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Jonathan Davis

Jonathan Davis was born in Bakersfield, California on January 18th, 1971.

Jonathan grew up in Bakersfield where his brother Mark says "there's nothing to do but drugs and drink and fuck".

At 16 he became a coroners assistant at the Coroners Department in Kern County. He went on to graduate at the San Francisco School of Mortuary Science.

After seeing victims of car crashes, suicides, and sexual abuse-including people he had known or talked to the day before-he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and has nightmares to this day, one of which is exorcised in the Follow the Leader song "Pretty," about a young incest victim.

Jonathan earned his nickname "HIV" after the "faget" term he was dubbed in high school. Jonathan stood apart from his peers because of his different style of dress, mimicking his pop star idols Duran Duran. Jonathan does not however have AIDS or the HIV virus.

Reclaim My Place.... "That song's about how I thought I'd become a rock star and not get picked on anymore," he says, "but my band still calls me a fag. Everyone thinks I'm queer," he says. "And I kind of am - except for the dick part."

Spend any time with Davis and one is likely to be subjected to an endless barrage of queer references and gay jokes. But what might initially come across as small-town homophobia turns out to be something more, a by-product of a lifetime of sexual confusion. One Davis-penned song, entitled "Faget," reflects on time spent as a Duran Duran-loving New Romantic, when the singer would don makeup and hang out in gay bars. "Everyone thought I was gay my whole life," says Davis, "so I have to joke about it just to deal with it."

As a reminder Jonathan has "HIV" tatooed on his upper left arm. "That tattoo has probably saved my life. You know in situations when passion and lust take over your brain.... I take a look at that tattoo and I remember that the virus is out there and you never know who's got it" says Jonathan.

On his upper right arm is a tattoo of a crazed bishop ripping up his skin. "The bishop is a symbol of the atrocities that religion is making. He's ripping up my skin to reveal Christ. It's more of a symbol of how corrupt religion is. I don't believe in any of it because of shit like televangilism. Do you really think that all that money really goes to charity?"

"Before I got in KoRn, I tried out to be Jesus Christ just so I could face his ass." says Jonathan of the show Jesus Christ Superstar. "He was such an asshole to me, but it still made me cry to watch him hang by his neck."

Jonathan went on to join the band Sex Art as lead singer. It was in this band that he was spotted by Munky and Head at a local club. They asked him to try out for their band, which was then called LAPD. Jonathan went and tried out. "I didn't want to do it. I went to a psychic and she told me I was stupid if I didn't do it" he says. And so, Korn was born.

Jonathan's lyrics have created nothing short of controversy and many of his songs come from the people around him, including his stepmother who is the subject of the song "Kill You", about how she constantly harassed, punished, and tormented him, and the appropriately titled "Mr Rogers" which was originally to be called "Be My Neighbor", a song which was inspired by the televsision show Mr Rogers.

"When I was a little kid watching Mr. Rogers, that shit was scary. He was a freaky old man... Land of Makebelieve and Mr. FuckinMcFeely and shit... made me sick. So back when I was doing speed, like for 5 or 6 days I'd be trippin out and my brain would start to get freaky and get schizophrenic and stuff, and I'd tape it and watch it everyday over and over... I don't know, I was sick in the head. As a kid he told me to be polite and all it did was get me picked on. I fucking hate that man. Thanks for making me polite and trusting everyone, and easy to take advantage of. So I spent 3 months on that one song, just tweakin' on it, and it was totally just my Mr. Rogers obsession, about how evil I thought he was. Pretty much drug induced."

And as for the much discussed "Daddy" from Korn's debut album, Davis says "People think Daddy was written because my dad fucked me up the ass, but that's not what the song's about. It wasn't about my dad or my mom. When I was a kid I was being abused by someone else and I went to my parents and told them about it. They thought I was lying and joking around, so they never did shit about it. They didn't belive it was happening to their son. I don't like to talk about that song, this is the most I've ever talked about it."

When Daddy was recorded Jonathan became so emotional that they left the tape rolling. At the end of the song you can hear a door creaking. That's Jonathan walking out of the sound studio. Daddy has only been performed live once, but Jonathan became too emotional and so they stopped playing.

At a young age Jonathan went through the painful ordeal of parental divorce. His father Rick later remarried.

Considering that Jonathan has portrayed his father as an abusive enemy of all that he was and wanted to be, the two seem to get along surprisingly well. When asked about "Dead Bodies Everywhere," a song on the new album about how he didn't want his son to be a musician.

"Initially there was some nervousness on my part," he says of first hearing songs describing his relationship with his son. "But it forced us to sit down and go over all the issues and resolve them. And we did, didn't we?" "Yeah," says Jonathan obediently. "I had lost everything in bankruptcy, and I was going through a divorce, and at the moment I looked at my son and said, 'Always have a day job to fall back on.' And fortunately he didn't listen to me. But everything's okay now." "We were both fucked up." Jonathan concedes. "I still remember when I drove back home after you moved to Long Beach," his dad says. "When I saw you were living in one corner of a garage, you have no idea how many buckets I cried driving home. But I thought, at least he's pursuing his dream. "I'll be damned," dad continues, "now you're a little drunk in front of your kid, making music and touring all the time, just like I was."

Jonathan says "Since I was 13, all we talked about was pussy. It wasn't until I started writing songs about him that we started talking about all that other stuff. He's not that bad now. But at that time it felt horrible. When he asks me, 'I wasn't a bad dad, was I?' What am I going to say? 'You were an asshole'?"

But the truth is that Jonathan now does understand, at least a little. "Ever since I've had a kid I totally have new respect for my dad," he marvels. "He did fuck me over, but I can understand why. When he left to go on the road, he needed to put food on the table. He needed to pay hospital bills: I was asthmatic, I was in the hospital every month from the age of three to the age of ten. When you're three years old you don't think about that shit. It really freaked me out when I left to go to Japan and my son said, 'You got to go work? Bye daddy.' Then he rolled over, like 'don't talk to me' It hurt my feelings more than anything in the world."

In November 1998 Jonathan married his girlfriend of seven years, Renee. "Man, I gave her a wedding she will never forget! I was fully in all armour and wearing a Kings Crown; she's a fairy. There were all kinds of little fairies and sprites jumping in the trees and shit, it was crazy. Renee came up with it... we were like sitting there and thought wouldn't it be really badass to be all medieval. We saw that film... remember Excalibur? Kinda like that, and she went on from there and did it all up. It was a fuckin' bad-ass was definitely dope. People were trippin' the fuck out. Everybody had to dress in costumes and shit so it was just a fun time. The whole thing... the castle we were in and everything... the whole thing was just awesome."

Jonathan has one son, Nathan Houseman Davis, who was born on October 18, 1995. He had been expecting a baby girl, but at delivery Jonathan was only slightly surprised to see, as he put it, "pink balls", and he had to come away from the girls name Salaam Dementia.
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