Korn's breakthrough and third album "Follow the Leader" was issued on August 18 1998.
We will start with the success, then we will move on to the mess and end with the famous tour...
Although this album was considered a breakthrough and brought the band to its tremendous and international success, only two famous and successful songs came out of it and they are "Freak On A Leash" and "Got The Life". After two powerful albums that charted Korn's path to success in the evolving world of Nu Metal and even crowned it as the leader of the genre, this album broke the huge dam and brought the band to monstrous proportions. There was nothing special or fundamentally different from the previous albums but just a step up for the band. Hip-hop style is more widely used with Fred Durst and Ice Cube on the album. Jonathan Davis claimed to have grown up on hip-hop music and was very attached to the style and tried to incorporate it into melodies that he tried to reinforce in the songs. When on this album he took it one step further and really gave a stage to Fred and Cube and he himself combined a lot of elements of hip-hop.
Unlike the previous two albums, Ross Robinson did not produce this album but was only involved in a small portion of Davis' vocal recordings. Davis said Ross was his mentor when it came to singing and he could not have imagined himself singing without him, but Ross had very strange working methods. He would give Davis punches in the spine during the singing or he would press him on the neck with his nails, yes... sounds delusional !! So Davis decided after a number of songs recorded for this album that all this “shit” was enough for him and he moves on on his own.
Another leap forward was the guitars, James Shaffer (Munky) and Brian Welch (Head) decided they were taking out all the pedals they own and tried to do all sorts of crazy experiments with the sound of the guitars. They tried to process the guitars in such a way that in the loud and noisy sections of the songs they would sound like symbols or electronic sounds as they tried to reach as low frequencies or as high frequencies as possible.
In light of the success the directors at the record company expected, they gave them a free hand in everything related to the work.
In general the band members felt they could let their talent (but also other things) go wild, they got a studio with a very big budget, replaced their producer and took two instead and in addition to all the parties that were there, there were also magic moments as Toby Wright described one of the producers who created such a significant album.
(Photo: Robin Platzer)
What happened around the creation of this album mostly in the NRG recording studio was not embarrassing and maybe even transcends the scenes we saw in the movie “The Dirt” about Motley Crue. Parties, drugs, alcohol, sex, celebrities and a host of other sweets.
But before that we will start with something a little more significant. Korn was the first band to adopt the internet and make the live broadcast part of the album's recordings. They were the first to give their fans a peek and incorporate them into the production process. The studio was networked with webcams (then brought by QuickTime) and each week there was one day where fans could cruise the studio, see everything going on in real time and even ask questions and talk to the band members. It was undoubtedly a breakthrough in 1996 and no one has done it before them.
Sex, Drugs and Rock N' Roll...
Monkey said that out of six days a week they were in the studio and out of which only two days they were actually working, most of the time was spent on various and odd parties and revelries. This is how it is when you give a lot of money to children who are already alcoholics and drug addicts and allow them to do what they want, he said. Davis would not start singing before he would sniff out a line or two of cocaine, he would record the vocals and immediately afterwards start drinking until he pass out. He said that during the recordings when he was standing and recording the singing, there were people in every corner of the studio having sex while recording. They would pay people to take care of bringing men and women to the studio to have a party, at some point Toby said he did not recognize half of the people who were in the studio. Hip-hop stars, porn stars and rock stars would frequent the studio regularly and not to listen to the band's new creations or anything like that but to have sex, drugs, alcohol and party until the morning. Steve Thompson, the second producer who worked with Toby, said that at some point someone asked the band if they wanted to stop all this mess because it was impossible to work like that, but they all replied that... NO!
All the band members agreed that it was a crazy time thanks to which they survived and came out stronger as a band. After the madness that was there, which provoked a lot of confrontations, disgust and even hatred at some point. They decided to take matters into their own hands and they all went through rehab in one way or another and were cleansed of all the "shit" that surrounded them.
In order to promote the album, the band released the singles: "All in the Family", "Got the Life", "Children of the Korn," BBK ", and of course the latest single and the famous and famous clip of" Freak On A Leash "released by Huge waves and broadcast non-stop on MTV and even won a Grammy in 1999.
In addition to the singles and music videos, the band embarked on one of the most famous and touring tours in 1998 called the "Family Values Tour". The band is the one that initiated the tour and was the main show, in order to promote the album but also to promote lesser known bands than her and she took them with her everywhere. The aforementioned tour included the bands: Limp Bizkit, Ice Cube, Incubus, Orgy and Rammstein.
They rented a private jet (which for them was an experience in itself) and visited every possible country in North America, 27 performances were included in the tour, with each performance accompanied by a meeting with fans, photos, album signatures and the like. Various critics and magazines have crowned this tour as a groundbreaking and one of the leading at the time, a tour that later became a festival and was repeated several times.
In March 1999, the album and DVD of the tour were released, the two include selected songs by each band from the various performances.
Beyond being so groundbreaking and successful, he was also a turning point in the band. After the album came out all the band members started dealing with their addictions, with the drugs and the alcohol. At the same time, they are also beginning to face the consequences of success and its impact on their personal lives. They went through a very tough process of disillusionment and dealing with a changing reality.