Jake E. Lee

BIOGRAPHY – James ‘Munky’ Shaffer

James ‘Munky’ Shaffer was born in Rosedale, California on June 6, 1970. Munky is the main guitarist for the nu-metal giants, Korn, and together they have sold more than 38 million records worldwide. Munky got his nickname because of his feet; it is said that when he spreads his toes apart they look like monkey fingers.

At the age of 13, Munky severed his left index finger in a three-wheeler accident. After treating the finger his doctor suggested taking up guitar as a form of rehabilitation. Munky took his doctor’s advice and picked up an acoustic guitar. The first song he learned to play was “Mary had a little lamb.” Before long Munky had purchased an electric guitar, a Peavey Mystic, off his long-term friend Brian ‘Head’ Welch.

Munky credits Head as being his main inspiration to pick up a guitar, he would eat lunch at Head’s parents house everyday so that he could put his lunch money towards buying an amp. He has also acquired much inspiration from the band, Faith No More, and legendary guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, and Tom Morello.

During their high school years, Head was in a band called L.A.P.D. along with other soon-to-be Korn members David Silveria and Reggie ‘Fieldy’ Arvizu. They were on the hunt for another guitarist and Head suggested they gave Munky a call; not because of his playing ability but because he had long hair. Munky tried out for the band and successfuly joined L.A.P.D. however the band would soon fade away. The band members decided to start a new band, Korn, and with the addition of singer Jonathan Davis they were all set to take the Heavy Metal world by storm. Korn have been credited as being one of the creators of the music genre, Nu-Metal.

Using a seven string Ibanez and several different effects Munky has developed a very unique style, synonymous with Korn’s deep, dark, distorted sound. Rather than focusing on lead, Munky searches for different tones and effects to fill the gaps in his music.