Korn's Jonathan Davis talks about his band's new record, his feud with Marilyn Manson, and why rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated. By David Peisner CDNOW Contributing Writer It was little more than seven years ago that Korn's self-titled debut dropped with the weight of a sledgehammer. Back then, the group was an anomaly, playing heavy, disturbing metallic rock despite being consistently told by the mainstream music industry that no one wanted to hear it. They couldn't have been more wrong: Korn's success opened the floodgates for a gaggle of bands (Limp Bizkit, Godsmack, Slipknot, and Papa Roach among them) who have followed in their aggro-rock footsteps. The summer package tour the band organized and headlined in 1998 and '99, the ironically titled Family Values Tour, served as a launching pad for a lot of the aforementioned acts, while the 1999 outing spawned a companion album that's helped yet another act, Staind, find a home on rock radio. After four platinum albums, including 1999's Issues, Korn took a well-deserved breather while frontman Jonathan Davis worked on the soundtrack for the ill-fated Aaliyah film Queen of the Damned and music for a DVD of Clive Barker paintings; bassist Reginald "Fieldy Snuts" Arvizu made an album of his own with side project Fieldy's Dream; and drummer David Silveria recovered from a wrist injury. While putting the finishing touches on his group's new album, Untouchables, Davis filled us in on the latest hoaxes, feuds, and controversies that have dogged his group since its inception. CDNOW: There was an Internet hoax a while back that claimed you had died. Did you catch wind of that? Jonathan Davis: Yeah, I had to go on the radio and tell everybody I was alive because they had all these kids calling, all upset. It made me feel good, though. I'm like, "OK, I'll be missed if I died." That was kind of trippy. That may be as close as you'll ever get to attending your own funeral. It was. It was unreal. My assistant's phone was ringing off the hook. People were calling radio stations. And I was like, "I'm alive, man. Chill out." "I'm not always happy, but I'm a lot better off than I was seven years ago. But you come up, and then there's more problems. And having a big house or having money can't change that fact." You've been sober for a few years now. Has it been tough? Yeah, but you learn to deal with it. You just throw yourself into other things. So I picked up a hobby. I just do that instead of drink. What is it? Scoring movies. How's that experience different than working with the band? I get to be my own boss. I get to do what I want to do. I'm not saying I don't get to do that in Korn, but it's different. Korn's a democracy: If someone doesn't like a part but everybody else likes it, we'll do it anyway. That's the only reason why we've been together for so damn long. I didn't want to go off and do a solo album or do some bull like that and take away from the band. I think that would start a weird vibe. So this is the way I'm just getting it out. Heavy, aggressive rock has become mainstream in the last couple years. Does the abundance of all these heavy-rock/rap-metal folks get The abundance of it pisses me off because it's bull. I just see how fucked-up and corrupt this business is. Eight years ago when we started, they would laugh at us, and now they're just signing [stuff] just because it's heavy. And it's the shittiest music. I don't get it. And people are buying it. So is it time for you guys to put out an album of acoustic folk ballads? No. It's time for us to come out and be innovators again and do something different. Which we're doing right now. Not some acoustic folk [laughs] -- I know what you're saying, though. No, we're going to try and explore different areas. 'Cause it seems like they've just played us out to death. I mean it's flattering as all hell, don't get me wrong -- but it still kind of sucks. Every time I turn on the radio there's some new band sounding exactly like all the [stuff] going on right now, which is something that we started out -- us, Bizkit, and the Deftones. Describe the new album. It's trippy. It's really heavy. I'm writing stuff, and the band's writing stuff, and we're mixing things together. I think we're going to do about 17, 18 songs on this album. It's going to be a mixture of stuff. It's going to be well rounded. We're just throwing in everything, orchestration, just fucking with [it]. Michael Beinhorn's producing it. The guy's a freak. He's pushin' us. Everyone who's worked with him told us, "You're gonna hate his guts; he's gonna push you, but then you'll dig him afterwards." And it's true. But he's really a great guy. He's not the asshole everybody says he is. You seem a lot happier as a person these days. Do the new songs reflect that? I don't know. I mean, they're definitely going to change. I'm not always happy, but I'm a lot better off than I was seven years ago. But you come up, and then there's more problems. And having a big house or having money can't change that fact. So, I just think I've grown up a little bit more. There's still going to be anger, the songs are still going to be emotional; I just think that I'm a little more grown up now. I'm [older], man. I'm not 23 anymore. Things are real different when you're 23 and don't have a kid, and haven't done [anything], and then have a kid, go through a divorce, and get forced to grow up. The way you look at things totally turns. So that's what I'm going through. "[Marilyn Manson's band] kisses our ass every time we see them. We'd beat their ass any other way." Marilyn Manson was making some claims recently about treating you guys badly when you played together on Family Values. Have you heard about any of that? OK. Let me hear what he said, the little bastard. He claimed his band pissed in your catering backstage, and fed you drugs when you were trying to get clean. Is that true? No. He was trying to get me to go back. He was like, "Yeah man, snort the dust," but the guy's a fuckin' coke addict. So of course he wants me to go back, because I used to do it with him. It's not fun doing coke by yourself. And he didn't treat the band like [that]. Those guys kiss our ass every time we see them. We'd beat their ass any other way. Do you get along with him? Yeah. I'm down with everyone in the band. I'm still pissed at Manson for calling my son a bastard. That really did it for me, when he did that in Alternative Press. But whatever, he's just a punk. It's not a big deal. He says shit to say shit. I'm still a fan of the band. I love all they do. What's the biggest misconception about you? That I'm an asshole. That I'm some burly brute man. That's always pissed me off. I'm not.