year and eventually play a handful of shows opening for Ozzy Osbourne in 1996. "Our music was so new," Davis will tell ArtistDirect.com in 2011. "It was just us and Deftones, and nobody knew what to do with us or where to classify us. We were touring with all of these different genres of music."
At the Jacksonville, FL stop on the band's 1995 tour opening for Sick of It All, the band meet Fred Durst, singer in local act Limp Bizkit. Claiming to be a tattoo artist, Durst invites the band for drinks and attempts to draw a "Korn" logo on Head's back. However the resulting ink reads "Nor" instead. Nevertheless the two bands become friendly and Korn asks Limp Bizkit to open for them on several tours.
In January, Korn goes gold and later peaks at number 72 on the Billboard 200. It goes on to sell over four million copies in the U.S. Work on their sophomore album begins in April, again with Robinson at Indigo, much of which is captured for posterity in the band's Who Then Now video. Once again the band indulge in plenty of drinking and partying.
The recording process is reportedly rushed. "There was an urgency to get back into the studio as soon as we got off the road," Shaffer tells Artistdirect.com, "I remember going straight back into the rehearsal studio and writing new songs. Everything about it was chaotic."
Consequently the album remains the band's thrashiest sounding effort. "A.D.I.D.A.S," an acronym for All Day I Dream About Sex, is the first song written for the record and along with "No Place to Hide" becomes one of the band's signature songs. The album title, Life is Peachy, is a riff on the old Mead Pee Chee folders kids would use at school. "It was like 'Life Is Peachy,' but there's a dark side to it," Shaffer explains.
Mead however balks at the band's concept for the cover — a naked woman whose body is bruised "like she just got beat up." Similar to their first album's cover, Life is Peachy features a young boy looking in the mirror, which shows both the boy and a menacing figure behind him. Life is Peachy peaks at number three on the Billboard 200 and is nominated for a Grammy.
The album includes covers of "Low Rider" and Ice Cube's "Wicked," on which Deftones' Chino Moreno contributes vocals. The "enhanced" CD-ROM portion of the disc includes a live clip of "Good God" filmed at the Astoria Theatre in London, UK.
The home video Who Then Now?, directed by McG, is released in March 1997. As well as home video footage of the band's early years and the Life is Peachy recording sessions, it includes all the band's music videos from their debut album, included the unreleased clip for "Faget."
Triple X Records releases a compilation of all of L.A.P.D.'s studio recordings, simply called L.A.P.D.
Korn play that summer's Lollapalooza, but are forced to leave when Shaffer contracts viral meningitis. Meanwhile, a student in Michigan is suspended for wearing a Korn T-shirt to school. In defense of the suspension, the school's assistant principal calls the band's music "indecent, vulgar, and obscene." The band issue a cease-and-desist order in response and threaten to sue before opting to send a truckload of Korn T-shirts to the school in question.
Korn begin work on their third album at the beginning of the year, opting to work with Steve Thompson and Toby Wright at L.A.'s NRG Recording Studios, instead of Robinson, whose name has by this time become synonymous with a cresting wave of nu-metal acts. A weekly online TV show, KornTV, documents the album's progress.
The sessions are fuelled by booze, drugs and sex. After finishing Life Is Peachy, Davis had kicked speed, but compensates with alcohol, and his drinking intensifies in the studio. While recording the vocals for album opener "It's On," "people [were] getting blowjobs right behind me, there were girls banging each other in front of me, people getting boned in the closet right behind me," Davis tells Scuzz TV in 2013. For his part, he refuses to start the session until Wright gets him an eight ball of cocaine.
The resulting album, Follow the Leader, is released in August; it includes contributions from Ice Cube, the Pharcyde's Tre Hardson, Fred Durst and Cheech Marin, It becomes the band's mainstream breakthrough, debuting at number one on Billboard and selling over 14 million copies worldwide. Reviews are strong, although several outlets point out the homophobic remarks included on "All in the Family," an MC battle between Davis and Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst.
