Brian “Head” Welch Formerly of Korn Talks “Paralyzed” Still Listens to AC/DC and Metallica - Interview

Brian “Head” Welch had to be one of my favorite interviews ever, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I’ve been a fan of Korn and his for a long time. I loved he and Munky’s playing style, it was unlike anything I had heard before. Head’s newest single “Paralyzed” holds up with anything he’s done, or Korn has done for that matter. More than that though, he’s story has inspired me and it was a great honor to get talk with him about my struggles. I mean look at our site, there’s a links to sites like Mr. Skin and Playboy, that’s not who I want to be, but right now that’s who I’m allowing myself to be. It was great to talk with someone who has gone through much more and get his perspective on life, faith and music.

Zoiks!: I heard your new song “Paralyzed” and I really like it a lot. To me it sounds like musically you’ve almost been rejuvenated, because it’s been a long time since we’ve gotten new music from you. Am I off base at all with my assumption?

Head: No way man. You know the first album when I left Korn I wanted to do something totally different and experimental. When you get like…I had a nine-minute song on there, six minutes songs. I got with a producer, Jason Rauch, he’s helping me get back to heavy riffs and good quality songs. I’m so excited with where we’re at right now; it’s a good feeling.

Z!: You recently left your record label, was that part of the delay with getting new music out?

H: For sure. It was just business. You know the music business is junk right now and my old partners…people panic when things go wrong. No one was really seeing eye to eye, so it took a while. We’re still at the very end of getting all that squared away. I released a song anyway, because I couldn’t take it any more, I needed something new out (laughs).

Z!: You have a new EP coming out in 2012, how far along with that are you and what can you tell us about it?

H: We got some songs already and they’re right up the alley of “Paralyzed.” I’m hitting the studio on the 3rd of November and we’re going to finish it this year. I think I’m leaning towards putting a full album out. There songs are just flowing out so I think we’re going to go full length, but yeah it’ll be released in the spring.

Z!: Korn had a very definitive sound, the down tuned guitars with heavy grooves. You’ve been out of Korn for a while, do/did you feel limited by Korn’s sound or has leaving them freed you to do what you want musically?

H: I don’t feel limited. It’s what I know and what I’m good at. I do feel freer. There’s a lot of, I don’t want to say egos, because it’s not like that any more, but there are a lot of ideas and people. It is better now. I’m opening up myself to writing with other people on this album too. It’s good where I’m at right now and I feel free to do what I want.

Z!: What kind of guitar are you playing now?

H: I don’t play sevens any more. I play a six-string baritone and the strings are so thick. I’ve got a high bass string as my low guitar string. It stays in tune better. I’m still with Ibanez, but it’s a baritone, it’s got the longer neck and it just stays killer in tune man. You can hear on “Paralyzed” it’s got a really fat, thick sound.

Z!: Can you tell us a little bit about the upcoming tour?

H: We’re on right now. We’ve played two shows. We’re opening for Red. We’re hitting all the mainstream clubs. We get off on Dec 26th. We’ve got Echoes the Fall and Icon for Hire with us. It’s going good so far. I love being the support act, right before the headliner. That’s the perfect slot. We’re really stoked to be out here.

Z!: What can fans expect from your live show?

H: Just crazy. On this tour especially, because we don’t really have any down time, so it’s just all energy, the whole show. Pits and people floating on the crowd and everything, it’s awesome. We just finished a video for “Paralyzed.” I got the final cut today, so that’s going to be released soon.

Z!: Do you know when is that going to be released?

H: I think next week.

Z!: Is it frustrating that there are people out there that would probably enjoy your music, but will never give it a chance strictly because of the Christian label that gets put on your music?

H: Yeah, that’s true. I knew that was going to happen when I left Korn and I was so vocal about it. I was coming off of drugs, methamphetamine. For two years of doing that drug I was even more weird than I should have been. I think I alienated people worse then. But I think the music…if you’ve got good music I think people will open up more. That’s what’s happening right now. I think the people that were meant to open up to us will come, but it is kind of irritating (laughs).

Z!: I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time. I’ve read both “Save Me From Myself” and “Stronger.” I’m someone who struggles with my faith. Usually I find myself doubting or questioning my beliefs. Whenever I read or listen to someone from the atheist point of view I find my faith getting stronger, but when I read or listen to someone from the Christian point of view I feel I go the other way. With your books it was different. It felt more honest. You weren’t sugar coating your struggles to sell your faith, you were just telling your story and if we bought in we did and if not, it was at least a good story. I guess my question is, with “Save Me From Myself,” what were you hoping to accomplish with that book and now that it’s been out for several years, do you think you did?

