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Davis Has Issues:
Korn's latest album chronicles its struggles with stardom

By Sarah Quelland

KORN RELEASED ITS FOURTH ALBUM, Issues, just a little more than a year after its successful triple-platinum-selling Follow the Leader, which spawned the singles "Got the Life" and "Freak on a Leash." While Follow the Leader took sharp detours into hardcore rap and swirling electronics, Issues moves back to a more organic incarnation of Korn, taking its cues from the band's hard-hitting, influential self-titled debut that first got it noticed. That's not to say Issues has the raw, raging power of the debut; it's far more polished. But frontman Jonathan Davis once again delves into his seemingly infinite well of pain and delivers tortured, confessional lyrics that land closer to the cutting debut than the sequels. It appears that even all the fame and money can't fill the void Davis feels inside, and he seems completely tormented by his success. Opening with Davis playing the bagpipes (one of his specialties), the short intro song "Dead" sets the tone early as he sings, "It seems funny to me how fucked things can be/ Every time I get ahead, I feel more dead" while "All I want in life is to be happy" quietly repeats in the background." "Wake Up" reveals turmoil within the band as a frustrated Davis grieves, "I can't take no more/ What are we fighting for?/ You are my brothers/ Each one I would die for/ Please just let it go/ All our heads are blown/ Let's take the stage and remember what we play for." On "Beg for Me," which starts off with a rigid marching beat before kicking into heavy overdrive, Davis addresses the demands of stardom and the high expectations of his fans, despairing, "Who gives a fuck if my life sucks?"

Deeply personal--much more so than Life Is Peachy or Follow the Leader--Issues seems to be a musical, lyrical chronicle of Davis' disturbed psyche. Because of the profanity, there aren't too many cuts that will make it to commercial radio. "Falling Away From Me" (which the band premiered on South Park) is currently in heavy rotation. "Make Me Bad" could be next. But those songs aren't the highlights of the album. Standouts include those mentioned above, as well as "Trash," "Let's Get This Party Started" and "Dirty." There's power in the music and the lyrics on Issues. Even early fans of Korn who have since given up on the band might find redemption in this latest offering.

Local bands have organized a benefit concert for a friend of many downtown folk who was known to most simply as Stink. Stink recently passed away and the proceeds will go toward funeral and other related expenses. The Odd Numbers, Not Hot, Ms. Puniverse & the Runners Up and others will perform this Sunday (Nov. 28) at the Usual. Tickets are $10 and doors are at 8pm.

Led by Edgardo Cambón, Bay Area salsa group Candela has made a name for itself for its jazz-tinged musical exploration of Latin rhythms including the son, bolero, meringue, cha-cha, mambo, guaracha, bolero, rumba and the Cuban beat timba. The band releases its North American debut CD, Madre Rumba, Padre Son, this Saturday (Nov. 27) at Fuel.

The Learning Annex, an alternative education organization, presents Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart (also known as the leader of the Grammy-winning world music ensemble Planet Drum) Dec. 1, 6:30-9pm. Hart will give a performance, talk about his days with the Dead and discuss what music represents to him. Tickets to the event are $24-$39 (you can bring a friend for an added $15). The Learning Annex is located at 291 Geary in San Francisco. Call 415.788.5500, ext. 4856 to register.

LIVE 105's annual Not So Silent Night, a benefit concert for AIDS, will be held Dec. 10 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Bands lined up for the night include Bush, Foo Fighters, Blink 182, 311 and Filter. Tickets are on sale now.

Vamp Magazine presents Method 5150, Down2None, Reaction 31 and others at the Cactus Club tonight (Nov. 25).

PLAN AHEAD: Kid Rock and Powerman 5000, Nov. 26 at the San Jose State Event Center; True to Form, Nov. 26 at the Cocodrie in San Francisco; Groovie Ghoulies and Not Hot, Nov. 27 at the Cactus Club; Stunt Monkey, Triple Seven, and dredg, Nov. 30 at the Usual; Chris Cornell, Nov. 30, Berkeley Community Theatre; the Knitters (featuring John Doe), Nov. 30 at Palookaville.

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From the November 24-December 1, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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