A long way removed from their nu-metal roots, Korn are among the most important bands of the past three decades. Guitarist James ‘Munky’ Shaffer tells us what to expect as they prepare for the Reading and Leeds Festivals and headlining a London show.
What appeals to Korn about doing Reading and Leeds?
We went to see Rage Against The Machine play at the Reading Festival in 1997 and they were incredible. Not only that, but the crowd’s energy was overpowering. So we’ve always wanted to play there. And finally it’s happening.
On your recent US tour your set included a cover of Queen’s We Will Rock You. Why choose that one?
We put that in the middle of Coming Undone. The reason is that I always referred to that song’s drum beat as being like the one on We Will Rock You, so it seemed logical to put it in.
How hard is it to put together a set-list now you have twelve studio albums?
We have to take into account what every individual member wants, and then we look at research into what the fans are listening to. One rule, though, is that if any band member doesn’t enjoy a song, then we drop it.
Is there room for spontaneity in the group’s live performances?
I wish there was. But the lighting and sound is so strictly controlled, we can’t afford to play fast and loose.
How do you think Korn’s sound and style has changed over the years?
We use a lot more colour and texture in the way we construct our songs. In our early days we were angry and pissed off. Now we’re a lot more mature, and that comes across in the diversity of what we write about.
Next year is Korn’s twenty-fifth anniversary. Any celebration plans?
We want to do something truly special for our fans, to show how much we appreciate the way they’ve stuck with us. We want something they’ll be proud to show their children. Right now that’s all I can say.
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