Interview with Brian "Head" Welch  
Interview with Brian "Head" Welch

Exclusive Interview with
Brian "Head" Welch

by Paul Lyons

Guitarist/singer/songwriter Brian Welch has been through it all. Known as “Head” to his friends and fans, he rose to fame and fortune as one of the founding members of Korn, living out everyone’s rockstar dream. Yet the price of success took its toll, and Head struggled with bad relationships and heavy drug addiction. A journey of his own choosing, he went down the darkest of roads. Coming up for air, Head decided in 2005 to leave Korn and become a born-again Christian...letting his faith be his guide.

He’s since published three books about his life and faith. Yet, if you think this has stopped Head from playing heavy rock and’d be sadly mistaken. As evident by his 2008 album Save Me From Myself, as well as his new single “Paralyzed,” Head still rocks as hard as he ever did.

I recently caught up with Head, who’s been busy recording a yet-to-be titled EP to be released in March.

RUKUS MAGAZINE: You were in Korn for over ten years, yet in 2005 you left the band due to your new-found devotion to Christianity, as well as for the sake of your daughter. Looking back now, do you have any regrets at all?
BRIAN “HEAD” WELCH: I think it was all meant to be, you know? I mean, I think that I handled some stuff wrong, cause I was coming off the drugs, and I was really excited about my change, and I was stoked that I wasn’t going to die of the drugs, cause I was scared that I was gonna die from drugs for like, a year. So I was acting kind of a fool, cause I was so happy and then my mind was like...wasted from the drugs. So, I would’ve took back some of the stuff I said, and did, but it’s all good now. So I don’t really don’t dwell on it.

RM: Do you feel had you stayed in Korn, you may not have survived?
HEAD: No, I would’ve made it, because, you know what, I stopped the drugs and everything, but I just didn’t want to stay there anymore, you know? I just didn’t want to be in that band. You know what, I was there in the most awesome years of Korn. So it was like, I lived it. I already lived it. So I’m thankful for the good years that we had when things were goin’ good, and the songs were just at their peak, you know? So I was just thankful for that. But I was like...I was ready to go.

RM: What is your relationship like these days with the members of Korn? There was at one point an issue with royalties, yet you took the high road with that by dropping the lawsuits and being friends with them again.
HEAD: Yeah, totally, I mean, I think I got treated unfair in certain ways, but like...why go to court and drag something out for five years of your life when you only have a certain amount of years? So why do that? There’s a few times when I wanted to, just because I thought I was treated unfair and I thought I was, but at the same time I made decisions, and I was ignorant with the business back then so I didn’t pursue the stuff and just like I said before, it all worked out good. I didn’t want any bitterness for them against me, and me against them, you know?

RM: You’re on friendly terms with the members of Korn to this day?
HEAD: Yeah, I’m going to see the singer in a couple of weeks, for Christmas. And I saw him a couple of months ago. But that’s the first time I saw him in, like, six years, so I mean, we haven’t been real close but, we always got good things to say about each other and everything. It’s just like, we needed to separate for a while. But now, you know, it’s good to be friends and everything.

RM: Have they heard the music you’ve been making the last couple of years?
HEAD: Yeah, I think so, but I’ve only heard one comment, and that’s on the new song “Paralyzed” I put out a month ago. Cause I’m talkin’ to him again, Jonathan (Davis) texted me, and said he loved the song.

RM: Do you find yourself listening to the music Korn’s made since you left?
HEAD: Yeah, I checked it out. Actually, we played in Bakersfield, California; we were on tour. Korn lives there now. They got the old Buck Owens studio there, that they rent out and everything full time, and I went over there and he played the whole album of The Path of Totality, the new one that is coming out. He played the whole album for the whole tour. We went over there and hung out for a couple of hours. It was pretty cool.

RM: What is it strange for you, that first gig you did as a solo artist supporting your own music?
HEAD: It was definitely weird. There’s been times where I just wanted to go do something else besides music, you know, but I feel there’s something in me just telling me “keep going,” you know. There’s somewhere. We’re heading somewhere. I don’t know know what it’s gonna look like when I get there, but I’m heading somewhere, and keeps getting better. When time passes, you know, it just keeps getting better. I’m in a great place right now; it’s awesome.

