James Shaffer

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James "Munky" Shaffer
Munky with Korn at Rock im Park 2016
Munky with Korn at Rock im Park 2016
Background information
Birth nameJames Christian Shaffer
Also known as
  • Munky
  • Munk
  • the Gorilla
Born (1970-06-06) June 6, 1970 (age 53)
California,[1] U.S.
Years active1989–present
Member of
Formerly ofLAPD

James Christian Shaffer (born June 6, 1970), also known by his stage name "Munky", is an American musician best known as a co-founder and guitarist of the nu metal band Korn. He was ranked at No. 26 of Guitar World's 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time.[2]

Shaffer set up the side-project band Fear and the Nervous System in 2008 and is also the founder of Emotional Syphon Recordings, who have signed acts like Monster in the Machine and Droid.

Early life[edit]

Shaffer was born June 6, 1970, in Rosedale, California. He was adopted by his parents as an infant, along with two other siblings. Shaffer and the other members of Korn grew up in an agricultural town of Bakersfield, California, two hours north of Los Angeles. When trying to sneak out to a party, the tip of one of his fingers was severed by the chain on his three-wheeler, and, as part of his rehabilitation, Shaffer picked up a guitar. During high school, Shaffer met fellow guitarist Brian Welch and the two would often jam together.[3]


Early musical career[edit]

Shaffer, along with fellow future Korn members, David Silveria and Reginald Arvizu formed a band called L.A.P.D. with singer Richard Morill. When the band moved from Bakersfield, California to Los Angeles, Silveria dropped out of high school and Shaffer stayed in Bakersfield. When Shaffer reunited with the band, they found a manager and released an EP entitled Love and Peace Dude in 1989 through Triple X Records. L.A.P.D. released their first full-length studio album on May 3, 1991, which consisted of eleven tracks. The album was entitled Who's Laughing Now. After releasing two albums, L.A.P.D. broke up. They were also briefly known as Creep, recording a demo with a singer named Corey until Shaffer, Arvizu, and Silveria enlisted Brian Welch and Jonathan Davis to form the band that went on to become Korn.[4]

Korn (1993–present)[edit]

When thinking of a band name, someone suggested "corn", but the band rejected that name, so Shaffer had the idea to spell the name with both a "K" instead of a "C", and a backwards "R", so the band's name would appear as "KoЯn". The idea of using a backwards "R" came from the logo of toy retailer Toys R Us, for which many of the band members had previously worked.

On February 22, 2005, Brian "Head" Welch left the band. Shaffer accepted his friend's choice and the two remained on good terms. When drummer David Silveria left the band, Shaffer said in an interview that he had a strong friendship with him and was very sad to hear that he had to leave.

On an interview about Welch's departure, Shaffer said he felt pressure because they were always working together, writing songs, and creating albums. But when Welch left, he had to write all the guitar parts into one part, so Korn could play live, and he continued to play like that until Korn got a backing guitarist. Welch officially returned to the band on May 2, 2013, to work on the album The Paradigm Shift that was released in October 2013.

Fear and the Nervous System (2008–present)[edit]

Shaffer on stage in São Paulo, Brazil in April 2010

On March 4, 2008, it was announced that Shaffer would be releasing a solo record on August 8, 2008, with his solo band Fear and The Nervous System which would feature Shaffer doing vocals and guitars, Brooks Wackerman of Bad Religion (who also performed on Korn's eighth album) on drums, Leopold Ross on guitars and programming, Bill Gould of Faith No More fame, and Zac Baird (Korn's keyboardist) on keyboards and programming. The record would be produced by Shaffer and Ross Robinson. Guitarist and friend Wes Borland originally recorded guitars for two songs on the album but they would not make the final cut. Borland also created cover art that would still be used on the album. The band's debut album was originally due out August 8, 2008, but was pushed back multiple times until its release in 2011.

On Modlife in October 2009 (Korn.com), Shaffer explained that he would not be doing vocals on the Fear and the Nervous System album because he is not "very good at singing." It was later announced that Steve Krolikowski of Repeater would be handling vocal duties.[5]

Emotional Syphon Recordings (2006–present)[edit]

In 2006, Shaffer founded Emotional Syphon Records to give daring and diverse bands a chance to be heard. The first bands to be signed were Droid and Monster In The Machine, however Shaffer says he does not want to limit himself to only releasing metal acts but to create a multi-genre label.

Venera (2023–present)[edit]

In 2023, Schaffer announced the formation of Venera, an glitch music project with Chris Hunt; the self-titled debut album came out on Ipecac Recordings on October 13.[6]

Personal life[edit]

On January 15, 2000, Shaffer married Stephanie Roush. Together, they had a daughter. In 2004, Shaffer and Roush got divorced. Shaffer then started to date actress and model Evis Xheneti in 2005. They were married on January 2, 2012, in Paris, France.[7] They have three children together, born in 2012, 2015 and 2019.


"Yeah, I don't burn guitars, that's a Jimi Hendrix thing, man. But I'd wanted to do something that he did. I've broken guitars, everyone breaks guitars, but you have to be crazy to try and burn one, after someone did it at the Monterey Pop Festival. I was actually nervous about doing it, because during the last song, I found out that my guitar tech had a bottle of lighter fluid on his desk. So I said, I have a lighter in my pocket, let's do this. That's how it happened, and I was nervous, because I realized when I was going to do it, I started to get nervous and overanalyze it, and I thought, Just do it; have fun, man."

James Shaffer, January 2008[8]

Shaffer predominantly uses Ibanez[9] guitars, most often his signature model the Ibanez Apex[10] 7-string model and Mesa Boogie[11] Triple Rectifier & Diezel guitar amplifier. Like Welch, he uses many pedals and effects to shape the distinct Korn sound. Shaffer describes his live pedal board as a "spaceship" because of the large, diverse quantity of effects he uses.[12]


With L.A.P.D.
With Korn
With Fear and the Nervous System
With $UICIDEBOY$ x Travis Barker
  • 2019 – Live Fast, Die Whenever
With Venera
  • 2023 – Venera


  1. ^ "Free Family Tree, Genealogy, Family History, and DNA Testing". Myheritage.com. Retrieved April 26, 2020.
  2. ^ "Guitar World's "100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All Time" – Blogcritics Music". Blogcritics.org. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  3. ^ "James Shaffer". Discogs.
  4. ^ "Korn Biography".
  5. ^ "News". KoRn Central. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  6. ^ Keenan, Hesher (August 16, 2023). "Dark Electronic Band Venera is a Collab Between Korn's Munky and Composer Chris Hunt, New Single "Hologram" Out Now". MetalSucks.
  7. ^ "Korn Guitarist James Munky Shaffer Marries Actress Evis Xheneti in Paris". January 6, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  8. ^ "Artist Direct Interview: James Muky Shaffer of Korn". Genres.artistdirect.com. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  9. ^ Korn – Munky Guitar Gear Rig and Equipment Archived June 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Uberproaudio.com Retrieved: 20099-05-15
  10. ^ "Ibanez APEX". Archived from the original on October 2, 2008.
  11. ^ "Munky and Fieldy of Korn". Mesa Boogie. Archived from the original on January 2, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  12. ^ "James "Munky" Shaffer". Guitar FX Depot. August 2, 2010. Archived from the original on May 21, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2011.

External links[edit]