The Tragic History of Korn


corne the five piece band from

bakersfield california rose to fame

during the new metal wave of the late

90s and early 2000s having sold more

than 35 million albums worldwide

Korn is one of the most commercially

successful bands of all time as pioneers

of the new metal sound the band went on

to lead a heart rock revolution that

made them into household names around

the world while the band catapulted into

the highest levels of music industry

success the out-of-control world of rock

and roll got the better of them it would

ultimately lead the group through a

period of darkness that nearly tore them

apart in front of the flashing cameras

on every red carpet Korn appeared to be

a band that had it all but as we would

later learn the group was on the verge

of falling apart at any moment this is a

story of Fame excess addiction and

ultimately Redemption this is the tragic

history of corn it was the summer of

1993 James monkey Shaffer

Reginald fieldy Arvizu and David

Silveira had been performing together in

a band called LAPD which actually didn't

stand for the Los Angeles Police

Department but rather love and peace

dude the group had mediocre regional

success in the Bakersfield California

area but ultimately the band failed to

make a mark which led to their eventual

breakup with their music careers on the

mend the three musicians set out to

rebuild oh and rebuild they most

certainly did the group soon found their

front man in that of Jonathan Davis a

quirky nerdy yet talented young singer

with the distinctive voice that was not

easily forgotten bases filled he knew

right where to find him he had known

Jonathan for years as their fathers had

performed together in a band and his

mother used to babysit the singer

they hung out as teenagers on occasion

soon after the band added guitarist

Brian Head Welch and changed their name

to Korn the reverse are in their

signature logo was actually a nod to

Toys R Us where several of the music

worked for a time joining an

undiscovered band was actually a risk

for the group's new singer Jonathan

Davis one could argue his new job as the

singer of a heavy rock band was much

less intimidating than that of his

former job Davis had been working at a

local coroner's office since he was a

teenager moving bodies and later decided

to attend the San Francisco school of

mortuary science to join Korn Davis had

to give up his budding career as a

mortician which actually paid quite well

and gave the singer the ability to

afford his own home he later put that

house up for sale and took a job at a

local pizza shop to make some cash while

he worked on what would later become

corns debut the group entered the studio

to commence work on their debut effort

in the early 90s they worked with a

young and unknown producer Ross Robinson

who had an aggressive style in the

studio that would elicit raw emotion

from Davis while he recorded vocals the

success of this album would later launch

his producing career and lead him to

work with bands like limp Biskit

Slipknot in the Cure to name a few this

was just the beginning of a dark time

for the band one that sometimes led to

violent outbursts between members who

would spend days abusing

methamphetamines and alcohol while

in-between recording takes the lack of

sleep and angst felt by the members can

be heard distinctly on songs like blind

and ball tongue the latter was allegedly

recorded while the band was especially

under the influence of amphetamines

Brian Head Welch pulled no punches when

asked in a Metal Hammer interview about

how long he stayed awake while under the

influence of the substance I think it

was four or five days

we'll go weeks or more but I never could

make it like that because I just get

tired and paranoid - I thought there

were people in my attic looking down my

vents and I thought they were going to

ambush me people would come over and

they would give me some crank and I just

go back to my safe and give them a few

hundred dollars from there so they knew

that I had money in my safe I was like

what am I doing here during work on

corns first album with rampant abuse of

alcohol and countless other substances

in tow Davis was said to become violent

here's head talking to Metal Hammer

about his interactions with the corn

frontman and guitarist James monkey

Shafer during that time Jonathan was

drinking at the time and that's when it

would happen when he was drinking when

he drink Jager he would come on the

prowl for us he would be looking for us

and we would be hiding in our bunks he

punched monkey in the face one time and

he's not even a fighter he's a sweet guy

but when he was a drunk

so when he was drinking he was just a

different person then monkey used to

charge certain people he never did it to

me when he would get blackout drunk I

just stay away from him because he

didn't know who he was or what he was

doing and he had zero memory the next

day the song daddy on their self-titled

album is arguably the band's darkest in

