There's no denying the members of Korn are weird dudes. When the band emerged from an underground metal scene in which such disparate bands as Tool, Helmet, Tree, Downset, and Deftones collided, sneaking out of grunge's shadow into the limelight, they were so emphatically different from anything in mainstream music they created a complete image and sound other bands emphatically ripped off, from dress to hairstyle, guitar tuning, vocal affectations, and even those weird little head movements they do.
And then there's the band's behavior. They were weird, they were hedonists; they were outsiders, but with the same lust for drugs and sex as rock stars; they presented an image of damage and frailty, buried under crushing instrumentation that went hand-in-hand with their unabashed attitudes about conspicuous consumption and the inherent brutality of life. With this came many insane stories about Korn, which float around the Internet and print publications, some of which are so strange they're hard to believe.
The band's haunting music, dark, often disturbing lyrics, and even darker image had long intrigued fans and critics, which makes it no wonder such crazy Korn stories still intrigue the masses more than 20 years after the band formed. If you don't know Life is Peachy from Follow the Leader, here are a few basic facts about Korn. The band formed in 1993, though three of its original members had been playing together for four years at that point. Korn's self-titled 1994 debut album is a landmark in the nu metal scene, opening the doors for a largely lamentable flood to follow. They have had two number one albums in the US, despite the violent, tortured lyrics and extremely creepy music videos.
Whether you're new to the band or have been a hardcore fan all your life, these weird Korn stories will surely shed a little light on what makes this band so entertaining and so captivating.
The Whole Band Cried While Recording 'Daddy'
It's a common misconception that Korn's “Daddy,” an extremely disturbing track from the band's self-titled debut album, is about Davis’s father sexually abusing him. Davis has was molested as a child, though he has said time and again he was not molested by his father. Years after the song's release, Davis admitted his molester was a babysitter who has since passed away, and the problem was exacerbated by adults around him not believing him when he told them about being molested.
The recording session for "Daddy" was a tear-fest. While recording the track, Davis and the rest of the band had a collective mental breakdown. As he puts it:
"And I remember that moment, when I came out of [the vocal booth], and I was f*cking sobbing, my whole band was crying, and they just all hugged me and sh*t. It was a crazy f*cking experience… I haven't listened to ["Daddy"] in 20 f*cking years. It makes me cry... So I stopped listening to it. It's a painful, fucking five minutes…"
Brian Welch Converted To Christianity, Left Korn, Was Baptized Like Christ, Returned To The Band, And Invoked The Ire Of Christians
In 2005, guitarist Brian "Head" Welch shocked the music scene when he split from Korn to give up his drug-fueled lifestyle to fight the good fight of Christ. He turned his life over to God, and went on a pilgrimage to the Jordan river. There, he was baptized, as John was by Jesus, and became born again (not something Jesus did; at least not until he was literally born again when he came back from the dead).
Though Welch eventually rejoined Korn (in 2013), he spent many years denouncing the negative way in which he had spent much of his adult life. He even reached out to other members of Korn, such as bassist Fieldy, in an attempt to get them to convert, saying
"I went through a religious mindset before too, and I remember I told the bass player in KORN, I was, like, 'How can you go and play those songs, bro? You should come with me. We'll do something else on our own.'"
In 2016, Welch invoked the ire of Christians by posting an image of himself with some fans on Instagram with the caption:
"Got to speak and pray with these precious ones in Northern California - at least 2 of them felt a touch from Jesus. A sincere request from my friend on my right: 'Brian, do you love transgenders? Then, please pray for us transgender people. We need prayer bad.' And I will."
In response to the furor provoked by the image and caption, Welsh wrote:
"To the few people that were running their mouth about Sodom and Gomorrah and the sin of homosexuality, please open your hearts and read this carefully: God looks at the heart and man looks on the outside. What I do and what we all need to do is find out what is inside people’s hearts.
One of the people in the photo yesterday shared their pain and horrible abuse that happened to them that went on for years I think. Another had “Christians” attack them and throw them away like trash in the past. These people and dozens of others on my tour this summer are getting some level of inner-healing. They are experiencing non-judgmental Jesus lovers who are planting seeds and speaking life into them. Each heartless post from you judgmental ones are only helping to harden their hearts to Jesus once again."
Jonathan Davis Went To Mortician's School Before Korn Blew Up, And Once Pulled A Dildo From A Corpse
Before Jonathan Davis made a living with Korn, he had another, much darker career path. When he was 16, he began working at a local coroner’s office, helping out with dead bodies. After graduating high school, he attended the San Francisco School of Mortuary Science, and continued working with the dead until joining the band. He recalls:
"[M]y dad and mom both thought I was a problem child or something that wanted to cut up dead bodies. But from the beginning, since my dad owned a music store and was in the music business, he always preached to me, I'm not letting you go in the music business. You can't be in a band. You can't go and do that." Because he was in it, he didn't want it for me. You're poor one minute, you're rich the next, I don't want that kind of life for you."
Davis has often spoken of gruesome things he encountered during his time as a coroner, including dead babies, bodies that had to be pulled out of cars, and a dildo he found in a corpse. In the end, he recalls that his previous career path taught him an important lesson:
“The only thing I learned is to appreciate life more. I cut up a lot of my friends, and have seen everything that I could possible imagine, every kind of heinous crime you could imagine.”
Munky Started Playing Guitar As A Form Of Rehab After Cutting Part Of His Finger Off
When Korn guitarist Munky (James Shaffer) was 13 year olds, he cut the tip of his finger off; it got caught in the chain of his three-wheeler while he was sneaking out of his house to go to a party, and voila, no more finger tip.
The doctor informed Munky he’d have to rehabilitate his finger. Their conversation went something like this: "The doctor's like..you got to rehabilitate your finger somehow, like take up a musical instrument. And I said..how about guitar..he goes, that's perfect." He went on to play in LAPD (pictured above), then Korn.