During an appearance on the latest episode of the "Lead Singer Syndrome" podcast, KORN frontman Jonathan Davis was asked if the fact that some of the bigger metal bands like METALLICA were "going soft" in the mid-1990s had an impact on the musical direction of his band's first couple of albums. "With us, we didn't care about METALLICA or any metal music in general," Davis responded. "The most metal band that we really were inspired by was SEPULTURA, but other than that, we were something different. And we always were fighting against this, 'Do this metal, do that metal.' We tried so hard to get around that and be with alternative bands and stuff like that, which we did for a while, but it didn't work.
"We were not a metal band in the sense of a METALLICA or of IRON MAIDEN or that kind of stuff — we were something new — so we always tried to stay away from that," he continued.
"We didn't care what METALLICA was doing. I mean, I got in trouble and said it. We went out on tour with METALLICA — our first METALLICA tour — and I said something in the press and they took it and they cut it out, the quote, and they put it all over the arena. And the quote was, 'I liked METALLICA better when they were men.' [Laughs] And I felt so horrible. And they came and [said], 'You talking shit?' I was all, 'Yes. I'm sorry.' I was intimidated. That's James Hetfield and Kirk [Hammett] and all those guys just looking at me. It's my first tour with them. I mean, I love 'em now — don't get me wrong — but, yeah, I said some shit. 'Cause it was kind of weird."
Davis clarified that the incident in question happened around the release of METALLICA's 1996 album "Load'. "That was just odd," he explained. "It was weird. It was very weird. But to this day, I love those guys; they've been really, really cool to us and took us on a lot of tours.
"Yeah, it was weird [how] most bands were going soft at that time. And now that I look back, I'm glad they did," he said. "You can't keep doing the same shit, 'cause you get bored. And that's all they were doing — they were trying to evolve, trying to figure it out — and more power to 'em."
Back in 2003, Davis made headlines when he told Swedish journalist Martin Carlsson that METALLICA's then-current album "St. Anger" was "the shittiest thing I ever heard in my life." He went on to say: "I respect those guys immensely since some of those songs are great. Some of that shit sounds like it's beginners' shit. I understand they're going for a new raw and heavy sound, but that's just shit. I don't get it. I like some of the songs, it's cool and it's not [me] talking shit [about them] at all, but the production is just horrible. I know what they're trying to get across, but Lars [Ulrich]'s snare drum is the most irritating thing I've heard in my whole life."
Davis recently announced the fall 2018 leg of the U.S. tour in support of his recently released "Black Labyrinth" solo album. Special guests on the trek will be THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE and JULIEN-K.
KORN will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its classic third album, "Follow The Leader", with three shows this fall in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.