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Brian "Head" Welch & Ray Luzier (Korn)

Interview with Brian "Head" Welch & Ray Luzier from Korn
by Eric Klunk at 23 March 2015, 9:57 PM

Veterans of the Nu-Metal scene, KORN have been around a bit, and are bigger than ever, touching the hearts of multiple generations. Having just played at Mayhem Fest, Eric Klunk chatted with Brian "Head" Welch & Ray Luzier about the band's movements, reminiscence, the trials and tribulations of the music biz.

Head: Hey How are ya?

Good

Head: Fire away and Feel free to yell over Trivium (Laughter)

So how has the tour been going?

Head: It’s awful… awfully great! (laughter) No, it’s been great

What are some high points on the tour so far?

Head: I like the venues that have an open pit in front of the stage. I hate the seats that go to the front. Last night was a good crowd, It’s been really good. We got to be fans of a bunch of new bands on the side. I’m a big fan of Emmure now, and Wretched are killing it, Bodycount of corse with Ice-T, we just saw Suicide Silence with their new singer today. Islander is alright (laughter)

Ray: Yeah, they’re alright (laughter)

Head: Yeah, they are our friends, they are really good, they stand out because they don’t sound like any of the other bands that are around.

How is touring different now then it was ten years ago as fares the older fans bringing their kids to the shows now?

Head: We met a mother and daughter last night that both had Korn tattoos. It’s really awesome to see different generations like that coming out to our shows for the music and the Mayhem.

So who are the troublemakers on the tour?

Head: Asking Alexandria hands down, they blow away everybody. No one in our clan really party anymore, we’re all subdued and we’re just focused on the music. Those guys like to party, they like to get destructive and get golf carts and wreck them. We used to do all that. Who else? Who had that party with the Ninja Turtles?

Emmure I heard

Head: Yeah Emmure, there was a fight at their party.

Among themselves?

Head: No it was them and some other band. And then me and Aaron from Avenge Sevenfold, we got a golf cart to take my friend to his car and we were coming back and came unbelievably close to getting hit by a car. Im telling ya Korn and Avenge Sevenfold are crazy bro! (Laughter)

What are you guys going to do after Mayhem Fest?

Ray: We are going over seas for a couple shows.

Head: Then we have a fall tour that we just finished booking and it’s going to be one of the most exciting tours of my life. That’s how pumped I am about it.

Can you tell me who you are touring with?

Head: I can and I really want to but it could end the deal if the word got out. you know what I mean?

Where do you guys see yourself next year musically?

Ray: We are going to do a country record (Laughter)

Head: Yeah, then we are going to do a dubstep record, Kornstep (laughter) No, I’d really like to come out with something brutally heavy so people would be like what are they doing? I don’t know but we’ll see.

Ray: Thats what’s cool about this band, some bands are predictable like Iron Maiden and ACDC, bands that we are pretty big fans of. You pretty much know what their new material is going to sound like cause thats their formula, why would you change that? It’s cool because Korn is not afraid to go over here or try things different musically and it still sounds like Korn at the end of the day. And it’s awesome having Head back in the band, bringing the heaviness back that I am a big fan of ya know. So who knows what the next Korn album is going to sound like. I hope it’s going to hit you over the head.

How do you keep it fresh on stage with touring every night?

Head: Just trying to stay engaged every night with a new audience because your playing the same songs every night ya know and it’s not for us it’s for them. So we are trying to stay engaged and make them have a good time while they pump us up at the same time.

Ray: It’s hard because the whole Korn catalog is like 120 songs and 11 studio records so it’s hard to pick a set list because you are always pissing someone off who wants to hear an old school song and we got to play the newer hits and we only have an hour to play on this tour every night.

Head: We’ll switch one or two songs around every night just to make it a little different for us.

Ray: It’s hard because a lot of bands only have like one or two hits and everybody waits til the end of the show to see the encore of that one hit. Korn has a ton of hits so it’s hard to get a setlist together

Do you ever pull out any of the older obscure songs?

Ray: Yeah, when Head first came back to the band we started doing ball tongue and lies and that was rad!

Head: Yeah, it was fun. But those are more for when you are headlining shows. When you are at festivals and festival tours like this you have to stick to what works for us. You have to think about an audience that maybe wouldn’t listen to Korn all the time.

So do you make a setlist for what you think they want to hear?

Head: More what we think they would know, and then throw in some songs that we like.

First time I saw you guys was in I think 1996 and it was you guys, Life of Agony and OZZY

Head: WOW!!!

I wasn’t too familiar with you guys then but when you guys hit the stage I was blown away because I never saw or heard anything like Korn before. It was awesome!

Head: Wow, thanks man, yeah it really was awesome. It was like I didn’t even see us getting in front of Ozzy and stuff like that. I thought we would be more like underground and stuff but after the first record we got chances.

It has been great to see the transition and the evolution of Korn over the years

Head: Yeah man, we try to be different ya know but the problem was we were killing ourselves partying ya know. So that’s why I had to bounce out ya know

It’s a little different now getting older in all isn’t it?

Head: It is, I’m trying to keep up with the party but I thought the stupid thing was like I didn’t like partying anymore so I was depressed because I couldn’t figure out why I was so miserable ya know. Why didn’t I want to party anymore? But it’s weird, be careful for what you wish for sometimes ya know? (Laughter)

Do you ever try to give the younger bands advice?

Ray: Totally, we tell them be a doctor, get out. (Laughter) It’s a hard business these days. I’ve had many failed bands, that’s why I joined nationally touring bands, I was with David Lee Roth for a 8 years, and a bunch of national bands. Now I’m leaching off of Korn (Laughter) It’s hard, the way the internet is, record sales are not what they used to be. This is what it’s all about now, if you’re not touring and out there you’re not making money.

Do you see a difference in your album sales since everyone is downloading music illegally?

Ray: Yeah, of course, it does totally. Sometimes people will bring their burnt copies of Korn cd’s for us to sign. I’m like come on man, help us out, just go buy it it’s like 12 bucks. It took us 4 1/2 months to write make this record.

Head: Yeah, exactly. I mean how many Starbucks did you buy this week?

Ray: Exactly, you can buy two cups of coffee and you can’t buy our new record. It pisses me off.

Head: I’ll go to Bestbuy and I’ll buy six copies of cd of some band that I really like and I’ll give it to my friends. I’m all about support ya know.

 Are you putting out any albums on vinyl?

Ray: Yeah Paradigum Shift came out on vinyl, I don’t know where you can get it.

Head: Yeah, I don’t know either, but yeah we got it out. I think it’s a limited amount.

With record sales down these days how do you measure the success of Korn?

Head: Probably just on the road, the tours we get, the crowds that we play in front of and that’s about it. It’s all about coming up with creative ways now to get out there. So that’s the success I think when we find creative ways and they are successful.

Ray: One thing that you can never ever replace is this. Live music, I don’t care what you do, what you get on dvd with 3d and surround sound, the thing is the experience when you connect with an audience that will never ever go away. So people can steal records all they want but this is what we all live for and this is what the fans live for, that moment captured in time that never will happen again. That will stay with you till the end of time. People say like once a year that rock is dead, they have been saying that for three decades now, it’s never going to go away. It just goes through different changes and different avenues.



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