It may seem like Korn arrived fully formed in the mid-1990s, but the five members of the original line-up had all put in the hard yards in their native Bakersfield long before they released their game-changing self-titled debut album in 1994. From New Romantic knock-offs to funk metal party-starters, these are here’s every band everyone from Korn has ever been in.
Jonathan Davis: Buck Naked, Sexart
He may have been the original poster boy for the 90s nu metal scene, but Jonathan Davis wasn’t a metalhead growing up. Instead, he was a new-wave-loving goth, obsessed with Duran Duran and Depeche Mode. His Highland High School band, Buck Naked, showcased those more introverted-sounding influences, but only ever recorded two songs for one demo.
After that, Jonathan joined SexArt with future Orgy guitarist Ryan Shuck. He remembers feeling like an unseasoned and nervous vocalist at the time, but he can’t have been too bad – his future bandmates were so impressed by one of Sexart’s concerts that they asked him to join Korn.
Brian ‘Head’ Welch: Pierct, Russian Roulette
Unlike Jonathan, the young Head was a metalhead through and through. His initial musical love was Kiss, followed by AC/DC, Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne. He formed Pierct as his first band with future Korn bassist Fieldy. “It was glam rock and stuff like pierced ears,” the guitarist later recalled
Head and Fieldy then started another band, Russian Roulette. Another schoolmate and eventual Korn member, James “Munky” Shaffer, joined for a bit, only to disband when Fieldy and Munky decided to form funk metallers L.A.P.D., a project more in line with their latest big influence, Faith No More.
Reginald ‘Fieldy’ Arvizu: Pierct, Russian Roulette, L.A.P.D.
Bassist Fieldy may have played a large part in bringing hip hop influences to nu metal, but like bandmates Head and Munky, he had his own 80s glam metal phase with Pierct.
Russian Roulette followed, before the bassist co-founded L.A.P.D with Munky and singer Richard Morrill. Depending on who you ask, their name being an acronym for either ‘Love And Peace, Dude’ or ‘Laughing As People Die’. Either way, they signed to hip underground label Triple X – former home of Jane’s Addiction – who released their debut album, Who’s Laughing Now?. L.A.P.D split in 1991 when Morrill quit. Enter one Jonathan Davis…
James ‘Munky’ Shaffer: Russian Roulette, L.A.P.D.
Munky was the man who brought seven-string guitars to heavy metal. After hearing Steve Vai use the instrument on Passion And Warfare, he decided to master it and create much more balls-heavy chug riffs, effectively inventing nu metal in the process. Limp Bizkit thank you, sir.
After he picked up guitar as a means to heal a cut finger, Munky’s first band were Russian Roulette, where he played with Head and Fieldy. He later left to form L.A.P.D. with Fieldy and tap into the pair’s growing love for funk metal. Head hated Faith No More and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, so he ducked out.
David Silveria: L.A.P.D.
Original drummer David Silveria joined L.A.P.D. when he was just 16 years old, after answering an advert in a Los Angeles newspaper. He stuck with the band for their entire three-year run, playing on Who’s Laughing Now? before their 1992 breakup. After singer Richard Morrill’s, Silveria stuck with Munky, Head and Fieldy to co-found Korn.
David stayed in Korn until 2006. According to the man himself, he and the band parted ways as a result of a back injury, which he treated with massages and painkillers. He also attributed a “communication breakdown” within the band to his exit.
Ray Luzier: David Lee Roth, Hideous Sun Demons, Steel Panther, Army Of Anyone
David Silveria was temporarily replace by former Frank Zappa drummer Terry Bozzio and future Avenged Sevenfold man Brooks Wackerman, but it was Ray Luzier who got the job full time - a position he still holds.
A graduate and former teacher at the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, Luzier’s biggest pre-Korn gig was with ex-Van Halen singer Dave Lee Roth’s solo band, which he joined in 1997. Around the same time, he donned a hair metal wig as the original drummer in Metal Shop – the band that would become Steel Panther, though he didn't last long. Following that he was a member of Hideous Sun Demons alongside on-off Megadeth bassist James LoMenzo and, later, alt-rock supergroup Army Of Anyone with Stone Temple Pilots siblings Dean and Robert DeLeo and Filter singer Robert Patrick