their entire catalog and one that the

band was unable to perform for decades

due to its dark and emotional nature the

recording process for the song was one

that continues to live with everyone who

was present to this day on the recorded

version you can hear Jonathan Davis

breaking down in tears as he recalls his

own abuse dealt from the hands of a

babysitter this was the first time any

of his bandmates were made aware of the

trauma he endured as a child Davis later

said in interviews that the song is as

much about being abused as it is about

trying to tell his own parents and not

being believed he told Kerrang in an

early interview when I was

kid I was being abused by somebody else

and I went to my parents and told them

about it and they thought I was lying

and joking around

they never did about it they didn't

believe it was happening to their son I

don't really like to talk about that

song this is as much as I've ever talked

about it producer Ross Robinson said of

the experience

I remember just telling John you know

what to do that's all I said it was one

of the most powerful things I've ever

experienced and continuing through the

song with the sobbing they were so good

at jamming the engineer Chuck Johnson

was so great not thinking about pressing

stop on the tape machine Davis added

when I came out of there I was sobbing

my whole band was crying and they just

all hugged me and [ __ ] it was a crazy

experience we were all a band of

brothers corn finished the record in

June of 1994 and released their debut

self-titled album on October 11th 1994

the album was a significant success and

is credited with establishing the new

metal wave that would later sweep the

music industry for the next several

years while the album was generally well

received and went gold two years later

it was their third album follow the

leader that would launch the band to

become a household name the recording

process for follow-the-leader

was similar in ways to that of their

previous two releases mainly there was

no shortage of illicit substances lying

around and the band now had much more

money to fuel the abuse singer Jonathan

Davis later told the wringer it was just

partying and doing [ __ ] to inspire us he

said we weren't thinking oh this needs

to be a single there's one thing I love

about our band

we just wrote the songs and handed it to

the label like here you go take it or

leave it

the process to produce follow-the-leader

was one that was a constant

out-of-control freight train of

substance abuse that eventually led

Jonathan Davis to get sober Korn spent

an unbelievable amount of money to keep

them stocked with copious amounts of


Davis estimated that the band spent an

astronomical sixty thousand dollars on

alcohol alone during the recording of


to put it plainly that amounts to more

than two thousand bottles of Jack

Daniels this does not include the cost

for the other substances that the band

were using during that time which is

also in abundance he said that the band

was also frequently joined by members of

Deftones and Limp Bizkit to also partake

in the binge drinking that was going on

Davis later said it was the pinnacle of

rock and roll excess I'm singing on a

record in the studio I'm hi uncle and

there's some blowing an amazing musician

that's in an amazing band I'm not naming

names I don't tell corn was successful

in a way that's now beyond any frame of

reference in the modern music industry

the group in competition with pop acts

like Backstreet Boys and NSYNC dominated

the charts on Total Request Live the ban

was voted number one for so long that

MTV had to invent a retirement system to

remove the video from airplay it was

Britney Spears Backstreet Boys and NSYNC

at the time Davis said we were the only

rock band on TRL that was doing that

[ __ ] I had people showing up to my house

trying to jump the fences to get in all

kinds of crazy [ __ ] producer Ross

Robinson speaks on the band's out of

control ways at the time and their

relationship which he become frayed by

the time they were recording


quote there were girls in the studio all

the time when they were supposedly

working and they had people involved

with them who were giving them below I

wasn't involved with the drug scene or

the party scene with those guys I was

the straightedge dude the one that they

trusted the most

but basically their vision got clouded

they hired people to party with as soon

as that whole scene turned completely

into Motley Crue

I was out of the picture guitarist James

monkey Shafer said it was crazy you're

giving a bunch of kids money that are

already drunks and drug addicts probably

not the best thing Jonathan Davis was in

a whirlwind of addiction that ultimately

led to conflicts during the recording

process he said I refused to start

singing unless Toby gave me an Eightball

right away

Toby started freaking the [ __ ] out

because he knows if I do I only get a

couple takes and that shit's gonna kick

in and then my vocals are going to suck

