Most of the stages, lighting and crew teams have arrived. Within a matter of days, thousands will be gathering at JetBlue Park to rock the day and night away during the second annual Fort Rock music fest, featuring none other than Rob Zombie, Korn, Five Finger Death Punch, Seether, Theory of a Deadman, Black Stone Cherry, Lacuna Coil and many more, Saturday, April 26, with doors opening at 11 a.m.
James "Munky" Shaffer, one of the guitarists and founders of the heavy-hitting rock group Korn, taking the main stage around 8:30 that night, said fans can expect a great collection of earlier music and newer music from the award-winning band.
"It's pretty challenging to come up with the set list because we have so many albums, such a big catalog of choices, so we all have to compromise," he said. "It'll be a combination of old songs, some bigger radio hits, and also some new stuff, too."
Korn hits the Fort Rock stage around 8:30 that night. Photo courtesy BARI LIBERMAN.
The group's most recently released album "The Paradigm Shift" balances out the band's dynamic sounds of rock, grunge, metal and industrial, after the previously released album "The Path of Totality" additionally featuring new elements of dubstep/electronic tones, with legendary DJ Skrillex blending his sounds into many of the tracks. Munky feels the group worked with these new electronic elements and are finding their own unique sound within them.
"I think we took it so far into that dubstep arena, and kind of experimented with it. Now we can take the elements we really liked about that and put it in the context where it makes sense for Korn," he explained. "It feels more of a metal approach to things, and the way we're writing is more of a traditional band again, where we're all sitting in a room writing together. It's subtle and makes more sense, definitely a better blend."
Shortly after the Fort Myers show, Korn hits the road for a Western Europe and Russian tour, so the group is eager to deliver a heavy set list to local fans while keeping the normally-action-packed stage to a minimum.
"Since we've got the Western Europe/Russia tour shortly after, we're going pretty minimal as far as I know (stage- and set-wise), because of that transition, keeping it simple and letting the fans enjoy the music," Munky said.
Later in the year when the group returns to The States, they'll bring back the video screens, pyrotechnics and mind-blowing set set-ups. In the meantime, just sit back and enjoy the killer rock sounds for which these guys are so well-known and be sure to read more Q&A with this legendary guitarist, below this article!
Another great musical act on the Fort Rock roster that day is Five Finger Death Punch, hitting the main stage around 6:45 that evening. Jeremy Spencer, drummer and one of the founders of the group, is eager to hit the Florida circuit.
Monster Energy Stage (main stage):
1:15 p.m.: Nothing More
2:30 p.m.: Sick Puppies
3:45 p.m.: Theory of a Deadman
5:10 p.m.: Seether
6:45 p.m.: Five Finger Death Punch
8:30 p.m.: Korn
9:50 p.m.: Rob Zombie
Jgermeister Stage (alternate stage):
11:20 a.m.: Bellusira (Reverbnation Winner)
12 p.m.: Within Reason
12:40 p.m.: Twelve Foot Ninja
1:55 p.m.: Kyng
3:10 p.m.: Lacuna Coil
4:25 p.m.: Pretty Reckless
6 p.m.: Trivium
7:40 p.m.: Black Stone Cherry
|Speaking with Korn’s guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer about music and life|
|Do you have any superstitious rituals or things you do out of habit while on the road – or just before going on stage? I have to do a lot of stretching. I have to stretch, and give myself about an hour to stretch and change clothes and sort of get “in the element.” Also, using the toilet. It’s sort of like, “Okay, if you need to use the bathroom, do it now.” Usually we’re walking to the stage and one of us has to go. Some of the traveling gets a little tiring: being in close quarters, traveling in a tiny space, hungry, tired. It can be unnerving sometimes. But when we go on stage, we have so much fun and makes it so worth it.|
|Anything in particular you like to do to pass the time while on the road? I try to catch a movie. Depending on the travel, or how long the night before, I usually try to get a jog around town, snap some shots of the touristy things in the town or city. I stay active because it helps to get away from the venue, to sort of get perspective. If you sleep all day and only see the inside of a venue night after night, it just doesn’t work. I’ll go to the music store/record store – I’ll even go grocery shopping, finding myself picking out snacks – finding healthier foods. Even just pushing around shopping cart, feeling kind of like a domestic feeling, feels like being home.|
|What do you like to know your fans take from your music? First of all, I like to think music is the universal language; it connects so many people who would ordinarily not be in a room together. It brings a common thread, to bond. The message is things we all go through. Jonathon (Davis, lead singer) has been really successful giving people a voice, not being so alone. It’s important to know someone out there understands you. When you have the power of music behind you, it’s a whole new level. In person, it’s a whole new monster. It allows you to exercise your feelings. Watching the live show makes people feel like they’ve exuded that negative energy and have relief. After that, you can go back to your day-to-day with some satisfaction – and go back to the record, connecting. It makes me appreciate the work even more, and it’s great doing it all the time. It’s very therapeutic.|
|What’re your hobbies/adventures when you’re not in the studio or rocking on stage? Spending time with the family. I’m married with two kids – a 12-year-old and 1.5-year-old, so when I’m home, it’s family time.|
|Can you tell us what Korn has on the horizon? When we’re not on tour or recording, we’ve been working on some new songs in the studio, just utilizing our time, seeing what happens. We’re also talking about doing a new video – not sure which song yet – pretty soon, and might be doing it in a European city. We havent really had anything like that from this record (The Paradigm Shift) and we’re doing the Mayhem Tour, starting July 5 in LA. That’ll be the second half of summer. And at that point, we’ll see from there.|
|Be sure to visit Korn.com and find the group on Facebook|
"It's almost like a vacation spot for us it's awesome down there," Jeremy laughed. "The weather's great, everyone's always excited. It should be a really great time."
As for a sneak-peak at what to expect during 5FDP's set list, the rockin' drummer's lips are staying pretty sealed.
"You can look forward to pretty much a little of everything. We certainly have more albums now, so we have more material to pick from and we've definitely got some surprises, but I don't want to give it away," he teased.
Together now for 10 years, Jeremy feels his group has certainly grown, expanded and evolved over its first decade of laying down heavy rock goodness.
"We've absolutely evolved over that time," he said. "We started with just Zoltan (Bathory, guitarist) and me on the first album. There have been some member changes, and locked into a chemistry now that we're really comfortable with. But the other guys were important, too, because they helped develop our style. We're really happy now, in growth and maturity. We've learned what works and what doesn't."
As for Jeremy's personal influences, he was drawn to the heavy rock drummers, but originally hit the skins as a young boy, following in the footsteps of his mother, who's also a drummer.
"My mom was a drummer in college, and my grandma got me a drum kit from Sears for me when I was a kid then I basically discovered KISS, staring at the album cover, like, 'Man, this is incredible.' I was so into the fact that they looked like that," he said. "Certainly whenever I heard bands with double bass drums, like Metallica and Slayer, I was so impressed that you can do that rhythmically with your feet. I practiced and practiced until I finally figured out how to do it."
Be sure to make it out to the show Saturday to watch Munky, Jeremy and dozens of other talented musicians come together to create the largest rock event to hit Southwest Florida this year.
General admission and VIP tickets for Monster Energy's Fort Rock are still on sale at FortRockFestival.com and all Ticketmaster outlets. Parking is $10. Visit FortRockFestival.com for more info.