Artist and Musician Biographies


Here is a YouTube Mix of music by Korn.

In the mid-1990s, a new sound issued forth from Bakersfield, a farm town in central California. A group of four young men had collaborated to form the band LAPD. The lineup consisted of Brian "Head" Welch and James "Munky" Shaffer, both guitarists, David Silveria, a drummer, and Reginald "Fieldy Snuts" Arvizu on the bass guitar. One record was released while the band was known as LAPD in 1993. Soon the foursome met up with Jonathan Davis, a mortuary science student and bagpipe player who was playing with a band called Sexart at the time, and they recruited him to form Korn.

By the end of 1994, Korn had released its first self-titled album under a record contract with Epic. Though it got off to a slow start, the album eventually went gold and climbed up the charts. Korn's rather leisurely climb to stardom is certainly not due to a lack of talent or effort. Unlike most bands, Korn did not rely on airplay time with MTV to promote their image and music.

Instead, they chose the route of extensive touring that included opening for concerts of musicians, like of Ozzy Osboune, Marilyn Manson, Megadeth and 311. By doing this, Korn was able to win fans by exposing them to live music and an in-person image as opposed to a built-up, fantasy image provided by MTV. This method worked quite well for the band and a respectable following was developed so that by the time of their next release, Life is Peachy, in 1996, they soared to number three in the charts and produced the hit single "A.D.I.D.A.S" and the jazzy, funky "Good God."

Korn's sound is a combination of rap and metal with lyrics that amplify the angst of the youth of the 1990s. They literally play their instruments differently than most rock musicians. Instead of playing the traditional six-string guitar, Head and Munky have both opted for a seven-string version in order to give their music more depth with a more intricate range of chords. Tuned to highlight the low notes, Fieldy plays a five string bass guitar that he plays in a hammer-like fashion, which lends itself to a sound reminiscent of percussion. Songs with a hard, rhythmic backdrop are characteristic of the band and can be heard in songs such as "Ball Tongue" and "Daddy" from Korn's debut album.

Korn's debut album is also important in defining for the audience the angle that the band takes on life. There are many references to life through a child's eyes. Even the name of the band is spelled with a K and a backward R, as if written by a child. This first album also displays a child's awkward handwriting on the inside cover of the CD. As opposed to the popular theme of lost love and new-found love, Korn's lyrics explore difficult past experiences with life.

As a follow-up to Life is Peachy, Korn came out with Follow the Leader after undertaking the Family Values tour in 1998. Follow the Leader featured the talents of several other artists such as Ice Cube and Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit and produced the hit single "Got the Life."

As a result of the Family Values tour, Korn sparked great controversy in a high school in Zeeland, Michigan, when a student who wore a Korn T-shirt was suspended for wearing it. The principal of the school justified the suspension by declaring Korn "indecent, vulgar and obscene." Reversing the spin on the school administrators commentary and calling it a compliment, Korn distributed free shirts outside of the school, causing even more conflict and drawing more media attention. Meanwhile, Korn was also working behind the scenes on establishing their own record label, Elementree Records as well as a weekly Internet program called Korn T.V.

Korn's most recent endeavor can be heard on their Issues album that was released in November of 1999 to mixed reviews. Despite the reviews, Korn continued to attract the attention of great masses of teens and young adults struggling with the sour grapes and sweet lemons at Y2K. A current discography of music by Korn appears on AllMusic

Page author: N.G. & C.F.