KORN Assistant Says Running JONATHAN DAVIS's Onstage Teleprompter Is One Of His Most Important Duties
September 2, 2022
KORN guitarist Brian "Head" Welch has shared the latest episode of "All In The Family", a new YouTube series in which he takes a look backstage to show fans the individuals that make KORN live shows happen. The second episode in the series, which focuses on KORN band assistant Scott Sheppard, can be seen below.
According to Sheppard, one of the most important duties he has to perform is to "run the teleprompter" on stage for KORN singer Jonathan Davis. "It's not a secret; I mean, you can clearly see it," Scott said. "It's out there on stage. But when you have 14 albums and you've written hundreds of songs… And when you're rocking out, you're not standing still the whole time — you're walking around, jumping up and down — so every once in a while you wanna just see where you are in the song. So that's my job."
When Welch asked Sheppard if he has ever messed up and put a wrong line up on the teleprompter, Scott said: "It happens, but honestly, it's very rare. And I don't know if it's because… Since I personally know all the songs, it's really easy for me to follow along. Other people, if they just jumped in the spot and they didn't know the songs at all, yeah, I could imagine it'd be very difficult."
Sheppard went on to say that Davis is usually relaxed about any teleprompter mistakes that Scott might be responsible for. "He just gives me an eye, like a side-eye," Sheppard said. "He usually forgets [about it] by the time the show is over."
A teleprompter, or autocue, is a display device that prompts the person speaking with an electronic visual text of a speech or script, and it is usually used by vocalists — including JUDAS PRIEST's Rob Halford and BLACK SABBATH's Ozzy Osbourne — who are getting on a bit and have a large body of work to remember.
Two months ago, TWISTED SISTER's Dee Snider, DISTURBED's David Draiman, STRYPER's Michael Sweet and SHINEDOWN's Zach Myers were among the musicians who defended Vince Neil after several video clips of MÖTLEY CRÜE's July 5 concert in St. Louis, Missouri showed the onstage teleprompter which the singer is apparently relying on to get him through each show.
Two days after BLABBERMOUTH.NETfirst published a story about Vince's teleprompter reliance, former MTV "Headbangers Ball" host Riki Rachtman took to his Twitter to write: "So @MotleyCrue used a teleprompter. Really who fuckin cares. Did you have fun at the show? That’s what matters. A lot of bands have used teleprompters STOP looking for reasons to criticize. Recorded vocals an artist not caring is bad Teleprompters? Who cares".
Snider shared Riki's tweet and chimed in: "True that! MOST bands are using teleprompters. Not me, but I didn't kill a lot of my brain cells with drink and drugs (not a criticism. More of an explanation)."
He added: "STOP being so damn critical and just enjoy seeing the people you love on stage! Now lip synching is another story!"
Draiman took to his Twitter to write: "All you parasitic vultures pretending to be journalists who broke the 'big story' that Vince Neil/ @MotleyCrue uses a teleprompter onstage should really find a new line of work.
"SO FUCKING WHAT? Most artists with extensive catalogs do.
"Leave the guy alone FFS."
Myers shared the BLABBERMOUTH.NET article on Twitter and wrote simply: "Slow news day ?
"Steven Tyler has been 15 of them onstage".
Sweet was equally dismissive of the newsworthiness of the Neil story, writing on Instagram: "I hate to break it to you since this is 'BIG' news but many artists our age (or close to it) use teleprompters of some sort. Or lyric sheets, or other means. I used a teleprompter back in 2008 when I was with BOSTON! I use an IPad now for certain lyrics. When you've got a huge catalog that dates back to the early eighties (and you're getting a little older),it's pretty much impossible to remember the lyrics to every song.
"Why is this news? Give the guy a break. Would you rather he forgets the lyrics so you can beat him up for that?
"I have to say this - it's the best I've seen @thevinceneil do (performance wise) in a long while. He's obviously been working hard and it shows IMO. Regarding teleprompters - who really cares?
"Come on now!"
SEVENDUST guitarist Clint Lowery concurred, writing in the comments section below Sweet's post: "Dude has a catalogue of material to remember. Good for him for making sure he has a fail safe to glance at from time to time. God forbid he misses a lyric he'll get torn apart. Any band that has more than 3 records should use one. We would but we can't afford to have it on deck haha".
FOZZY singer Chris Jericho also chimed in, writing: "We used a teleprompter for Panama haha! @jericho_cruise".
Jericho's FOZZY bandmate, guitarist Rich Ward, commended Michael for his post, writing: "Bravo, Sir."
Two years ago, IRON MAIDEN's Bruce Dickinson called out singers who use teleprompters during live performances, saying, "I don't use an autocue on stage. A lot of singers now, they just have the words there: 'Breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law, breaking the law.' Breaking the what? 'Breaking the law. Breaking the law.'"
Bruce previously brought up the topic of singers relying on teleprompters in a 2014 interview with The Guardian. He said at the time: "I never realized that people were using autocues. What the fuck is that all about? People pay good money and you can't even remember the sodding words."
The now-64-year-old vocalist continued: "The daftest one I ever saw was [JUDAS PRIEST's] 'Breaking The Law'. It's on the fucking autocue. 'Breaking the law, breaking the law/Breaking the law, breaking the law/Breaking the law, breaking the law/Breaking the law' — guess what? — 'breaking the law.' It's ludicrous."
A few weeks after Dickinson's The Guardian interview was published, Halford was asked about the MAIDEN frontman's comments during a chat with Australia's AndrewHaug.com. Rob said: "Well, the first thing I'll say about that is Bruce Dickinson is a good mate of mine; I love him to death. I think he's an incredible singer, he's a great showman, he's in a wonderful band, IRON MAIDEN, who are one of the biggest metal bands in the world. And as far as what people say about each other, I don't think it really means that much, to be quite honest. We say whatever we say, depending on the day and the emotion that we're at. I know Bruce's heart is in the right place, and he just said what he said, and that's all there is to it to comment, in that respect."
In a 2010 interview with the QMI Agency, Halford spoke about how using a teleprompter helped him when he was asked to fill in for Ozzy with BLACK SABBATH for a show after Osbourne was taken ill. "[Like Ozzy], I use a teleprompter now too because I do so many things," he said. "I can't remember. I wish I was like my mate Bruce Dickinson and could do everything, but I need that safety blanket."
During the 2005 edition of Ozzfest, the traveling festival's founder, Ozzy's wife and manager Sharon Osbourne, famously cut the venue's public-address system and the main stage's power on at least three occasions during MAIDEN's performance at the tour's final stop in Devore, California because she said that Dickinson was "talking shit about my family, night after night," and was being "disrespectful" to her husband during Bruce's "nightly outbursts from the stage" by saying that "we don't need a teleprompter' [like Ozzy]."
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