Jonathan Davis Says Korn "Hated" Nu-Metal Tag: "You Don't Call Metallica Some Thrash Band" | Revolver

Jonathan Davis Says Korn "Hated" Nu-Metal Tag: "You Don't Call Metallica Some Thrash Band"

Frontman remembers when his band abhorred being lumped in with the nu-metal scene
jonathan davis 2018 GETTY, Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images
photograph by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Korn are the band who invented nu-metal. This isn't news to anyone and it's not a fact that the band themselves are ashamed of today, but back in the early 2000s, when nu-metal was a full-on mainstream phenomenon dominating rock radio, Jonathan Davis and his Bakersfield bandmates tried to distance themselves from the tag. 

In a new interview with Metal Hammer, Davis recalled how Korn felt when they were making their 2002 album, Untouchables — one of the most expensive records ever made and, at the time, Korn's most ambitious effort. During that period in the band's career, they fucking hated being lumped in and defined by whatever people considered "nu-metal" to be, and in this new interview, Davis evoked Metallica's royal place within the thrash pantheon to make a comparison. 

"For me, we were making Untouchables and that was when so many bands were coming out and jumping on the [nu metal] bandwagon," Davis told Metal Hammer. "Now I don't mind the tag 'nu metal' — they named an entire subgenre after my band? Holy shit! That's cool!

"But punk-ass, crazy Korn back then, we were like, 'What the fuck? Fuck everyone! We're going to make this insane record. Keep people guessing.' [Nu-metal] had become a parody of itself — 'I don't want to be defined like that!'"

"Nowadays, I don't care, but back then I hated it," he continued. "I make the music I make ... you don't call Metallica some thrash band! They're fucking Metallica! You don't call the [Red Hot] Chili Peppers a funk-rock band! They're the fucking Chili Peppers!"