there was a lot of that I come in and do

my vocals and once they were done I'd

start drinking I wasn't drunk when I did

my vocals I was under the influence at

times but for the majority of it I'd

stay sober then I was done and I just

get hammered we'd start around 3 or 4

o'clock then at 9:00 or 10:00 at night

we'd stop and that's when the parties

would start we partied at energy until

4:00 in the morning those poor guys

would have to leave the place open and

we were just raging

Davis reflected saying in the end it was

necessary it had to happen for me to

realize what a out-of-control Mother I

was because it made me become sober

which in turn saved my life and my band

because my bandmates were ready to kill


while the band was in the midst of their

meteoric rise to success

Davis was quietly fighting to become

sober on the inaugural run of the Family

Values tour he said we were put right

into arenas for the Family Values tour I

quit drinking so I was detoxing the

whole tour I was going insane and had

horrible anxiety attacks I can't even

put it into words

watching everybody slowly go crazy

because we lost our freedom we couldn't

go anywhere without bodyguards back in

the day we were the type of band where

we'd play a club gig and have tapes and

demos we brought to hand out to people

we'd meet people go to their house and

have keg parties and [ __ ] like that we

couldn't do that no more we couldn't

hang out with our fans we couldn't do

[ __ ] I call it being stuck in a box and

to this day they keep me in a box a bus

a dressing room a hotel room or a

I can't be out in public I can do it now

a little more but back when I had two

bodyguards one with me 24 hours a day we

went kind of crazy during that time

period after I got sober and went

through a detox after all the [ __ ] were

off everything was good but I remember

all these emotions from that time period

while singer Jonathan Davis was able to

put his self-destructive ways behind him

other members of the band would

subsequently struggle with abuse for a

number of years putting themselves in

situations that led them down a dark

path that took at least one of them from

the top of the world to a point where he

had little to no money in his bank

account the volatility from within the

Korn camp continued during their fourth

album cycle for their record issues

their fame also continued to skyrocket

as members of the band continued to

pocket millions of dollars while some

members of the band also continued a

dangerous dance with addiction issues

was released on November 16 1999 the

band received their own live special on

MTV with TRL host Carson Daly thousands

of fans showed up and camped out in

Times Square for hours just to get a

glimpse of the band standing up inside

of the MTV studios through the pinnacle

of their success Korn members were

privately struggling with violent

outbursts and conflict bassist field E

revealed in his autobiography that he

would often become violent and admitted

during those dark days he should have

ended up in jail on numerous occasions

but ultimately the multi-million dollar

rock star lifestyle he was leading

likely kept that away from him but also

enabled him to continue his

self-destructive ways each member of

Korn who struggled with substance abuse

issues went on their own journey to

achieve sobriety for Fieldy his sobriety

would come after several of his own

bandmates had gotten sober including

guitarist Brian Head Welch

who departed the band to achieve his own

sobriety more on that in a moment

Fieldy was faced with an immeasurable

heartbreaking tragedy that was unfolding

before his eyes he was losing his

father-in despite being a

multi-millionaire and having access to

some of the best doctors in the world

Fieldy was unable to save him it was

through this heartbreaking season in his

life filled he began to reevaluate what

was happening around him he spoke about

the tragedy that ultimately led to his

sobriety in an interview with new

release today he said my father's

illness was a big mystery the whole time

my dad was in the hospital the doctors

kept trying to tell us that my father

had cancer they sent all kinds of tests

away but every single one of them came

back negative no cancer I took him to

the top specialist in the world they

suggested removing a lymph node from his

neck to do another test but even those

tests came back without a trace of

cancer I just remember my dad saying

they keep trying to tell me that I have

cancer but I don't have it so we moved

him to Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los

Angeles which is one of the top

hospitals in the world even though I

hired the best doctors I could find his

health continued to deteriorate until he

died following the passing of his father

it was an emotional moment shared

between Fieldy and his stepmother that

prayed with him and encouraged him to

receive Christ he said it was pretty

chaotic in the hospital when Mindy first

asked me to pray a prayer to accept

