Editor’s Note: CityBeat contributor Amy Harris attended the recent Rock on the Range in Columbus, one of the most beloved Hard Rock and Metal music fest’s in the country. And she brought her camera and tape recorder along to share the experience with you. Below is Part 1 of her collection of interviews from RotR, featuring members of Korn, Saving Abel and Hinder.
Korn is American Metal music. They are what every other Metal bands measure themselves against. They have been nominated and won awards from basically every music award ceremony, including two Grammys. Korn’s nine studio albums demonstrate the band’s lasting power and its latest offering, Korn III: Remember Who You Are, shows the world that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
CityBeat was able to speak with bassist Reginald Arvizu, or “Fieldy,” for the second time at Rock on the Range to discuss the direction of the group and his current side project, Stillwell. He gave insight — on the day of the predicted “Rapture,” oddly enough — his personal philosophies and the changes in his life revealed in his book Got the Life: My Journey of Addiction, Faith, Recovery, and Korn.
CityBeat: Last year when I talked to you, Korn III had just come out the week before, you had a new daughter. What’s happened in the past year? What’s changed?
Fieldy: Actually Korn has started working on a new style of music. It’s pretty cool. With Skrillex. We’re collaborating with some DJs on this style of music. It’s called Dub Step. It’s turned out really well. Two days ago I tracked like six songs on bass.
CB: Oh wow. So you’re going to do more? I heard the one song that’s out on iTunes. Are you still doing Stillwell?
Fieldy: Yeah. Stillwell is opening the tour in Europe. We leave on Tuesday. We’re opening the show for Korn.
CB: So you have a long night every night?
Fieldy: Yeah. I’ll play with Stillwell first. Take a little break, maybe squeeze in a little dinner real quick. Then go play bass with Korn. Guitar with Stillwell, bass with Korn.
CB: I know Joey did that last year with Zombie and Murderdolls. So it can be done, but you’re tired at the end of the night right?
Fieldy: It’s not hard.
CB: Since I met you the last time, I read the book. I had a lot of plane time the last couple weeks. I almost wanted to ask if I could interview your wife, because I feel like Part 2 of the book could be the other people that were involved in your life and what was going on in their head at the times recounted in the book. Has anyone ever done that? Talked to your family or your friends or tried to write it down?
Fieldy: I don’t think so. But if she’s ever out here with me, you can interview her.
CB: Are you worried that your kids will read the book at some point?
Fieldy: No, I gave it to them. My two daughters are here with me. They are 12 and 13 now. I let them see my life. They know what Christ has done in my life in changing my heart that I’m not that guy anymore. If somebody tries to change themselves, it doesn’t work. It’s a front or a fake. It doesn’t work. You really have to surrender. You can tell by people’s actions if they are really a changed person.
CB: The other thing that struck me about it was, I didn’t realize, again when I talked to you last time, that you have known the other band members for 25 years. You have known each other since you were small children. It gave me a new appreciation for you staying together and still being friends. To be able to be together that long is amazing.
Fieldy: Oh yeah. It is amazing to still be together this many years down the road; we’re not even friends, we’re more like family. When you go through that much with somebody and you’re still friends with them, it almost becomes family.
CB: Is there anybody in the book that you have not gotten forgiveness from or you really wish would talk to you after all those years of the bad stuff?
Fieldy: I really don’t think so but someone else might think that. Like, “He did this to me.” But sometimes you don’t even know that you hurt somebody. And they can be like 10 years later, “Hey you know what you did to me?” And I don’t remember doing that. For people to carry hate is a lot of energy. Most of the time, those people don’t even realize they did it; it’s just part of their day. So I’m going to say for all the haters out there, let it go. Something for me that I learned reading the Bible every day, learning more and more, God said that he would give us love and joy and his peace but vengeance is mine. He’ll take revenge. But a lot of people don’t understand that unless they are in the word everyday and they start trusting in the word of God and knowing. Because that’s hard to do, letting go. Really, you’re going to do that after that person did that to me. That’s hard to do.
CB: Yeah, it’s hard to forgive. It’s easier to forget I guess than forgive.
Fieldy: Yeah, but I wish we could forget.
CB: It looks like it’s 6 p.m. and the world didn’t end today so that’s good.
Fieldy: That’s right.
CB: I’m with Fieldy when the world was supposed to end.
