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Pour some Korn syrup on me
Frontman Jonathan Davis busied himself reading the CD covers of the various Korn albums strewn on the table. James 'Munky' Sheffer doodled on a pad and it was left to Ray Luzier to enthusiastically answer every question that came his way. Korn's introduction to India couldn't have been tamer.
Although not in the same league as Metallica or Iron Maiden, as far as older Indian metal fans are concerned, Korn still command considerable respect. Every decade sees a new hybrid - speed metal, goth metal and death metal - assert its claim on a new generation of listeners. As long as there are suburban teenage boys who feel resentful, bored and powerless, there will be an audience for bands with booming drums and thick, distorted guitars and lyrics screaming about the rottenness of the world and ultimate triumph of the righteous loner. And Korn, having sold 35 million albums worldwide and with two Grammy Awards under their belt, certainly know how to get you to headbang.
The band is currently on a month-long world tour. The India leg covers Delhi and Bangalore - the Mumbai gig had to be cancelled because of heavy rain. This is the first time the band has come to this part of the world - though they have had butter chicken before. "This is the first time any of us have come here, " Luzier tells TOI-Crest. "We love the food. I'm forever eating at this Indian restaurant, Taj Mahal, which is right next to where I stay. But the flavours here are just so much better!"
It's always been hard to classify Korn. Though they have hits like Freak On A Leash, Here to Stay and Twisted Transistor, they can't really be classified as a heavy metal band. "I remember when we came out, we fought against being called a metal band because we weren't a metal band, we were something that wasn't classifiable, " Davis, a longtime DJ with more than a passing interest in electronic music, said in an interview to the Washington Post in 1998. "Then they came up with 'nu-metal', but that's still cheesy. It's frustrating. "
Korn successfully married the two genres of hard rock with hip-hop to come up with music that hadn't been heard before. They were also among the first groups to embrace the sound of dubstep before it became a mainstream favourite with Britney Spears and Justin Bieber including dubstep tracks in their albums. "We were dubstep before there was dubstep, " Davis said last year in an interview to Billboard magazine. "Tempos at 140 with half-time drums, huge bassed-out riffs. We used to bring out 120 subwoofers and line them across the whole front of the stage, 60 subs per side. We were all about the bass. "
Last year, Korn released their tenth album, The Path of Totality. They enlisted the talents of the genre's top producers known for making bass-heavy, aggressive electronic music. Among them, multiple Grammy Award winning producer Skrillex (aka Sunny Moore) and Noisia, a respected experimental collectives. The 11-track record is more than just an urgent new sound for a nearly 20-year-old band. The Path of Totality is dubstep's first official mash-up with its first cousin, hard rock. And if its Facebook page, with 9 million 'Likes', is any indication, it works.
Luzier defends their decision. "Our music is about staying true to ourselves. It's the kind of stuff we love to do and honestly, our record came out long before the dubstep wave, " he points out.
Entertaining their fans is also what Korn loves to do and Shaffer, who proudly wears the moniker Munky and promised to "get wasted" said they had a loud and special treat in store for India. "We will be spitting water, rocking out the stage and throwing out those drum sticks, " he says. "So watch out for them, they hurt real bad. "
If the concert in Delhi is any indication, there's nothing tame about Korn.
The band will play in Bangalore on Sept 8. Tickets on www. bookmyshow. com
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