Forget what you've heard. The title of Korn's forthcoming disc is not, as various online hard-rock rumor mills would have you believe, Souvenir of Sadness. And no, Dallas Austin isn't producing the entire record. In fact, it's unlikely any of the material rap-metal's prime movers worked on with Austin will make it onto the next LP — which means that the collabo with the Game is no longer happening.
With all the conflicting information about Korn's seventh offering that's been spreading across the Internet like a cold through a kindergarten class, Jonathan Davis, the band's paper-thin-mustached frontman and the source for all matters Korn, would like to set the record straight. First off, the forthcoming disc — which Davis says is as good as in the bag — hasn't been given a proper title just yet; although, he admits, "Souvenir of Sadness," one of the album's cuts, is in the running, along with a host of other possibilities.
Also, Austin, who said last month he was producing the disc, was just one of several producers the band's been working with, according to Davis.
"Dallas worked with us for about two weeks on some songs and stuff. I think only one of the songs we've done — which I've already sent over to another guy to work on — is going to make it on the album," Davis explained. "On this record, basically, it's the Matrix (Avril Lavigne, the Mooney Suzuki) and Atticus Ross (Bad Religion, Pink). We wanted to go and try this out. Just think of the crazy, wackiest thing we could get involved with, and it's just really worked out great, because those guys really brought something different to the table."
The song Davis and Austin hoped to secure the Game for, "Revolution," has already been scratched from the album's track list (see "Dallas Austin, The Game Sink Their Teeth Into Korn"). "I never got a hold of the Game, but heard Game wanted to do it, but, I mean, it's not something that I think fits this album," Davis rationalized. "Maybe we can do it in the future. People say lots of things. Sometimes they pan out, sometimes they don't."
And the original version of Korn's cover of Public Enemy's "Fight the Power," which featured Lil Jon, will also not find its way onto the new record; the song was eventually re-recorded, with different instrumentation and rapper Xzibit taking Jon's place, for the soundtrack to "XXX: State of the Union." It's unlikely the Jon version of the track will ever be heard by anyone outside of the band (see "Lil Jon Bangs Head, Creates 'Crunk-Rock' ").
"[Lil Jon's] label wouldn't let him be on the soundtrack for some reason," Davis said. "If you'd heard the Lil Jon track, it's a totally different vibe. It's more aggressive and heavy. I think he's going to do a rock-oriented record and I will be involved with that. So hopefully, me and him will get on a track together, because I love that guy and I think he is an amazing artist. We have so many things in common, it's scary. Our voices mold great together. And I love crunk music. Love crunk, dude. It's the most aggressive sh-- I've heard in years, other than rock. It's like straight getting-pumped-up music."
So what will be on the album, the band's first since 2003's Take a Look in the Mirror? Davis says the band will cut 20 songs, "and I know that not all of them are going to make it. We'll see what happens." He did say that the tracks "Liar," "Politix," "Last Legal Drug Le Petit Mort," "It's Me Again," "Coming Undone," "I've Seen It All" and "Souvenir of Sadness" are pretty much a go. The album's first single should surface in August, and the LP should be in stores in October.
"It's funky, it's heavy, it's dark and sometimes, industrial-tinged," Davis said when asked about the record's overall sound. "Working with so many different people and everything, it's made it out to be a really well-rounded album of a lot of different things. It's definitely Korn, it's definitely groove-oriented. But it's our most experimental album to date. We're very excited. We're all sitting around, when we listen to it, looking at each other going, 'I can't believe that's us.' I think people are really going to dig it. It's not like the first Korn album, where it's very aggressive and screaming all over the place. There's that in this album, yes, but I've taken all of the years of six albums, and taken what I've learned from that and molded it into one, and thrown a big twist on it. It's really hard to explain without hearing it. But it's very large and in charge and massively heavy. There's a lot of melody in it, a lot of screaming — just a lot of amazing things in it."
But much has happened since Korn first started working on the album's material back in January. Davis took a month off following the mid-March birth of his second son, Pirate Howsmon — his first child with his wife, former porn star Deven. And the band lost one of its founding members, Brian "Head" Welch, to the unlikely culprit of Christianity back in late February (see "Brian 'Head' Welch Explains Why He Left Korn"); guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer has been pulling double duty in the studio since Head's departure. None of this, Davis says, has had much of an effect on the recording process, though.
"Head had been having problems for years, and he wasn't really there. ... For a lot of the records, he was there, but he wasn't there," Davis said. "When we were writing, he did his thing. But we're not going to replace him. With Head leaving, it would be weird having another guitar player in Korn. I'd never say it will never happen, but right now, we're going to be a four-piece. I don't know if we'll have somebody onstage or we'll have someone playing guitar maybe offstage. We'll figure that out. We haven't even gotten to that point. Having someone new onstage would be weird. We've been a band for 12 years, and to have that guy missing, it would be weird to just jump in and have someone else there. Things may change."
And as for how diaper detail's going, Davis couldn't be more ecstatic.
"All my two little angels have ever done is brought me happiness, and that's a really good thing," he explained. "The dark kind of stuff inside, which is my psyche or whatever, and when I come home from tour, [my sons] are my escape. A lot of people play golf and go to f---ing Saint Tropez or some sh--. I come home to my baby boys and that's my happiness."