Biography

Korn

Members: Jonathan Davis, James Shaffer, Reginald Arvizu, David Silveria

Active: 1993-present

HISTORY

Korn is an influential nu-metal band from Bakersfield, California. They are often credited with instigating the nu-metal genre and inspiring the wave of alternative metal bands in the mid 1990s and early 2000s, assisting, in particular, the careers of Limp Bizkit and Deftones.

The first incarnation of Korn was a band known as LAPD. At first LAPD stood for 'Love and Peace Dude'; however they later changed the name to 'Laughing as People Die' in order to be taken more seriously as a band. The group consisted of James "Munky" Shaffer, Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu, David Silveria and lead singer Richard Morales, who later left the band and the remaining members changed their name to Creep, adding guitarist Brian Welch. When Davis joined the band in 1993, they began styling their name as 'Korn' (with a backwards letter "R"), releasing their debut album, Korn, through Epic/Immortal Records in October, 1994. Korn is arguably the album most responsible for the rise of nu metal and influencing later nu metal bands such as Limp Bizkit.

The band followed up their debut album with their second album, Life Is Peachy, in October, 1996. The album was just as successful, reaching No.3 on The Billboard 200. It spawned a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance in the song "No Place to Hide". The album's release featured the first live internet broadcast by the band. Korn performed songs from the new album and took calls from internet fans watching at home. The event was hosted by longtime Korn friend, Adam Corolla, known best for his hosting of Loveline. The online performance was one of the first of it's kind and helped launch Korn's internet presence which soon became a predominant part of their marketing and availability to fans.

Prior to the release of the band's 3rd album, Korn was featured once a week on their internet TV show, KornTV, which showed behind the scenes of the making of the record as well as special guests such as porn star Ron Jeremy, Limp Bizkit, 311 and many more. It also gave fans the chance to call in and ask the band questions. Korn was already ahead of the game by utilizing the internet to reach their fans. August 1998, saw Korn at their peak as they released their third album, Follow the Leader. It is generally recognized as their breakthrough album, and the album that ultimately ushered alternative metal into the mainstream. It featured a number of guest vocalists such as Ice Cube, Tre Hardson from the Pharcyde and Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit. The album was a success, reaching No.1 on the US and Canadian charts and spawning the singles "Got The Life" and "Freak On A Leash." The video for "Freak On A Leash" was directed by Todd McFarlane (creator of the Spawn comic book and formerly artist of Spiderman), who also drew the cover for the album. The video used innovative techniques which featured 'the magic bullet' that the camera followed through various scenes as well as a performance of the band in a Twilight Zone like room. "Freak on a Leash" won a Grammy for Best Video (Short Form). Follow the Leader is the band's most commercially successful album, being certified 5x Platinum by the RIAA.

The same year Follow the Leader was released, Korn started their own annual heavy metal tour called the Family Values Tour. That year they headlined the tour along with Incubus, Orgy, Limp Bizkit, Ice Cube and Rammstein. In 1999, Limp Bizkit headlined, along with Primus, Staind, Korn, The Crystal Method, and Filter. Korn were not featured on the bill and instead only made surprise appearances at a few of the tour's stops to perform their first single off of their next album, "Falling Away From Me." The tour took a break in 2000 due to heavy competition.

In 1999 Korn performed at Woodstock '99 in front of thousands of fans. The band cites its performance as one of its most memorable moments.

The band's next album, Issues, was released in November 1999. The album debuted at #1 on The Billboard 200 and was certified 3x Platinum by the RIAA, following up the success of Follow the Leader. It featured a broader range of styles and vocals compared to previous albums. Korn appeared on an episode of South Park, titled Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery, in which the first single from their then new album "Falling Away From Me" was premiered. In the episode, the band helped the boys solve a Scooby-Doo style mystery. The band performed the record in it's entireity in front of a live audience and had the concert simultaneously broadcast across radio stations. This special event featured the NYPD marching drum and bagpipe band as well as a group of back-up singers to enhance the more melodic choruses and backing vocals Jonathan Davis used on the album. Korn released two more singles off of Issues including the big budget video for "Make Me Bad" (Sickness in Salvation Remix), which featured Udo Kier and Brigitte Nielsen, and the much simpler video for "Somebody Someone".

In 2001, Stone Temple Pilots, Linkin Park, Staind, Static-X, and Deadsy headlined the Family Values Tour. This was the last Family Values Tour held.

In June 2002, after two and a half years out of the media spotlight, Korn re-emerged with their 5th album, Untouchables. In comparison with their previous albums, Untouchables had disappointing sales. The band have blamed Internet piracy for the drop in sales - as the album was leaked 4 months prior to it's official release date.