RM: So far you’ve made Save Me From Myself, as well as a new single called “Paralyzed.” How would you describe the music you’re making now, compared to the music you made with Korn? Does it all cover the same territory?
HEAD: It’s definitely in the same territory, but there’s a purpose behind everything on it. I went through so much where I feel like...I’m not the best singer, but I got a lot to say. I’m learning how to sing better and better, but I didn’t want to just play guitar in a band anymore, cause I got too much to say. I just didn’t want to get behind someone else, you know, for the remaining years that I’m gonna be in the business, you know. I felt like I want to communicate something, and I’m still figuring that out because lyrics are hard. I’m working on them like crazy and they’re difficult; they drive me insane.

RM: Is “Paralyzed” a feeling you once felt, or is that a feeling that you sometimes feel to this day?
HEAD: To this day… Man, I’m a man that struggles with depression and anger sometimes, you know? I’d say over half of my time, I’m pretty good. I’m like, I got peace, and I’m happy. But there’s like 30 percent or something, that where I just get clouds of depression and stuff and stuck in life, you know? And when the clouds come, it’s really dark, you know? I just feel really, really bad sometimes, and I explode with anger and stuff. I definitely go through it now, man. Just because I got my faith and everything does not mean I got it all worked out. I’m still a struggling human.

RM: Do you miss the rock star life you had with Korn, or the heavy drug use, and just the wild days you once had?
HEAD: You know what? There’s part of us, all of us, that likes to be bad, you know? And sometimes I have thoughts about that. “Remember this?” or whatever and, of course, for a second, it’s like, “Oh, that was fun.” But I know that it was wrong, and it messed a lot of stuff up for me and others that knew me. So the thought just leaves real quickly.

RM: You’ve written three books. Have they been helpful for you in a cathartic way? Have they been more beneficial, or more painful?
HEAD: It was painful when I was doing it, cause I was like “my mom’s gonna read this book” and I just basically confessed that I, you know, I had sex with my wife when I was mad at her, she didn’t know it and when I was finished, I beat her with a skateboard. You know I was like, “my mom’s gonna read this, my daughter’s gonna read this!” It was painful to write it, but at the end, it helped me because I confessed it, got it out in the open, and could be done with it. You know what I mean?

RM: You mention in your book that you had two very destructive relationships in the past. What’s your relationship status these days? Are you single?
HEAD: Yeah, I’m single. I went on some dates but I just...I’m really happy single and I’m so busy with my daughter and music and traveling all the time so...I’m good just how I am.

RM: You’re three books have chronicled your storied past, in relation to your spiritual journey. What do you think will be the next evolution of your journey that you have yet to write about?
HEAD: I went through a lot of stuff to where, basically, I came down to very little in my life, as far as things. I lost my Beamer, I lost my house in 2009 and I was like, what’s goin’ on, because royalties dried up. There was royalties that I didn’t even know I was due, and I wasn’t getting them, ya know? So I went through a dry period. I wouldn’t mind writing something about coming down to nothing, and building back up. So when I get to that place where I’m really built back up, I’d like to write about my story of getting just brought to nothing and just climbing back up that ladder.

RM: Do you have any more engagements coming up in terms of giving speeches, or are you just focused on recording right now?
HEAD: Yeah, I’ve got a couple. I’m going this weekend to the south side of Seattle to speak at a place, and then I’m going somewhere in Atlanta around the 10th. One thing exciting we got is a show with Alice Cooper and Cheap Trick at Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding fundraiser he does every year. So we’re gonna play, like, 20 minutes there. It’s gonna be cool to meet him, and do that whole thing.

RM. That’s fantastic, and big plans for 2012?
HEAD: Yes! We’re going to Europe; we’re going to South America. The record’s coming out. It’s’s exciting. I can’t wait.

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