Jonathan Houseman Davis is the frontman and vocalist of the popular hard rock band Korn.
He is the half-brother of Mark Chavez. Jonathan gave himself the nickname «HIV» represented by the tattoo on his right arm which signifies the way he was labeled a ‘queer’ in high school and called a ‘faggot’ for dressing as a Nu-Romantic and listening to bands such as Duran Duran. In high school he began working at the Kern County morgue where he cut up dead bodies and experienced traumatic events which inspired lyrics to some of Korn’s songs — in particular the song «Pretty» found on the Follow the Leader album. Jonathan graduated from the San Francisco Mortuary School after high school, but later found himself in the band Sexart. Discovered by Korn guitarists Munky and Head, Davis was asked to audition for the then-named band, Creep. Davis went to a psychic who told him he would be stupid not to audition. The band clicked instantly
and soon after changed their name to Korn.
Jonathan alleges that he was molested as a young child and this along with other traumatizing events in his life were reflected through his lyrics on Korn’s self-titled debut album. One of the most disturbing songs ever recorded, «Daddy» exposes Davis’ experience being molested and not believed by his parents. The song ends with an emotional breakdown of Davis that was neither planned, nor faked, and has been described by band members to be the saddest thing they have ever witnessed.
One of the unique aspects of Korn’s music was the use of bagpipes performed by Davis on the song «Shoots and Ladders». The bagpipes had become a live staple of the band prior to their major label debut, and would continue to be a part of the band’s sound in the years to follow.
Jonathan Davis continued to express his pain and suffering on the band’s second release, Life is Peachy, with another emotional barrage touching on the subject of his stepmother who mentally abused him. Davis stood out as one
Jonathan married the mother of his son Nathan only to divorce her later. Upon the release of the band’s fourth album, Issues, Davis again set the bar for himself as the album featured an even broader range of vocals as well as interludes written and performed by the singer. Davis also performed drums on a few songs from the album, most notably «Trash» and «Dirty». It was also around this time that Davis gave up drinking and drugs.
2001 marked a significant point in Davis’ life when he was approached to write and record the music for the movie, The Queen of the Damned, the story by novelist Anne Rice about a vampire turned rock star. Davis wrote the film’s rock songs and score with former Oingo Boingo member, Richard Gibbs. Due to contractual differences, Davis was unable to appear on the film’s official soundtrack and his voice was only kept in the theatrical versions of the songs. He also made a cameo appearance in the film as a ticket scalper.
In 2002, Korn released their most provocative and complex album to date, Untouchables. Hailed by critics, the album showcased an even wider range of vocals from Davis. Incorporating all of the previous styles and adding even more layers of melodies and pitch perfect singing, the band’s fifth album showed that they were continuing to push the envelope and not stagnate while at the same time sticking true to who they were.
Jonathan Davis continued to branch out in different areas as he began working on his own video game entitled Pop Scars. The idea was later scrapped due to development delays. Davis also opened a traveling museum full of the singer’s collection of serial killer memorabilia as well as rare Korn items. Called The End, it was featured on the 2003 Ozzfest Tour at which Korn headlined, second only to Ozzy himself. Davis also appeared in a cameo role as a crack dealer in the film Seeing Other People and wrote the theme to UPN’s new version of The Twilight Zone.
The release of the band’s sixth album, Take a Look in the Mirror, showed even another advance in Davis’ vocals as he used growls incorporated with the trademark melodies he had developed.
In late 2004, Jonathan Davis married his long-time girlfriend, former porn star Deven Davis. In March of 2005 they had their first child together, nicknamed Pirate.