When it comes to style, you know Jonathan Davis of nü-metal mainstays Korn for his trademark tracksuits, dreadlocks, and occasional kilts. Musically, you know him for his vulnerable words of deep alienation and their manically howled, rambling flow.
At least that’s how you’ve known Jonathan Davis during his time in Korn for the past 30 years. He paints a much different picture of himself while growing up in Bakersfield, California. As he told Metal Hammer in 2015:
“Growing up, I was a New Romantic. My favorite band was Duran Duran, so I’d wear make-up and long shirts, and in Bakersfield – an oil and farming town – there were a lot of macho jocks who took offence to that. I got my ass kicked and got called a ‘faggot’ all the time. I wasn’t gay, but it got to the point where I thought that maybe I was gay, and just didn’t know it. It really fucked with my head.”
Never one to back down, Jonathan Davis channeled all of the acute negativity he felt at the hands of bullies into creative pursuits. Buck Naked, his high school band with classmates Ray Solis, Dave Deroo, and Jayce Waldren, is a noble exercise in synth pop from four disaffected adolescents in the wrong place at the right time.
It sounds nothing like Korn, but Buck Naked’s palpable sadness and confusion offer a glimpse of what’s to come in the years to follow. You very well might like this if you are a fan of the darker side of new wave like Depeche Mode, New Order, and Ultravox. Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to party with Buck Naked.
Check out the song below. Who knows what would have happened if Davis decided to stick with pure goth instead of going full-on nü? Can’t say he didn’t make the wrong choice.