Korn (1993-present): a Nu-Metal band from Bakersfield, California, USA.


tarting out as a death metal act in Bakersfield, California first under the name LAPD, then Creep in 1993, Korn, (stylized with a reverse capital 'R') consisting of by ex-coroner's assistant Jonathan Davis (vocals), James "Munky" Shaffer (guitar), Brian 'Head' Welch (guitar), Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu (bass) and David Silveria (drums) would rise to spearhead the hip hop/heavy metal crossover efforts during the 1990s. Their eponymous 1994 US charting 72 debut on the indie 'Immortal' label lived up to much of the hype bestowed upon it. It opened with the prophetic, gravel-throated challenge "Are you ready" before kicking into a heavy guitar sound then moved on to Silveria's performance topping the list on the 10+ minute emotional vocal minefield Daddy, and then he followed that effort with bagpipes on Shoots And Ladders.

Korn then engaged on a world tour, including a spot on the Ozzfest tour. But when they returned their lyrics took a more realistic bent by loosing much of their occult talk of devils and witches. Their 1996 follow-up Life is Peachy was another angst ridden guitar heavy all-metal album that spawned three hits in the form of No Place To Hide, A.D.I.D.A.S. (All Day I Dream About Sex) and Good God. The disc also featured covers of Oshea Jackson's Wicked and a bagpipe version of War's Lowrider. The disc received heavy support in the UK from Kerang! magazine as well as rivaling fellow attention seeker Marilyn Manson by obtaining a US 3/32 UK chart position. It was filled with aggression, humor and vulgarity, apparently, for the A-Z dictionary of vulgarity called K@#%! was one such example which some critics and self-appointed moral guardians being put off by the language. One Zeeland, Michigan high school administrator told the press that Korn was "indecent, vulgar, and obscene" shortly after suspending a student for wearing a T-shirt that merely said "Korn"; after the band filed a cease-and-desist order against the school on behalf of the student, he was reinstated.

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By the time Follow the Leader was released in 1998 Korn was just that, the leader, with many others following them up the hit parade ladder on the wave of the now exploding rap-metal hybrid movement (soon to be refereed to as "nu-metal"). The disc was another smash hit for them obtaining a 1 in the US (5 UK) charting. The disc had a string of spin-off hits including Freak On A Leash, Children of The Korn and All In The Family that got them heavy radio and MTV play and got them a Billboard 1, with Rolling Stone magazine calling Follow the Leader one of the best alternative albums of the '90s and praising Korn's ability to channel "their disgust with the state of the nation-and the generation doomed to inherit it into booming, articulate violence"; in fact the bulk of both their radio repertoire and popularity could later be attributed to this disc. Proof of their death metal roots could still be heard in tracks like Dead Bodies Everywhere, not to mention the grinding guitars and shouting vocals.

The softer side of Korn through Justin from the aforementioned Follow the Leader album was seen; the song based on their visit with a terminally ill child cancer patient by the same name who had requested to see them via the Make A Wish charity. Korn reaffirmed their fans via a weekly live Internet video broadcasts from the studio during the album's making also helped their publicity. These "after school specials" kept fans up on the progress of the record, offered them live, call-in Q&A sessions with the band themselves, and introduced them to guests running the gamut from members of 311, the Deftones and Limp Bizkit to porn stars like Ron Jeremy and Randi Rage.

But rap would be an increasing influence in Korn's music. Their politically motivated Family Values Tour with Rammstein, Limp Bizkit and Ice Cube in tow further promoted their image (following closely on the "Korn Kampaign '98", a political campaign-style American tour).

1999's Issues release, on their own 'Elementree' imprint label, got a 1 US but only a 37 in the UK, Korn's prospects quickly slipping internationally despite their intentions on the release due to the nu-metal hybrid style becoming saturated with competitors all boasting a lack of variety. Nevertheless the album debuted at #1 in the US and went quadruple platinum. Korn allowed the fans to design the cover by having fans submit their work, and one such painting was chosen for the record's striking cover art. Several runners-up got limited-edition album covers of their own work. Korn had now completed the nu-metal convergence and remained a powerhouse over the change of the millennium with the follow-up Untouchables (2002) being sampled in 24-bit, almost twice the audio standard for the time and giving them a technological edge. This release also saw them moving from 'Sony' to 'Epic' for distribution for Take a Look in the Mirror (2003), and the "best of" compilation Korn's Greatest Hits (2004), and See You on the Other Side (2005). In February of 2005 guitarist Brian Welch left the band to rededicate his life to Christianity.

