Jonathan Davis

This article is about the lead singer of Korn. For people with similar names, see Jonathan Davis (disambiguation).
Jonathan Davis
Birth name Jonathan Howsmon Davis[1][2]
Also known as JD,[3] JDevil, J Devil
Born (1971-01-18) January 18, 1971[4]
Bakersfield, California
Genres Nu metal, alternative metal, industrial metal, alternative rock, electronica
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, singer, producer, actor
Instruments Vocals, bagpipes, guitar, bass, drums, keyboards
Years active 1989–present
Labels Immortal, Epic, Virgin, Roadrunner, Prospect Park, eOne, Dim Mak
Associated acts Korn, Jonathan Davis and the SFA, Slipknot, Disturbed, Metallica, Sexart, Apocalyptica, Limp Bizkit, Killbot, Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Joe Armstrong, Ville Valo, Linkin Park, Suicide Silence, Emigrate, Cradle of Thorns

Jonathan Howsmon Davis[1][2] (born January 18, 1971), also known as JD and JDevil (or J Devil), is an American musician best known as the leading vocalist and frontman of the nu metal band Korn.

Early life

Jonathan Howsmon Davis was born on Monday, January 18, 1971 in Bakersfield, California, the son of Holly Marie (nee Smith) Chavez (born May 6, 1949) and Ricky Duane “Rick” Davis (born December 14, 1948). His parents were married on February 27, 1970 in Kern, California. Davis' ethnicity includes Scottish, English, Welsh, and German. [5][6] He has a sister, Alyssa, a half-brother, Mark Chavez[7] (known as the former lead singer for Adema), and a half-sister, Amanda Chavez, by his mother.[8] His father was a keyboardist for Buck Owens and Frank Zappa, while his mother was a professional actress and dancer.[9] His parents divorced when he was three years old and he was raised by his father and stepmother Lillie in Bakersfield.[9] Davis suffered severe bouts of asthma as a child,[10] and had survived a near-fatal asthma attack when he was five years old. He also spoke of having a horrible relationship with his stepmother.[11][12][13] He said she used to harass him and torture him, giving him tea mixed with Thai hot oil and jalapeño juice to drink when he was sick.[11] Davis's father later divorced her.[11][13] He says the song "Kill You" was written about her.[11][12][13] Davis has said that his earliest musical inspiration as a child was the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar, and his favorite musical group was Duran Duran.[14] He graduated from Highland High School in 1989. He also attended the San Francisco School of Mortuary Science for a period of time. He was persistently harassed in Highland High School primarily by jocks for being different by wearing eyeliner, long clothes, and listening to new wave music.[14][15] He was teased, harmed, and beaten. Davis also was constantly called homophobic names.[14] The Korn song "Faget" was inspired by Davis' experience of being bullied. Davis' HIV tattoo also was inspired by his experience of being bullied. Davis says even teachers were mean to him and sent him to the counselor for wearing eyeliner.[11]


He has a cameo in Queen of the Damned as a ticket scalper.[16] Davis plays a minor role as Ricky, a crack dealer, in the film Seeing Other People.[16] Davis also has a role as a store clerk in the independent film The Still Life[16] Davis was billed for the lead role in Sin-Jin Smyth, although the movie has not been released as of 2014. Davis worked on a script with writer and director Clive Barker entitled Oblivion. Davis describes it as a "dark opera about the end of the world" and that it differs greatly from Korn's style of music. The project has been postponed for an indefinite period of time.

He has also been featured in many other bands' music videos, sometimes with Korn and sometimes solo. He has appeared with Korn in the Limp Bizkit music videos for "Break Stuff" and "Faith".[17] Other appearances in music videos include "Brand New Love" by Deadsy, "Ty Jonathan Down" by Videodrone, "Answer the Phone" by Sugar Ray, "Gatekeepers" by Dope D.O.D. and "Prom Queen" by Lil Wayne. He has also appeared in the music videos for Cold's "Give" and Busta Rhymes' "Fire". In 2009, Davis collaborated with Infected Mushroom, a psychedelic trance and electronic music group, appearing in the music video for their track "Smashing the Opponent", as well as with dubstep artist Datsik on "Evilution."[18]

Davis and the rest of Korn appeared in a 2005 episode of the comedy-drama television series Monk, titled "Mr. Monk Gets Stuck in Traffic".[19] As well as appearing in Monk, Korn also made an appearance on The Man Show in which hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla claimed to be two members that were kicked out of the band in the style of a VH1 Behind The Music special.

Davis and Korn voiced themselves in season 3 of South Park in the episode "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery",[20] which features them as characters inspired by the cartoon Scooby-Doo, driving a van similar to the Mystery Machine and trying to solve a mystery about pirate ghosts.

