The godfathers of nu metal, Korn, have had so much fun celebrating their 20th anniversary they've decided to take a victory lap through their 22nd year, playing their debut self-titled album front to back at the Fillmore Miami Beach this Friday. "I think this is a once-in-a-lifetime event for our fans," Korn bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu told New Times a day before the band embarked on the tour. "There's no way we're ever going to be doing this again, playing the whole album."
Fieldy, as he prefers to be called, was born into what he describes as a dysfunctional family. "I was always trying to escape the chaos of my house, whether it was my parents fighting or my dad playing music." Fieldy's father was in an Eric Clapton cover band, and as a kid, Fieldy took refuge from versions of Layla with the help of bands like Kiss and Sugarhill Gang. "So right from the start, it was a mix for me of hard rock and rap."
In 1991, Fieldy formed L.A.P.D. (which stood for either "Love and Peace, Dude" or "Laughing as People Die," depending upon how the band felt at any particular moment) with guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer and drummer David Silveria, but it wasn't until singer Jonathan Davis joined that they changed their name and became the record-breaking phenomenon known as Korn. And though Silveria would leave the band in 2007, replaced by Ray Luzier, for the next two decades, Korn's mix of metal instrumentation and Davis' rap-influenced vocals moved more than 35 million albums — but it all began with the band's 1994 self-titled release, recorded in Malibu.
Fieldy says the group's major influences at the time were metal bands like Sepultura and Metallica as well as hip-hop acts such as Cypress Hill and House of Pain. Rehearsing the tracks for this tour, he was struck by how well the songs have held up. "Even the B-sides we did I think are pretty cool. Two I really like playing are 'Ball Tongue' and 'Blind' because they're the first songs on the album and they really get things going. But I like almost all of them. There are only two songs on it I don't like, so that's not bad." Sadly, he refused to name those two songs. "No way — I don't need everybody hating on those songs. I already hate them."
As they studied that debut album from the last millennium, the band members began to notice subtle changes that were made to the songs over time. "We changed riffs to make them longer, to make them better. We made the changes over the years to how we wished we had recorded it, but we know people want to hear the songs how they were."
The songs weren't the only things that changed over the course of Korn's career. Fieldy himself evolved from the depths of hedonism to become a 45-year-old, sober, born-again father of three. With the help of a ghostwriter, in 2009 he published his autobiography, Got the Life: My Journey of Addiction, Faith, Recovery, and Korn. "It didn't really get too much attention, but I was trying to maybe help people not make my mistakes. If I did it again, maybe I would have changed names or released it as
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Fortunately, his bandmates weren't hurt by his honesty. "It's 'cause we grew up together. We weren't random guys who met and formed a band. There's a brotherhood."
The brotherhood of Korn is now working on a new album scheduled to come out in 2016, but for now, Fieldy and the guys are excited about the tour. "Korn fans are a worldwide family. Every Korn show is like a big Thanksgiving dinner."
Korn With Suicide Silence and Islander. 7 p.m. Friday, October 16, at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7300; fillmoremb.com. Tickets cost $45 to $160 plus fees via livenation.com.