Videos for "Got the Life" and "Freak on a Leash" become MTV staples at a time when the channel is dominate by boy-bands and pop starlets. The former, directed by McG, features appearances by members of Limp Bizkit as well as a pre-fame Eminem, who was reportedly an extra on set. MTV's request show, Total Request Live, eventually has to forcibly retire the clip due to its overwhelming popularity. The latter, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, includes animated segments directed by comic book artist Todd McFarlane.
Exacerbated by drug and alcohol abuse, Davis has suffered from periodical panic attacks for two years. During the promotional campaign for the record, his grandfather dies, triggering another attack. He decides to get clean, giving up drugs and alcohol, switching to a cocktail of Prozac and Dexedrine.
The album's success "freaked everyone in the band out," Davis says in Louder Than Hell. "We went through a crazy adjustment period. We used to be able to go out in the crowd and talk to people and suddenly I needed a bodyguard to go anywhere." That fall, the band embark on the first Family Values Tour, a package tour envisioned by the band as a collision of rock — mostly nu-metal — and hip-hop. Korn headline with openers Limp Bizkit, Ice Cube, Rammstein, Incubus and Orgy, who are signed to Davis's vanity label Elementree Records. Orgy's debut Candyass becomes a hit on the strength of the band's cover of New Order's "Blue Monday." The tour galvanizes a new metal movement critics dub nu-metal. In November, Davis marries the mother of his son, Renee Perez.
1999 to 2001
Less than a year after Follow the Leader's release, Korn begin work on a followup, recruiting Brendan O'Brien as producer. According to a post by Silveria on Facebook in 2013, the album is recorded using ProTools, with Silveria playing to a click-track, eliminating many of the odd time signatures that, though technically not right, had fuelled the energy of the band's early albums.
Similarly, the music is completed before Davis writes any lyrics, a break from the past, when the five members wrote in a room together. Sessions are paused so that Korn can play Woodstock '99, an event seen by many as both nu-metal's apex and undoing. Performing on the Friday night of the four-day festival, several volunteers report seeing a gang-rape take place in the crowd during their set. Further instances of sexual assault are reported throughout the weekend, culminating in Limp Bizkit's Saturday night performance, during which the crowd begins to use the site's plywood walls for crowd surfing. The weekend ends with parts of the concert-site engulfed in flames.
In the aftermath, many blame the aggressive music played by the metal acts on the bill, including Korn, for fuelling the audience's fire. Nevertheless, Issues is released in November and it debuts at number one, selling half-a-million copies in its first week. It goes on to sell 13 million copies worldwide.
In contrast to the violent rep the band develop, they appear on an episode of South Park titled "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery," portrayed as a gang of happy-go-lucky kids who drive around solving mysteries a la Scooby Doo.
Similarly, Silveria participates in a Calvin Klein jeans campaign as a model, though he sits out the following summer's Sick and Twisted 2000 tour due to a back injury. Faith No More's Mike Bordin fills in. A new wave of nu-metal acts opens for them including Staind, P.O.D., Papa Roach and Powerman 5000.
The following year Korn appear in an episode of Jimmy Kimmel's pre-late night program The Man Show. Kimmel and co-host Adam Carolla claim to have been ousted members of the band in a VH1 "Behind the Music"-esque pre-recorded sketch titled "Beneath the Music."
In 2000 Davis and Perez divorce.
Work on the band's fifth LP begins in April, 2001 with producer Michael Beinhorn in Scottsdale, AZ. Each band member rents their own house while the group write; they do the same when sessions move to L.A. and then Toronto. Tensions are reportedly high. "By the time we left to promote Untouchables, there wasn't a lot of interaction outside of playing together," writes Arvizu. Recordings costs, including renting houses in different cities, as well as keeping the band's touring crew on retainer pushes the record's budget anywhere from $750,000 to $4 million, depending on the estimate.
In January, Arvizu releases the gangsta rap record Rock'n Roll Gangster under the name Fieldy's Dreams. In February, Davis appears as a ticket scalper in the posthumous Aaliyah movie Queen of the Damned. He also scores the film.
