Jonathan Davis Talks Solo LP, Future of Korn: "I'm Waving the Flag for Musicianship"

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With Korn on ice for the time being — save for a rendition of "Kidnap the Sandy Claws" on yet another reissue of the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack — frontman Jonathan Davis has turned his focus towards solo touring and a forthcoming record, which he says won't just be Korn-style ragers with a different staff. "I always compare it to when Steve Perry went and did 'Oh Sherrie,' which is a fucking Journey song," he says. "It sounded exactly like Journey, and that's fucked up. I don't want to do that."

"I feel like I'm waving the flag for musicianship, trying to bring back bands that can play," Davis said after his main stage set at this weekend's Ozzfest. "It seems like a lot of music today is so churned out and simple. I like playing these festivals, because it's one thing all day, and then here I come on, and everyone's like, 'Whoa,' then back to the grind."

With a lineup of virtuosos called the Simply Fuckin' Amazings, Davis says he's been picking up instrument after instrument on the road from his new bandmates, including violin, didgeridoo, the glass armonica (an instrument designed by Benjamin Franklin), an Armenian wind instrument called the duduk, and his favorite, the biwa, a Japanese lute. "It sounds like a banjo, but they sing with it, and it's the most fucking passionate, emotional music I've ever heard in my life," Davis said. "I want to include that in my album, because it's so passionate. Like when you hear a Korn song and it's really going crazy, these guys do it with a stringy banjo. I want to bring that to kids here who are like, 'What the fuck is this?' and open their minds up to something different."

After Ozzfest, Davis headed home to begin writing his first solo record, which he hopes will be released by the end of November, and will follow it up with another solo tour. As far as the future of Korn (now down to three original members), Davis says it's more a matter of 'when' than 'if.' He also is leaving the door open for the two departed members to return down the line ("I never say never"), but with former guitarist Brian "Head" Welch releasing a solo album in September and sometimes drummer David Silvera managing restaurants and raising a family, that will happen later rather than sooner, if at all. "When I'm done with this, I'll go to my other gig, but right now, I'm having fun," he said. "I'm not planning that far ahead. This is where I'm at, and I'm really enjoying it."