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Jonathan Davis: “I don’t know why Korn haven’t headlined Download”

Jonathan Davis of Korn
(Image credit: Press)

Metal Hammer recently spoke to Jonathan Davis ahead of Korn’s upcoming appearance at the Download Festival for our regular People Vs interview, in which we put your questions to the singer. The result was a wide-ranging chat that covered everything from his views on Christianity to his collection of creepy 1930s dolls. You can read what he said in full in the brand new issue of Metal Hammer, which is on sale now (opens in new tab), but here are the 10 highlights from the interview…

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Why haven’t Korn headlined Download? He has no idea

“I don’t know!” Jonathan tells us. “Ask Download!” He points to the time the band headlined the UK festival’s second stage back in 2007. “There were more people in this tent than at the main stage. It looked like the damn tent was gonna fall down!”


He’s not the world’s biggest nu metal fan

Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix recently made his feelings clear about nu metal, admitting that he hated the scene that made his band famous. Jonathan isn’t as dismissive, but he’s definitely ambivalent about it. “I’m glad it‘s back, but the whole nu metal thing, it’s just whatever,“ he says.


Fred Durst came up with the idea for the video for Korn’s Falling Away From Me overnight

Korn enlisted the Limp Bizkit frontman to direct the video for 1998’s Falling Away From Me single. ‘We had all these concepts for the video, and he just walked in and went, ‘I have an idea!’” remembers Jonathan. “We read the treatment and we were, like, ‘This is the best one.’”


Don’t ask him for any tales of debauchery from the Family Values tour

“There are tons of good Family Values tour stories,” he says, “but during that time is when I got sober, so I wasn’t around a lot of the craziness. I was detoxing from all those years when I was a crazy drunk idiot.”


We finally know what happened to the Pop Scars video game he was involved in

Back around the millennium, Jonathan mentioned he was creating a celebrity fighting game named Pop Scars. And then… nothing. “We had all these different people sign off to be in it – Limp Bizkt, Staind, some pop starts – before it fell apart. The programming team left to do a wrestling game, so it never happened… they dropped the ball.”


He’s stopped collecting serial killer memorabilia

But he has started collecting other kinds of weird shit. Anatomical specimens, religious artifacts, occult esoterica – you name it, Jonathan has it. “I have a couple of haunted dolls from the 1930s with very weird energy attached to them,” he says. “You can actually feel it.”


He has a problem with Christianity’s “holier than thou bullshit”

Despite Korn guitarist Head and bassist Fieldy both being born-again Christians, Jonathan says he’s never been tempted to go to church with them. “I respect their beliefs,” he says. “But the world would be a much better place if people would just stop sticking their fucking noses where they don’t belong.” But he quickly adds that his bandmates aren’t guilty of that. “Those two, especially Head, don’t talk about that stuff.”


The weirdest gig Korn ever played was in a lawnmower repair shop

Korn were on tour with NYHC icons Sick Of It All in their early days when they made a stop-off for a show at a lawnmower repair shop in Georgia. “It was literally a tin-roof shed with a dirt floor.” he says. “If you had to go to the bathroom, they’d give you a roll of toilet paper and say, ‘Go shit in the woods.’”


He’d erase Korn‘s All In The Family from history if he could

“It’s the worst song ever,” he says of Follow The Leader’s Fred Durst collab. “We were all drunk in the studio and I was trying to rap. I’ve got nothing against Fred, it just sucks.”


He’s planning his next solo album

Jonathan reveals that he’s going to start writing for his new solo album once Korn‘s current tour finishes. “I have no preconceived notion of what it’s gonna be,” he says. “I’ve experimented with all kinds of music from country to big band. It could be any of them mixed together, as long as it’s got my vibe.”

Read the full interview with Jonathan Davis in the brand new issue out Metal Hammer, on sale now (opens in new tab).

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Metal Hammer Innovators Issue

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Louder’s resident Cult Of Luna obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.