KORN's MUNKY: 'It Just Never Felt Right' Playing Without HEAD

January 29, 2015

In a brand new interview with Rock Sins, KORN guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer was asked how the band has managed to evolve musically over the years while staying true to the KORN sound.

"It's something we've wanted to do from the very beginning," he explained. "I think that our first two albums were very similar. We used the same producer. And at some point right before we made 'Follow The Leader', we were really feeling like we needed to grow musically and experiment, and what all artists really want to do. You don't want to paint the same painting over and over again. It starts to feel like you're on an assembly line of just constructing the same thing, and as listeners, I think people appreciate that. It's still… We're still going through the musical process of what we normally do, but we just try to change it to make it more interesting for ourselves, for the listeners, the consumer. They don't want the same product, you know; you want to have something slightly different, made by the same artist. So I think that gives people variety and it's made for a really interesting catalog of albums through the years."

Munky also spoke about the 2005 departure of KORN guitarist Brian "Head" Welch and his return to the group eight years later.

"When [Head] left, obviously it was very difficult for us to grasp and challenging, but really challenging for me, and I always felt like it was never… Somebody can't just come in and replace your best friend and your bandmate that's been there from the beginning," he said. "So it was like, 'Well, I'll do it. I can do it.' And I wanted to prove to myself that I can handle it and in the back of my… Like, in the back in my mind, I always hoped that he would return; it was always that. But I also had an opportunity to experiment and we worked for some different producers. I had the opportunity to work with Atticus Ross, who's fucking brilliant, and I would love to work with him again at some point, whether it's on a record or a movie soundtrack or something."

He continued: "But yeah, certain opportunities presented themselves, and I think it presented other challenges too. I had to fill the space with more guitar sounds for myself, because usually I had him to bounce ideas off of and it was a very, very quick response creatively. But now with him back, it's sort of… It's kind of a lot of pressure taken off me and it's become fun."

Munky added: "There were a lot of ups and downs when he wasn't there. When we went out on the road live and had to hire different guys, [including] Shane Gibson, rest his soul, who passed away last year, and it was just a mishmash of personalities, you know. Did they get it? Did they not get it? It just never felt right, you know. Obviously we got by, but it was like somebody that's walking with crutches temporarily until something heals. Yeah, you know, it was like, you broke your leg or something. It really was like I lost… So much off my arm, you know?

"We've been having a lot of fun the last couple of years since he's been back and we had… The most fun we've had is when we wrote the album, 'The Paradigm Shift'. Being in the studio, and we didn't know how it was going to go, you know, because the last record we wrote, we were so just drunk and high and just fucked up that… There is always that question: am I going to be able to create? And it was better than ever. We had 20 songs prepared and we recorded, and that was way more than we needed. So the creative madness and the fun, it wasn't work; we were there hanging out, having fun, writing songs and that's how it was when this band started. So it's nice to see that return."

KORN released a limited-edition 300-page hardcover book including photos from the archives paired with brand new notes and commentary from the members. From the stage to the dressing room to the recording studio, you have unlimited access to everything that went into the band's career so far.

The deluxe reissue of KORN's 2013 album, "The Paradigm Shift: World Tour Edition" (Prospect Park) was made available at Best Buy stores in North America on July 15, 2014. The set featured three brand new songs, including the single "Hater", plus "The Game Is Over" and "So Unfair". In addition, it's been beefed up with a bevy of live tracks recorded all over the globe and expanded artwork.

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