Lead singer Jon Davis wrote the lyrics about the music industry, which he compares to an owner walking a dog. While he's this freak being paraded around, corporate America is making all the money... and it's taking a part of him.
Korn's alloy of Metal came into vogue in 1998, when the Follow the Leader album - the band's third - was released. "Freak on a Leash" was one of just two singles from the LP ("Got The Life" was the other). The album was released in August 1998, but the "Freak" single wasn't issued until spring, 1999. It bubbled under at #106 on the Hot 100 on May 1, which wasn't bad considering how few radio stations played Korn. The album, however, went to #1, selling over 3 million copies in America at a time when CDs were still selling for around $16.
Korn won their only Grammy for this song. It was for the Best Short Form Music Video of 1999.
The video, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, won two MTV Video Music Awards, one for Best Rock Video and another for Best Editing. It features a bullet speedily traveling through scenes of children playing and in school, among other things. It was based on an old public service announcement about gun control.
Korn shares the songwriting credits, so the entire band is listed as composers. Brian "Head" Welch, who was their guitarist at the time, tells us that the song came together quickly. "Korn's biggest singles came pretty fast like that," he said in our 2013 interview. "We were just jamming and it kind of fell together."
In the UK, a "maxi single" was released with five different remixes of this song. In addition to the album version, these were: Dante Ross Mix (by Dante Ross and John Gamble) Freakin' Bitch Mix (by Butch Vig) Josh A's Beast On A Leash Mix (by Josh Abraham) Lethal Freak Mix (by DJ Lethal)
A clean version of this song was issued as the A-side of the single and distributed to radio stations. The clean edit runs 3:46, while the album version is 4:15.
The cartoon in the beginning of the video was drawn by Todd McFarlane, who also made the video for "Do The Evolution" by Pearl Jam.
Suggestion credit: Elliot - St. Louis, MO
Korn performed this on an episode of Saturday Night Live along with their newer song "Twisted Transistor."
Although this is the second song on the CD, on some versions it is listed as track 14. On these copies, the first 12 tracks are made up of a few seconds of silence each.
This was used in commercials for Puma after the band signed an endorsement deal with the athletic outfitter. Korn's deal with Puma lasted just a few years: they signed with Pony in 2001.
The track finds Jonathan Davis' slating the exploitive music industry:
"That's my song that rails out against the music industry. It's about how I feel like I'm a f---in' prostitute. Like I'm this freak paraded around, but I got corporate America f---in' making all the money while it's taking a part of me. It's like they stole something from me–they stole my innocence and I'm not calm anymore. I worry constantly. I'm not just talkin' about the record business. Everything's involved. I've lost something. I'm not all there anymore. I love what I do, but I wish I could have it all back. It's like the 'Peter Pan syndrome.' I wish I could still fly."
Zero from Nowhere, NjI think he's just comparing the media and his fame to a bad relationship, or saying that he made his vows to fame and rock stardom and now he's got to stay faithful to them, because they were "meant to be". Or he could be saying that even though he hates being famous sometimes, he keeps doing what he does because it gives him pleasure ("a cheap f--k for me to lay"). Just my opinion.
Azalea from Hot Springs, ArI think that this song could be about a relationship, where one of them is feeling used even though they feel like they should be together. The lyrics: "Something takes a part of me, something lost and never seen. Every time I start to believe, something's raped and taken from me.....Something takes a part of me. You and I were meant to be. A cheap f**k for me to lay. Something takes a part of me." I just love the version he did with Amy Lee.
Torque from Camden, Njthis is one of the only metal songs that has beat boxing in it
Austin from Smallsville,new England, --This song was also featured on Guitar Hero:World Tour. By the way I liked this song before the game came out.
Austin from Smallsville,new England, --In the Simpsons episode "Stop or My Dog Will Shoot", while Santa's Little Helper is searching for humor they play part of this song.