Fieldy: I wanted to see what that guy has to say today because he was so confident. I don’t really understand where he got that from.
CB: It’s very random. It’s scarier that people followed it and believed it.
Fieldy: I can’t even comment on that. I wish I could say something.
CB: Who has these balls to take that stance. It’s so crazy.
Fieldy: It’s like it is so arrogant. I don’t even know what the word is. I think next month everyone will forget about that guy. I think that bin Laden will be more remembered than that guy who said he was a prophet. That was kind of goofy.
CB: What can we look forward to tonight with the show?
Fieldy: We’re going to be doing a great set that we put together, probably one of the best sets we have done in our whole career.
CB: Rock on the Range is always fun. A lot of energy. The crowd is always into it at that time of night.
Fieldy: We’ll see what happens when we hit the stage.
CB: Is there anybody you have gotten to see play or were looking forward to?
Fieldy: I just got done watching P.O.D. After all these years, I’m like, “I know all these songs. I know that song.” They had a lot of hits.
CB: Are you going to do another book?
Fieldy: If God wants me to. It comes really easy, and then it’s not. I tried and it’s not coming right now.
CB: How long did it take you to write it?
Fieldy: A year and a half. I can’t really say what I’m going to do. Because it seems like today, it’s just the will of God. It just happens without me. I’m just open. It just happens.
Saving Abel’s Blake Dixon
Saving Abel is a widely popular Rock band with Southern roots. They reached their biggest fame with the song “Addicted” in 2008 with their platinum self-titled debut album. They have not slowed, releasing Miss America in mid 2010, which reached No. 1 on the U.S. Hard Rock charts and contained the No. 1 single “The Sex is Good”.
CityBeat caught up with drummer Blake Dixon at Rock on the Range to discuss the band’s second album. He also spoke about their strong patriotism and their Southern Rock roots which they hope will help them stay in the charts for years to come.
CB: I just caught your set. It was pretty phenomenal. I’ve been listening to Miss America to prepare for this week. I know you guys are really tied to the military and have really supported them over the years. Can you tell me the story behind the title of the album because I know it’s related to patriotism?
Blake: It definitely is. When you hear Miss America, of course you think of a beauty pageant. But that’s not what it’s about. We actually had the opportunity to go to Iraq and play for our troops through the USO and it was an amazing experience for us. Although we loved it, it was still to the point it was a culture shock, and after about two weeks of being out there we got a little bit of a taste of what they go through on a day to day basis. We were having a hard time deciding on what to call the album and we had a lot of ideas pitched back and forth. It was the one time that we all agreed on something immediately … Miss America. And we were writing the song, and so it was like “Miss America, that’s what we need to call it.” So that’s how that came about.
CB: One of my favorite tracks on the album is “The Sex is Good.” So what’s the story behind that one?
Blake: I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. I say it’s about being in a relationship for all the wrong reasons and Jason would say it’s for all the right reasons. So I guess it’s for your own interpretation. But I guess the title says it best — the sex is good.
CB: No hidden meanings.
Blake: Nope. Pretty straight forward on that one.
CB: You guys are from Mississippi and I wanted to know what your biggest Southern Rock influence was growing up?
Blake: There are so many — Molly Hatchet, Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special, there are so many great bands that are from the South and we take a little bit from all of them. I can’t say that I have a favorite but those are definitely some of them.
CB: You guys had the huge single “Addicted.” I’m sure you play it every night for your whole life. I guess you’re happy to do that. Was there pressure with this album or is there always pressure to follow-up on a such a huge hit like that?
Blake: Yeah, there is always pressure, but we’re confident and it’s looking really good (because) Miss America is a great follow-up album and it’s doing really well. We love every song that’s on there. When you write an album on the road, you think that it may be watered down a little bit and thrown together, but it wasn’t. Like I said, we love every song that is on the album. We are really happy the way that it turned out.
CB: Do you have any plans to go back overseas with the military?
Blake: Absolutely, we are just waiting on the opportunity.
CB: One of the controversial questions — Hinder was here yesterday. Did you guys get into any fistfights?
Blake: No. We love those guys. They’re great. All that stuff is water under the bridge. We were half-serious anyway. So no, of course not. They’re our good buddies. We all got press from that.
CB: Everybody’s good right? Their album is great right now and they put on a good set.
Blake: We love those guys. They are some of our favorites.
CB: You guys were here yesterday. You caught some shows I assume.
