Jonathan Davis (Korn)
How does JONATHAN DAVIS, lead singer for multi-platinum, award-winning hard rock band KORN, plan to follow the most successful [THE] FAMILY VALUES TOUR yet? By doing something completely different, of course. Fans have come to expect the unexpected of the groundbreaking band and this fall theyíll witness another first when DAVIS steps out on his own for a solo tour.
In this unique concert experience, DAVIS will draw from a wide variety of material, pulling from the entire Korn repertoire with obscure tracks and some fan favorites, The Queen of the Damned soundtrack and select cover tunes, focusing on songs heís rarely Ė and in many cases, never Ė performed on stage before.
Trading in amphitheatres for more intimate venues, DAVIS will launch the tour at the Webster Theatre in Hartford, CT on November 9th. Highlights include stops at New York Cityís Nokia Theatre Times Square (November 13th) and Los Angelesí Orpheum Theatre (December 4th). The tour wraps up in Las Vegas on December 11th.
So, and sticking with the obvious question first, why take on this first ever solo tour? JONATHAN DAVIS: "Well, the first reason I wanted to do it is that Iíve been wanting to do it for a long time. I never got a chance to ever play The Queen of the Damned soundtrack live - the stuff I wrote for the movie."
"I've also put together a really, really insane band with some master musicians. I got Shenkar, the guy that worked with Peter Gabriel and Frank Zappa. Heís in the band now playing violin!"
"And this guy named Miles Mosely, whoís an amazing stand-up bass player; Jochum the drummer and Shane Gibson the guitar player. And I just wanted to really go out and do something special for the fans, something that they have never ever seen before. We work in some Korn songs in a different light, like theyíve never heard them and do a couple covers, you know stuff Iíve done over the years for movie soundtracks."
Such as? "Like 'Love On The Rocks' from Neil Diamond, which I did for the Wonderland soundtrack. And Iím doing 'The Chauffeur' from Duran Duran and 'Blue Monday' from New Order. The Blue Monday coverís pretty crazy. Itís really slowed down and itís way different from the original. And I might throw in another one as rehearsals go on."
How did the guys in Korn react when you told them you wanted to go out on a solo tour? "They were cool. They were happy for me. They knew I wanted to do it for a long time and weíve had no time because you know weíve been just touring non-stop. And so at the end of this run we have a two month break so I thought it would be a perfect time to do it."
Any plans, because this is going to be so special and kind of one of a kind, to either video it or sell it on as a DVD? "Yes, Iím doing a CD/DVD of it. The night before the first show Iím going to Richard Gibbs, who is the guy that did the Queen Of The Damned with me. He helped ... he was the musical director for this. Weíre going to his house and weíre going to record the whole show. Weíre doing a small show in front of family and friends and some press at his studio. So weíre going to record it live on CD and weíre doing a making-of DVD. It shows everything from when we were trying out the band members to rehearsals to the first show, you know, leading up to this. Itís going to be a limited run edition. Itíll be available at the shows."
Do you have any warm up exercises that might sound silly to the rest of us? "Oh, they always sound silly. Thereís nothing cool about warming up, nothing at all. But like I warm up 25 minutes before a show and I warm down 15 minutes after. So, itís the last thing you want to do, but youíve got to do it."
is there anything special planned for this tour in terms of the visual presentation? "You know what are we doing, what I wanted to do is just keep it really basic. Iím just going to be, you know, us in suits and basically candles on the stage. I didnít want to go too over the top right now because itís just basically really intimate. Itís meant to be you know just me and the band and I didnít want go a huge production, over the top thing. So right now itís just going to be very minimal. If I do any in the future I might expand on that a little bit, but for right now, the first run, itís more about the music because the bandís so good. Iím not going to need lights or any of the other stuff to be entertaining anybody."
How did the writing of the Queen Of The Damned songs vary from Kornís material? "They're just really, really different. I got hired to write the songs for Lestat, which would be Lestatís band and so Iím thinking about, you know lyrically Iím thinking about lyrics from a 300 year old vampire and what a vampireís band would sound like. So it was more like, more gothic, more you know, the lyrics pertain more to the book about hiding and that heís a vampire and him coming out. So thatís what I was going for when we wrote those songs."
