Korn’s James “Munky” Shaffer answered TMZ’s questions at Los Angeles International Airport this week, commenting on his journey with sobriety and the death of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.
The Korn guitarist has been sober for over a decade. Walking into LAX on Wednesday (May 18), he was asked about Monday’s Rolling Stone story that suggested Hawkins wanted to lessen his touring with Foo Fighters in his final days. The story was subsequently denounced by two of the musicians and Hawkins associates interviewed for it, Pearl Jam’s Matt Cameron and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith.
Hawkins’ death in March shocked the music world, as evidenced by the outpouring of support that followed. But there has been no official word that substance abuse contributed, despite a preliminary toxicology report that detected drugs in his system.
“It’s so sad,” Shaffer tells TMZ of Hawkins’ death. “I feel so bad for his family and his friends and Dave [Grohl]. I want to send my love to Dave. … They’re such great guys. And musicians are so sensitive, really. You have all this persona onstage, but…”
Asked if the pressures of touring can “get to you,” Shaffer responds, “It can. I’ve struggled with my own addictions and mental health. It’s fucking hard, and you get out there and you get a lot [of] enablers.”
He adds, “Especially if you deal with addiction, you have that tendency to want to go and do that. But like me, I’ve been sober 12 years — it’s hard to say no still. Even like, ‘Aw, let’s go — we’re gonna go to the hotel lobby and party.’ Man, I’m going to go to bed.”
The cause of Hawkins’ death at 50 is still unknown. He was found dead in Colombia on March 25 before Foos were to play Bogota’s Festival Estereo Picnic. The Dave Grohl-led band then canceled all their concerts.
Korn’s Requiem emerged in February, backed by singles such as “Start the Healing” and “Lost in the Grandeur.” They’ll tour with Evanescence this summer.
Watch the TMZ video below.