MikeDolbear.com recently conducted an interview with KORN drummer Ray Luzier. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
MikeDolbear.com: You’re certainly one for doing your homework; apparently you learnt 35 songs for your KORN audition! Have you always been that way?
Luzier: I was auditioning for a lot of bands around the time I was at MI and I wanted something national. I was a huge Ozzy [Osbourne] fan and I found out [former Ozzy guitarist] Jake E. Lee was holding auditions. He was one of my favourite guitar players and I was number 50 in line; the same drum set, everyone plays the same three songs. When you’re in a situation like that, it’s smart to bring a different element to it, because it gets quite boring for them, playing the same thing all day long. I always do more homework than needed. I learnt all the BADLANDS records that Jake played on, every Ozzy song that he played on. I did my research. I went in and said, “Jake, I love BADLANDS. Can we do ‘Soul Stealer’?’ And he said, “Let’s just play the songs you learned,” and I’m like, “Man, I love that song.” The bass player’s like, “Does it go like this?” and Jake says, “Let’s just do the songs,” and next thing I know they’re figuring out “Soul Stealer” and all of a sudden everyone is concentrating on it. The manager walks in and goes, “What are you doing?” and it’s nothing off the list that everyone else had learned. Sometimes that works, when you do your research because it makes you a little different. Sometimes you can’t; a talent scout might call and say that there’s a new artist who just got a record deal. There might be three songs, she’s unknown so that’s all you can learn but if they’re a known artist do your homework because you never know what you could get tested on. With the ARMY OF ANYONE audition, I learnt the six songs from off their demo and we ended up playing almost the whole [LED] ZEPPELIN “Physical Graffiti” record cos I knew they were ZEPPELIN freaks. I went to the bathroom, came back and they said, “You’ve got the gig.” I said, “Can we play the songs?!”
MikeDolbear.com: How was it for you when you joined KORN and stepped into take over from another drummer?
Luzier: It was intense, especially with someone as powerful as KORN. This morning, there was a girl, a diehard fan, who had Jonathan’s face tattooed from her shoulder to her elbow and my signature is tattooed on her arm. There are a lot of diehard fans out there. I’m up to 27 pictures of my name on people’s arms and I’m just a farm boy from Pennsylvania! When a band like that sells 38 million records, and it changes so many musicians… it’s scary what they’ve done. People will come up to Jonathan [Davis, KORN singer] and say, “You saved my life. I was thinking about suicide but KORN got me through it.” It’s more powerful than people think, and to be honest, I was a big KORN fan but I wasn’t like, “I have to play for KORN some day.” It was too big for me and no one could ever touch them because they’re such unique musicians. Nobody on the planet plays like them, the way they attack and the feel they have… To be that identifiable is huge and no one sings like Jon Davis. Dave Silveria is quite a different drummer. The original five are what made KORN and I always respect that, but we’re totally different drummers. It doesn’t matter how technically good you are; you get the gig on whether you understand what’s going on or not. There were no rehearsals after my audition for KORN, so for two months I was calling the manager and he was saying it was fine, but I didn’t know what songs to learn or anything! We rehearsed one time. We flew to Dublin, I learnt the set list and we ran the set the day before at the venue and jumped in to the fire. I was nervous as shit!
MikeDolbear.com: Let’s talk a bit about being a dad. Has it changed your outlook on music and band life?
Luzier: Absolutely. Everyone says that when you have kids, it changes your life. It’s ten times more than what anyone ever says! I’m not a selfish, conceited guy, but when a kid comes along, it’s really not about you at all. He took over the house; I’m just the dude that pays the bills. I’d just become an official member of KORN and had started doing press. I showed up and there’s a football guy, Warren Moon, a legendary football player. They said a model, Aspen Lee, was going to interview me. I was like, “Great. A model and a football guy.” I saw the model, who is my girlfriend now, and I said to the publicist, “If I don’t marry her or have a child with her, I’m done. I’m tired of dating; I’ll be single and I’ll be happy.” I was so over the whole scene. She had a boyfriend at the time and I was a gentleman. I said, “Here’s my number and if you are ever in L.A….” Three months later, and I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I got a text, “I’m in Austin, the same place that we met. I broke up with my boyfriend,” and that was it. We started dating and she lived in Florida as a full-time model, seven days a week. It got quite annoying flying backwards and forth and flying her out. Five months into the relationship, she told me she was pregnant, so obviously I wanted to live with her and take care of her. We moved her out from Miami and when he was born, it was the best thing that ever happened. Everyone always says that, but it truly is. If you’re not in the situation, you can’t really know it.
Read the entire interview from MikeDolbear.com.