Personal life

Davis' childhood is a major influence on Korn lyrics. The song "Daddy" gave rise to a rumor that he was molested by his father, Rick Davis. However, Jonathan has gone on record in many interviews saying he wrote the song about a female family friend who sexually abused him. He said that when he tried to turn to his family as a child to tell them about the abuse, they shrugged it off and didn't believe him.[21]

Davis has been married twice. His first marriage was to his high school sweetheart, Renee Perez. They were married on November 28, 1998 in a Medieval-themed ceremony. Together they had a son, Nathan Howsmon Davis, who was born on October 18, 1995.[2] The couple divorced in 2000. A decade after the release of Korn's first album, on October 10, 2004, Davis married in Hawaii, this time to former pornographic actress Deven Davis.[22] Davis's second child, Pirate Howsmon Davis,[23] was born on March 18, 2005.[2][24] Davis's third son, Zeppelin Howsmon Davis, was born on April 28, 2007.[2]

Davis has not used alcohol or any other drugs since August 22, 1998.[25] On the band's Deuce DVD, Davis' bandmates all say they are proud of him for his sobriety.

Davis has stated that Untouchables is his second favorite Korn album,[26] with Korn being his first, and that "Hollow Life" and "Do What They Say" are his favorite Korn songs (according to an interview).

In the early 2000s, Davis began collecting serial killer art and memorabilia, publicly displaying selected items while on the Ozzfest 2003 tour. In 2005, he was considering starting a serial killer museum with Arthur Rosenblatt but pulled out of the deal, leading Rosenblatt to sue him. The litigation was ultimately resolved successfully by Ed McPherson, Davis' attorney. Davis later denounced the items and got rid of them.

In late 2006, Davis was recognized and honored at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, California, by Buddy Alan, son of the late country singer.

While Korn performed at the Download Festival in 2006, Davis was unable to perform, as he had developed idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a rare bleeding disorder. This left him bedridden for days after his band's performance. Assorted other artists also at Download filled in singing for Korn during the performance including M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold, Matt Heafy of Trivium, Jesse Hasek of 10 Years, Benji Webbe of Skindred, Dez Fafara of Devildriver and Corey Taylor of Slipknot.[27] The songs "Starting Over" and "Hold On" were inspired by the illness.

Davis created an original fighting game, Pop Scars, which pits popular musical personalities against each other in one-on-one combat. Participants include members of Limp Bizkit, Staind, Marilyn Manson, and Korn itself. Each celebrity has its own personality and sports character designs sketched by comic book artist Marty Emond, while stages feature environmental traps that impede opponents as they fight. Pop Scars never made it past the early design stages, as Davis himself pulled the plug on the project in late 2004.[28]

In the 2012 presidential election, Davis spoke out in support of Ron Paul.[29]

Military visits

In 2012, Jonathan began visiting United States Armed Forces stationed in Europe. On March 16, 2012, Jonathan made his first visit to Ramstein Air Base, Germany where he visited with personnel assigned to the 86th Airlift Wing and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel showed him how to operate the bomb disposal robot and how to render safe an improvised explosive device wearing a Bombsuit. Firefighter personnel showed how to use the water cannon in the new Striker ARFF fire apparatus. Readiness and Emergency Management personnel showed a variety of Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) detection and protection equipment. He also did a meet and greet signing autographs for the troops and their families at the AAFES Military Mall (Kaiserslautern Military Community Center). He visited wounded warriors from all over the world at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and the USO Wounded Warriors Center.[30][31][32][33]

On August 11, 2012, Jonathan made another trip to Ramstein Air Base, Germany to visit with personnel assigned to the 86th Airlift Wing, 37th Airlift Squadron, and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. During this visit, he was able to get a tour of a C-130J, Hercules and Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel demonstrated a "Hollywood shot" explosive and the destruction a small amount of explosive can do to a car. Again, he visited the wounded warriors at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and the USO Wounded Warriors Center. A documentary of his experiences, "Wounded Warriors" was submitted to the 1st Annual GI Film Festival Hollywood[34] and won Audience Choice Award on November 10, 2012.[35][36][37] As a result of these trips, once Barack Obama awarded Captain Florent Groberg the Medal of Honor, he mentioned how Davis visited Groberg in Germany, and joked that "I am not the lead singer from Korn".[38] While Davis had been a vocal critic of Obama, he expressed shock at the mention, particularly as it was a compliment: "The President of the United States gave me props for being there for a Medal of Honor recipient. Groberg went through hell."[39]


JDevil at I Love This City San Diego 2012.

