Scott Bowling of Good Company recently conducted an interview with KORN drummer Ray Luzier. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On KORN‘s latest studio album, “The Nothing”:
Ray: “We’re definitely on a new, I’d say, level, all the way around as a band. There’s no substance abuse. There’s no drama. It’s all about music and family now. I think, everyone obviously, knows what Jonathan [Davis, vocals] went through losing his wife last year and it was a big deal. The emotion that he poured out on this record was super heavy, super intense.”
On the writing process for “The Nothing” and how the death of Davis‘s wife impacted it:
Ray: “This record, what’s special about it is all five of us were getting together. Usually, it’s me, Munky [James Shaffer, guitar] and Head [Brian Welch, guitar] getting together and writing some riffs and come back to it. And we did do that on this record, but we really all five collectively got together in Nashville, in Los Angeles, we have a studio in Bakersfield. It was really cool because we were bouncing ideas off of each other. Somebody would say, ‘How about this?’ We didn’t rush this record. We kind of took our time. We got away from the music for a couple of weeks, we came back to it and re-addressed things, and said, ‘This is not as strong as we thought it was.’ Because you get really jazzed when you start writing stuff, you’re like ‘This is the best thing ever!’ You notice in a couple of weeks that it’s not that happening.’ Bringing producer Nick Raskulinecz back into the fold was important. He did ‘The Serenity Of Suffering’, the last record. Nick, he’s a passionate guy. He’s rocking out with the broomstick in front of me while I’m doing drum tracks for the record. He’s rocking out and I’m like, ‘What are you doing dude?’ He’s like ‘I’m just feeling it!’ Because that’s the way he is. He’s such a passionate dude. I think everything just went like this [puts hands together] on this record. Not like they didn’t on the others, but there was something really special about this one.”
On his abilities as a drummer:
Ray: “I look at myself as still having a long way to go. I’ve accomplished a lot but I still feel like I have so much to learn and music to embrace. There’s so much out there. That’s what is great about what I do: You never reach that plateau of ‘I’m good. I’m going to stick at this level.’ I just did a drum festival last week in Manchester, England, and wow. [Laughs] I closed the whole thing. I didn’t want to close the thing. Dude, I felt like, I mean there’s insane, smoking drummers like Chris Coleman from BECK and Matt Garstka from ANIMALS AS LEADERS, Bennie Graham and Marco Minnemann. The list went on and I’m, like, ‘What am I doing here?'”
On ARMY OF ANYONE, the band featuring Luzier, FILTER frontman Richard Patrick and Dean and Robert DeLeo of STONE TEMPLE PILOTS:
Ray: “As I was getting out of the DAVID LEE ROTH BAND, I was looking for something original. I had too much music in me. I wrote music. I felt like I was in a David Lee Roth cover band with David Lee Roth. We were playing VAN HALEN and I had a blast and I don’t regret any of it. I learned a ton, I got to travel the world, but I was looking for a ‘band’ to call my own. When I played the NAMM show in 2005 with Billy Sheehan. Billy‘s a great friend of mine. I did his last two solo records, ‘Holy Cow’ and ‘Cosmic Troubadour’. Billy and I and Toshi [Hiketa] of the HIDEOUS SUN DEMON record, played this trio thing. Robert DeLeo and Dean DeLeo were there with Steve Ferrone from the AVERAGE WHITE BAND. They were playing a thing called Farm Fur and Billy Cobham was on the bill. All these insane drummers. I was, like, ‘They must hate us.’ But they were nudging each other at soundcheck, ‘Who’s this guy? Who’s this drummer?’ I go, ‘I’m the biggest STP freak. Thank you for all of your music.’ They go, ‘What are you doing right now?’ I go, ‘Well, I’m in the DAVID LEE ROTH BAND. I’m looking for another band.’ They looked at each other and went ‘We have this band with Richard from FILTER.’ I went ‘I’m a huge FILTER fan. Please let me audition.’ They said, ‘You’re going to audition, all right.’ I went down there and they were looking at a couple of other drummers, some great drummers, people I look up to. I was scared because I didn’t think I was going to get the gig. We played side one and side two of ‘Physical Graffiti’ because they’re [LED] ZEPPELIN freaks. We get done. ‘Can we play the songs I learned? The demos?’ They said, ‘Where are you from again?’ I go, ‘Pittsburgh.’ They said, ‘You got the gig.’ It was weird. I think I played one or two AOA songs. But they are some of the sweetest people on the planet, some of the best musicians I’ve ever worked with.”
On why ARMY OF ANYONE only released one studio album:
Ray: “At that time I knew Scott Weiland, eventually, he was in VELVET REVOLVER. It was kind of supergroup time. I knew Scott was going to eventually get back in [STONE TEMPLE PILOTS]. The tour, we were kind of the guinea pigs on this record company called The Firm. The Firm [Music]. I’m not saying they mismanaged us or anything, but I don’t know if there was enough done for the magnitude of the band. Because I really believed in it; that was my baby. The Firm managed KORN and a bunch of others, and they also managed ARMY OF ANYONE. I was calling my manager going, ‘This isn’t looking good. The tour is kind of slowing down. What’s going on?’ He’s like ‘I don’t know, man.’ I could feel the demise of it and it was bumming me out because we had a lot of material starting for ‘AOA II’. I was like, ‘What am I going to do? I need a gig.’ I go ‘What’s up with KORN? They got Terry Bozzio. They got Brooks Wackerman. They got Joey [Jordison] from SLIPKNOT filling in.’ All of this stuff. ‘They’re looking for a steady drummer.’ At this time, I had longer, blond hair. He goes ‘You should go play with them and see what happens.’ I went ‘Yeah, right.’ He said ‘No, they really dig that ARMY OF ANYONE record.’ I was, like, ‘Okay.’ That’s what I did. I went up and auditioned at Joey’s last gig in Seattle because he was going back to SLIPKNOT at the time. I set up this little five-piece rickety drummer kit in this empty theater in Seattle.”
“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.