The sound

January 20th, 2011 |


By Michael Swanger


Korn continues to hammer away at its nu metal sound


Seventeen years later, with more than 38 million album sales and two Grammy Awards to their credit, Korn continues to hammer away at its pioneering nu metal sound with the kind of enthusiasm that catapulted them from the clubs of Bakersfield, Calif., in 1993 to mainstream America with breakthrough records like “Follow the Leader,” “Issues” and “Untouchables.”

When the “Monster Energy Music As A Weapon 5 Tour” plays Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Saturday, Jan. 15, it will mark the second show on the first-ever tour for Korn in which the band will share headlining duties with its friends Disturbed. The idea for the 45-city tour of medium-sized markets in North America came about when frontmen Jonathan Davis of Korn and David Draiman of Disturbed decided to bring their bands’ music to loyal fans who don’t live in major markets.

“I really like coming to places like Des Moines, places that don’t get a lot of concerts,” said Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, bassist and founding member of Korn. “Those shows are usually a little more wild.”

Which band will headline Wells Fargo Arena, Arvizu said, remains to be seen. Either way, it doesn’t matter to them.

“We’ll flip a coin, but we really don’t care. We’re doing it because it’s something we wanted to do.”

Though the fans of Korn and Disturbed might seemingly have little in common, the bands have mutual admiration for one another.

“It’s a lot more fun touring when everybody knows each other. It’s like family and should be a good time,” Arvizu said.

Korn’s inner circle was rocked when founding guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, who helped patent Korn’s distinctive sound, left the band in 2005 after becoming a Christian to focus on fatherhood and a solo career. Two years ago, rumors swirled that Welch wanted to rejoin the band, but he denied such allegations on his MySpace page, saying that Korn had asked him to rejoin but he refused. Meanwhile, Welch has written two books, including his latest, “Stronger: Forty Days of Metal and Spirituality.”

“There was a little backlash from him and from the other guys in the band when he left,” said Arvizu, who stays in touch with Welch. “But I was pretty neutral about the whole thing and was supportive of it. People get their feelings hurt and get a little pissed off. But the root of the problem was we were all friends, and sometimes when you hurt you say things you don’t mean to say. What was said was little, and it’s not that big of a deal. It’s nothing compared to what I’ve seen with other bands when a member quits. We were too tight as friends for it to get that out of hand.”

Meanwhile rust never sleeps, so Korn continues to march forward without Welch. Last year, the band signed with Roadrunner Records (Slipknot, Megadeth, Rob Zombie), which released “Korn III: Remember Who You Are” on July 13. The album, a return to the band’s rawer sound, debuted at its peak of No. 2 the Billboard Top 200.

“I thought it was cool for us to go back to the roots and put out a new record with heavy riffs. It’s just Korn. Everybody’s wanted that record, and it felt good to go back and do that,” Arvizu said.

But the longtime bassist warns fans not to expect a similar follow-up album. Instead, he said, be prepared for something entirely different, judging by the demos Korn recently recorded.

“It’s so exciting and new that I’ve never been this excited about anything we’ve ever done. I can’t believe it,” he said. “Just when you think, ‘We’re done now,’ we come up with the heaviest, coolest new style of Korn today. I’ve probably played it for 30 people and every one of them flipped out, and I’ve never gotten a response like that. I can’t wait to see what the world thinks of the next Korn record.” CV


caption: Korn shares the bill with Disturbed and openers Sevendust and In This Moment at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $39.50.