Jonathan Davis’s mic stand is no mere object; it is an animated entity charged with iconic status, colossal presence and a magnanimous mania that is ravenously and indefatigably absorbed by fans. On tour, Korn is preceded by Davis’s mic, which never fails to incite delirious hysteria. The mic has come to be a tangible representation of Korn, and more specifically an embodiment of the charismatic singer for whom it was designed; a singer who Doug Small called “the eye of the storm around which the music of Korn rages.”
In 2001, Davis, a fan of HR Giger’s work, was only too pleased when the Swiss artist accepted a commission to come up with a design for a mic stand for the Korn frontman. Davis’s only stipulation was “a functional piece of art,” and the otherworldly, biomechanical, oversexualized female creature that Giger produced couldn’t have been more apt. When Davis performs, he and the mic merge into one – Giger’s creation so perfectly, beautifully and agonisingly exaggerates and amplifies Davis’s tormented soul. The vile, sordid eroticism inherent in Giger’s work proved to be the perfect premise on which to bring Jonathan Davis, the heart of Korn, to life.
Giger and Davis are intuitive artists whose vulgar and indecent expression is simultaneously repellent and attractive. They are artists who create with their souls, the result of which is a visual and auditory presence, respective to each artist, that is both bizarre and provocative. Korn is Davis’s punching bag and battering ram; Korn takes an emotional beating from Davis and thereafter delivers a musical and lyrical assault. The band’s primal nature invokes abhorrence but also demands consideration, much like Giger’s art. The music of Korn and the art of Giger free the limits of the imagination and give the individual permission to delve into the origins of the personal fears that lurk menacingly within the subconscious. For Davis and Giger, the result of all that delving around in the quiescent crypt of the mind’s labyrinthine complexities is the conjuring of an art so obscene, so disgusting, so raw and deeply troublesome, that it compels reverence.
To immortalise the mic in history and to aggrandise its allure (never mind value), only five stands were manufactured and the mould has since been destroyed. Davis is in possession of two of the stands, the third lives in a museum of Davis’s choice, the fourth is on permanent display at the H.R. Giger Museum in Switzerland and the fifth mic is used in Giger’s gallery exhibitions. Revolver called the mic a “heavy metal sex machine” – kind of like Korn, a lot like Davis and explicitly Giger-like. It is a transcendent entity, not only through art but through the life and energy prescribed to it by Davis and his fans.