After you found religion you quit Korn in quite a public spat, trading comments with Jonathan in the press. How did that feel at the time?
“I’d done crystal meth for two years, so when I left, I wasn’t the most understanding or the most kind; I wasn’t the friend that they needed me to be. A good friend would be like, ‘I’m a mess, I’m thinking about suicide, I have to go, please hope that I get well.’ Instead, in my immature emotions and addiction, it was easier for me to leave in anger than to leave in kindness. Nowadays, when you’re older, you soften and you can have conversations like that. We didn’t know how to communicate and it was easier to be like, ‘I’m out. Don’t contact me. We’re not friends anymore.’
“I really did want them out of my life at that point, because everybody was a drug addict or an alcoholic, besides Jonathan. I wanted to separate from them because I needed to be around sober people, I couldn’t see people around me drinking every day. Not because they were bad and I was good, but because of my health and my addiction I couldn’t be around them. It was all my fault. If I had communicated with them better, we wouldn’t have had this back and forth.”
The working title of your debut solo album was It’s Time To See Religion Die. Which feels like the opposite of what a born-again Christian would say.
“I was trying to get the message across with [the song Die Religion Die, where that phrase comes from] that religion in America can be destructive. It can be judgemental. It can be hypocritical. It can be controlling. Churches that say heavy metal is like Satan. That’s religion. But to me, I was following spirituality, I wasn’t following religion. People who say you have to dress like this or you can’t do this or this, that’s religion. It’s time to see that die.”
How do you feel about the term ‘Christian metal’, because it feels like a dirty word for a lot of people?
“I know what you’re saying because I’d probably have been the same way, although, when I was a kid, I listened to [’80s Christian metal band] Stryper. I wasn’t a Christian but I liked their sound. I went to their concert and so did Jonathan, when we were kids, and they threw out bibles into the crowd (laughs). But the term ‘Christian metal’ is a weird name because people assume a Christian metal band is going to be so different to them. I didn’t wanna label myself that. I learned from my hero, and that’s Jonathan Davis. I learned from Layne Staley and Kurt Cobain, they talked about dark stuff and I wanted to sing about dark stuff. I tried to make the majority of [my first solo record] about real stuff. I was figuring things out; who do I want to be.
“Nowadays, with the new Love And Death album, everybody knows that I’m a Christ follower and that I’m not shoving it down your throat, so I just let the music go where it needs to go without really thinking about it. I don’t think you can call this new album Christian metal, but people can call it what they want. We didn’t want people to call us nu-metal back in the day either (laughs)."
From finding God and quitting Korn, to going solo and rejoining Korn, you had quite a transformational period of your life. Does it feel like you have a new purpose?
“I have something to live for. My purpose is the music; my purpose is connecting with my friends and my family, to connect with fans all over the world. Jonathan’s lyrics have helped people with depression for decades. My purpose is to be a father and to guide my daughter. My purpose is to watch my parents and walk with them at this stage of their life. I wake up with a smile, I live my day with a smile, whether I’m doing music, with my daughter or doing an interview with you. I have total peace in my life.”
Love And Death's new album Perfectly Preserved is out February 11 via Earache
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