Jonathan Houseman Davis (born January 18, 1971) 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
a Nu-Romantic and listening to bands such as Duran Duran. In
high school he began working at the Kern County morgue where
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
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
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 of the most cathartic and emotional singers
in modern music and continued to expand his vocal talents on the band's
third album, Follow the Leader, which showcased Davis' melodic and
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
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.