Of all the bands that sprung from the ’90s nu-metal scene, the genre’s pioneering act Korn have proven to be one of the most prolific and enduring. The band is still going strong, fresh off the recent release of their 13th studio album, The Nothing.
Frontman Jonathan Davis theorized why Korn has maintained course in a revealing interview with NME, offering choice words for the ’90s scene and defending his band’s own artistic credibility in the face of their contemporaries.
When asked if he ever felt misunderstood after pioneering what would become known as nu-metal, Davis replied: “Oh man, that scene was full of misogynistic, opportunistic dickhead jocks. The sort of people who’d be bullying me at school if they weren’t supporting my band at shows. I’m about the art. We got lumped in with that stuff kinda because of the way we dressed.”
He added, “We were kinda hip-hop, but there was nothing really hip-hop about Korn other than the bass lines to an extent. I didn’t rap! In the beginning nobody knew what we were — we’d play shows with No Doubt or Pennywise. When the metal community embraced us we went with it because it felt like we’d found a home. But I hate thinking that some people hear the name Korn and think we’re some douchebag, misogynistic, f**king macho dickhead band. I think the fact that we’re still here says a lot.”
Despite his pointed statements in retrospect, Davis said he no longer feels anger or animosity toward the band’s naysayers, having “let that shit go.”
“But back then it really, really mattered to me,” Davis added. “Everything we achieved felt like a ‘f*ck you’ to people who’d done us wrong. Time helps introduce wisdom to you.”
Davis held little back in the interview, as he also discussed last year’s loss of his estranged wife, being abused as a child, and a fascination with collecting morbid objects. Regarding the latter topic, the singer revealed that he possesses the human remains of seven people, which he compares to collecting cars or baseball cards.
For what it’s worth, after dissing the misogyny of the ’90s nu-metal scene, Davis used dubious language of his own in describing today’s world. “There was so much artistic freedom [back in the day], record labels had money and you could do cool shit, bands were all over the radio and TV, everything felt so big and exciting and fresh, ideas were everywhere. It’s just not like that anymore. And it’s hard with metal because the world is just so f**king pussified right now.”
While not explicitly hinting at the next Korn album, he said the band will “work out a way to make sense of things going forward.” The band just wrapped up a major summer co-headlining tour with Alice in Chains and is set to play the Aftershock Festival on October 13th in Sacramento.