The Untitled Album (2007) debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 with 123,000 copies sold in its first week and was soon after certified gold; it also marked the completion of the band's deal with 'Virgin Records', and featured touring keyboardist Zac Baird, while drumming duties were left up to Terry Bozzio, and Bad Religion's Brooks Wackerman since David Silveria went on a hiatus. Joey Jordison from Slipknot played drums during live shows until the permanent addition of Ray Luzier (of Army of Anyone, David Lee Roth). The singles Evolution and Hold On were released to promote the album.

2007 would also see Davis forming his own side project, Jonathan Davis and the SFA to release two albums before forming a solo project in 2018 while still administering to his duties at Korn.

The III - Remember Who You Are compilation of 2010 followed closely on the heels of the Ballroom Blitz tour along with the announcement that the act had signed to 'Roadrunner Records'.

The Path of Totality (2011) was the second and final studio album Korn was contracted for under 'Roadrunner Records'. The album featured contributions from Skrillex, 12th Planet, Excision, Downlink, Kill the Noise, Noisia, and various other 'EDM' artists. The album ultimately peaked at number ten on the Billboard 200 with 55,000 copies scanned.

The Paradigm Shift (2013) would follow featuring the the first single, Never Never. Korn then recorded an episode of guitar Center Sessions for DirecTV on September 11, 2013. Korn was also the latest act to be inducted into the Hollywood 'Rockwalk' on October 8, 2013. The band also brought back their Family Values Tour as a one day festival, on October 5, 2013.

Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour would make a guest appearance on their next album, The Serenity of Suffering (2016). In further news, later that same year Zac Baird left the live band after 10 years, amidst conflicts with Munky's wife; Jules Venturini completed the tour before Davey Oberlin was brought in. It was later announced that Fieldy would be missing Korn's tour of South America and Robert Trujillo's (of Metallica) 12 year old son, Tye, was brought in to perform with the band for the tour.

2018 saw Korn launch their own brand of coffee, Korn Koffee. The next album, The Nothing (2019) followed.

In 2023 Korn would return with the Requiem Mass live EP, the vinyl version featuring marble coloring (called 'etching') on one side and the five tracks (it was a one-sided record) on the other, along with a song book included that could be ordered before the official release date on February 3rd.

Although nonetheless a hit and proving to be one of the longest lasting in the so-called "nu-metal" style, and despite recently adopting a more thrash-metal feel and all-black attire look, Korn have not changed their style significantly except for their debut 1994 release.

As of 2012, Korn had sold around 35 million copies worldwide. Twelve of the band's official releases have peaked in the top ten of the Billboard 200, eight of which have peaked in the top five. Eight official releases were certified platinum or multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and one is certified gold. Korn had released seven video albums and thirty-nine music videos; forty-one singles, twenty-eight of which have charted. The act earned two Grammy awards out of seven nominations and two MTV Video Music Awards out of eleven nominations.

Footnote: Korn. A silly name perhaps but as the band once said, "a name is only silly until it is known." The name "Korn" was generated from a misspelling of the vegetable name "Corn". Legend has it the name came about from several stories: the most famous involving diarrhea (the rest can be left to your imagination).

Korn is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

  • Alejandro Korn: Argentine physician, psychiatrist, philosopher, reformist and politician
  • Arthur Korn (1870-1945): Devised practical phototelegraphy in 1902 (the technology would later evolve into the modern electronic Fax Machine)
  • Arthur Korn (1891-1978): Architect and urban planner
  • David Korn: Computer scientist & programmer, creator of the Unix operating system interface 'Korn Shell'
  • Dieter Korn: German paleontologist specializing in Ammonites
  • Jim Korn: Retired professional ice hockey player
  • M. F. Korn: American science fiction author
  • Marian Korn (1914-1987): Czechoslovakian-born print-maker
  • Sandi Korn: American model and actress
  • Walter Korn (1908-1997): Prague-born author of books on chess

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