“Korn has done the seemingly impossible…they have made Bakersfield hip.”
- Jim Ladd, Guitar Center RockWalk Host
Those were the opening statements at Korn’s Guitar Center RockWalk induction ceremony earlier today, October 8th, which officially cemented the band into music history alongside some of the industry’s most celebrated artists.
The GRAMMY Award-winning California band responsible for putting nu metal on the map has finally made their way into the famous Sunset Boulevard walkway, joining the likes of Aerosmith, Elvis Presley, Van Halen, and The Ramones.
Ladd went on to quote Guitar Center RockWalk Chairman, Dave Weiderman, who praised Korn’s contribution to the rock and metal world:
“Korn is about as innovative and influential as they come,” said Weidermam. “They have been purveyors of metal’s progression since their formation and are even credited with creating the nu metal subgenre. For these reasons, and many more, Korn is exactly the type of band the RockWalk is here to honor.”
Metal peer, friend, and upcoming tour-mate Rob Zombie made the official introduction at today’s private ceremony in Hollywood.
“Music can be a real shitty business. It chews bands up, it spits them out, and as Chris Rock said, ‘Here today, gone today.’ But about twenty years ago I remember flipping on MTV and seeing this band called Korn, and I thought, “What a weird name.” Then I watched the video, expecting to hate it because that’s how I felt about most things at that time. Everything just seemed like a pale imitation or copycat bunch of bullshit. And I watched it and immediately I could tell these guys are the real deal. These guys have something completely unique going on.
Everything about it from the double attack of the guitar, to the two guys — one guy named Head, one guy named Munky…the bizarre bass tone, and the drums — I mean everything about it was just so unique. And on top of that, a skinny, dreadlocked kid who was not above picking up bagpipes, wearing a kilt, busting out these vocals that sound like some sort of impending nervous breakdown. I just thought it was spectacular.
Twenty years later they’re still constantly reinventing themselves, reinventing the wheel…it’s really hard to do in this business. There’s not a lot of spectacular bands who have survived the past twenty years — Korn is definitely one of them.”
“We’re all pretty beat up. We’ve been on the road, Munky threw his back out, I got Fieldy sick, and I got Jon sick, and Ray smashed his hand.” said guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, who rejoined the band in 2013 following an eight-year absence. “We’re a broken heavy metal band, but we’re happy to be here, and we’re just so thankful. Just to hear the introductions — I mean Zombie? C’mon. We used to listen to him while we were working at Pizza Hut. This is just surreal. Just to grow up with your friends and be able to do this…it’s more than a dream come true.”
Rob Zombie even jumped into the press line, asking the band how they actually came upon the name Korn, after (jokingly) stating that he always thought it came from the television show Hee Haw. The full story was apparently not “family-friendly,” but Jonathan Davis gave those in attendance the real story as to how Korn became Korn.
“It was a story in Bakersfield that was really disgusting,” began Davis. “We were hanging out at a party and it involved a corn kernel and someone’s mouth, and you’d say ‘corn’ and you would be grossed out. So it was between Korn and calling the band Larry, because our manager’s name was Larry. He was like, ‘You can’t call the band Korn!,’ so we were like, ‘OK, we’re calling it Larry.’ So that’s how we got the name Korn.”
On a serious note, Davis went on to describe the day as simply “surreal,” with Munky adding, “It’s an honor to be in the category with so many great musicians and people who work hard in this industry.”
Today also marks the release of Korn’s eleventh studio album, The Paradigm Shift. Pick up the new album and find upcoming tour dates for Korn’s co-headlining run with Rob Zombie for the appropriately titled “Night of the Living Dreads” by visiting Korn’s official website.