Korn scored their 12th Top 10 album on the sales chart this week with The Paradigm Shift, which opened at #8 with 46,000 copies sold. That's not too shabby for a band that went through a rebuilding of sorts, as the members got sober and welcomed original guitarist Brian "Head" Welch back into the fold after a seven-year absence.
"Ever since I've known these guys we have been just getting into trouble, and then we got successful and got into trouble while we were making a great living and becoming rich and famous," Head explained to Billboard.com in a new interview. "I couldn't be around people killing themselves anymore. As far as people doing cocaine or just drinking themselves into a crazy alcoholic [state] and watching people's lives slip away, I can't be around that. It was really dysfunctional and unhealthy, so I just needed to get away from that."
Head reconciled with the other band members during a guest appearance onstage in May of 2012, and after that, it was clear they needed to make another album together. "It's cool to see these guys were working on their lives while I was away from the band, getting their stuff straight, too," he added.
The result of that reunion is The Paradigm Shift, which the group wanted to sound like an old, familiar Korn record, but with new elements mixed in. "I wanted to do a full-on rock record, 'cause I'm a metalhead. But then Jonathan (Davis) and the producer (Don Gilmore) and the guys wanted to have a really fresh sound, so we were talking about doing it a little bit sprinkled with electronic and some really cool new sounds to make it sound 2013," Head confessed to Billboard. "We didn't want to just go backwards and do an old Korn album. We wanted it to be fresh, and I think we accomplished exactly what our hearts wanted to do."
Meanwhile, the band just released a new video for "Love and Meth," and the dark clip addresses the pain and controlling power of addiction to which Head was referring. Korn also is getting ready to hit the road with Rob Zombie in November, and they will be part of Australia's Soundwave Festival in February and March. Head concludes that despite all the talk of sobriety, Korn still has a great time on the road.
"We're still crazy. We still are just funny, crazy, goofy dudes. We didn't calm down; it's only the destructive part we stopped," he said. "It seems like we've been given another chance to live and breathe and really appreciate and be so thankful for what we do. And we feel like we can deliver to the rock world what people are waiting to hear from Korn, finally. We're so pumped up about this record, and the songs (in concert) are just blowing up. It's a totally new fire."