Korn is in the midst of celebrating its 20th anniversary. But it’s also getting ready to start the next 20 years, too.
“We’re working on new music,” guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer tells Billboard. He calls it “newer metal” — playing on the group’s nu metal tag — and says the quintet has made significant progress on the follow-up to 2013’s top 10 set The Paradigm Shift.
“I’d say we’re about a third of the way done,” Munky notes. “We wrote about 20 songs and about 10 of those we’ve kept and made better. I think we’re gonna need to go back in and write another batch of songs and then fine-tune those into four, five really great songs. There’s no rush, which feels great. 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.” The group is working with a producer already, but Munky says that the band “is gonna wait a couple more weeks before we announce that.”
Meanwhile, Korn will be dipping into its history again starting Oct. 1, when the group returns to the road in Chicago to play its self-titled 1994 debut album in its entirety. The 21-date trek concludes Oct. 30 in Oakland, Calif., and includes a stop at Slipknot’s Knotfest on Oct. 24 in San Bernardino, Calif.
“It’s fun to play with the idea and see how we react to some of the old songs when we play ’em,” Munky says. “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.”
Old songs from Korn such as “Shoots and Ladders” and “Blind” have remained staples of the band’s live show over the years, but performing “Daddy,” an emotional 17-and-a-half-minute screed drawn from frontman Jonathan Davis’ own dark childhood experiences, is 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.”
Korn will be recording each of the shows and doing some filming, and Munky is confident it will lead to some sort of release, possibly a documentary about the tour. Korn will also be performing acoustically before each show for fans who bought special VIP tickets, which could also be included in any release from the tour.