H: Well thanks for that. I just really wanted to share my story. I wanted to tell how life is good in the beginning and how there were fun times with Korn and growing up. But I just seemed to hurt myself over and over throughout the years and I just couldn’t escape until I really started praying and talking to God and say, ‘are you real? Help me.’ I really wanted to pour out the dark moments and get real involved with it. To get that story out, with some of the fans saying I was an idiot for leaving Korn and I was weird and everything, and to finally get out the reason why I left, I think I accomplished that purpose. Everyone is going to know what happened and why, nobody is going to ask me questions because it’s going to be all out there. That was the main thing I wanted to accomplish and I did accomplish that.

Z!: Your last book “Stronger” really affected me, because you had already told your story, with “Stronger” you had been a born again Christian for awhile. You candidly discussed struggles with your faith that you were still having. Where did the idea to do the “Forty Days of Spirituality and Metal” come from?

H: The book company came to me….I forget (laughs). I think management, myself and the book company all came up with the idea. The number forty comes up a lot in the Bible. Jesus fasted for forty days. The Israelites were tested for forty years. Forty was a good number, so we went for it. I struggle a lot. You leave one life; the whole Gospel message to being born again is leaving one life and entering into a new life, a new existence. I have entered it, but sometimes I feel like I go backwards instead. I’m not drinking or doing drugs, but the old personality and the anger comes out of me, so it’s a struggle man, but I’m never going to quit, because Christ lives in me, he lives in us. He doesn’t quit. We’ll have days where we want to, feeling like we want to die or whatever (both laugh), but there is always a better day coming up next.

Z!: Can you explain that moment when it finally clicked and you knew that you were going to give your life to God. Is it like a light switch going on, because that’s the thing with me, is I haven’t had that moment, I don’t know if I’m scared or what.

H: When it happened I was going to church a little bit, I had quit drugs for like five days, then I found more drugs and I started doing drugs again for like a week, but I was still searching, looking at the Bible. I knew that…even people that weren’t really Christians were telling me that God was calling me, ‘I think God’s calling.’ I felt that he really was calling me for something, so I was searching and seeking and I did feel like a touch from eternity like come into the natural realm around me and come into my heart and it was so intense and real. I just went after it after that. If this is a call from God I want to find out what it is. I live one life, you only live so many years on this Earth, who wants to waste another minute if I know God is calling me for first of all a relationship with him, but second of all a whole new purpose for me, that new existence I was telling you about. I just got it in my head and it was like a switch that just clicked. It says that if you seek you will find. So in your life or whoevers life if you just go after it, if you seek, he will show you. If we mean business he will definitely watch. He tests us to see if it’s real, if it’s not real, he won’t push us. He’s a gentleman it’s crazy.

Z!: As a fan of music, has your new found existence affected you as a fan of music? Do you still listen to bands you grew up with like Ozzy and Metallica?

H: At first I didn’t listen to anything except worship music. I just wanted to get away from that world, all of it. Now I enjoy all kinds of music. Like I don’t want to hear people talking about bitches and hoes, talking like I use to talk. I don’t judge them or anything; I just don’t want to hear it. I’m not like all strict or nothing either. I like some AC/DC now and then or Metallica (laughs). For sure.

Z!: That’s all I had, thanks so much for taking the time to do this. Your story has been a great inspiration for me personally and I really appreciate your time.

H: Yeah man, no problem. Hey, do you mind if I pray for you real quick?

Z!: I’d love that

H: Lord, I lift up Bob. I just pray that you give him a refreshing of your spirit of life and let him feel your presence and take him to that place of where he needs to be in his life. Speak to him about his destiny and his future inside of his heart. Lift him to that realm Lord of life that you give us freely from your mercy. That’s not about religion, that’s about love, mercy and grace., in Jesus’s name, Amen.

Z!: Amen

H: Right on

BYLINE:

Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe one day he'll be a KoRn again 'christian'. Diggin the new tune. It's more KoRn than any of the new KoRn.

We recently had Head at our church, where he was interviewed by our pastor during the services. Really powerful testimony, looking forward to listening to his new tunes.