Korn’s drummer, Ray Luzier, has a side gig: He’s an internationally sought-after percussion instructor, who has some pretty good advice for aspiring musicians: “Go to law school,” he laughs.
On the brink of Korn’s 12th studio release (“Serenity of Suffering," due Oct. 21), the Cali-bred band has just boomeranged their sound from West Coast nu metal to pseudo-dubstep and back again. Luzier knows the fickle favoritism of success and the amount of sheer luck that goes into making it big, noting even classical training won’t guarantee you a spot in the limelight.
“These days the music business takes such wacky turns you need to sacrifice your life and family and take it on 110 percent,” he says from Toronto. “If you want to do it, you really have to commit. And even if you’re the top of your class, there’s no guarantee you’re going to get a job. And that’s really, really scary.”
Luzier chats about the band’s upcoming album, their current tour with Rob Zombie and what it’s like seeing two generations of Korn fans.
Can we talk about the video for “Insane,” which just came out this week. Have you read any of the press about it?
David Lee Roth told me to never read your own press — and never read the comments. Anyone can make up a fake name and go online and attack anyone they want to. I’ve looked in vain [this time], but it’s been mostly positive from what I’ve skimmed through. The thing I see the most is “Korn is back,” which is funny to me because we never went anywhere.
How does it feel being a band that’s been around long enough to "come back”?
There’s no quota or touring cycle, we just go, go, go, and if it’s affecting people in a way that makes them say we have our old sound back, we’ll take it. A lot of [this new album’s sound] has to do with [Grammy-winning producer] Nick Raskulinecz. He’s one of my favorite producers, and whenever I pick up an album I love, I see it’s produced by him. He makes a band feel the way they’re supposed to feel, and sound the way they’re meant to sound.
And you’re at the point in your careers where your music, and subsequently your fans, are spanning generations.
It’s cool seeing it. You see fathers and their sons who are in their teens. Their pops saw Korn back in the day, and now it’s great seeing parents turning their kids onto our music. We’re blessed to be doing what we’re doing in our 40s. Now it’s all about our families and our music.
What’s it like still feeling like you’re still living part of your life on the road?
It’s hard. We all have families and kids now, and that’s the roughest part about what we do. I got to see my 5-year-old start his first week of kindergarten, but we usually miss these moments. I’ve been fortunate enough to catch all five birthdays, and that’s still the hardest part.
With “Serenity of Suffering” being your twelfth release — how are you able to par down your set lists on this tour?
It’s really hard. Munky [James Shaffer] is really good at trying to balance it out. It’s one of those things where you can’t go a night without playing “Freak on a Leash,” or people will throw tomatoes at you. Then the old-school fans want to hear the obscure stuff. I remember years back we made a medley [for tour] of nine songs in 12 minutes. It’s a lot. I think Korn has over 145 songs in our catalog.
Going back to Nick, what do you think was different in the way that you worked together that will show up on this album?
It’s a paradigm shift. He has a totally different perspective on things. Being the type of band we are, we’ll just write and write and write, so it’s really important for us to have a producer who comes in and goes, “Hey, this isn’t as good as you thought” or “This is better than you think it is.” Nick had a lot to do with getting our sound down. We started in June of  and were up to 35 [recorded] tunes, and Nick whittled it down. We ended up recording 16 songs with him, for the album and other projects.