Music Preview: Nu metal band Korn is back with a big tour, no-name album

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They were going to title the album. But why would Korn want to limit what fans could call the new record released on Tuesday?

"We did come up with a few names for it, but it started to feel forced," said James "Munky" Shaffer, a guitarist for the group. "Who says we have to title the album? So we decided to not do it. That's just kind of how it happened."

The recording began last October after they finished the tour supporting their seventh album, "See You on the Other Side."

A near-death experience of a band member influenced the latest recording from Korn.
Click photo for larger image.

Family Values Tour

With: Korn, Evanescence, Atreyu, Flyleaf, Trivium and HellYeah.
When: 3 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Post-Gazette Pavilion.
Tickets: $15.99-$65.50; 412-323-1919.

Jonathan Davis' bout with immune thrombocytopenic purpura, a blood clotting disorder, influenced the tone and tenor of the new record.

"I almost died. Death was completely on my mind when I was writing the lyrics," Davis told "It really made me think about life, where it's been and where it's going. While I was sick, all I could think about was that I might die and then my sons would be growing up without a dad. That was really hard."

The band's appearance on MTV Unplugged was another influence on the new album.

"I think for me it was kind of cool because we did the Unplugged thing and I was never a really big Cure fan," Shaffer said. "After we did the song with them, we went back and listened to some of their records. I kind of really liked their stuff. There's some really dark and sad songwriting. I think that had some influence on the record as well."

In addition to Davis' health problems, there were other setbacks that happened while the band recorded new material. Drummer David Silveria took a leave of absence and was temporarily replaced by Terry Bozzio. The substitution brought problems the band hadn't expected.

"There were certain demands that he made. We weren't ready to meet those demands. We just brought him in to write," Shaffer said. "It's like some chick that you hang out with and all of a sudden they want to move in. What do you say to that? 'You were supposed to stay for the weekend, but you moved in all your (stuff).' It was kind of like that.

"He was a great guy and a phenomenal drummer. But the demands that he made were offensive. He wanted to be a member of the band, and that included ownership. We were like, 'What? You want to have 25 percent of everything?' We can't just sign away the right to music on a whim. Then all of a sudden he slaps us with this."

Bozzio will not be touring with the band, and he left before Korn finished the album. Despite the drummer problems, the record was completed before Korn started its Family Values Tour, which will stop in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Some of the new songs seem political. The video trailer for "Evolution" mocked Al Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." Davis told that he disliked most politicians and saw politics as a laughing matter. He said Korn was not a political band, despite what they may think about American politics. Shaffer shared that sentiment.

"Rage Against the Machine is a political band. Korn is more of a self-awareness band," Shaffer said.

Shaffer couldn't determine when the band would be back in the studio to record a ninth album.

"We've got a lot of touring to do. Then we'll probably take a break for a little bit. It's hard to say. There's a long road ahead of us."

Cody McDevitt can be reached at .


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