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.
With a band as dark as Korn, the album title "Life Is Peachy" could have a myriad of grim meanings. Was it sarcastic? Or was there some deeper meaning?
According to the band's bass player, Fieldy, it's a pun based on the Pee Chee notebook he used to jot down ideas for the album. He tended to write the words "life is" in front of the notebook's logo and it just stuck.
The band contacted Pee Chee about using the notebook's image on the cover of the album, but the company declined.
"Mr. Rogers" tells the story of a man who's haunted by the fact that he took the advice of Mr. Rogers and was kind to his neighbors. In the song, Davis describes a guy who is taken advantage of and blames it on the TV host, something that comes from Davis's own beliefs. He explained:
I hate Mr. Rogers. I don’t like Mr. Rogers at all. That song is about child TV, any children's television programs... they are really kinda screwed up and I just picked on Mr. Rogers. There’s some sick stuff on there... like you’ve got Mr. McFeely, and some really sick sh*t but I’ve got a whole bunch o’ video tapes of Mr. Rogers and some of the sh*t they say & stuff is pretty f*cking sick.
"K@#%!" is easily one of the most vulgar songs that Korn has ever released, and definitely the most lyrically perverse on Life Is Peachy. The track is a kiss-off to Davis's former flames in which the singer says every horrible thing one can imagine before turning to a George Carlin routine by the end of the song.
The band didn't think the song had any possibility of getting airplay, but they sent it out to rock stations anyway as a joke. In Korn: Life in the Pit, guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer explains that they "knew [radio] wouldn't play it, then follow up about a week later with the real thing."
If the first Korn album was about exorcising his childhood demons, Davis let it all hang out in his lyrics on Life Is Peachy. He attacked everyone from ex-girlfriends to children's television hosts, but his strongest ire was held for his former stepmother.
The song "Kill You" is a startling look at the tortured thoughts of a teenage boy who's lashing out at his stepmother. Davis claims that his former stepmother harmed him regularly, specifically by making him drink hot sauce whenever he wasn't feeling well. He said:
[The song is] about a relative I first met when I was 12. I f*cking hate that b*tch. She's the most evil, f*cked up person I've met in my whole life. She hated my guts. She did everything she could to make my life hell. Like, when I was sick she'd feed me tea with Tabasco, which is really hot pepper oil. She'd make me drink it and say, "You have to burn that cold out, boy." F*cked up sh*t like that.