KoRn: Just real

KoRn stormed Germany this year with their “Ballroom Blitz Tour”, armed with the new album “KoRn III – Remember who you are” and behind left 5 devastated cities. Certainly we were there and met KoRn´s Drummer Ray Luzier for a little chat…

What´s new about the album, is it another side of KoRn?
Yeah, they wanted to get back to how they started, but not to sound like the first records. Just back to basics, 2-inch-tapes, and all that stuff. We wanted to get us all in a small room and not overproducing, not overwriting, just recording. So that´s what we did.

How was the feedback for your new album so far?
We´re getting good reviews, I don´t really read them, but the fans seem to like them. It´s exciting to play the new stuff live, because KoRn exists for 17 years now and it has such a big catalog. It´s cool to play something from the first record and the new stuff.

What´s the difference between German fans and American fans?
Yeah, there´s a different feeling in the crowds. I love America for sure, but at first they are into it but then they talk with each other during the show; German fans are all about the show, they are very focused. In America there are so many shows so they don´t focus too long, often they do something else. While here it´s like everybody´s here for the show. You can feel that in every second.
And how is it in Japan?
I played in Japan a lot, I go to Japan 2 or 3 times a year. I love Japan, because they´re so “overpolite”, they clap and then stop and wait. There´s no party, there´s nothing like: “let´s get drunk” and “whoooo”, it´s almost crazy, how quiet it is. So it´s very different in Japan as well, every country has it´s own flavour.

What´s different about big festivals like “Rock am Ring” and tours like “Ballroom Blitz Tour”? And what do you prefer?
I like them both. I like tight, intimate clubs, like tonight, and the fans are right there and you get more energy, and everybody´s rocking out! Like sometimes on “Rock am Ring” the first fan is 40 feet back, sometimes you lose connection. But it´s very powerful, because it´s 40-60000 people! So I really like both.
How do you select your songs for the show?
Well, we started today changing our setlist, because the catalog is so big, we throw a song to surprise the fans. So they look up at the internet and “Ah, they´re doing the same setlist”, so we throw an other song and then the fans say: “Oh, we wanted to hear that song!”.

How do you prepare yourself for the gigs?
We´re just stretching to warm up, because everything is very intense, we have to be very energetic.

How is it with the Dimmu Borgir guys?
They´re really cool, we just met them this tour, this year and I´ve never saw them live. I´ve heard about them for many years, they´re definitely different, they have their own thing going on, with their Goth and it´s somewhat scary sometimes, but I respect what they´re doing a lot.

How would you characterize them?
I don´t know, there a many different stiles of music and I respect if you´re jazz, if you´re death metal, it doesn´t matter, if you play from the heart and it means something. So for me there are too many heavy metal bands out there, who are fake. And they think they´re really pissed off and heavy, but they just do it because maybe an other band sounds heavy, so they do it. Dimmu seems really real and everybody plays real and from the heart. And KoRn´s real, every time we get on stage. Just real. That´s important about our band.

What can you say about Roadrunner Records?
I love Roadrunner Records. There aren´t many labels in 2010 that are still passionate. Most labels are about the money. So they just say: “Make us money, go!”. But roadrunner wants to know what goes on, the video promotion, promotion of tours, what´s behind the scenes, they really care. And they have such a big repertoire: from SlipKnot to Meatlof. And it´s very good to be with a label like this, who wants to help the bands.

How did you get into KoRn in 2007?
I was in “Army of Anyone” before. And the band is managed by The Firm, and The Firm manages KoRn. And in Los Angeles you get from gig to gig and you meet somebody else, and that person helps you get another gig. So when we did a record and Jonathan and the others heard it. They liked my playing, I was interested in KoRn gig. And so they put us together. Joey from Slipknot was filling in for KoRn, so I went up to audition on his last day and then got the gig.

Have you been nervous because there was Joey Jordison before?
Not because of Joey. Because, to me, Joey is much better in SlipKnot. For me he´s the best SlipKnot drummer. But for KoRn it takes a certain person, like the original drummer David Silveria, he was so THAT band, he felt what they´re about. Joey´s great about what he does, like the other 4 or 5 drummers, all great musicians, but KoRn takes a certain kind of element to fit in, and I´m not perfect for it, but I definitely feel what´s going on. I was more nervous to bring the music, the heaviness of the music, and the passion.

How would you describe the other guys from KoRn?
They´re terrible! No, they are great, they are very passionate about their music. They want to play all the time! It´s not a job, they want to feel it inside. So it´s an honor to be in a band with them.

What would you do now if you wouldn´t have been drummer for so many famous bands?
Nothing. Maybe on a farm in Pennsylvania, raising pigs.

What´s your favourite KoRn-Album?
I really like the new one, with “Nightmare before Christmas”, how the kids are singing. And it´s the first Album that I´m recording with them, so of course I like this best, because I´m on it. But I like the others too, the first album contained so much history, the first one has a lot of impact and I like Untouchables. So in fact I like them all.

Where do you get your ideas for the songs from?
The lyrics? – that´s all junk! Everybody does his part and John writes the lyrics, however he´s feeling, whatever emotions he´s having, whatever he thinks he´s doing.

Where is the clip of “Oildale” situated?
It´s Bakersfield where they came from. It´s a very small town where they grew up. That´s where they wanted to shoot it. With the oil fields and we actually recreated that on stage. It´s crazy, it´s cool.

You often use children as main characters in your video-clips and on album covers, why that?
The concept is coming together through the management and maybe the producer of the video and the ideas of the band. It´s like a combination of everybody in it. The new album cover reflects the first album cover: so it´s like the girl is there, and the man´s approaching and no one knows what his attentions are, so it´s up to you to figure it out. Your imagination. So it doesn´t have a specific meaning.

How can you recognize the typical KoRn-Fan?
“KoRn”-Tattoos, Bandshirts…there are some diehard fans. 2 years ago we did a 35-country-tour in 4 months and it was in South Africa, Dubai, Russia, Australia and the fans were so crazy! Because they had Jonathan on their back and all the album covers down their leg, there are no fans like KoRn-fans, because KoRn-fans really are crazy! And one girl, last week, had a huge “KoRn” on her neck, and you can´t cover that unless you wear a total neck!

Between all that stress, how do you get relaxed?
I don´t relax. I have a studio at my house, so I write on guitar and bass, each member has his own project going on. I have a lot of projects going on, I play in jazz clubs when I´m at home, I teach in music school. I never stop. We don´t relax too much. Sometimes we take a vacation, but relaxation is writing for me, because I love coming up with new songs. Different stiles like KoRn. Maybe Jazz, Latin…it´ll keep you growing as a musician. Some musicians they play and that´s it, they go home and watch movies. We all play, we just love playing!

Markus Seibel

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