KORN guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer and actress Michelle Rodriguez of "Machete" and "Avatar" recently sat down for a joint interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor Rick Florino. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
James "Munky" Shaffer: Do you remember where you were when you first heard us?
Michelle Rodriguez: I was watching TV with my homegirls, and you guys came on. I couldn't believe there was this vibe with rock music. I couldn't tag it. In the song, Jonathan [Davis] would stop, and he'd start rapping. He'd do some death metal shit and then he'd flip into hip hop without the rap beat. I was confused, but I liked it. You guys were on top of a bridge in the "Got the Life" video, and that was the first time I saw you. I heard the lyrics and the music, and I was like, "This is some fresh, hot new shit! I haven't ever heard this before in my life!" It was the new sound for the millennium for that genre of metal. The grunge thing didn't quite work out longevity-wise, so this was where it went from there. This was how it merged with the rest of pop culture. I loved it. Much respect…I think there are a lot of people who bond with different emotions in life. Some people walk around angry all of the fucking time. Some people are a mixture of anger and narcissicism. Some people might be happy all of the time. At the end of the day, it all has a vibe to it or a melody to it. For me, KORN gave me pretty much the same emotion I got when I saw RUN D.M.C. hook up with AEROSMITH for the first time.
James "Munky" Shaffer: That was rad…
Michelle Rodriguez: You're like, "There is depth!" You can be about more than one thing at the same time. That's what your band said to kids like me.
Have you seen KORN live, Michelle?
Michelle Rodriguez: Never! I don't really go to concerts. Music is a part of my life. It's the soundtrack to it. Either I'm listening to it in the car, while I'm rollerblading or hanging out at party. I was going to basement parties at the time. There were a lot of those.
Like you said, Michelle, KORN was really important to you when you were a kid.
Michelle Rodriguez: Fuck yeah! KORN was so important to me as a kid. If I just listened to METALLICA's Black Album, there's an aspect missing in that, which really was the essence of me growing up at the time. It wasn't just the anger, because METALLICA covered the anger. It was this alienation, this understanding that I am true to myself and I know who I am, but this world is fucked up and doesn't get it! It was my connection to that hip hop world and that poetry that would come out of rap music. KORN merged both of those for me. That happened when it was crucial for me to not only be understood as angry — like I did with METALLICA — but to also understand the poetry behind what Biggie Smalls was saying. What Biggie said wasn't just about being in the ghetto and selling drugs. It's that essence like, "How could you not get that I am pure of heart? I want to be part of this world, be successful, do something amazing and give back." It sounds corny when I say it out loud. However, the reality is it's all balled up into one emotion — misunderstanding. That one misunderstanding has to click within both metal and hip hop. For me, KORN combined both of those elements. So, thank you!
James "Munky" Shaffer: You owe me big time [Laughs].
Michelle Rodriguez: Definitely!
Read the entire interview from ARTISTdirect.com.