Jonathan Davis on why he hated Korn being called nu metal: "you don't call Metallica some thrash band!"

Jonathan Davis on stage
(Image credit: Getty)

Korn's Jonathan Davis and Evanescence frontwoman Amy Lee team up for a blockbuster cover interview in the latest issue of Metal Hammer, and during their chat the two singers discuss the impact the nu metal explosion of the early 00s had on both their careers.

For Korn - widely credited as the originators of the nu metal scene - it meant that the genre they helped create was suddenly inundated with also-rans aping their sound. The result was Davis and his bandmates feeling resentful towards the 'nu metal' tag as a whole, and the band attempting to distance themselves from their would-be peers.

"For me, we were making [2002's] Untouchables," he exclusively tells Hammer, "and that was when so many bands were coming out and jumping on the [nu metal] bandwagon. Now I don't mind the tag 'nu metal' - they named an entire subgenre after my band? Holy shit! That's cool! - but punk-ass, crazy Korn back then, we were like, 'What the fuck? Fuck everyone! We're going to make tis insane record. Keep people guessing.' It had become a parody of itself - 'I don't want to be defined like that!'

"Nowadays, I don't care, but back then I hated it," he continues. "I make the music I make...you don't call Metallica some thrash band! They're fucking Metallica! You don't call the Chili Peppers a funk rock band! They're the fucking Chili Peppers!"

Davis also notes that Korn were never afraid to butt heads to make sure they had the final say on their music and presentation.

"We always told them that it was going to be our way or no way," Davis notes. "We got into fights with magazines, fights with video directors, literal physical altercations, because we were so sure that it wasn't going to go down like that."

Read the rest of the Davis/Amy Lee interview by ordering the new issue of Metal Hammer (opens in new tab), which is out now.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.