Will there ever be a solo album from you in the near future? "You know I guess I want to a solo disc. Iíve been working on ... you know, I got several different projects that I work on when Iím on the road. I have like a dance music project where I just do dance music. Some more of a funk-type thing and then like really dark Queen Of The Damned type stuff. So when Iím on the road I just love to write music, itís what I do. I take a little studio out on the road with me so I see it happening in the future."
Having now been sober from drugs and alcohol since í98, I'm wondering if playing gigs like this mean more to you clean these days than they did in a past, shall we say during your haze?! "Oh yeah, definitely, good question. You know when Korn was at that point, and we were playing clubs like this, I barely remember, bro. I was a completely out of control alcoholic drug addict. I was going around trying to be a rock star, thinking of what a rock star should be. You know, the stereotypical Jim Morrison. Lots to do most with the Doors and you know stuff like that."
"Growing up, thinking what a rock star should be, so I was really out of my mind. Lately now going back to these places and playing in an intimate setting, I think itís going to be special for me because it's pretty much a first time again for me. Because I donít really remember a lot of that. So I think itís going to be really fun and kind of and you know scary at the same time."
What made you turn the corner back in í98? "For me it was me coming home and my three-year-old son seeing me drunk and I was all f**ked up out of my mind. And he gave me a look that Iíll never forget. It made me feel like the biggest piece of sh*t. And that and you know, my grandfather passing away, I think the trauma in both of those really made me think, you know I need to be here for my kid and I need to be a positive role model for him. I donít want him growing up seeing me being a drunk stupid idiot and so I really did it for him. Just to be around him and be there because the way I was going I was going to be one of those statistics man, I was going to die."
"I was going to overdose definitely or get, you know something bad happen to me. So I really just, you know, said itís time for me to be a dad. And that I donít need this in my life. And so on August 22nd I had my last drink. Everybody, the band was there, everybodyís laughing at me and Iím going, this is my last drink, this is my last cigarette, Iím done. And theyíre like, 'Oh whatever J. Sure. Okay, whatever.' But I havenít touched it since. I just stopped cold turkey."
What was that last drink? "My last drink was a Jack Daniels and Coke. That was my favorite drink and I smoked my Marlborough Light cigarette and I havenít touched anything since. Almost 10 years, bro."
Well thatís fantastic, in this business thatís fantastic. Congratulations "Thank you very much."
As always with speculation and rumor, lately the supposed health of Korn ie: the status of the band suggests it is coming to an end. Is this true? "You know, any time you do anything solo or something like that it freaks people out. No dude, weíre tighter than ever. You know the heart of this band was me, Fieldy and Munky. One of the worst things that happened to us at the time of writing was losing David and Head. That really hurt us and we missed them ... and it hurts more emotionally than anything."
"And we love those guys and wish them the best. I wish Head the best of luck, I love him to death and Iím really happy Davidís taking time off and spending time with his kids and hopefully heíll rekindle that love for playing drums. But for right now, us as a band, Korn, we havenít been this stronger than ever, man, as brothers and creatively."
OK, so with that in mind, when this solo tour is done and you're back with Korn ... what's next? "After I get done with this Iíve got like a month off and then we start in Europe. Weíre doing a big tour over there. We're playing a proper tour. Itís been like seven years since weíve actually went over to Europe and properly toured, like the UK and all these other places. We usually go over there and do all the festival runs every year, so thatís going to be exciting because weíre playing Saint Petersburg, Russia. Weíre doing all the Baltic states. Weíre doing all these crazy European dates and doing, like nine days in the UK. Stuff we havenít done in a long time. Then right after that weíre going to do Australia and South America and South Africa for the first time ... and Iím very excited about that."
Finally, when you are on stage what does that feel like? "Take an orgasm and amplify it like 1,000 times and thatís what it feels like!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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