Jonathan Howsmon Davis — A.K.A. JD, A.K.A. JDevil — is the lead singer/bagpipe player/programmer for Korn who was born Jan. 18, 1971, in Bakersfield, Calif., to musician Rick Davis (who played keyboards for Buck Owens) and professional dancer Holly Chavez.
He’s married to former adult film star Deven Davis, and has three children — Nathan Howsmon Davis (whom he had with his ex-wife Renee), Pirate Howsmon Davis and Zeppelin Howsmon Davis.
Davis’ work as a frontman started with the band Sexart back in 1989 through early 1993. After his departure from Sexart, Davis became the lead singer for Korn.
During the recording of Korn’s first album, Davis penned the track “Daddy” — a song that was played a few times in 1993 but has never been played since because of the deep personal lyric content. The lyrics suggest that Davis was molested as a child, and both he and Rick confirmed the fact, and so began writing as a therapy of sorts for Davis.
Known for his intense, dark and from-the-heart writing style, Davis — who was No. 16 in Hit Parader’s list of Top 100 metal vocalists — rarely goes through a show on stage without breaking down in some way. It’s a miracle, really, he can perform back-to-back nights.
While the rock genre has treated Davis very well, he has also done some composing — scoring the film “Queen of the Damned” alongside Richard Gibbs. Davis also wrote five original songs for the movie; “Careless,” “Slept So Long,” “Forsaken,” “Not Meant For Me” and “Redeemer.”
In 2007, after releasing “See You on the Other Side” with Korn and touring for the album cycle, Davis turned his attention to a side solo project, Jonathan Davis and the SFA (the Simply Fucking Amazings) — a band comprised of Shane Gibson on guitar, Miles Mosley on bass, Michael Jochum on drums and percussion, Shenkar on violins and backup vocals and Zac Baird on keyboards and backup vocals.
He recorded a few songs with the artists in the studio, but focused more on rearranging of Korn songs and the Queen of the Damned songs while performing world wide.
Two albums were released from the efforts, “Jonathan Davis and the SFA Alone I Play” — which was basically a full dress rehearsal session in front of close friends and family and released limitedly while on tour — and “Jonathan Davis and the SFA Live at Union Chapel” which was the last show of his world tour.
Immediately after, Davis went back to work with Korn for “Untitled.” It’s almost as if the man never sits still!
After pushing out “Korn III: Remember Who You Are,” Davis wanted to take a different approach for a Korn album — something with a heavy electronic dance music/dubstep influence. The birth of “The Path of Totality” came from Davis’ affinity for the alternative genre and has given a breath of fresh air to the Korn live show.
During the recording process of “The Path of Totality,” Davis had an alter-ego emerge, JDevil — his stage name as a DJ. Coincidentally, JDevil spells out Live DJ backward.
Hitting various spots — not quite a tour because the dates were few and far between sometimes — Davis continued to work on EDM/Dubstep tracks for himself while collaborating with such DJs as Noisia, Downlink, Datsik, Steve Aoki and Sluggo. There is an EP in the works and coming out in the future for JDevil on Aoki’s Dim Mak Records.
Davis, excuse me, JDevil, is also doing his dubstep/EDM thing with the super group Killbot — comprised of JDevil, Sluggo and Tyler Blue.
At the moment, Davis finds himself pulling double duty during Korn tours; acting as an opening DJ to start the night and then doing what he does better than almost anyone else in the world — lead singer of a rock band.
With him able to have fun with his “side project” on stage before turning on the Korn switch, it seems as though Davis has even more energy and more feelings course through him during the 75-90-minute rock sets.
- Jorge Bannister