On the beat: Korn’s Luzier talks drums and fans
Although drummer Ray Luzier has been a part of Korn since 2007, he is considered the newest member of the band, which will headline the second day of the two-day Rock Jam, set for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 23–24, in Mack.
The Grammy-winning and multi-platinum recording artists’s Rock Jam performance comes nearly a month before Korn releases its newest album, “The Paradigm Shift” on Oct. 8.
Most famous for singles “Falling Away From Me,” “Coming Undone,” and Narcissistic Cannibal” Korn released its first single, “Never Never,” off the new album on Aug. 13.
In advance of Korn’s show, Luzier talked about his love of drums, the difference between rock fans in Europe and the United States and how freakin’ loud it gets on stage during a Korn show.
Melinda Mawdsley: Korn is headlining Rock Jam. Did you personally grow up attending similar outdoor music festivals?
Ray Luzier: Yeah. Where I grew up outside Pittsburgh we didn’t have many out there, but I went to Monsters of Rock with Metallica or Van Halen before I moved to LA when I was 18.
Mawdsley: Now that you’ve become this huge touring rock star, do you still make time to go listen to music?
Luzier: Totally. We just done with five weeks in Europe, and we’d go check out who was on some beach stage that night. We’re big fans of music.
Mawdsley: You spent a bulk of June and July in Europe. Is there a big difference between playing in America and Europe?
Luzier: Something about Europeans. They love their rock. They take off a week of work and follow us around. It’s kinda crazy. I’m not saying they are more into it than Americans. It’s just different. It’s a little more laid back here. Over there, they live for it. It’s more intense.
Mawdsley: Why drums?
Luzier: I don’t know. That’s what I gravitated to when I was 4. No one in my family is into music. I just kinda started tapping on things. My parents got me a toy thing at 5 and pro thing at 7. I knew in my early teens that’s what I would do the rest of my life. I was self-taught. I learned to read music in high school. I just played along with records. I grabbed my sister’s records.
Mawdsley: Who’d you grab?
Luzier: Everything. Ozzy, Rush, Kiss, Zeppelin, Deep Purple. I just loved it. I didn’t know what I was doing.
Mawdsley: How long have you been playing drums?
Luzier: 37 years.
Mawdsley: Has the instrument, be it from a technique or equipment, evolved quite a bit?
Luzier: There’s still such a thing as good ol’ acoustic instruments, but obviously technology has gone way far beyond and you have to stay with it. The cool thing about Korn is it has always had a form of electronics in its music. That’s what I love about our new record. It has elements of old-school Korn and new-school Korn, so it’s definitely evolved, but I’m still a fan of mic-ing the drums up and slamming them.
Mawdsley: How did you end up with Korn? You didn’t join until 2009.
Luzier: I had quite a career before. I was with David Lee Roth from 1997–05 and had all these short-lived bands I was in, did sessions, movie soundtracks, taught lessons. At that time, Army of Anyone (his previous band) was disbanding and my manager told me to check out Korn. I couldn’t imagine myself in that band, but long-story short, I learned about 32–35 songs and went up to Seattle and played about six songs with the band and they said, “Welcome to Korn. We’ll see you in Dublin.” That was my first show.
Mawdsley: Korn has a new album out in early October. Will you be playing songs off that new album?
Luzier: I’m not sure. Everything leaks so quick. I don’t know.
Mawdsley: Have you performed in Western Colorado before?
Luzier: I’ve performed in Aspen. I’m friends with the owner of the Belly Up.
Mawdsley: Are you a big skier?
Luzier: Because I’m a drummer I’m afraid of snapping a pinkie finger. I’ve taken the gondola to the top and watched the skiers. Lame.
Mawdsley: Sorry if this question is super lame, but I really want to know how loud is it up on that stage for a Korn show.
Luzier: Blistering. I can’t say it’s as loud as Motorhead, which made my molars hurt in my mouth it was so loud, but it’s pretty cranking up there. But it’s a good kind of loud, a get-your-rocks-off kind of loud.
Mawdsley: Rock? Hard rock? What do we call it?
Luzier: It is what it is. I call it Korn. NO one really sounds like Korn on the planet. It’s what’s cool about being in this band. It sounds like Korn.
Click here for interview with FUEL.