Korn Singer Jonathan Davis Talks New Album, Honoring Troops, Overcoming Addiction + More
Korn are set to unleash their new album, ‘The Paradigm Shift,’ on Oct. 8, and the band has performed select songs from the new disc during their recent headlining set at the Aftershock festival in Sacramento.
After Korn’s electrifying performance that night, Loudwire had a chance to sit down with singer Jonathan Davis for a couple of minutes to talk about the new disc, his trip to visit the troops and the recent news about his addiction to Xanax. Check out our interview with Jonathan Davis below:
Jonathan, you recently visited some military troops overseas. Why was that important to you?
Both my grandfathers were in World War II. My dad’s dad fought in Germany and sustained a bad leg injury but some German soldiers actually found him and got him to a hospital. My mom’s dad survived the Bataan Death March and was also a prisoner of war for three years. So I grew up with all kinds of post traumatic stress because of those guys. And for all they did, I just kind of wanted to say thanks. It seems everyone bitches about them being over there so for me it was the best way to say thank you. It was very emotional and I had some great talks with guys over there that have had some crazy experiences. Some were in shock so it was tough to communicate. But overall was just a really amazing thing.
You even became an official bomb inspector, is that right?
I did! I passed the test, operating this robotic device where you had to pick up a raw egg off of a cone and put in a bowl. And I also got to blow up an IED, that’s an improvised explosive device, which was pretty intense. I was really thankful for all that they let me do because it gave me a deeper understanding of what they’re going through every minute of every day and believe me, it’s way more intensive then we can imagine. We’ve played over there for the troops, which we love doing. All these families come out, they have barbecues and things; it’s really great seeing and playing for all those people.
Now, you have a new album, ‘The Paradigm Shift,’ that’s about to drop …
I’m excited about this one. A lot of people are talking about it, which is good. It’s different, as you may have heard. I think by not doing the same thing over and over it helps us remain relevant. For some bands like AC/DC, it’s actually a good thing to not change things too much. They have an awesome formula. But our formula is to be kind of different each time out.
And you recently spoke about your Xanax addiction. How are you now doing?
I’m getting there. People started wondering about me and the stuff that was going on in my life. I was not doing it recreationally – I was doing it because I have anxiety problems. My doctor said, you should only be on this stuff for a month or so but it was a lot longer. So I went to rehab in Bakersfield, a real rehab place, not some fru-fru place. I was in there for week, shaking like a fish and almost having seizures and all that stuff. Then I got out and went to see the guys in the band. I’ve been on prolonged detox for like five months now. Hard to explain what it feels like. But I made the new record with one foot in limbo and one in reality. Hopefully now I can help a lot of kids, our fans that are going through things like this. Lots of kids suffer from these conditions and I like to help out, that’s a big thing for me. It’s just who I am. I have no problem talking about anything and if I can help others, then great.
Can you recount an early live musical influence growing up in Bakersfield?
Sure. I was 3 years old and I saw a production of ‘Jesus Christ. Superstar.’ My dad, a musician, was in the band. My mom was one of the dancers and she ran off with the guy that played Judas – who went on to become my stepdad (laughs). Because my dad played so much music, I heard all kinds of music. Disco and funk back in the ’70s and ’80s. My dad played all that stuff, and I loved all the great old country up in Bakersfield. Buck Owens, Merle Haggard; the real stuff – the old-school country. We did our new record in the Buck Owens’ studio which was very cool.