Reginald Arvizu, nicknamed ‘Fieldy’, is known around the world as the bass guitarist with American rock group Korn. The band was formed in 1993 and achieved mainstream success five years later in 1998 when they broke through with their album Follow the Leader.
Fieldy had already played in a number of bands with friend Brian Welch while they were still at school in Bakersfield, California, but it was after they left school that the two musicians moved to Los Angeles with drummer David Silvera and obtained a record deal under the band name LAPD (standing for ‘Love and Peace, Dude’ instead of Los Angeles Police Department). Following limited success, they hired singer Jonathan Davis and changed their name to Korn (written as KoЯn for originality). The band’s debut album Neidermayer’s Mind was released in 1993 but it was with Follow the Leader (1998) and Issues (1999) that the band had huge success with both albums entering the US rock chart at number one. The band have been incredibly successful selling 19 million albums in the US and 35 million albums worldwide.
The name ‘Fieldy’ was a joke. His band mated originally called him ‘Gopher’ due to his large cheeks, but this was shortened to ‘Gar’ and then ‘Garfield’ based on the cartoon cat. From there, the ‘Gar’ was eventually dropped and a ‘y’ added to make up ‘Fieldy’. Now that’s a complicated way to arrive at a nickname.
Despite the huge success of Korn, Fieldy became a very unhappy man and he masked his feelings by spending much of his time drunk at parties and being a joker. When he was young, Fieldy’s parents would party hard and it looked as though they were really enjoying life, but he also noticed how drink would fuel bitter quarrels between them, eventually culminating in a divorce which hit the young Reginald hard. He said,
“I would cover my sadness like many young people do, by partying hard as well when I was old enough.”
He tried hard to camouflage his sadness with drink and becoming ‘the life and soul of the party’, but inside he was very unhappy.“I became mean and violent, I didn’t treat women at all well.”
The real challenge came when his father, whom he adored, was diagnosed with cancer. By this time Fieldy had become quite wealthy, but even though he spent all that was needed to get the very best treatment for his father, it was not enough to save his life. Fieldy’s Dad had become a Christian and so to make his father happy, he prayed the ‘salvation prayer’.
“I did pray it for him in that hospital.Dad asked me to pray the salvation prayer, so I did just to please him because he was dying.”
However, it was only when he got home that Fieldy started to really think about what he had just prayed. He thought about his behaviour, his unhappiness, and where his life was heading. This led him to pray the same prayer again, but the next time he prayed it, he really meant it!
“I became very aware of my need for forgiveness…” – so much so that he spent a lot of time going to see people whom he knew he had offended in the past so that he could apologise.
Becoming a Christian also led Fieldy to put things right with his girlfriend Dena, whom he was madly in love with. “I didn’t want to lose her”, he said, and so he asked for her forgiveness as well. Fortunately, she felt the same way about him. Fieldy and Dena were married on 16th May, 2006. He has been asked a number of times whether his Christian lifestyle is compatible with rock band life, but he feels strongly that God has placed him in the rock music arena for very good reasons and there is no reason to leave. He has written a book about his experiences including how he was freed from addiction and how he became a Christian. The book is called ‘Got the Life’ and is available from Amazon or any good bookstore.
Story by Ralph Burden
* photo attribution: Creative Commons License 2.0 Generic photo: Reginald ‘Fieldy’ Arvizu of Korn in Sao Paulo, Brasil, 2010