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Interview:
Korn celebrates 20th anniversary of first album
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Korn has been through enough during the 20 years since its debut album was released -- personnel changes, drug addictions, mental health issues -- that guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer feels like it's been "a little longer" than two decades.

"It feels like 25 years," he says by phone from his home in California. But he's not complaining about the journey.

"It's been fun, man, and we continue to have fun," Munky, 45, says. "I'm just very proud of this band and how far we've come. It's rare; I've seen through the years o many bands come up and go back down. You think, 'That band's gonna be huge,' and after a minute it's like, 'Where'd they go?' It's unfortunate, but it makes me think, 'Wow, look at what we have' and what great chemistry this band has. We're like brothers. It's just rare, you know?

"So that definitely has brought gratitude and a lighter side to sort of a dark past, I guess."

Korn is celebrating that achievement by playing the "Korn" album in its entirety on its current tour, which Munky says has been its own kind of adventure.

"It's fun to play with the idea and see how we react to some of the old songs when we play 'em," he xplains. "We're so different now. I think most of us are more mature than we were back then, but it does bring back memories -- good memories, mostly. And it's nice to see the polarity from the first album and then, when we play the newer songs, how much we've grown as songwriters."

"Korn" favorites such as "Shoots and Ladders" and "Blind" have remained staples of the band's live show over the years, but the return of "Daddy," an emotional 17-and-a-half-minute screed exorcising frontman Jonathan Davis' own dark childhood experiences, has made a notable return for the tour.

"It wasn't something he wanted to keep revisiting. It was too painful," Munky recalls. "He always had a tough time doing it, and I could relate to those views of childhood. So I had his back in supporting him. There's other songs we could play.

"But that was 20 years ago. We're different people now, and a lot of that stuff has healed. It's not such an open wound -- I guess it's sort of a healed scar, and he feels it's a song he can sing without having an emotional attachment so deeply anymore."

While it's celebrating its past, Korn is also looking towards the future. The group has already started working on its next album, a follow-up to 2013's well-received "The Paradigm Shift," which Munky says is "about a third of the way done."

"There's no rush, which feels great, he says. "It's time to take a little extra time and make a great album. I think it's time to solidify our legacy, 'cause I'm really proud of it."

Korn, Suicide Silence and Islander

Saturday, Oct. 3. Doors open at 7 p.m.

The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.

Tickets are $35-$75.

Call 313-961-5451 or visit thefillmoredetroit.com.

Web Site: www.thefillmoredetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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