Skip to main content

Self-destruction, sobriety and survival: inside the mind of Korn’s Jonathan Davis

(Image credit: KMazur/WireImage)

Korn frontman Jonathan Davis has seen it all, from the highs of nu-metal stardom to the lows of drug addiction and the death of his ex-wife, Deven. We asked Jonathan to share what he’s learned during his rollercoaster life. 

“When I was three years old, I saw my parents doing a little production of Jesus Christ Superstar, and that set me on my way. I got my first drum set, and I just really loved music. My father was a musician, and my mother was a dancer, so there was music around at all times.”

“Being a father changed me for the better. [Jonathan’s eldest son] Nathan was two years old when I decided to get clean and that was solely because I was worried about me being here for him. Lyrically though, and the things that go on my head, no it hasn’t changed me. My boys just think I’m crazy. Although my eldest is now a man and that’s fucking with my head.”

“My Giger microphone stand has become a huge part of our live set. We’ll be backstage and we can hear the cheers go up when the black cloak comes off of it and that just pumps us up even more for the show. You know it’s been over ten years since I’ve had that stand and it’s one of my prize possessions, it’s been through so much of our history that we almost regard it as the sixth member of the band.”

Korn in the late 90s

Korn in the late 90s (Image credit: Mick Hutson/Redferns)

“I loved our tracksuits! I grew up listening to old industrial music and dark gothic music, but at the time I was a big hip hop fan, and I liked it because it was just so off – it was so not what this music is. That’s what I’m all about, like, ‘What the fuck is going on? Why is this guy wearing a tracksuit and coming out playing bagpipes?’”

Davis' H.R Giger microphone

Davis' H.R Giger microphone (Image credit: Joey Foley/WireImage)

“Korn lived the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle to the fullest. It was so much fun that I can’t hardly remember most of it. It was the most amazing time. We were notorious for that shit. It’s nice to look back on it now and say it was fun but I wouldn’t go down that road again. We’re all sober and that helps a lot. We’re all a little bit grown up now, so we don’t fight over stupid shit. We’ve all got families and we’re watching our kids grow up. It’s pretty crazy.”

Follow The Leader is my album of self-destruction. There’s none of my childhood stuff going on any more. This is more about me dealing with pressures I put on myself. The pressure of what it’s like to be in this band, of being a father, all kinds of shit.”

“I think Korn’s legacy will be that we helped a lot of kids deal with bullying issues, molestation issues, suicide, drug issues – that’s the only reason I’m still here. To do meet and greets and see people crying saying we saved their life with a song, you can’t get paid any amount of money to make you feel like that. That drives me to keep doing what I do because it touches so many people and that’s what rock ‘n’ roll was about back in the day.”