Name: Jonathan Davis, Instrument: Vocals, Bagpipes, Nickname: HIV, Born: January 18, 1971, Marital Status: Separated
by Gennifer Brown
In the year of 1971, on January 18th, a baby boy by the name of Jonathan Houseman Davis was born to his mother, and father, Rick Davis.
Bakersfield, California was the city and state to become home to such a talented young man. Jonathan's real mother worked in local theatre. His father worked in the music industry along with Buck Owens, as well as other occupations, such as working in a musical store when Jonathan was young. At the age of five, Jonathan was taking up drumming. By high school, he had taken up many instruments such as the piano and bagpipes. His grandmother played the bagpipes and, after hearing Amazing Grace, he was inspired to take up the Scottish instrument. He was in his high school's band class as well as a bagpipe band for his school.
When Jonathan was just a young boy at the age of three, his Mother and father divorced and his Father remarried when he was 12. While many children have trouble adjusting to a new parent, or just plain refuses to get along, Jonathan's troubles went a little deeper. This is what Jonathan had to say about the song "Kill You".
"It's about a relative I first met when I was 12. I fucking hate that bitch. She's the most evil, fucked up person I've met in my whole life. She hated my guts. She did everything she could to make my life hell. Like, when I was sick she'd feed me tea with Tabasco, which is really hot pepper oil. She'd make me drink it and say, 'You have to burn that cold out, boy'. Fucked up shit like that. So every night when I'd go to sleep, I'd dream of killing that bitch. In some sick way I had a sexual fantasy about her, and I don't know what that stems from or why, but I always dreamt about fucking her and killing her."
Growing up, he often resented his father for not being around. His father was often on the road and busy with his work, and Jonathan felt he was mistreating him, as well as the whole family. When his father was around, their conversations didn't usually go further than the subject of girls. Jonathan represented his father as the abuser in the song "Daddy". They both get along fairly well now and Jonathan has a "newfound respect" for his father since he is a dad.
"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'?" - Spin Magazine
When Jonathan was young, someone outside the family was abusing him, that resulted in, among other things, the song "Daddy".
"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 believe it was happening to their son."
He was always involved in music, whether playing, listening or making it in an early band, Sex Art. In Highland High School "Beavis and Butthead School" - (Fieldy, MTV interview) the high school he attended, he listened to new wave music like Duran Duran. He wore make up eyeliner to mimic his pop star idols. His classmates didn't understand or care to understand so he was made fun of, being called 'gay', 'faget' and 'queer', hence the song "Faget", his nickname HIV (pronounced Hiv, one word), and a tattoo of HIV on his 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."
On his right arm he has a tattoo of a bishop ripping through his skin. Jonathan had this to say about it:
"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?"
Though he was often the object of ridicule in school and at home, he refused to change himself to fit in. He had always believed to be yourself and not to change for other people. These strong feelings are recognized in early songs such as "Fake" and "Lies". Those songs are about how so many people try to be something they're not, and he knows that so many people are so fake and obvious. They would rather be untrue to themselves than to face ridicule from their peers.
At the age of 16, Jonathan went into a job placement program to become a respiratory therapist, but that position was already taken so he went in for the coroner's office position.
"I wanted to go and see a dead body, I thought it would be cool. I didn't expect to fall in love with it. I fell in love with the profession, and totally got myself into it. My bosses were so impressed that they gave me a job. As soon as I graduated high school, I went to Mortuary College and did two semesters there. While I was doing that, I worked at the coroner's office, sometimes doing autopsies. Then I was trained to be a reserve deputy coroner, go out to the accident scenes, check it out and write reports. It was crazy, I was in the death business- DEAD BOY." - Hit Parader
Many bodies were brought in to Jonathan, and many images and memories of the bodies stayed with him. Some of them he knew or spoke with the day before their bodies came in. One woman came in frantic, and Jonathan calmed her down and talked with her and settled things. He saw her the next day, her body on the autopsy table. He also learned that life isn't as planned as we think it may be. He remembers the body of a person who died because of a typewriter fell on him.
In the song "Pretty", Jonathan sings about one experience working as a coroner's assistant. "Pretty" is about a young victim of incest. At first, he says, he was calm and did his job, but it later bothered him so much his dreams revolved around her. Dreams about dead bodies haunted Jonathan after working in such an environment, and he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In many of his songs he expresses his deepest feelings, which makes Jonathan's lyrics so relateable to kids around the world. He sings about real emotions that he actually feels and so many kids feel the same about so many topics.
Jonathan was in a band called Sex Art, who was featured on "Cultivation 92", a compilation CD of local bands from Southern California. Sex Art was made up of Jonathan Davis, Ty Elam of Videodrone and Ryan Shuck of Orgy, as well as others who later formed Juice. Sex Art's style was different than that of Korn, but none the less it was rock. One night at a small bar, Brian "Head" Welch and James "Munky" Schaffer were about to leave when they saw Sex Art come on. At first Head and Munky didn't recognize Davis, although they were both very impressed with his music. The next day Jonathan received a phone call asking him to come and audition for their band, Creep that had all the members of KoRn today except for Jonathan.
When first asked, Jonathan was skeptical. He went to an astrologer and she told him that it would be a good idea for him to at least try out and he was being stupid if he didn't. If the band didn't like him, it wasn't meant to be. Jonathan took heed to the advice and attended a try-out for the band. Creep played a song and Jonathan had to make up lyrics and sing whatever he felt was right. The band was impressed, but Jonathan still felt loyalty to his band, Sex Art. He finally decided it was a good idea to join Creep, (later, KoRn) and within a few short months the band was playing together.
According to Jonathan and a lot of KoRn Kids, the idea of calling the band 'KoRn' was Jonathan's idea. It's named after a cute little story that was told around Bakersfield. He would say "corn" to anybody that knew the story to gross someone out. When the newly formed band was thinking of a name for them, Jonathan suggested "Corn". They agreed that it would work and Jonathan wrote it down with a black crayon like a child would write it with a K instead of a C, and a backwards R.
In 1995 another Davis was born to Renee and Jonathan. Nathan Houseman Davis, his middle name after Jonathan. He was expecting a girl, but he was happy to have a boy. He can be heard on A.D.I.D.A.S. providing backing vocals of sorts. Then in 1998, Jonathan married his girlfriend of 7 years, Renee. Their wedding was done up in old time with fairies and knights in armor. After two years of marriage, Renee and Jonathan divorced.
In the most recent showing of his diverse talents, you can hear the music in "Queen of the Damned"; a movie based on the novel by Anne Rice. He, along with another composer, is writing the score for the movie. Also, you can hear his drumming talents on songs such as "Dead", "4 U", "It's Gonna Go Away", "Wish You Could Be Me", "Dirty", and "Trash".
Jonathan Davis' lyrics are something for people to talk about. From the reality bitten "Daddy" to the old school style bagging on "All In The Family" with Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit, Jonathan's lyrics have it all, although the only mentioning of happiness is that it's all he wants; "All I want in life is to be happy". He's given to his fans in a way most artists never would; he's given us his dark secrets. He's shown us how to cope, when to forgive, and when to fight back with a vengeance. For many he's like a second parent to those who's real parents don't care. His lyrics are a way to vent and to feel. KoRn started as "everybody's band", touring intensely and letting kids get to know Jonathan personally with his lyrics. KoRn fans feel a bond with Jonathan that will not be broken by bandwagon fans or others dissing him or the band.
I didn't write this.