Phil Rowson of the "Empower Humans" podcast recently conducted an interview with KORN drummer Ray Luzier. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On KORN's longevity:
Ray: "We're really lucky. I feel blessed. The band has been on 25 years. October starts my 13th year. It's insane. A lot of bands that have been around this long, usually are playing clubs or they're riding out on the couple of hits they had back in the day. The cool thing about KORN is that we stay current. We're always writing new music. We put a dubstep record out in 2012 ['The Path Of Totality']. We're not afraid to take chances. This past tour really proved where we're at. We went out with ALICE IN CHAINS. Every one sold out or was close to selling out, every single shed or arena. It was just a great feeling."
On the "acrobatic" nature of his live performances:
Ray: "It's always been a pet peeve of mine to go to a rock show or something that is heavily involved and I see a drummer with that 'waiting for the bus' look on his face. Nothing drives me more nuts. Granted, I'm not saying you should be a ham back there, but I learned from David Lee Roth years ago that, he'd always tell me, 'Luzier, people are paying good money to see you too. Don't be boring back there.' That was a big deal to me. I learned a lot of things about show business off of David Lee Roth, and he's one of the kings of it of all time. I grew up in a giant marching band kind of era. I was in marching for some quite some time where you had to spin sticks in unison and in time. I never wanted to be a show-off or anything, I just wanted to bring some of that visual aspect to the stage. I one hundred percent play like how I'm feeling. I'm feeling that aggression and I'm feeling that rage because the music calls for it. There's not exactly love ballads in KORN. [Laughs]"
On running into Alex Van Halen in Los Angeles while as a member of David Lee Roth's solo band:
Ray: "The Van Halen brothers are reclusive. They're never out; they never play out on people's records, except for that song 'Beat It' that Michael Jackson song. They're not much out there, so I was living in Encino, California, in the Valley. I'm at this taco stand where I loved their fish tacos, and lo and behold, Alex Van Halen was there with his then-wife. I just finished the song 'Slam Dunk!', the very first single off the David Lee Roth record, 'DLR Band'. I never met the guy. I went, 'I'm not going to bother him.' Sometimes I get bummed when people bother me when I'm eating. But I couldn't resist because it was just me, him and his girl. I went, 'Hey, Al. This is a funny story, but I'm working with your old singer right now and I'm in his band.' He looked back at me, like, 'Oh really?' It was a surreal moment. I said, 'Yeah, I'm on this song. I was very inspired by you because it has a double bass shuffle and 'Hot For Teacher' was one of my favorite songs to play. It's just a pleasure to meet you.' He was very nice and said, 'Hey, good luck. You tell 'Diamond' I said hi.' I said 'I absolutely will.' It was a good moment."
On the lyrical themes behind KORN's latest studio album, "The Nothing":
Ray: "Obviously, everyone knows Jonathan [Davis, vocals] went through a traumatic — we all did — a traumatic experience last year with the loss of his wife. It was right in the middle of his solo tour that I was playing on. We went out to support that, and I really thought that, 'Okay, wow, this is not good. Who knows when he'll get back in the headspace of wanting to tour and record again?' He called us up and said, 'If I don't go out and play, I'm going to lose my mind. That's my therapy.' And that is for a lot of people. That's why a lot of people come to our shows. They want to get away from their nine-to-fives, they want a release and rock out and hear loud music and cut loose. That was really huge of him to keep playing and keep touring. Then we got in the studio, of course, [and] a lot of this just had to come out. It's definitely a darker record. If you listen to that thing from front to bottom, I had to stop listening to it because it's so mentally exhausting in a great way. It just takes you on a journey. By the last note of his breath that you hear on the record, it's, like, 'Okay, that was heavy.' [Laughs] I think everyone's going to feel that. There's no faking the emotion that's on this record. We trapped it for sure."
On recording "The Nothing":
Ray: "I played all of those drum takes from start to finish. A lot of drummers do this thing, and guitar players and vocalists, where they punch every couple of bars. They'll sing a little bit or they'll play drums for say, the verse, then they'll go get the next verse and they'll go back and get the chorus. Nick Raskulinecz, our producer, who I love, he's one of my favorites of all time, had me play the songs. He's, like, 'Nope. You're onstage right now. How would this sound?' I was, like, 'Wow. That's a totally different approach than, 'Okay, the red light's on. Everyone get uptight and get nervous.' It wasn't like that. I was literally rocking out in the studio and it felt so good, especially on the song 'Cold' and 'You'll Never Find Me', the first two songs. I'm literally in there playing, having fun. If I messed something up, I'd go back and fix a blatant mistake, but for the most part, they wanted that vibe on there. Munky [James Shaffer] and Head [Brian Welch] tracked the guitars together, head to head, much like they did on 'The Serenity Of Suffering'. There's a special element about that because the one guitar player doesn't want to mess up because the other one would have to do it over and vice-versa. That was a really cool vibe on here."
"The Nothing" was released on September 13 via Roadrunner/Elektra.
In addition to first single "You'll Never Find Me", KORN released the "Cold" and "Can You Hear Me" songs prior to "The Nothing"'s arrival.