The album's first single "Here to Stay" earned a Grammy for Best Metal Performance. Untouchables has since been certified Platinum by the RIAA. The first 2 videos from Untouchables were directed by the Hughes Brothers (best known for their films, Menace II Society and From Hell). The first video, "Here To Stay," has the band playing inside a TV on a static background along with controversial news stories and world issues being presented. The second video, "Thoughtless," was a nod back to Jonathan's childhood as the character in the video is picked on and constantly beaten. He ultimately gains revenge in a rather grotesque but deserving way. The third video for Untouchables, "Alone I Break," was directed by Sean Dack who won the honor of directing Korn's video through an MTV contest. The video kept with the darkness of Korn , showing Jonathan Davis killing off the members of the band after a supposed mistake made by Munky when they were performing. The band later admitted the video would have been more fun to do if the director was actually a Korn fan.


Korn's sixth album, Take a Look in the Mirror was released in November 2003. Korn produced this record themselves and cited it as a look back upon their career by returning back to a more stripped down and raw sound. The album featured the singles "Right Now," "Everything I've Known," and "Ya'll Want A Single." The first two singles were animated videos while the third single, Ya'll Want A Single, was a performance video which featured Korn and a large group of fans destroying a record store. The album peaked at No. 9 on The Billboard 200. Although the album provided what the fans were supposedly looking for, it was considered a disappointment by many who thought the first album could never be duplicated. The album also features the remastered track "Alive," which is the song Davis sang back in 1994 while first trying out for the band.

In 2004 Korn released their greatest hits album, Greatest Hits, Volume 1, which featured 2 cover songs and a compilation of the band's hits from the past 10 years. The first single was a cover of the song Word Up originally made popular by the group Cameo. The second single off of the greatest hits album was a medley of all 3 parts of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall". The song has become a concert staple ever since.

On February 22, 2005, Brian "Head" Welch announced that he had "...chosen the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior, and would be dedicating his musical pursuits to that end", and was formally leaving Korn. Initial speculations that this was a hoax or practical joke were proven wrong; he has turned highly spiritual, even being baptized in the Jordan River and speaking openly about his faith and conversion, especially on his website . Welch has also stated that his reason for leaving the band has to do with his daughter reciting obscene Korn lyrics and the fact that he was fighting an addiction to crystal meth. This was to be the band's first, and so far only, line up change in their history.

Upon completing their record deal with Sony Records Korn has since partnered with EMI and signed to Virgin Records. EMI has paid Korn $25 million upfront in exchange for a share in the profits of their next two LPs, including tours and merchandising.

On December 6, 2005 Korn released their 7th full-length studio album titled See You On The Other Side which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 charts. The album was a step in a new direction for Korn since parting ways with former guitarist, Brian "Head" Welch. The album also featured production from pop producers The Matrix and Atticus Ross. See You On The Other Side is the closest Korn has ever released to a concept album. The special edition features a bonus disc with three additional original tracks, as well as bonus artwork. The first single from See You On The Other Side was Twisted Transistor which featured a Spinal Tap-esque style documentary video where 4 of today's biggest rappers played the parts of Korn . Lil Jon played Jonathan Davis, Xzibit played Fieldy, David Banner played David Silveria and Snoop Dogg played Munky. The idea for the video came from the mind of singer Jonathan Davis who thought of it while in the Caribbean. Plans to turn the video into a full-length movie are in the works. "Twisted Transistor" was also the official theme song for WWE's Taboo Tuesday pay-per-view event in November 2005

Korn is currently planning a world tour starting in February 2006, which will run well into 2007, touring with 10 Years and Mudvayne. On January 13th, 2006, Korn met Guns N' Roses lead singer Axl Rose at their tour launch party. The Australia part of the tour will consist of Korn, 10 Years, Hatebreed, and Disturbed. Korn invited Pastor Phil of the Set Free organization to come with them on their tour.

ALBUMS

1994 - Korn
1996 - Life is Peachy
1998 - Follow the Leader
1999 - Issues
2002 - Untouchables
2003 - Take a Look in the Mirror
2004 - Greatest Hits, Vol. 1
2005 - See You on the Other Side
2006 - Live And Rare

DVD & VHS

Who Then Now
Korn Live
Deuce
KoRn Live at CBGBs
R-U-Ready: The Unauthorized Biography
Live On The Other Side (release date: 20th June 2006): On November, 29th 2005 KoRn played a sold out show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, to launch their 7th Studio album, See You On The Other Side.

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