Whenever metal bands mix things up and throw their fans a musical curveball, many of the diehards among their following can get pissed off, even though they may eventually believe the risk can be worth it in the end. On the latest Korn album, The Path of Totality, the Bakersfield rockers serve up an exotic brew combining the dark, drum ’n’ bass–like electronica of dubstep with the down-tuned, aggro rock that is their forte. The resultant concoction tastes great but is not less filling, and it is among the strongest music they have ever created in their two-decade career—even if some fans and critics are scratching their heads. Taking the textures and noisy sounds bequeathed them by various dubstep DJs and producers—Skrillex, Kill the Noise, and Excision among them—Korn shaped tracks such as “Chaos Lives in Everything,” “Get Up!” and “Sanctuary” into flavorful metallic tunes that helped land the album in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 on its first week of release and garnered an album of the year nod by Revolver.
Just after the release of The Path of Totality and the band’s two-week warm-up tour, INKED tracked down Korn bassist Fieldy to interrogate him about a wide range of subjects: the new album and direction, his forthcoming musical side projects, being born again, conspiracy theories, and, of course, his colorful tattoos.
INKED: What kind of reaction to the new album have Korn fans been giving you?
FIELDY: We’ve gotten a really big response off of this, probably one of the biggest ever. For example, this is our 10th studio album and [at one point] the number one downloaded iTunes song [from Korn] was “Falling Away From Me,” which is off one of our older records, and number two is “Get Up!”, the brand-new one we do with Skrillex. You would think it would be “Blind” or “Freak on a Leash,” but it shows that the world continues on and gets current.
Why the new sound? Korn has always been trying to stay current with the world. With every record we put out, we’ve always tried to stay up with everything. Everybody’s always known that about Korn—we’ve always tried to push whatever’s coming out next.
You’re in the band StillWell with rapper Anthony “Q-Unique” Quiles and drummer Noah “Wuv” Bernardo Jr. from P.O.D. What’s that been like? I play guitar in StillWell, and I really stayed away from anything that was Korn, or tried my best, because that’s the way that I would play guitar if I didn’t play in Korn. To me, it’s nothing like Korn; it’s really different. We put an EP out on November 21 called Surrounded by Liars, which is like B-sides that we had laying around. We’re working on a new album. We have about 20 songs [written], and my goal is to have 50 songs, then we’ll go back and pick the best ones. It’s going to be awesome to be able to choose from 50 songs.
And you’re working on another solo album? It’s close to being finished. I have 20 songs. It’s a bass album called Bassically, and I really put a lot of time into it. I play stand-up bass, fretless basses, and lead bass guitar. It’s instrumental. It goes from jazz, fusion, funk, blues, and reggae to every style, so you just listen to the bass doing these crazy things. It was a great way for me to get every musical style out of my system.
Are there other elements that you think Korn will bring into their music in the future to keep it fresh? I think there’s always a fine line. You can’t really go too far. A full-on blues song wouldn’t go for Korn, so you’ve got to really make sure it has the integrity of Korn or you just lose people. I’m going to put out an album with Latin, jazz, blues, and funk. I can pick up and play anything, and so can [Korn guitarist] Munky, but we’ve got to be real careful not to lose people. Then you’re not getting the right product. It’s like going to buy a Big Mac and having a fish fillet thrown in the middle there.
StillWell’s “Surrounded by Liars” and its video are fun because they take the familiar theme of growing up and realizing that certain things aren’t true and gives it a humorous twist. Is there any childhood lie you’ve uncovered that turned out to be really damaging, even if it wasn’t intentional? I guess hanging with so many people all the time, you see so many people just lie about so many things, including myself. Everybody has a point where they lie. Some people may say they don’t, but everybody does somewhere down the line. Where I’m at in my life today, I guess I can’t really say I remember anything, because growing up you find out that everything ends up being a lie. To me, everything in this world is a lie, and there’s only one thing that’s truth for me, and that’s the word of God. Everything else is a philosophy or a conspiracy or a lie. Other people can disagree with me, but that’s just where I’m at in my life.
You went through a lot before you considered yourself a born-again Christian. What has it been like for you staying in the rock world and dealing with all of the temptations? Temptation is always going to be there, and we all fall short. I think we’re all sinners saved by grace through Christ Jesus. There’s no way to be this good, perfect human being. So many people think they’re a good person, but according to what? Who is a good person? Nobody. I don’t care about what good works you do, someone else will say that it’s not good, so it’s so hard to just say that you’re a good person.