Erik Kabik / ErikKabik.com
Friday, Oct. 23, 2015 | 4 p.m.
Nu-metal pioneer Korn is amid the final leg of its 20th anniversary tour commemorating its 1994 self-titled album. The tour made its initial pass at Brooklyn Bowl in the Linq Promenade this year and will be at Mandalay Bay’s House of Blues tonight.
Stickman Ray Luzier began playing with Korn in 2007 after its original drummer, David Silveria, departed in 2006. Luzier’s career has been colossal, with 50 records under his belt, as the former drummer for David Lee Roth, countless projects and now celebrating his ninth anniversary with Korn this month.
Luzier, 45, answered questions over the phone discussing life as a Korn member, the tour and upcoming album:
Korn visited Brooklyn Bowl this year playing the 20th anniversary tour and decided to visit Las Vegas again?
Yeah, we started trickling in some of the shows back then, but now we are doing 30 days and honing in on that. We love Las Vegas. We love playing there, for sure.
How has the experience been playing Korn’s 1994 self-titled album?
It’s really special. Jon (frontman Jonathan Davis) swore he would never sing “Daddy” again. The last song on the record is very heavy. He breaks down almost every night; the fans are crying. Music is much more powerful than we think it is. Korn has a catalog of over 130 songs, so it’s quite the setlist to choose from. Of course we play five or six hits at the end of the night, but the main focus for these shows is the anniversary.
How had it been for you as the only non-original member of Korn and playing its 1994 self-titled album?
I got the gig in 2007 and they swore me in as a member in 2009, so I’m starting my ninth year. This month actually starts my ninth year with the band. I was a huge fan of that first record when it came out, so for me to play it is really special. The album that I used to listen to so much, and now I’m performing it live.
Having Head (Brian Welch) back in the band is just awesome. I’m the only non-original member. We got our groove on really strong right now, and everyone is really focused on music and family. Nothing to get in the way anymore, no substance, no drama. We’re just at a great place in our lives.
And that’s the great thing about it. I’m a huge fan of Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, all those bands. What’s great about Korn is they sliced right through all that. There’s no, “We’re going to sound like this band, we’re going to sound like that band, no, we’re going to sound like Korn.” That’s a huge thing to do or statement to make. I remember hearing that record saying this is going to change a lot of music, and it did. That’s why I am so proud to be a part of this band.
We’re been very experimental on the last few records. You gain new fans and piss off the old school, but at the end of the day, it’s still us and we stay true to who we are.
Korn was a game-changer back in the 1990s. It doesn’t seem like rock music has experienced that in recent years. Can you think of a band who has changed the landscape?
It’s weird, there aren’t that many bands who blow me away. Royal Blood, they write great songs, it rocks, there’s no B.S., they’re not trying to sounds like anybody else. But are they going to be ginormous? They’re hitting big now, but are they going to change the face of music? Probably not. But there are just a lot of bands who aren’t doing that anymore. I don’t know, to be honest.
Myself, I’m looking forward to the new Deftones record. I was talking to somebody not long ago about that, and we were saying, “Do you remember back in the day you couldn’t wait?” There was always three or four records a month where you just couldn’t wait until they came out, and now, these days, occasionally you get one of your favorite bands, but for the most part, no. It’s kind of sad.
Do you think how people are acquiring music has changed the music landscape (buying albums vs. downloads/streaming)?
Everything is instantaneous now. They don’t want to sit through an entire record anymore, which is really sad because a lot of records tell stories. But on the good side of it, you can get your song to the masses right away just by hitting one little button on your computer.
Speaking of new music, can you give Korn fans insight into the new album?
Everyone always likes to say this is the best record they’ve been working on, but I just came from the studio. We have a long way to go, but every time I hear it, I get chills. I love the “Paradigm Shift,” I’m a huge fan of that record, but I didn’t get chills every time I heard that record. This I literally get goose bumps, and that’s a great thing because that’s what you want as an artist to get those kinds of feelings.
Right now it’s really heavy and ruthless, which is my favorite. Who knows what’s going to happen later. Heavy is definitely a good word, but it’s too early to tell everything right now, so I’ll just leave it at that.
How has the synergy of the band evolved over the nine years you’ve been a member?
We’re in a much better place right now, we’re all about it, it’s all about families, it’s all about music. There’s no substance, there’s nothing in the way, no drama. It’s always been that way for me. I’ve never had any drug problems. It’s always been about the music for me, so it’s really important I play in a band like that.
Why did you choose to audition for Korn in 2007?
I was in a band called Army of Anyone with Robert DeLeo from Stone Temple Pilots and Richard Patrick from Filter. That was my last band.
We had the same management as Korn, and I was a huge fan. I caught up with management and said, “What’s going on with them? I’d love to jam with them sometime.” They said, “Go to Joey’s (Joey Jordinson of Slipknot filled in before Luzier was hired) last show in Seattle, try it out, and see what happens.” They told me to learn six songs, and I learned 33. I’m always overprepared for auditions. I played six songs with the band, they said welcome to Korn, and we’ll see you in Dublin.
I’d like to just say thanks for all the support. Like I said, we love playing Las Vegas. We’ll keep coming back as long as people keep showing up.
We have a lot of cool things online on our site Korn.com. There are VIP packages and drum lessons and guitar lessons we always offer at the shows. That’s a really cool thing, so I encourage people to go on there and check it out. All of us have side projects we like to play in, and all that info is on there. So, we’re just busy musicians.
I’d just like to thank everyone in Las Vegas for supporting us.
Melina Robinson is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer.