You might assume the first solo album by Korn’s bassist would brim with the low-end dirges and quaking rhythms that have come to be the nü metal band’s signature. You’d assume wrong.
For Rock N Roll Gangster, Fieldy saved the eerie, minor-chord stuff for Korn’s fifth album, which is expected to surface this summer, and instead lets the good times — or, more accurately, high times — roll. Much of the album, which was released Tuesday, expounds the stocky bassist’s penchant for a certain herb that’s rarely used in culinary creations. And despite the title, there’s hardly any rock to be found here. Instead, Fieldy — who said that both he personally and Korn collectively have been influenced by hip-hop — has entered the solo scene with a straight-up rap record.
“I called it Rock N Roll Gangster because of [the role] I play in Korn,” he said. “I wear the pendants and bandanas and cornrows in my hair — I don’t know, I just like the style, the lifestyle. But I’m in a rock band, I’m not a gangster. I’m a rock-and-roll gangster, but [it's] a hip-hop album. If you think you’re going to get a rock album, you’re not going to get a rock album.”
The idea for Fieldy’s Dreams — the name of his solo endeavor — got stuck in the bassist’s craw three years ago and began to take shape in the last 18 months. What started “as a joke” became a series of demos he deemed worthy enough to call on collaborators such as Tre from the Pharcyde and Snoop Dogg’s cousin RBX for the album’s production (see “Fieldy Fans Can Stop Dreaming About Korn Bassist’s Solo Project” ). Eventually, Korn frontman Jonathan Davis and Son Doobie of Funkdoobiest would also make guest appearances on “Just for Now” and “Put a Week on It,” respectively.
Despite his admitted inexperience as a hip-hop artist, Fieldy took an uncensored, trial-and-error approach to the music, which he performed mostly himself.
“I wanted to try it,” he explained. “I played the bass, guitar, drums and keyboard. And then I thought a little deeper into it and said, ‘I’m going to try to rap, and if it turns out wack, I just won’t do it.’ It’s kinda like having low expectations. It turned out easy for me, so I just went with it.”
While maintaining his claim to an easy flow, Fieldy issued a warning to anyone hoping to catch him in a freestyle battle: He shall roll no lyric before its time. He confessed that songs like “Coming From a Friend” (about telling a pal that his woman is “extra friendly” with other guys), “You Saved Me” (an ode to the therapeutic properties of marijuana) and the album’s single, “You Talking to Me” (a conversation between himself and his little green friend, complete with a cameo by Cheech Marin), weren’t off-the-cuff constructions.
“I’m not Mr. Freestyle,” he said. “I can’t bust a rhyme or nothing like that, because I’m really picky with what I write. Maybe [freestyling] will come in time. Maybe after I’ve been rhyming for 20 years, I could probably bust a rhyme. But I consider myself more a writer. I write stories. It takes me a long time — sometimes up to two years to write a song, but sometimes it only takes five minutes.”
And believe it or not, the stories he spins are nonfiction.
“Everything I write about on the album is true,” he said. “It’s me. I don’t write any fairytale crap. I can’t. I just write about me. So everything you hear about … yup, it ain’t no lie.”