Untouchables arrives in June, debuting at number 2, just behind Eminem's The Eminem Show. Despite strong initial sales, they fall off in the weeks following. The band blame a file-sharing leak two months before its release for the drop-off. Nevertheless it goes on to sell 2.4 million copies. First single "Here to Stay" wins a Grammy for Best Metal Performance. Menace II Society and From Hell directors the Hughes Brothers direct music videos for both "Here to Stay" and "Thoughtless."
The DVD Deuce is released the same day as Untouchables, bringing Who Then Now? to the high def, while updating it with the band's post-debut music videos and other extras. It goes platinum. Their Live DVD is released in November. Featuring a cover of Metallica's "One," it goes gold.
Around this time Davis begins using a microphone stand designed by H.R. Giger. He calls it "the Bitch." On tour supporting Untouchables, tension between Arvizu's wife Dena and Davis's wife Deven runs high. Rumours of an impending fight swirl, and when Arvizu tries to defuse the situation, the band side with Deven and threaten to kick Arvizu out due to his overindulgences with drugs and alcohol. Eventually, the rest of the group back down and Arvizu remains.
With Untouchables failing to reach the heights of Follow the Leader and Issues, the band rush-release a new album, writing between summer Ozzfest dates. The record takes a back-to-basics approach and even includes a re-recording of the song "Alive" which had appeared on their original demo. Nas appears on the track "Play Me."
Speaking with MTV about the band's decision to self-produce the record at his home studio, Davis explains "Nobody knows Korn better than ourselves."
Take a Look in the Mirror is released in November, debuting at a lowly 19 and completing their contract with Immortal. It later peaks at number 9 and goes double platinum worldwide despite middling reviews. "Did My Time" manages to crack the Top 40 and is nominated for another Grammy. The music video for "Right Now" features animation from Spike and Mike. In 2013 Welch cites the record as the band's worst. Despite a decline in sales and quality, the band maintain a strong mainstream presence, even being namedropped in an episode of Gilmore Girls.
Davis marries former adult star Deven Davis in Hawaii with whom he has two more sons. The band sign a unique deal with Virgin Records; they receive $25 million upfront in exchange for a stake in all the band's album sales, tour revenues and merchandise for its next two records.
Davis has a cameo role in the comedy Seeing Other People, playing a crack dealer.
With the band no longer on their roster, Epic/Immortal releases Greatest Hits Vol. 1. It features covers of Cameo's "Word Up" and Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall (Parts 1, 2, 3)." Special Edition versions include a live disc featuring part of the band's performance at CBGB from the previous year. A testament to the band's enduring popularity, the cash-grab release goes platinum.
In February, Korn appear in an episode of the TV series Monk. That same month, Welch leaves the band citing his newfound faith in "the Lord Jesus Christ" and his bandmates' hedonistic ways as the reason, sending his resignation to Shaffer via email. Previously addicted to booze, meth and various prescription pills, Welch claims his faith helped him get sober.
In June, the band begin work on their next album, their first for Virgin and without Welch, in Davis's home studio. Looking to shake things up, they enlist the help of Trent Reznor collaborator Atticus Ross and pop production team the Matrix on many of the record's tracks. Though he is credited as drummer on the record, Silveria later claims that much of his playing was replaced by electronic percussion by the production team.
See You on the Other Side is released at the beginning of December, debuting at number 3 and eventually selling platinum. Dave Meyers, known for his work with Missy Elliott amongst many others, directs the video for "Twisted Transistor" in which Xzibit, Snoop Dogg, Lil Jon and David Banner portray the band.
The band head out on tour to support See You on the Other Side. That summer they resurrect the Family Values Tour, taking Deftones, Stone Sour and Flyleaf along with them.
While on tour in Europe, Davis is diagnosed with a blood platelet disorder and is hospitalized. Rather than cancel their appearance at the Download Festival, the band enlist Slipknot's Corey Taylor, Trivium's Matt Heafy, Skindred's Benji Webbe and Avenge Sevenfold's M. Shadows to fill in on vocals. They eventually cancel the rest of their European dates.
