This story was originally published in 2007.
As anyone who's ever played in a rock band can tell you, hot guitarists are a dime a dozen, but a good drummer is a rare and precious commodity—and when you're as kickass a player as Joey Jordison, your skills on the skins are gonna be in high demand, indeed. So it wasn't too surprising when Korn announced this spring that they'd recruited the Slipknot drummer—who spent his 2006 summer vacation on Ministry's drum stool to handle the drum duties for their summer and fall dates in 2007, including all of the Family Values Tour. (Founding Korn drummer David Silvera is currently "on hiatus"; while Zappa/Missing Persons drum great Terry Bozzio, who played on Korn's new album, Untitled, opted not to go out on the road.)
"[Ex-Sevendust guitarist] Clint Lowery, who took over for Head, knew that I'd finished producing the new 3 Inches of Blood record, and I wasn't doing anything," Jordison explains. "He told me Korn were interested, and gave me [guitarist] Munky's number. I had a good conversation with Munky, and then [singer] Jonathan [Davis] called me up. I flew out and had one jam session with them. It was so slammin' that they stopped after three songs and said, 'You got the gig!'"
Since Jordison has already seen the world several times with Slipknot — who remain on break while frontman Corey Taylor and axman Jim Root are busy with Stone Sour — we were interested to get his perspective on touring with a band that's even huger and more influential. With that in mind, we asked Jordison to provide us with a few "diary entries" from Korn's shows in Europe, and he graciously complied.
We've had some pretty hardcore travel days so far, trying to get to all these festivals, and we've got headlining shows in between. Tonight's a headlining show at the Zenith in Paris, and we're going on in about 40 minutes. It's sold out, and the crowd is insane already; there were Korn chants for like an hour before the opening band, so it's gonna be cool.
The tour has been going better than I even hoped. I'm getting treated really well, the guys are nice and laidback, and the shows are fucking killer, man. Download in England was especially great; we played the tent stage, and the kids were literally scaling the rafters and almost tore the tent down. The promoters were starting to freak out, it was so insane — they wouldn't let us start the show again until they got these kids down, which seemed like an eternity. Jon just folded his arms and was like, "All right, man, if you don't want us to play, we're just gonna sit here."
Musically, Korn's stuff is more groove-laden and slower than what I normally do. But what's cool is that they're letting me add my own stuff, like a lot quicker fills; I'm keeping around the same tempos and grooves, but I'm adding really quick double-bass at the end of certain phrases and at the end of songs. I've even got blast beats at the end of "Blind" — we take the song super long with crazy fast double bass. So my style from Slipknot is interjected in Korn, and I think the kids are digging it. It's been cool locking in with Fieldy, and I vibe all the way off of Munky live; he's just a sick performer.
Jon, Munky, and Fieldy, they all have their separate buses; I ride with Jon, Kalen [Chase, Korn's backing vocalist and percussionist], and the security, so Jon and I hang out all the time. Jon and Kalen have been working on this kind of electronic project, and we've kind of been messing around with it, just something for fun. Me and Kalen are the only ones that party, but Jon doesn't care; he likes to get our party started, he likes to get us all fucked up. He pours shots of Crown Royal and Jagermeister for us, gets us trashed, and then we write these crazy songs together.
I think we're playing Switzerland tomorrow, but I'm not even sure. OK, security's here, telling me to get my ass into the room to warm up. Aw man, that crowd is going apeshit right now. It's gonna be good!
It's nice to finally have a day off after all the grueling travel days — most of the drives have been 12 hours or more, and some over 20. I spent this afternoon walking around Prague, which is such a cool old city. They have a lot of shops that sell old stonework and statuary, and I just bought a couple of gothic pieces for my house and had them shipped home. I also bought a bottle of absinthe, but I'll probably wait until tomorrow night to get into it; we've got a show tomorrow, and I don't want to get too liquored up tonight.
I wasn't able to drink for a couple of days because of medicine I was taking for an ear infection. I like to wear my in-ears pretty tight, so it was kind of uncomfortable there for a few shows, but I got through it.
Playing with Korn, it's kind of déjà vu, because they used to be a five-piece band, and now there's eight people out there [keyboardist Zac Baird and percussionist Michael Jochum fill out the rest of the touring lineup], which is only one less than Slipknot. It's like, "Oh, you've got percussion in there now? I've seen that before!" But it's cool — I can see why they've added it, and it's totally done in a different way than the Slipknot thing. There are so many elements, both on the new record and the older Korn records, with keyboards and samples and triggers and different effects, and it's all represented live now.
