What’s the atmosphere been like for you guys on Mayhem this summer?
It’s been really hot, humid. A lot of fun though. Everyone is cool, you know. All the bands are getting along. I think the crowds have been good. It’s hard to go on after Rob Zombie. He’s got a gag for every song. We brought a lot of production, but we’re not used to having that sort of stuff. Usually for us, our gag is playing the song. But when you go on after him you gotta have some fire or sh*t. It’s crazy.
Who’s your favorite band on the tour?
It’s either between Chimaira, Norma Jean, and Lamb of God. It changes everyday. Those are the bands I try to get out to see everyday.
What has been the wildest venue you guys have played so far?
Well we did a show in Montreal that was pretty cool. That was a few days ago. The day before, Megadeth and Slayer played and then the next night we played. The crowd was just full on. It felt like European festival style. No seating, a dirt field, and 25,000 people.
Any other bands boycotting BP on tour with Korn?
I’m not sure, I haven’t seen the list lately. I just know our buses and trucks are using other gas. The impact that spill has had…it is just one of the worst man made disasters ever. If you compare it to WWII, I guess it’s not that bad. Still, it’s going to take years for the ecosystem [to recover] and the trickle down it has on the lively hood of the fisherman, their families, the environment, and the animals. It was the least we could do to make a gesture to prevent this from happening again. I think Disturbed is also with the boycott and the Deftones as well.
How did Korn end up on RoadRunner Records?
We recorded Korn 3: Remember Who You Are, with our own money, in our own studio, with all of our own resources and we didn’t have anybody to tell us to do anything. We recorded the record and did everything ourselves. And then, it was like okay, should we try to release this on our own, but we didn’t have the right promotion. We didn’t really know how to put it together correctly for a big release. And we knew the record was special and wanted it to have an impact from the day it released. So, we started to shop around. We were withSony for so long then we were with Virgin. RoadRunner approached us and the first time I heard Road Runner was interested in signing us it was really exciting. I was like, wow! How come we didn’t do this before.
How did Korn end up getting hooked back up with producer Ross Robinson, who produced the first two albums?
It was funny because I was just reaching out to him and wanted to touch base with him, as friends. There was no talk about doing a record or anything. I got his phone number through his friend and called him and we talked for about an hour. Then he asked me for Jonathan’s number and Jonathan called me two hours later asking me how I would like Ross producing our next record. I was like, f**k yes! That was my exact response. From that point on is when the creative momentum started to build with the excitement of starting with him again. You could feel the pissed off kids from Bakersfield that recorded the first two records with him. So it was exciting to know that element was going to be introduced again into the sound.
How big was he with helping you guys tap into that original vibe and making the new album what it is?
He was a huge contributor because before every song, we would have this therapy session. He would say, “What does this song mean to you Munky?” What does it make you feel-like the emotion behind it. And he would always say I want to feel the violence in the song; bring every ounce of what your feeling and get it out there.
What was the biggest factor of getting back to that old school Korn sound, other than Ross?
I think experimenting with different producers and different strong structures and melodies stimulated that creative drive in you. And you sort of lose focus in making a record and I think we’ve missed him. After we contacted Ross, it was something you knew that was going to happen. Like your favorite food in front of you and you know you are going to eat it soon. You’re hungry for it. I think that is the best analogy I could use.
What prompted David Silveria’s abrupt departure from the band?
I think he needed to stay home for a while and maybe he didn’t like the direction of the band. I don’t think it was fulfilling him, creatively, but he didn’t say that. We wanted him to be happy. You got to do whatever you need to do to make you happy and I’m thankful and I’m grateful that this band still makes me happy. And making music makes me happy, being on stage every night makes me happy, being in the studio makes me happy, and being at home makes me happy too. And there’s a delicate balance that you have to have to make everything cool.
Do you still talk to David?
I don’t talk to him at all. I tried reaching out to him during his hiatus because it was like we didn’t know if he was going to show up or not. I did try to reach out to him a few times and I even showed up at his restaurant, two different nights. Trying to hunt him down because he didn’t take my calls and he disappeared. I guess he wasn’t ready to talk to me or it was too painful or who knows. Let me get one thing straight. I love him, I miss him and that’s it.
Can you shed some light on the rumors circulating about Brian “Head” Welch stating he was asked to come back to the band?
It’s just that the time isn’t right. Either he’s not ready when we’re ready or we’re not ready when he’s ready. I honestly think that he hasn’t been ready the whole time. And frankly, I’m not ready for him, or ready to sit in a room with him yet. All it takes is ten minutes of sitting down with your old friend, hammer it out, figure out what you want to do, laugh, get your guitar and get on the bus. And maybe that’s not right. He feels strongly about his belief and his faith. And whatever Jonathan sings about and he is going to be offended by it, we don’t want him to be offended.