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Shocking Revelations

KORN Reveal They Were Mostly High on Meth While Recording Debut Album

Korn 2019
Photo by Brian Ziff

Rolling Stone have posted an oral history of Korn's seminal self-titled debut record, which the magazine has dubbed "the most important metal release of the last 20 years." Regardless of the exaggerated hyperbole, the mag interviewed all five members who played on the record including estranged drummer David Silveria. Here are some of the meaty parts of the oral history.

On how their sound was formed:

Brian "Head" Welch, guitar: We were into everything, from Pantera to Ice Cube. 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.

James "Munky" Shaffer, guitar: We were trying to sound like a DJ had remixed our guitars, y'know, and cutting them up and scratching. That's kind of how that sound was born.

Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu, bass: When I would want to slap my bass, I wanted it to sound like it was being slapped. I didn't want it to sound like a bass; I wanted it to sound like if you slapped a string. I don't even like bass, to tell you the truth – it makes me nauseous.

Jonathan Davis, vocals: Dude, I never felt I was a metal dude to begin with. I grew up…my favorite band was Duran Duran. I was a child of the Eighties, and I loved more of the gothic and romantic kinda shit.

On the partying:

Davis: It was one big fucking party. Always just out of our minds drunk. By the time it was bedtime, we were just hammered. Staying in the chateau I remember waking up and it was sweltering hot. The sun would just bust through that fucking place. Head took over my vocal booth and he slept in there – he was smart.

Davis: We were 24 years old. I was 23, I think. That's when you're Superman, when that shit doesn't affect you. I got sober when I was 28. Around 27 is when I started getting the bad hangovers and couldn't do that shit no more or I was gonna die. But the other guys, their tolerance lasted a little longer.

Munky: At that time, I don't think any of us knew that we were going to have severe addiction problems, so it was all in fun at that point.

Fieldy: You're in the middle of nowhere in the middle of kind of a forest. It's up in these hills and it was a long drive just to get out of there. So you're kind of trapped. And as I learned over the years, they want you to get away from distractions every time we record – but you just find new distractions. We just made a distraction right there. We would bring all our friends up there. We'd have massive parties.

Robinson: It's funny because that's how they built their fan base was having parties in their rehearsal room

Munky: We had barbecues every other day…I remember just eating healthy in the afternoon, then partying really hard at night. Ross would kind of have to wrangle us into the studio 'cause we started to get drunk and shit and not really work. But he was good about getting us into the room to record.

Davis: I was a meth addict when I was doing that fucking record.

Head: I was trying not to [do meth]. When I was 10, 12 years old, I didn't think about doing drugs while doing my record – I thought about doing a record, you know? So I was trying not to ruin my experience. But I was addicted, so it was off and on.

On recording the controversial track "Daddy":

Davis: And I remember that moment, when I came out of there, and I was fucking sobbing, my whole band was crying, and they just all hugged me and shit. It was a crazy fucking experience… It was the good ol' days, dude. We were all a band of brothers. We were like the fucking Three Musketeers – everybody was there for all their parts. Now, we got families and shit and we're grown up, so everybody comes and does their parts and leaves. But at that point, the whole band was there. Except for David; he never was there [laughs]. He always did his parts and bailed.

I haven't listened to ["Daddy"] in 20 fucking years. It makes me cry. Every time when I was first listening to it, the first couple times it just made me fucking just lose my shit. So I stopped listening to it. It's a painful, fucking five minutes…

 

Recording "Ball Tongue" high on meth:

Head: We tricked Ross into taking us on a drug run, and then we ended up tracking the vocals for "Ball Tongue" high on drugs. When Ross found out, that he drove us on a drug run without knowing it, he got pretty upset with us.

Davis: Went to my dealer and got a big ol' fat rock of meth, chopped that shit up and I did vocals. "Ball Tongue" was about our close friend and kind of manager, from Huntington. That was his nickname because when he was tweaking, he'd just sort of seize up and his tongue was like a ball. All that crazy, scatting shit, that was all from me probably being up too long [laughs].

That's just a sample. Read the whole thing at RollingStone.com.

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