In May, Epic releases Live & Rare, a compilation of previously released live tracks with the track "Proud," from the I Know What you Did Last Summer soundtrack tacked on at the end. In September, Virgin issues Chopped, Screwed, Live and Unglued, featuring remixes and other re-workings of the band's material. In November they release the Live on the Other Side DVD.
At the end of the year, Silveria announces an indefinite hiatus from the band. Though no reason is given at the time, in later years both sides blame the other for substance abuse and negative attitudes.
In March the band release MTV Unplugged, featuring acoustic versions of their songs from across their career. Amy Lee from Evanescence as well as the Cure's Robert Smith and Simon Gallup appear as guests and the band cover Radiohead's "Creep."
Korn finish their eighth LP in the spring as a trio, enlisting Bad Religion drummer Brooks Wackerman and Terry Bozzio to fill in for Silveria. They also bring in a keyboard player, Zac Baird, for the first time. The album, released in the summer as officially untitled, is commonly referred to as Untitled. It debuts at number 2 and goes gold in the U.S. Allmusic.com describes the record as "long on mood and short on gripping songs, or even memorable riffs."
Head publishes his memoir Save Me from Myself: How I Found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs and Lived to Tell My Story. It reaches at number 15 on the New York Times bestseller list. The following year he publishes a Young Adult version of the book called Washed by Blood: Lessons from My Time with Korn and My Journey to Christ. Washed by Blood is cleansed of profanity and the more offensive details from the original "adult" version of the book.
Korn and Evanescence headline the Family Values Tour taking Flyleaf, Hellyeah and Trivium with them. Slipknot's Joey Jordinson fills in as drummer.
In May, Live At Montreaux comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray, featuring a 2004 show from the Swiss resort town, featuring both Welch and Silveria.
In September Welch releases his debut solo album Save Me From Myself as Head. Jordinson leaves the tour to focus on Slipknot and is replaced by Ray Luzier.
Korn contribute to the Nightmare Before Christmas tribute album Nightmare Revisited, covering "Kidnap the Sandy Claws."
After Deftones bass player Chi Cheng is involved in a car accident, leaving him in a coma, Arvizu organizes a charity single to help pay for his medical bills. "A Song for Chi" includes contributions from members of Slipknot, Sevendust, Metallica and Machine Head among many others. Welch also contributes to the track, marking his first collaboration with any members of the band since leaving in 2005. Ray Luzier becomes and official member of the band although most press photos continue to feature only Davis, Arvizu and Shaffer.
In March, Arvizu releases Got the Life: My Journey of Addiction, Faith, Recovery and Korn, in which he discusses his own path to Christianity after the death of his father. Like Welch, he cites his faith for helping him get sober after nearly two decades of hard partying, though he admits that he continues to smoke weed.
The group spend most of the year working on their next album, reuniting with Ross Robinson for the first time since Life is Peachy. They opt to record to analog tape as a four-piece. "It was juts like old times," Davis says in Louder Than Hell. "It was very painful to do the vocals and it totally damaged my psyche… but I chose my art and my art is to sing about pain."
Originally Davis had planned to write a concept album about the downfall of man, but the idea is eventually abandoned. He does manage to rekindle his DJ career as JDevil. In September the band release a digital EP featuring demos from their sessions.
With their deal with Virgin complete, the band sign with Roadrunner Records in March and release Korn III: Remember Who You Are in July. It debuts at number 2 in the United States. "Sometimes they stumble…but as sheer galvanizing force, Korn III delivers due to that combination of raw aggression and musical finesse," says Allmusic.com. The band embark on a lengthy set of tours to support its release.
Korn throw pretty much everyone — fans, critics and detractors — for a loop with their tenth album, The Path of Totality. Released at the end of the year, it features production from a host of EDM and dubstep producers, including Skrillex and Datsik.
