In a recent interview in their brand new "Rogue on Rogue" series, ARTISTdirect.com paired Korn's 7-string slinger James "Munky" Shaffer with Machete actress Michelle Rodriguez to discuss art, music, life and more. Read an excerpt of the feature below, and go right here to see the whole thing.
Korn have just released their 9th studio effort, and Roadrunner debut, Korn III: Remember Who You Are earlier this summer. Go HERE to get your copy now, and go RIGHT HERE to watch the latest music video for "Let the Guilt Go" from the killer album.
"The Avatar, Machete and Girlfight star and legendary Korn riff-master have a whole lot in common—a lot more than one might think in fact...
When did you both discover music?
James "Munky" Shaffer: My older brother turned me on to Black Sabbath. I loved The Doors' song in Apocalypse Now, "The End." That was actually my first movie! Black Sabbath was when I first heard a heavy, dark sound though. I was like, "That's where I need to be—in that dark!" My dad took me to see Apocalypse Now when I was six-years-old. That had to have some sort of affect on my childhood [Laughs].
Michelle Rodriguez: That explains a lot [Laughs]!
James "Munky" Shaffer: What about you?
Michelle Rodriguez: The first time I discovered music was my dad walking around in his underwear listening to Bach, Chopin and Mozart [Laughs].
James "Munky" Shaffer: Really?
Michelle Rodriguez: Yeah, it was gnarly! I think "Midnight Sonata" was the first melancholy song that I really heard. It was like I felt the pain of the world in that song, and it just made me want to cry. I was about eleven or twelve-years-old. Then I started discovering rock. I discovered The Doors. When I heard the organs, that reminded me of Mozart! Then, I discovered The Black Album by Metallica. The guitars on The Black Album are so similar to classical music. I started connecting the dots, and I realized, "Wow, this is the soundtrack to my life!" I can't live without melody…Apocalypse Now at six? That's gnarly, dude!
James "Munky" Shaffer: My dad was supposed to spend some quality time with me! My mom sent me and him out together. That was the movie he wanted to see!
Michelle Rodriguez: There's all sorts of head-chopping and murdering in that!
James "Munky" Shaffer: It's crazy! One of the things that really sticks in my mind is when they sacrifice the Ox. That vision stays with me along with Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen with the paint all over his face.
Michelle Rodriguez: It's so good…
Is there a cathartic element to the art you create? Is that something that either of you ever think about?
James "Munky" Shaffer: For me, it's not about the thought. You pull something out. I think too much thought really fucks things up. If I start analyzing a piece of music that I'm writing or wondering if my performance on stage looks cool, then it doesn't work.
Michelle Rodriguez: But you are releasing every single time you're on that stage…
James "Munky" Shaffer: And in the studio too! If I'm able to turn my brain off, that's when the true creativity comes through.
Michelle Rodriguez: You're bouncing shit off of source when you're up there. That's how I feel when I'm doing my thing. I call it, "The Indigo Child Cry." I really feel like my mom and dad, at that point of conception, were thinking about hope, change and all of these elements that were left over from the late '60s. I think I was born with all of these untouched, innocent elements that are just tainted by society. There's nothing but hatred, death and this lack of appreciation for that innocence and beauty that I love so much. So that love turned into a strange anger—a frustration—and I release that shit when I work.
James "Munky" Shaffer: Me too…
Michelle Rodriguez: I think that's how people relate to what I do. It is an Indigo Child's cry, for sure. I know that I love something beautiful about the world, but this tough exterior is created. I'm a product of society. Thank God, we have the releases we do…
James "Munky" Shaffer: I agree! Jonathan [Davis, vocalist] and I talk about that a lot. After a long day, people just eat at you.
Michelle Rodriguez: What you guys do is really beautiful.
James "Munky" Shaffer: When we get on stage, we release all of that tension.
Michelle Rodriguez: But people can release through you too!
James "Munky" Shaffer: Exactly! Everybody's there to do that.
Michelle Rodriguez: I know I certainly did when I was rollerblading listening to your albums. As a kid, I'd be dodging traffic heading over to New York just angry as fuck, man.
James "Munky" Shaffer: There's a fearlessness to the release.
Michelle Rodriguez: I think of "Freak on a Leash!" I loved it. It was my release! I felt like I was able to let go through listening to your music.