Christ everybody was screaming and

crying I just did it because she asked

me to do it even though I prayed a

prayer of salvation with her in the

hospital I really didn't mean it in my

heart but when things chilled out and I

actually did the prayer it was the most

amazing thing to do with my heart I

experienced chills throughout my whole

body and I felt something come into me

which now I know was the Holy Spirit I

think people can get a little freaked

out when they hear somebody has received

the Holy Spirit it seems too weird for

people to comprehend the only way for

them to really understand what I'm

talking about is to pray the same prayer

I prayed with all their heart and

watched their lives miraculously change

when I got home from the funeral I

drinking alcohol he said when I'm out on

the road I have to rethink and

reschedule everything I do I started

planning my schedule during the day

because I've realized there's nothing

out there at night there's nothing that

comes out of it except a bunch of people

partying the conversations are such a

waste of time that I've decided to do

positive things during the day

now I'll go out and see the city while

I'm on tour or I'll get up and work out

or make music during the day I've just

replaced my old lifestyle by doing all

kinds of things that are rewarding going

back in February of 2005 another member

of corn was ready to put the past behind

them but this time it would also

reportedly come with objections to the

band's musical content and lead

guitarist Brian Head Welch to depart the

band Korn shocked bands in February of

2005 announcing their guitarist Brian

Head Welch had left the band the

statement read Korn has parted ways with

guitarist Brian Head Welch who was

chosen Jesus Christ as his Savior and

will be dedicating his musical pursuits

to that end Korn respects Brian's wishes

and hopes he finds the happiness he's

searching for On February 8th of that

year well should apparently written a

letter of resignation to the band's

management according to the mtv report

welch detailed a long list of reasons

for leaving the band including increased

moral objections to corns music and

videos soon after welch gave a radio

interview where he said I can go up

there and play those songs and these

solos but I distanced myself from corn

for probably a year and a half two years

I just wanted to fade away it was crazy

I was so gone but I found my way out and

I want to help anyone that wants to see

the light at the end of the tunnel I had

to go through the lows to appreciate the

highs and it's not perfect but it's damn

near while Welch characterized things as

nearly perfect at the time he would soon

go on to deal with a painful betrayal

that would leave him nearly out of money

to the point where he said he had to

actually search through his couch to get

orders to be able to have money after

struggling for years with addiction well

she found a new path that left him

outside of the band he formed a close

bond with a new friend who would later

steal an untold sum of money and when

investigators later attempted to charge

him with a crime he disappeared off the

face of the earth to this day

Welch's never been able to locate the

man at the suggestion of a friend Welch

was told to reach out to a man who owned

a few recording studios in Phoenix in

Burbank California

the man later went on to take hundreds

of thousands of dollars from Welch

through shady business deals the man

allegedly planned exotic business trips

around the world that he claimed were to

do business deals on behalf of Welch

Welch eventually realized these

expensive trips were coming out of the

recording budget for his solo album he

said in an interview with the phoenix

new times at the time he had two Studios

one in Burbank and it looked like he had

[ __ ] going on it started to dwindle down

and each year it dwindled down until it

crashed there were plenty of signs for

me to see and there's no excuse but my

eyes were just shut I'd partied for so

long in the past

my mind just wasn't back to normal yet

the man was served with several lawsuits

but after his business was rated for

allegedly hiring illegal immigrants the

man completely vanished Walsh said I was

an idiot I mean it's pretty clear I was

like screw the money I don't care it's

not going to rule my life anymore

I walked by faith now when I look back

it's like whoa why did I do that

I can't believe I did that well she was

still tied to the business and

ultimately had to deal with many of the

financial penalties which left him broke

reportedly it got so bad that Welch and

his daughter had to go through their

couches just to gather spare change he

said that was the low point and my

biggest fear was possible having to move

back home with my parents until I got my

royalty situated I just didn't know how

far I was going to fall he'd become

distant from the band that made him

wealthy and while he struggled for years

during his time in corn was substance

