It was 1993…
..when the band then named LAPD, whom was made up of the members, James “Munky” Shaffer, Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, & David Silveria; enlisted Brian “Head” Welch and Jonathan Davis.
They then changed their name to KoRn.
Munky & Head were at a club when Jonathan Davis was next up to perform in the then current band he was apart of. Munky & Head were about to head out right when JD took the stage and then began to do his, now, famous moves refered to as “the freak out”.
They both knew then that they wanted Jonathan Davis to replace the lead singer that they had but weren’t too crazy about at the time.
Munky has said before that JD, “sings from his soul”, and “there isn’t a night where he isn’t on stage singing his heart out”. Munky states and I concur, “It’s hard to find.”
Who then now, Bitches?
By May of 1994 KoRn began working on their debut album with producer, Ross Robinson.
Ross Robinson made his career with band, KoRn, and it was rumored that he “ripped off” their sound attempting to bring out similar feelings with bands he worked with in the then future. There is more I could say about this producer that I do feel worked with KoRn in a very unique and bad ass way back in their early days but when he came back into the lives of Korn for the album known as, K3, things were different and in my opinion not a good match as they once were. Like I stated, however, this is a topic for a later point in their story.
The recording for KoRn’s debut album ended by June of 1994 and was released October 11, 1994.
The album eventually reached number 72 on the billboard 200 in Feb, 1996. It received positive reviews by critics & influenced a new wave of metal. Other bands such as Slipknot, Coal Chamber, and Limp Bizkit were influenced. Korn began touring shortly after, their first gig being in Atlanta, Georgia. Later in 1995, Korn was chosen along side Deftones as direct support for Ozzy Osborne. The self titled album went gold during the tour!
This album took time to get noticed however grabbed many “old school” fans of korn that are still devoted to the band today. It was the fresh, groovy yet dark sound of the band members coupled with the lyrical content written by Jonathan Davis that turned the sound from dark to pitch black.However as dark as the debut album was there still seems to be a small yet bright & flickering flame that illuminates the track list with an edge of hope & healing as Jonathan Davis seemed to have needed the vehicle of this band in order to release his feelings that he may not have been able to anywhere else. It has been stated many times by JD that without this band.. he wouldn’t be alive.
Ironic as many of his fans would say the same about him and the rest of the boys of our beloved band of saviors, KoRn.
Life is Peachy;
In April 1996, the band returned Indigo Ranch Studios, Malibu, California; to begin recording their second album, Life is Peachy. Producer, Ross Robinson also returned for the occurrence.
“Kill You” was the intense follow-up, attempting to match the emotional depth as their debut album’s final track, “Daddy”. “ADIDAS”, “Mr. Rogers”, “Chi”, and “Twist” are the other well-known singles from this album.
“ADIDAS” became the bands first charting single on Billboard. The band gained further popularity by co-headlining the Lollapolooza music festival in 1997 with Tool.
Life Is Peachy debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and peaked at number one in New Zealand. The album sold 106,000 copies in its first week. According to Wikipedia, The album was certified double platinum in the United States, platinum in Australia, and gold in Canada.
Follow The Leader 1998-1999
August 18th, 1998, KoRn released their third album, Follow The Leader, this would be the bands peak. Some serious life altering decisions occurred during this time, particularly for Jonathan Davis.
Suddenly the party had to be over to JD as he nearly killed himself with alcohol and just about any drug he could get his hands on which started years ago but became severely out of control during the making of this record.
Follow The Leader was considered the bands ultimate success. The album featured Ice Cube, Pharcyde member–Tre Hardson, Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit, and Cheech Marin which had written, “Earache My Eye”.
FTL debuted at number one on Billboard 200, selling at least–268,000 copies sold in its first week of release.
The sound of Follow The Leader was even more of a departure from their debut album than Life Is Peachy. It seemed by many that they were heading more towards the hip hop sound that was faint in their self titled but became more prevalent in LIP.
As I recall this unsettled many of their “old school” fans however they gained fans even if they lost some. Many prefer the sound of their first album compared to the rest. But Follow The Leader gained them much more than they lost.
As I am one of those deeply devoted fans they gained during the Follow The Leader Era!
Jonathan Davis quit every drug he was on during the making & touring of Follow The Leader. He was becoming increasingly out of control with alcohol, particularly but also speed.
He says even to this day that he was attempting to be a “rock star”, even if he didn’t know what that meant, he thought it had to have meant he needed to be wasted out of his mind most of the time. It had gotten so bad that his band members were worried that he would find himself an early grave.
It took JD some time to recognize his self-destructive habits but it was when he was faced with his own behavior coupled with looking into the eyes of his son, Nathan, during one of his lowest moments. Something hit him then–He knew he needed to get sober so that he would be able to raise his son and be there for him for the years beyond.
Little did he know that he would go onto having even more children. JD also has been able to live long to also witness his then only son grow up to be a married man, it is said that Nathan is now 22 years of age!
Jonathan Davis & Renee Perez were together for a total of 9 years. Together for 6 before marrying on November 28th, 1998 until sometime in 2001 they divorced. It is said that JD divorced her because he wasn’t being faithful to her and was unable to stop. He knew that this wasn’t fair so he did the only thing he knew was right. To let her go and stop being selfish. This was also around the time he decided to become sober as well as around the time of the death of his Grandfather.
There were many things going on in Hiver’s (a nickname given to him by Renee, translating to winter) life that spoke to his heart, soul, and intuition that change was needed. And if he didn’t make that change willingly then the Universe would make that change for him.
So he made very hard but decisions that changed him forever. I also believe it made him a better person, shaped him into becoming who he is today which is someone who mirrors a being who I would refer to as an “Ascended Being” on many levels.
JD always had a light within him but he took a hold of that light and his purpose and went into directions he knew he was meant to take. He is now remarried, with many more children, and an even better musician than he was in the 90’s.
More to Come soon!
To read my full review & reaction to others reviews of JD’s Black Labyrinth click the picture! Also follow the link to listen to his solo album!