Jonathan Davis is the last guy in America you’d expect to be well adjusted. Think about it: The guy’s whole career has been built on being a fuck-up. For the last 15 years, Davis has battled and exploited his inner demons as the lead singer of Korn, gaining legions of fans that empathize with his tortured childhood and share his dark fascinations. Born with severe, nearly life-threatening asthma, Davis was abused by a family friend as a boy, ostracized and ridiculed by his classmates as a teen, and became a drug addict and a rock star in his 20s. By the time he hit 30, he was one of the most famous singers in the world, with a legendary reputation for drug consumption and skewed fixations. I spoke with Davis the day after he finished his first solo tour, a two-month slog he described as a blur of “shitty little showers and fucked-up shit holes.”Logically, a goth rock deity like Davis should have been clubbing baby seals for kicks or hiring a private detective to bury a bizarre sex video. Instead, he was resting at his Malibu home looking forward to the following day, when he planned to take two of his children camping on the beach. “I love it. I set them out there in the sand and a tent and that’s it,” Davis says.
What? No drugs? No sex? No blood? Sun, sand, and children? Frankly, it doesn’t sound like a day in the life of a rockstar. “I don’t give a fuck. What’s a rockstar? Trying to be a rock star is what got me in trouble in thefirst place,” Davis says.
These days, Davis spends his time off the road earning his World’s Greatest Nu Metal Dad coffee mug. Sober for almost a decade, he is a happily married father of three boys: 12-year-old Nathan, 2-year-old Pirate, and his newborn baby, Zeppelin. During our conversation, Davis’s voice rarely rose above a whisper, but he booms with happiness on the subject of his kids. “I really love my children. It’s the one thing in this world that makes me truly happy, other than music,” Davis says.
Possible that Davis could some day be too well adjusted to sing for Korn? “No chance. I got issues, bro. I’ll always have issues,” he says.
Davis might be living the straight and narrow, but his version seems wider and more crooked than most. His adoring wife Devon is a former porn star (for the record, she was only in girl-on-girl films, which is like the Coors Light of porn). He sings through a microphone set on a $50,000 stand designed by H.R. Giger (the Swiss artist who created the alien in Alien), he’s collaborating on an opera with Clive Barker (the sicko British horror writer behind the Hellraiser movies).
And as a former collector of serial killer art—a topic, he says, he now can’t ??storm lyrics. “I’ve gone to those places and I’ve written what I needed to write there,”Davis says. “I’m not going to go and try to repeat myself, write some fake shit. With each new record, I’m tapping into new things and just exploring different ideas.”
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