abuse it was after his departure from

the band when he really hit financial

rock-bottom meanwhile in late 2006 it

was reported that drummer David Silvera

would be taking an indefinite hiatus

from the band a media frenzy ensued and

Jonathan Davis was asked whether or not

David would be performing on the band's

next album to which he replied probably

not Korn singer Jonathan Davis has

sensed ruled out the possibility of a

reunion with Silverio and in recent

years the former korn drummer has made

disparaging remarks about members of the

band in a post on his Facebook he once

said sorry guys

Fieldy is acted like a tough guide for

so long it's nice to tell the truth not

only is he not a tough guy but he's

actually a cowardly little in response

Fieldy stated he had no animosity

towards his former bandmate and wasn't

sure why he had such a beef with him he

said I don't have a problem with him

even if he has a problem with me I don't

really have a problem with him the band

later announced the addition of former

Steel Panther drummer Rael Uzair who


with the band to this day for years

moving forward corn continued with a

frayed lineup and a missing integral

piece to their songwriting process

guitarist Brian had Welch who as

mentioned before had been dealing with

some very serious financial issues

related to business partnerships but it

was a chance request by his daughter in

2012 to take her to a festival and

Rockingham North Carolina to watch her

favorite bands where he ran into his

former bandmates

who hadn't seen him in years the

musicians immediately reconnected and

invited him up on stage to perform blind

with him during their headlines said one

thing led to another and Brian Head

Welch rejoined the band and although he

was back with a group that had

previously led to his hard-partying ways

Welsh was in a good place at the time

things stayed that way until 2015 when

welch began drinking wine with friends

which eventually turned into fireball

whiskey shots welch said for some reason

my addictive personality made me think

i'm gonna keep getting wasted and I'll

quit next week I'm only going to do it a

couple more times even if I didn't like

it that much

that was pretty dark he went to

counseling and made an attempt to quit

he said a month later the next thing I

know I was at a hotel bar doing shots

and drinking beer I was like and my back

is an addict I was scared because I had

just gotten counseling but I'm back at

the bar every night I'm around people

that drink because I'm at a rock concert

we have wine and beer backstage with no

hard liquor and everyone drinks every

night while I'm on the road no one gets

sloshed around me except maybe the fans

I reach in the years that followed the

members of corn would become a prime

example of a band who faced addiction

and conquered it through strength faith

and perseverance the group began firing

on all cylinders once again and their

music had noticeably improved after a

couple lackluster albums their latest

effort the serenity of suffering

received mostly positive reviews from

critics and the group embarked on a

worldwide tour in support of the album

that was highly attended in August of

2018 a shock wave went through the hard

rock and heavy metal community after

news broke that Devon Davis the wife of

Korn frontman Jonathan Davis

had unexpectedly passed away shortly

thereafter in a statement davis revealed

that his wife had a very serious mental

illness and her addiction was a

side-effect he said I tried to hide what

was going on

for so long in order to protect her but

because of this tragedy that has

happened to my family I feel that now is

the time to share the truth with all of

you she is the reason I have advocated

so hard for those struggling with their

mental health

I want her story to inspire people to

reach out for help and not be afraid or

hide from their illness

Jonathan's bandmates rallied around him

as they perform their 20th anniversary

Korn shows and during these performances

the strength of the bed with the years

of darkness now behind them was self

evident each member of the band stood

publicly alongside their brother

Jonathan Davis as he dealt with his

grief publicly in front of the fans

Korn is in the process of preparing a

new album that's expected to release in

2019 despite this recent tragedy you can

bet that this band is stronger than ever

sober clear hearted and focused on the

one thing that has always brought them

together music Jonathan Davis has become

a brave advocate for those dealing with

mental health problems

James monkey Schaefer is a proud and

dedicated family man who regularly posts

photos with his children and talks about

how much he loves them head and field he

still walk a life of faith and they

bravely speak out in support of those

who are dealing with addiction and while

the band is dealt with so much tragedy

in their past

it's their future that looks more

hopeful now than ever before thank you

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