1999. Oh how I wish I could go back. Nu-Metal was in full swing. Rap was still decent. I had no bills/responsibilities/cares other than walking/feeding a dog. Fun times. In all of my youthful ignorance I was watching a lot of TV and I can still recall all the lead-up to this album’s release. Korn played two unfinished songs from the album at Woodstock ’99 (“Falling Away From Me” and “Beg For Me”). The band debuted the song “Falling Away From Me” on the South Park episode titled “Korn’s Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery”. When the album was in the can, Korn played a special concert at the NY Apollo Theatre on the eve of it’s release. They had a special backing band and played the full album in it’s entirety and streamed the audio over the radio. Video was also captured but I honestly don’t remember if it was ever shown anywhere. Want to check it out? It’s at the end of this post. MTV was also flooded with Korn-centric programming at the time. There was the Korn Cover Contest that offered a fans a chance to design the album’s main artwork. This was won by Alfredo Carlos. So, yeah, Korn was ruling the popular heavy-music landscape in the late 90’s and I (being all of 14 years old at the time) ate this stuff right up.
I became a huge Korn fan after my buddy just kept playing Korn and Life Is Peachy whenever I was at his house. Life is Peachy was our main jam back in ’97/early ’98. We would sit around the house and listen to that album on repeat. Then Follow The Leader came out and I got my copy in December of 1998 and that album wouldn’t really leave the CD player for over a year. Then, in late ’99 the Issues media machine would begin.
After “Falling Away From Me” finally hit the radio it was heard all over my town. All the older kids were driving around blasting that song when it came on. You would turn on MTV and you’d likely see a Korn video within the hour. It was just nonstop with the barrage of media they were pumping out. I remember a special on MTV where Korn was being interviewed in a school bus for the record release. I remember Jonathan talking about how they played two demos at Woodstock and how the lyrics weren’t the same. Weird, but cool. The Korn Cover Contest was pretty neat as well. The idea that a fan’s art could adorn the cover of an album that was sure to sell millions of copies was amazing and the cover they chose has gone on to be quite iconic for the band. Shirts, posters, album covers, dolls, figurines, video graphics and more all came from this painting. It turned out to be quite a wise choice from the band. Of course, this choice also came in the form of an MTV special. Seriously, Korn owned MTV’s heavy music rotation at the time.
The last big bit of info I remember from this time period with this album is the night I got the CD. I rushed home from school and was just begging my mom to drive me to the music store in the town next to ours. I just HAD to get this album on it’s release date. She finally gave in and we made the 20-minute journey to the closest On Cue/Sam Goody and I ran in to buy the CD. She paid, we made our way home and I promptly went upstairs to my room and tossed the CD in the stereo. I would listen to Issues and Follow The Leader for probably the next year or so. They were two CD’s I always had ready to put on. I love them both and they are still heavy in my rotation of rock music.
I was super pumped to find this album at The Exchange a few weeks back. I have loved it since it’s initial release and I missed out on the last chance I had to buy it. Naners and I were still living in Chicago at the time and I saw it at Reckless Records in Lakeview. I didn’t buy it that night and then regretted that decision once I got home. The next day I went there after work and after rummaging through their new arrivals, rock and metal sections I was left with nothing. It was already gone. I’m not sure if it was in as good of quality as this copy (I don’t think it was) but it did take me over two more years to find another original pressing copy. They did recently reissue the album but I figured I’d find an original sooner or later. I’m really glad that day finally came.