Throwback: The Bizarre Feud Between Corey Taylor & Korn’s David Silveria Over a Calvin Klein Campaign

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Drama and fighting is somewhat par for the course within the world of heavy music. Everyone getting along and singing kumbaya all the time just isn’t really, well, metal.

All of that said, it feels pretty safe to say that this particular dust up that we’re about to recap has got to be the only feud in heavy music history that started because of an underwear modeling campaign.

Back in the early 2000’s, then-Korn drummer David Silveria turned some heads when he decided to pose for a bunch of Calvin Klein ads. Look, no shame as far as we’re concerned. If you’ve got it, flaunt it man. We have some beer bellies to flaunt and that’s about it.

Anyways, Mr. Corey Taylor of Slipknot fame took umbrage with the move, apparently saying at the time that  “Today’s underground hero is tomorrow’s fucking Calvin Klein jeans commercial. Thats hard to take when you’re a kid. I was lucky. I got to wait till I was 23 for Metallica to cheese out.”

In a May 2000 feature in Spin Magazine, both Taylor and Slipknot’s Clown elaborated on their issue with the underwear campaign: “I was pissed off like a motherfucker when I saw this… people like that are destroying music!” Clown chimed in: “I hope I get out of the business before that ever happens to me… we had hope [for Korn], but it’s sad, man. I’m disgusted. The only thing we’ve ever wanted to do is to make the most ruling music. And to kill everybody.”

Apparently the rest of Korn took issue with the ad campaign as well. In the book Slipknot: Inside the Sickness, Behind the Masks, author Jason Arnopp included an excerpt from a Kerrang! interview with Jonathan Davis from the early 2000’s in which he addresses the Slipknot and Silveria tension:

“There IS bad blood between Slipknot and David Silveria. But that’s it. Slipknot just had a problem with David doing those adverts- but so did everybody else in Korn! I think they’re right. I have nothing against Slipknot– it’s between them and David. I just thought those pictures didn’t suit us and weren’t in good taste – they embarrassed us. More power to Slipknot, man. It’s obvious that we’ve influenced them a lot, but they’re awesome. I’m glad that something that heavy is getting respect.”


A few years later in 2015, a fan asked Corey Taylor if rumors that he and Silveria confronted each other in person at a festival were true, and posted this image apparently from one of David Silveria’s social media pages:


Taylor replied:

In hindsight the whole thing seems a bit, well, silly. Especially when you consider that Korn were basically MTV Total Request Live darlings alongside Britney Spears around this time as well. But for context, you have to remember that back then, fans were quick to give a band the dreaded “Sell Out” scarlet letter if they deviated in anyway from the mental schema and image that fans had so permanently assigned to them.