A lot of the kids I've met on this tour want to know what's up with Slipknot, but I'm not getting many "breakup" questions. I think we showed with Vol. 3 that we could take time off, do our own things, and come back stronger than ever; plus, I saw Corey at one of the festivals we played last week, and he's got all these lyrics for new Slipknot songs, so there's no reason for anyone to worry about Slipknot. We'll definitely be back ...
It's getting late here, and some of the guys have been calling me, talking about going out for drinks. I was thinking about it, but now I see that Sideways is just about to start on the TV in my hotel room. I fuckin' love that movie! Sometimes you just have to listen to the messages from the angels, and right now the angels are telling me to stay in my room and watch Sideways.
Another day off — this time in Vienna, the birthplace of music. We have a show here tomorrow, and my day off has been kind of boring, actually; I've just been chilling in my hotel, watching TV, and drinking a little wine — you've gotta drink wine in Vienna.
This past week at the Prague show, I almost broke the index finger on my right hand on a rimshot that I mis-aimed, right at the beginning of "Falling Away." There was blood all over my snare, but it was pretty rock! Doing the rest of the show was a bitch, and I've been nursing it ever since. I have a bandage wrapped around it right now. I'm still making it through all the songs, but it just hurts like a motherfucker.
We've only been playing "Evolution" from the new album in Europe, but we've been rehearsing a couple of other new songs for Family Values. Terry Bozzio has been one of my favorite drummers since I was young, so to be able to play his parts is not only a challenge, but an honor. It's nothing that I can't do, but it's kind of weird listening to his parts and kind of studying what he's doing, and then injecting them into my style and bringing them into the Korn sound. It's cool, though — and just another chapter I can put in my book!
Jon just called and wanted to see what I was up to a little bit later; he wants to go out for dinner. There's a Mexican place right over here, but I don't know how Mexican food will actually taste in Austria, so I think I'm just gonna play it safe and go to the Italian place. I haven't had any bad meals on this tour, though. Sherry, the wardrobe lady that we have on the road, is also the band's chef, and she has her own fucking road case with two grills on it. It's totally pro, and that's how this band rolls — they roll right! She cooks for us every night; soon as we get offstage, it's all waiting for us, and it's the most amazing food you've ever had.
DES MOINES, IOWA
I just flew home from Munich; we've got a week off, and then we'll have a few days of rehearsals for Family Values, and then the whole thing starts on July 20. We all need some time off right now; that Europe run was brutal. It's not a long time off, but I think that's good. Right now, we're in our groove; we've now played long enough that we've become a band — it sounds like a fucking tight unit now. So, a week's perfect just to recharge the batteries and get back out there. But we could have a month off and come back, and still be the band that we are now.
We did a long rehearsal for the Family Values set during our last week in Europe, and I fucked up my left hand severely. First my right index finger, and now my left hand—I'm a walking tragedy right now! My calluses don't normally break, but for some reason I broke one right below the base of my index finger on my left hand; it ended up bruising a nerve, and it swelled up. It also had an open wound on it, so the last show in particular, every time I hit the snare, it almost put me in a state of shock. I was trying not to do rim shots, because that's an even harder hit; but I came down hard a couple of different times, and it almost shot me off my drum stool. It was fucking ruthless, dude!
It's part of the battle, though. I've gotta have some injuries, or I wouldn't be doing my job! If I come offstage, and my hands are bleeding and my back is killing me from headbanging, that's the definite sign of a good show. But this is small; after being in Slipknot, man, this isn't anything — I haven't been lit on fire, I haven't had a steel pipe broke over my head, I haven't been knocked out unconscious, so we're doing good.
More than just finding common ground and cool people to play with, I've made some good friends on this tour. I've spent a lot of time hanging out with Jon and Fieldy and Munky, and they're really laidback, really nice people. They've been around, man; they've done their thing, they grew up together, and it's pretty cool to see how they relate to each other. You can tell there's a lot of love there, a lot of love in this band. You can see that they're brothers, and they've been through the wars together.
And I've learned a lot playing with Korn — more than I thought. I thought it would be easy to just walk in and do it, but I was just so much faster than what they were used to. I learned how to come down to the Korn sound, and lay it down and slam it home. It's always a learning experience, man. You'll never learn how to play it all, but you should always strive to.