Blake: Hell yeah.
CB: What was your favorite yesterday?
Blake: Hands down, Avenged Sevenfold.
CB: I actually saw Scott. We were watching the Korn show together at one point. So I saw you guys out in the crowd.
Blake: Yeah, I was front of house. I wanted to hear the full effect. I didn’t want to be side stage. You know I may be a wuss but I don’t like moshing. I’m sorry. I like to listen to the music, I don’t want my fucking nose busted.
Hinder’s Cody Handson
Hinder is one of the standards for popular Hard Rock in America today. They have provided us with monster hits on Rock and Pop music charts, including “Get Stoned” and the No. 1 hit “Lips of an Angel.” They recently released their third album All American Nightmare.
CityBeat discussed the song selection process with drummer Cody Hanson at Rock on the Range, and also touched on the touring life and the many girls and pranks along the way. They will be kicking off their All American Nightmare tour in the summer and providing us with a new, harder Hinder that audiences will enjoy.
CityBeat: I actually listened to your new album on the way up here this morning. It was the first time I listened to it the whole way through. I love it.
Cody: Thank you.
CB: I know you wrote like 70 songs for it. How did you decide or narrow it down for what was actually going to make it?
Cody: Well, we knew we wanted to have a heavier album overall. So we kind of picked out what was going to be our first single or first single potentials, which we knew would be a heavy rock song. And then (we) kind of put everything into place around it. When you take a step back and look at the album as a whole, it just has to make sense and everything has to fit together. So we just kind of did it like that. Plus we would have little test groups, some friends and family come over, and see what their reaction was to certain songs and kind of whittled it down like that.
CB: You guys are kind of known for your songs telling stories, like “The Life.” I think that was my favorite on the album. Can you tell me a little bit of the story behind that? A lot of these songs are break-up songs, like “Red Taillights,” and you can really hear the stories in the song. I know you guys do that on purpose but it seems really hard to write like that. Can you tell me how you do it?
Cody: Yeah, we like to write from personal experiences of ours or just things that we have seen happen to other people. I guess “The Life” is just one of those songs where you have everything you want right in front of you and you don’t always realize it. You always think the grass is greener on the other side. So this kid goes out to L.A. to go do his thing and realizes, “OK wow, this isn’t what I thought it was going to be. I had everything right at home. Everything I needed or wanted was right there in front of my face the whole time.” I don’t know. I think a lot of people have been through situations like that so we just wanted to touch on the subject.
CB: So you guys have been together 10 years or more. Where do you see the band in 10 more years?
Cody: Probably dead.
Cody: We’ll see. I don’t know if our bodies can handle too much more of this. (Laughing) No, we’re still kickin it. Still going strong. We’re probably not too far away from starting work on the next record. With the way things are now days, you’ve got to get started and work a couple years toward the next one. Hopefully this record still has a lot of life. But while we’re on the bus, might as well start working.
CB: So I heard there was a little prank with some strippers in Indianapolis for My Darkest Days. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Cody: Yeah. We figure they have that song “Porn Star Dancing,” might as well play into that. So we got four male strippers to come out and get naked and dance on the guys. It was pretty uncomfortable to say the leas. It was hard for me to even watch.
CB: Did they keep playing?
Cody: Yeah, they kept playing. I was proud of them. They did it. That’s a pretty old prank. We’ve had it done to us before. But it’s always funny.
CB: Here’s the hardest question of the day. You guys are notoriously known for your groupie comments. I have a quote from four years ago from you that says, “It would seem to the average person that having random girls in your bus every night would get old. However, that’s the one thing that always stays fun and new because every groupie is as new as the geography you find them in.” So that was four years ago. Has anything changed since then?
Cody: Well, some things have changed. The fact that they are still on our bus — no, that hasn’t changed. It’s a little more tame since most of us are either married now or getting married. But you can’t just hang out on the bus with a bunch of dudes all the time. You have to have chicks to at least look at or talk with. So they’re still on the bus, it’s just the actions are a little different than they used to be.
CB: What’s the process to actually pick the girl to go on the bus?
Cody: We actually have a guy that we send out with passes and he sorts through it all and picks the best and brings them back.
CB: Well we’ve got some good weather so I’m sure there will be a lot of boobs flying for you guys today, just like a good Rock on the Range day. So I’m sure you will get some enjoyment out of that this afternoon.
Cody: Right on.