As a member of a band that’s been playing amphitheaters and other large venues for the better part of a 25-year history, Korn bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu has seen his share of spectacular visual concert productions.
Although his initial reaction was underwhelming, Fieldy (as he’s known to Korn’s fans) says fans are in for a show unlike anything Korn’s done before on its current run with Alice in Chains. The tour makes an Aug. 17 stop at KeyBank Pavilion in Burgettstown.
“This time we brought out some new technology, stage-type situation, that has never been done before. It’s mind blowing,” Fieldy said in an early August phone interview. “I remember when they (the production people) were talking about the stage they were bringing out, I was like ‘It sounds lame. That sounds dumb.’ But then when I saw it, I had chills. I was like this is the next level, something I’ve never seen in my whole life. It’s bigger than life. It’s so massive that I can’t even wrap my head around it. But it’s pretty cool and probably one of my favorite Korn stages we’ve ever brought out.”
Another thing that’s impressing Fieldy is “The Nothing,” the new Korn album that will be released on Sept. 13. Just don’t expect the group to provide much of a preview of the new album in its current show.
Playing the favorites
“The set list is pretty much all of the Korn favorites. We’re only doing one off of ‘The Nothing,’ the single (“You’ll Never Find Me”) that’s out to radio,” Fieldy said. “The new Korn album is a little too new to be playing a whole lot of it. So we’re just doing one song off of it right now.”
“The Nothing” is Korn’s 13th album and like pretty much every Korn album, the project began with the four instrumentalists in the band – Fieldy, guitarists James “Munky” Shaffer and Brian “Head” Welch and drummer Ray Luzier — getting together with a producer – this time Nick Raskulinecz — to write music to which singer Jonathan Davis then adds lyrics and vocal melodies.
This time around, Davis was touring behind his first solo album, “Black Labrynth,” while his Korn bandmates wrote music for what eventually became “The Nothing.” But the album became especially personal for Davis in August 2018.
Battling through tragedy
On the 18th of that month, his wife, Deven, died from an accidental drug overdose after battling mental illness and addictions for a decade-plus. Though the couple was estranged at the time, Davis posted a statement following Deven’s death that clearly showed his love for his late wife.
Not surprisingly, Deven’s death became the inspiration for the lyrics Davis started working on for “The Nothing.” But the writing wasn’t a quick and easy process for Davis.
In interviews, Davis has said he worked with a few outside collaborators, but the suggestions they offered didn’t suit him. According to Davis, he eventually locked himself away in his studio and decided to follow his own instincts in completing the songs for “The Nothing” — committing himself to take whatever time it took to get the results he wanted.
That may have sounded dramatic, but Fieldy said it seemed like business as usual for Davis.
“That’s every album,” Fieldy said. “He’ll work a little bit with somebody and maybe bring someone else in or maybe do some on his own. It all depends on his mood. There have been a few (albums) that’s he’s worked with one producer the whole time or one other (person). It’s always changing, but that’s normally the norm.”
This approach to album making has, obviously, worked very well for Korn. Formed in Bakersfield, Calif., the group quickly made an impact with its million-selling 1994 self-titled debut album. Things only accelerated from there with the 1996’s double-platinum “Life Is Peachy,” the blockbuster 1998 release “Follow the Leader” (10 million copies sold worldwide) and the triple-platinum 1999 album “Issues.” By that time, Korn was established as the leader of the so-called nu metal genre – a label the band never liked.
The group has soldiered on since then, maintaining major popularity, overcoming the departure of Welch from 2005 to 2013. The band’s recent albums, “The Paradigm Shift” (2013) and “The Serenity of Suffering” (2016) have been well received.
Given the circumstances in Davis’ life that preceded the making of “The Nothing,” It’s no surprise that the vocalist has described the new album as being very dark. Fieldy, though, sees another side to the new songs.
“I see victory, I see overcoming, pressing on and not giving up,” Fieldy said. “That’s what I see him going through. It’s some of the most difficult times of his life, but that’s what I see through it.”