Korn's New 'Look'

Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

While Korn's 2002 album, "Untouchables," earned the hard rock outfit a Grammy Award for best metal performance, the experimental set drew more than the usual share of ire from critics.

But bassist Fieldy takes it in stride. "I think every record we've ever put out, there has always been bad criticism," he says. "Most of those people that are criticizing, they can't even tune a guitar. We can't please everybody."

"This is probably the heaviest record we've put out," Fieldy says of the sixth Korn record, "Take a Look in the Mirror," which was issued Nov. 25 on Immortal/Epic. "I think everybody's parents will hate it, so we did a good job," he adds with certainty.

"Mirror" will contain a dozen or more songs, and it will be packaged with a DVD of unseen Korn footage.

The album's lead single, "Did My Time," hinted at the continuing fervor for the band. In August, it was the highest-debuting title this year on Billboard's Hot 100 -- at No. 38 -- that was not related to "American Idol." The track, which scored top-20 airplay at modern and mainstream rock radio, also appeared on the soundtrack to "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider-The Cradle of Life."

But, of course, the question of how many fans will buy instead of burn "Mirror" bears consideration.

Korn's last four albums debuted in the top-3 of The Billboard 200. "Life Is Peachy" arrived at No. 3 and has sold 1.8 million units in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. "Follow the Leader" and "Issues" debuted at No. 1 and scanned 3.6 million and 3.2 million, respectively. "Untouchables" debuted at No. 2 and has moved 1.4 million units. Debut album "Korn" has sold 2.1 million.

Vocalist Jonathan Davis and Fieldy believe the sales for "Untouchables" were hurt when the album was leaked to the Internet four months prior to its release.

The band had freely passed material around while recording and made copies for friends. This time, "nobody got a copy, no one," Fieldy says. "As soon as we were done listening to the CD, we destroyed it. We didn't go online with it. I think that's how [the leak] happened the last time." Recording at Davis' home studio also provided a more secure environment.

"Mirror" is Korn's first self-produced project. Davis has a separate production credit because he, as Fieldy puts it, "did all the no-glory work" in bringing the set together.

Davis says, "I thought it was time for us to do it. Each producer brings out something different in the band, but this time was something exciting and new, and nobody knows Korn better than we know ourselves."

As on previous albums, Davis continued to draw from his personal demons when writing the lyrics. Of current single "Right Now" he says, "That was me waking up pissed off at everyone. I think everyone's just had those days where you f***ing hate people. I've just had those days where everything is going f***ing wrong.

"The last three albums, [my writing has] come from a more depressed, hurt place," he continues. "It's like I'm just f***ing mad now, just tired of all this f***ed-up s*** happening to me."

As previously reported, Korn's hit the road on the brief Back 2 Basics club tour with Limp Bizkit will be sponsored by Xbox.

Although it is an arena-level act, performing in smaller clubs appealed to Korn because it wants to maintain an intimacy with fans. The band is offering winners of radio contests in each market a chance to compete against Davis in an Xbox game onstage during the concert.

While the 12-stop club tour served as a preview of "Take a Look in the Mirror," Korn expects to start a full-scale arena tour in January 2004 with dates in Southeast Asia, Japan, Australia and Hong Kong.

Excerpted from the Nov. 15, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com Premium Services section.

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