Kane from Wytheville, Vato be honest i think the song is only THE GREATEST SONG EVER!!!!! FOR REAL JON DAVIS IS LIKE MY IDOL I CAN TO THE BREAKDOWN PART JUST LIKE HIM YOU KNOW THE PSYCO PART IM TALKING BOUT RIGHT
J from Gp, TxI first heard this song on my very first boom box back in 1998. Back when people use to tape things of the radio. The good old days of Korn. The new stuff isn't bad but Korns first four albums were the just amazing. The new material isn't quite as angry. Jon has changed his anger towards society now. Nothing wrong with the band changing though. I know i don't wanna my favorite bands to sound the same that would just get boring very, very, very fast.
Avery from Bucksport, MeThis is my faavorite song by korn cause he can beatbox... and it was the 1st song i herd by KoRn ever i was probably like in 3rd grade!!
Taylor from Pueblo, CoTHIS SONG IS GREAT!!!!
Austin from Smallsville, NeI heard the cartoonist also does the Spawn comics.
Jenna from Nova Scotia, CanadaKoRn sound like frogs...but i like it!
Rachel from Cleveland, AlRock on!! I love the beat and the message this song gives out.
Taylor from Boise, Idi hate the version with Amy Lee. i hate Amy Lee all together. if they woulda done that version, but put duct tape over Amy's mouth, i'd be happy. she overdoes everything. its like she has to have an orgasm everytime she makes a note. i think its stupid and annoying
Desiree from Powers Lake, Ndthis is an AMAZING song...one of my favorites...cant get enough of jon...i really liked it with amy lee...her and jon rocked this song out!!
Amanda from Wabash, InI love the vesion wih Amy Lee. I also like the lyrics in genral. Nest to Twested Transister, thi is KoRn's best song. -Amada Wabsh, IN
Jessie from Coffee County, TnGreat song, but I didn't like it too much when they did it with Amy Lee, though it sounded better than coming undone.
Matt from Uxbridge, MaMeg, the song was already a hit without Amy Lee.
Megan from Hubert, NcI think that Amy Lee and the band KoRn go good together to make this song a hit!!!!!!!
Jemma from DublinI loved this song... I have also been labelled a freak, but I am quite proud :)
Kim from Stuart, FlGood song. The only unfortunate thing is that it started the fad of all those mall goths wearing collars and leashes. How very original (evil eye at Daughter of Fenris and Pinky).
Brett from Adelaide, AustraliaThis song is my fav song from KoRn Da Boom Na Da Mmm Dum Na Ema! I love everything about it and couldn't give a sh** what it's about
Jake from Houston, TxAnother thing, if you put in Follow The Leader into your PC and look for the artist for the silence, Thomas Kornacker is listen. Wierd, huh?
Jake from Houston, TxActually, the people that directed the Here to Stay video make the comercial. KoRn did the video and claimed to have no idea about it. (I love KoRn, but they obviously ripped them off)
Ryan from Sydney, AustraliaBest Video ever
Matt from Millbrae, Caawesome video
Scooter from Nampa, Idthis song is the reason i am a kornfreak it was the first one i ever heard in 98 and i was hooked from then on.
Pinky from Wellington, New ZealandI likt this song too; and I'm a freak who wears a leash.
Daughter Of Fenris from N/a, WaThis is one of my themesongs! I'm a true freak on a leash... seeing as I wear a leash and have been labled as a freak! ^.^
Nick from Paramus, NjActually their new CD, "Take a Look in the Mirror" has 13 tracks on it so I don't know about bryan's comment.
Brian from Mayfield Heights, OhI think what mishel and bryan were trying to say - and would have if they could type- was that this song is about Jon's feeling that the record label was using him, raping him of his ideas and creativity for their own profit, and how he felt like he was their "freak on a leash" ... kept around just to attract attention and make them moeny. Beacause let's face it. Who can attract more attention than Jonathan Davis?
Mishel from Madera, Caawsum song, wat is a better title and subject then freak on a leash? most ppl dnt like korn becuz there different. but wat is better than being different? jon sees things that only a few ppl can.
Nick from Paramus, NjThe Follow the leader CD has 25 tracks in all and at the end of the last track there is a hidden track which is a cover of the Cheech and Chong song, "Earache my Eye" with Cheech Marin on vocals.
Bryan from Woodbridge, Njthis song is about the label kindy telling him what to do so the fact freak on a leash. also the reason the first 12 tracks are empty was because the cd would have ended on track 13 and they thought it was bad luck to end on 13