Getting An Earful Of Korn
August 10, 2011
More than a decade after the sonic inferno known as Korn blasted onto the international scene with its mainstream smash Follow the Leader, the band’s music still feels like a bomb going off in your head.
Talk about mind-blowing staying power.
For the godfathers of nu metal, their long-lasting connection with devout fans can be attributed mostly to the menacing and snarly dreads’ trio of Jonathan Davis, the growling and angst-stuttering frontman who, quite fittingly, was once a mortuary science student; James “Munky” Shaffer, who helped popularize the 7-string downtuned guitar sound; and Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, whose bludgeoning bass riffs, drawn principally from the well of hip-hop, must taste like sweet ambrosia to moshers everywhere.
But don’t lose sight of the fella in the background the guy who forms the backbone of Korn’s explosive and aggressive sound. That’s veteran drummer Ray Luzier, the newest member of the band and the sanest looking of the lot. In fact, Luzier seems more like someone you’d find waxing down a surfboard on a North Shore beach than laying down the cleanest and tightest blast-beats for one of the world’s heaviest sounding bands.
A former member of acts such as David Lee Roth and Army of Anyone, Luzier and his monster drum kit were officially welcomed into Korn’s crop in the fall of 2007 proving that good things not only come to those who wait, but to those who make the most of opportunity when the kick drum knocks.
“I played professionally in L.A. for 23 years and I’ve been out on hundreds of auditions. But I always say that when you audition, you have to bring it up to another level because there are a lot of guys who want your job,” he says.
“One of my rules is I always learn way more than possible. When I auditioned for David Lee Roth, I learned both his and Van Halen’s entire catalogs. With Korn, they asked me to learn six songs, but I went back and learned 30.”
Fans get to finally see Luzier’s full repertoire in person when Korn makes its Hawaii concert debut Aug. 16 at Blaisdell Arena. The mosh pit starts rockin’ at 7 p.m.
Earlier this week, Musical Notes got Luzier to put down the drumsticks long enough to discuss what it’s like to be on a steady diet of Korn.
MN: In the words of lead singer Jonathan Davis, “are you ready” for your first experience in paradise?
RL: I’m stoked. I’ve been to Japan 27 times and yet I’ve never been to Hawaii. So yeah, I’m excited.
MN: Before you got the full-time gig with Korn, were you a fan?
RL: Oh, yeah. I remember when Korn first came out and just blew everybody’s minds away because they had a certain sound, the way they tuned down. No one sings like Jonathan and no one plays like Munky and Fieldy. They really changed so many styles of music. So, if you had told me 10 years ago that I would one day be in this band, I would have laughed at you. But here I am.
MN: Describe what it’s like to be a part of Korn’s live shows.
RL: It’s pretty amazing. We just did shows in Europe, and these people are flying to other countries just to see our concerts and they’re crying. It’s really insane to know that music moves people that much. You show up in South Africa and Russia and you see fans with Jonathan’s face tattooed on their backs and all nine Korn album covers going down their legs. Crazy.
MN: You guys recently released the song, Get Up!, a track off your next album. It’s clearly one of Korn’s heavier songs, but it’s also experimental given the track’s dubstep sound a blitzkreig of electro beats from Skrillex coupled with Munky’s signature guitar-crunches and Jonathan’s f-bomb-laden chorus. Are you at all worried the dubstep sound might alienate longtime fans?
RL: We’re really excited about it, even though it’s a drastic change from our last album, Korn III: Remember Who You Are. What I love about Korn is the fact this band will take chances, branch out and be creative. A lot of bands are scared to do that. Will we piss off some fans? I’m sure we will. But most Korn fans are die-hard and loyal.
We all know that rapper Justice Moon can make fans “Shake!
Shake! Shake! Shake! like a hula girl,” but can he survive an aerial assault of dirt bikes while filming the music video for one of his newest singles, Jun-KenPo? Turns out the Wahiawa native not only can, but did, even though it wasn’t easy, as Moon had to perform his own stunts while 250-pound machines soared over his head at speeds in excess of 75 mph. “It just seemed like something you would watch on ‘America’s Most Idiotic Home Videos,’ where the dirt bike just smashes into anything in its way,” he tells me of the recent video shoot. “I give major props to these bike riders doing it big because you gotta be at least halfcrazy to be doing these stunts for real!” Check out the completed video and another for Moon’s single Summertime in Hawaii, featuring Peni P of Natural Vibrations and Kalena Ku De Lima of Kapena, at jus ticemoon.com ... Speaking of hula, singer/songwriter Robert Cazimero has released a collection of favorite music for the Hawaiian dance form on his latest album, Hula. Among the suite of piano-accompanied mele are traditional favorites Kalakaua, Pua Lililehua, Kimo Hula and Lovely Hula Hands.
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