Still metal: Korn, kids and still killin’ stages

Head, Jonathan and Munky at Wednesday's Mayhem Fest in Memphis.

Fieldy, Jonathan and Munky at Wednesday’s Mayhem Fest in Memphis.


MEMPHIS – It’s one thing to reinvent a band once. It’s another to reinvent a band multiple times over a 20-year career.

In a whole other ballpark: reinventing a band that fans continue to love.

Korn has managed to do it all and 20 years in is showing no signs of slowing down.

“It’s all about the music now. Everyone is focused. We all have our families. There’s no substance abuse. There’s no bull crap to get in the way,” drummer Ray Luzier said from the Memphis stop of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Fest.

The catalog is huge and as Luzier pointed out, the focus and 20 years of stage time shows in a still-electric live show that is hard for any newbie or vet to live up to.

Fifteen years ago, it was their party life that was hard to match. The road was the imagined rock ‘n roll lifestyle of drug abuse and life on the edge of any cliff they could find.

Head has left the band, become a Christian and returned. Fieldy found the same faith. And Jonathan and Munky are in their primes of a band that has gone from a Bakersfield vision to every corner of the globe and sold nearly 40 million records. The end doesn’t seem anywhere near. They’re already talking new album.

“This band, 12, 15 years ago, I don’t think I could have been in it,” said Luzier, his eighth year in the group. “I’m one of those weirdos, I’ve never done a drug in my life.”

From Davis’ first “Are you ready,” on 1994’s self-titled debut, to the release of the extended Paradigm Shift: World Tour Edition, the changes have pleased, even when Davis went, for lack of a better term, dub-step on 2011’s Path of Totality. Fans have dug it all.

It’s always been about the music to a large extent, but with kids replacing drugs and water replacing alcohol, the music and the fans are the sole focus of Korn. Luzier is the only member of the band who drinks anything – and that’s red wine.

Their kids are now onstage, throwing sticks and picks and headbanging like their metal-headed fathers.

“People on the other side of the fence are like, ‘What’s it like backstage? What do you guys do?’ To be honest, it’s like Chuck E. Cheese on this tour,” Luzier said, “because there’s pizza and there’s a bunch of kids running around. It’s cool. We’re so into our kids and our families. The value is so much more now.”

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