"We were dubstep before there was dubstep," Davis tells Billboard. "Tempos at 140 with half-time drums, huge bassed-out riffs. We used to bring out 120 subwoofers and line them across the whole front of the stage, 60 subs per side. We were all about the bass." To pretty much everyone's surprise, the sonic shift works surprisingly well. Allmusic.com calls the record one of the band's better efforts.
Once again the band embark on a world tour in support of the release, with Davis's JDevil project one of their opening acts.
Korn contribute a song to the new Silent Hill video game, Downpour.
In April, Welch's solo project, now called Love and Death, releases their debut EP.
In May, Welch meets with Shaffer at the Carolina Rebellion Festival where both Korn are playing (Welch is on tour, opening for Christian metal band P.O.D.). It's the first time the two have spoken in seven years. He later joins the band on stage to perform "Blind." In May he plays his first full show with the band since leaving in 2005 at Rock on the Range in Columbus, OH before heading to Europe with his old bandmates.
In September the band release yet another live document, The Path to Totality Tour – Live at the Hollywood Palladium as a CD and DVD combo.
A week later Fear and the Nervous System, Shaffer's side project with Baird and Wackerman and Faith No More's Billy Gould, release their self-titled debut. Limp Bizkit's guitarist Wes Borland creates the album's artwork.
Davis weans himself of anti-depressants he takes for anxiety by going to rehab, initially preventing him from joining his bandmates in the studio. In November, Arvizu opts to remain with his pregnant wife while the rest of the band play some live dates. Mudvayne bass player Ryan Martinie fills in.
2013 to 2016
In January 2013, Love and Death release their debut Between Here & Lost through Tooth and Nail Records.
That same month Silveria takes to his Facebook page to rally Korn fans to lobby the band to let him back into the group. "Korn isn't Korn without the original five." His efforts are met with resistance from his former bandmates.
Welch officially re-joins Korn and work begins in earnest on the band's next album. They abandon the dubstep flourishes of The Path to Totality. Shaffer describes the record as a return to the band's sound on Issues and Untouchables. The Paradigm Shift is released in October. The band organize a one-off Family Values date in Broomfield, CO.
They celebrate the 21th anniversary of their debut by playing the entire record on several 2015 tour dates. That May, Davis reveals that's he's been in the studio with bro-country duo Big & Rich, who remain most famous for "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)."
In February of the same year, Silveria sues the band for money owed from his "ownership interest" in the group for the nine years that he was not part of the group.
Korn spend the summer of 2016 on tour with Rob Zombie. The outing is dubbed "Return of the Dreads." In August, an Instagram post reveals that Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl spent some time in the studio with the band. At the beginning of October 2016, Davis dismisses Sepultura's Roots as a "blatant Korn rip-off. I had it out with producer Ross Robinson about that, because he just took our sound and gave it to Sepultura." Still, Davis admits that it is a good record and that Sepultura were a major influence for the band.
The Serenity of Suffering is released weeks later. It features vocals from Slipknot's Corey Taylor on the track "A Different World." As Davis says in Louder than Hell, "it's pretty fucking crazy we're still around. People counted us out a long time ago and we keep coming back."
The Essential Korn
Korn (Immortal, 1994)
Absolutely nothing sounded like the Bakersfield quintet when they dropped their debut. From the opening growl of "Are you ready?" to a weeping Davis on closer "Daddy," Korn was a harrowing tour de force that, for better or worse, continues to inspire generations of new artists.
Follow the Leader (Immortal, 1998)
Toss out "All in the Family," and Korn's mainstream breakthrough is as strong a representation of what makes the band so unique as you're going to get. Perhaps their most hip-hop focused record, it nevertheless galvanized hard rock fans becoming a rare beacon of aggression in the thick of the TRL era.
Issues (Immortal, 1999)
Capturing Korn at their cultural peak, Issues felt like a call to arms for music fans whose lives weren't reflected in the saccharine pop or learned indie rock of the day. It was also the last Korn album worth listening to start to finish. Featuring some of their biggest hits, it saw the band abandon their more overt hip-hop flourishes for a heavy and harrowing ride as band members come to grips with their exploding fame and increasing reliance on substances to get them through.