It might not be used all that frequently in their traditional setup, but Jonathan Davis’ bagpipes are as important to Korn’s overall aesthetic as seven-string guitars and track suits. Considered archaic and overly complex by the masses, the instrument never really caught on in North America outside of Scottish enclaves. Uncommon as they might be, it’s precisely this obscure nature that makes the bagpipes special in the context of Korn; creating an ambiance that is so unique that any band who dare follow suit will be instantly branded as rip-off artists until the end of time.
As part of an interview conducted in front of an audience by Loudwire’s Ryan J. Downey, Davis took a question from the crowd regarding whether or not he would incorporate bagpipes into his solo work. The Korn frontman said: “I like them, but I don’t wanna milk the motherfuckers to death. I don’t wanna do it on every record, and that becomes some cheesy shit.
“I’ve only used them in two or three songs in Korn’s history,” he continued. “It depends if the song, if I’m feeling like there’s a spot where I could use it, yeah… But the bagpipe thing, that came from my grandmother. I remember my earliest memories of her, and me being a small child, her playing records of pipe bands.
“You’re making me such a fucking nerd right now,” the singer went on. “The real reason I wanted to play bagpipes was that in Star Trek [1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan] when Spock died, and that motherfucker [Mr. Scott] played “Amazing Grace”… Everybody tears up, and I’m like, “I gotta play bagpipes.” And then I was going to a high school that had a pipe band, so there you go. That’s some really fucked up shit, but it’s true.”
Largely due to the ambiance created by Scotty’s bagpipes, Spock’s funeral in Wrath Of Khan is one of the most emotionally devastating moments in the history of the Star Trek franchise.
You can check it out right here, as well as additional video of Jonathan Davis absolutely shredding on the instrument.