In 1996, Korn was at the forefront of an angsty kind of music that had yet to be classified as nu-metal. At the time, the band was coming off of 18 months of touring for their debut album and they had to get back on the road quickly in order to support themselves. The band may have been favorites of skaters and mall goths across the country, but they weren’t being played on rock radio.
The recording of Korn’s sophomore album, Life Is Peachy, was a rushed, stressful affair that saw the band flexing their musicianship without getting a chance to flesh out their new sound. Even though the record contains fan favorites “A.D.I.D.A.S.” and “Twist,” the group was still struggling to find their signature sound. In spite of the "rushed" recording, the album still stands as their most angry offering, with songs about aggression and substance use leading the track list.
The Recording Process Was ‘Very Rushed, Very Raw’
When the band got off the road following a year and a half of touring in support of their debut album, they knew that they had to get into the studio immediately to record a follow-up.
In their early years, Korn was never a band that could rely on the radio or MTV to boost their sales, so they had to stay on tour in order to support their album sales. The raw, aggressive sound of Life Is Peachy comes from the fact that the band was powering through the songwriting and recording in order to get back out on the road. Jonathan Davis told Vice:
We just did the first Korn record and we went out and toured for 18 months, and we had to hurry up and do this record and get the f*ck back out there to keep touring, so it’s really rushed. There’s great songs on there, "A.D.I.D.A.S." is on there, "Wicked" was good and it was the second record with Ross which was cool. But yeah, very rushed, very raw, it’s still a [cool] record. I was so scared when it came out, for the sophomore jinx. But it came out [great].
Jonathan Davis Admitted To Biting Band Members While Drunk
In the band's early years, the members were nightmares to be around by their own admission. They drank all the time, popped pills, and lived the rock and roll lifestyle. For Davis, that lifestyle involved biting whenever he had too much to drink.
Davis explained that everyone in the band overdid it in the Life Is Peachy era, and that no one wanted to be around them when they were really out of it. He says that his favorite thing to do was to bite people "hard" while drunk, and that he bit everyone in the band.
Drinking, Controlled Substances, And Fighting Interrupted Many Recording Sessions
The band was drinking and using so many controlled substances during the writing and recording process that it's amazing they finished anything. Rather than completely waylay them, their partying informed their work, with "Swallow" being about substance-induced paranoia.
Korn had trouble staying sober throughout the recording of the album even though producer Ross Robinson did his best to keep the group on track. When the group wasn't fighting, they were using substances so much that entire sessions had to be shut down.
The Album Has Rap Influences Because The Band Was Listening To Hip-Hop Music At The Time
Going into their second album, Korn's influences began shifting from straightforward rock and metal to hip-hop and funkier music. The group had always listened to hip-hop. As Fieldy and drummer David Silva started exerting more influence over the songwriting, they drove the band to have a larger hip-hop influence.
This new turn in the group can be heard in Fieldy's basslines and specifically their cover of Ice Cube’s “Wicked." The group's hip-hop-influenced sound grew to its peak on their following album, but it's at its most aggressive on Life Is Peachy.