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-- by Jon Wiederhorn, with additional reporting by Antonia Napoli

Many junior high teachers will tell you, "There are no dumb questions." Korn frontman Jonathan Davis begs to differ. Anyone who asks him why it has taken his band a full three years to release its fifth studio album, Untouchables, definitely deserves a bile-colored ribbon for asking the dumbest question in the book.

Unlike many nü-metal bands glutting the market, Korn have always been driven, not by the desire for fame or fortune, but by the inexplicable need to create something ugly, innovative and artistic. And true creation can take time.

When they emerged from Bakersfield, California, in 1992, such bands as Faith No More, Helmet and Prong had planted the seeds for nü-metal, but the genre was ripe for sonic exploration and demolition. Korn stepped in with lunging hip-hop beats, down-tuned guitar clamor, eerie effects and vulnerable, agonized vocals and created a haven for frustrated, angry listeners who ached for something heavy, but sneered at the conventions of traditional heavy metal. A decade down the jagged road, dozens of bands have copied the Korn blueprint, making original songwriting a daunting challenge for Davis, bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu, guitarists James "Munky" Shaffer and Brian "Head" Welch, and drummer David Silveria. Yet as difficult as it has been to birth pioneering new tunes, it's become all the more imperative for the group since Korn's music is the purest form of therapy for all involved — a way to confront nagging demons without committing grievous bodily harm.

"I don't like painting flowers in my music. I like painting guts and pain."
On Untouchables, Davis once again shouts, growls and groans about betrayal, frustration, rage and self-doubt. On the first single, "Here to Stay," he sings, "I take my face and bash it into a mirror/ I won't have to see the pain. Bleed, bleed/ This state is elevating as the hurt turns into hating/ Anticipating all the f---ed up feelings again."

"I don't like painting flowers in my music," Davis said recently from a park in Los Angeles. "I like painting guts and pain. I am not afraid to explore myself and dig deep in my songs. I'm a human being and every human being has problems. I just chose to deal with the dark things in my life in music."




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Photo: Immortal/Epic

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"Here to Stay"
Untouchables
(Immortal/Epic)



"Somebody Someone"
Issues
(Immortal/Epic)



"Falling Away From Me"
Issues
(Immortal/Epic)



"Make Me Bad"
Issues
(Immortal/Epic)



"Clown"
Issues
(Immortal/Epic)



"Freak on a Leash"
Follow The Leader
(Immortal/Epic)


"Got The Life"
Follow The Leader
(Immortal/Epic)



"A.D.I.D.A.S."
Life Is Peachy
(Immortal/Epic)



"Blind"
Korn
(Immortal/Epic)



"Shoots and Ladders"
Korn
(Immortal/Epic)


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