JDevil is the EDM alter-ego of Jonathan Davis. He has been DJing since 1987 while he was still in high school. He began working for Pacific West Sound and spun at high school dances and parties on the weekends in Bakersfield. He used to spin New York freestyle, Miami bass, old school hip hop, goth, and industrial.[40] In 2009, he began to DJ again and he introduced JDevil to the world in 2011 at Infected Mushroom appearances and as an opening act on Korn's Path of Totality Tour.[41] Jonathan felt a need to use a unique name while making music. As he states in an interview,[42] he has combined initials (JD), and 'evil' into 'JDevil'. He has nicknamed his wife, Deven, Devil, which also is a part of JDevil moniker. Jonathan has always been fascinated by the devil and JDevil's persona embraces the idea of being the "antichrist of EDM".[42] Jonathan says JDevil represents "indulgence and doing whatever you want to do and not ignoring your instincts, as long as you don't hurt anybody."[42] JDevil's EDM style combines elements of dubstep, jungle, drum and bass, four-on-the-floor, and metal.[42]

Live performances

JDevil was one of the opening acts for Korn on their The Path of Totality Tour from November 2011 - July 2012 in North America and Europe.[43]

While on a short break from touring with Korn in July 2012, JDevil had a short four-day club tour which consisted of The Junkyard in Nashua, New Hampshire, Pufferbellies Entertainment Complex in Hyannis, Massachusetts, Lizard Lounge in Dallas, Texas, and The Garden in El Paso, Texas.[43]

In July, 2012, JDevil had signed on to perform at select Identity Festival dates throughout North America.[44] He only performed at two shows, Comcast Center (amphitheater) in Mansfield, Massachusetts and Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia.[45][46]

In August 2012, it was announced that JDevil would open for Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson on their Twins of Evil Tour at select dates in North America.[47] However, before the tour began, JDevil had to drop out of the tour due to exhaustion.[48][49]

JDevil's stage presence is one that thrives on chaos and disorder. He has said that he wants to entertain the crowd and make it insane.[50][51]

"I make people drop their jaws because I'm just up there telling them to go fuck themselves. No one's ever done that at an EDM show and crowds are loving it. It's not like I'm offending anyone, people are like 'Yeah, fuck you too!'"
Jonathan Davis[52]


Davis using "The Bitch" (August 2012).

In 2002, Jonathan unveiled a microphone stand art piece dubbed "The Bitch", which was created by Swiss artist H.R. Giger. As of 2014, Davis has been seen using wireless Shure Beta 87a and SM87 microphones for live performances. In the studio, Davis uses various microphones, most prominently the Sanken CU-44x.



Main article: Korn discography
Jonathan Davis and the SFA


As lead artist

List of singles, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album

"Careless"[54] 2007 Non-album singles
"Got Money"
(featuring Jim Root)
2008 41
"Silent Hill"[55] 2012 Silent Hill: Downpour soundtrack
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.
List of singles, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album


"Year 2000"
(Xzibit featuring Jonathan Davis)
2000 76 28 Black and White soundtrack
"Jerry Bruckheimer"
(The Changing featuring Jonathan Davis)
2009 For Obvious Reasons
"Smashing the Opponent"[57]
(Infected Mushroom featuring Jonathan Davis)
Legend of the Black Shawarma
"The Enabler"[58]
(Chuck Mosley featuring Jonathan Davis and John 5)
Will Rap Over Hard Rock for Food
(Datsik and Infected Mushroom featuring Jonathan Davis)
2012 Vitamin D
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Promotional singles

List of promotional singles, showing year released and album name
Title Year Album
"Justice" (Remix)
(Rev Theory featuring Jonathan Davis)
2011 Justice

Other appearances

Guest appearances

List of non-single guest appearances, showing year released and album name
Title Year Album
(Sepultura featuring Jonathan Davis, Mike Patton and DJ Lethal)
1996 Roots
"Sleepy Hollow"[61]
(Deadsy featuring Jonathan Davis)
(Orgy featuring Jonathan Davis)
1998 Candyass
"Ty Jonathan Down"[63]
(Videodrone featuring Jonathan Davis)
1999 Videodrone
"Nobody Like You"[64]
(Limp Bizkit featuring Scott Weiland and Jonathan Davis)
Significant Other
"Take It Back"[65]
(Snot featuring Jonathan Davis)
2000 Strait Up
"Just for Now"[66]
(Fieldy's Dreams featuring Jonathan Davis)
2002 Rock'n Roll Gangster
"1stp Klosr"[67]
(Linkin Park featuring Jonathan Davis and The Humble Brothers)
"Love on the Rocks"[68] 2003 Wonderland soundtrack
"Cut Throat"[69]
(Marz featuring Jonathan Davis)
2004 Gorilla Pimpin'
"Witness the Addiction"[70]
(Suicide Silence featuring Jonathan Davis)
2011 The Black Crown
"Starting To Turn" (Tech N9ne featuring Jonathan Davis) 2016 The Storm

Remix work

List of remix work for other artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Hear Me Now" (Jonathan Davis Remix)[71] 2011 Hollywood Undead American Tragedy Redux
"Thunder Kiss '65" (JDevil Number of the Beast Remix)[72] 2012 Rob Zombie Mondo Sex Head
"The Kids Will Have Their Say" (JDevil Catholic Nun Remix)[73] Steve Aoki, Sick Boy The Kids Will Have Their Say EP
"Bug Party" (JDevil Catholic Nun Remix) Huoratron Non-album song


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