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Brian "Head" Welch Interview

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Brian "Head" Welch

Driven Music Group
Updated September 08, 2008
After being a founding member of Korn and having immense success with the band, guitarist Brian “Head” Welch abruptly quit and walked away. He was in the throes of a major drug addiction and had rediscovered religion. His exit and conversion caused a lot of drama and criticism. Welch wrote his autobiography Save Me From Myself that told his story and eventually led to making peace with his former bandmates. That book was just released in paperback, along with a less raw version called Washed By Blood that’s aimed at younger and Christian audiences.

Welch also formed his own record label, Driven Music Group and is releasing his debut CD, also called Save Me From Myself. I interviewed Welch about the book and CD, the possibility of a Korn reunion and many other topics.

Chad Bowar: After you left Korn there was a lot of controversy and negativity. Once your book Save Me From Myself was published, what was the reaction from fans and friends?
Brian “Head” Welch: Suddenly they had sympathy for me. At first I was crazy, I was a nut and it was a big joke to them. But when they read the story they got a heart for me and people that were originally laughing at me were understanding and more sympathetic.

How long did the book writing process take?
It took me a while. It took about ten months. I wrote it, then I would go back and change it. It was constant work. I had to keep reliving my past over and over because I had to keep reading it and going over it. It was kind of brutal, but when you put a lot of pain and hard work into things you get a better result.

Have you been finding that some people reading the book weren’t familiar with Korn?
Yes, totally. I would go to different towns on a book tour and go on local news stations, and people would be led to read it and get touched by the story. One guy was an alcoholic and a drug addict and his wife kicked him out of the house so he was wandering the streets. He ended up at Borders and didn’t know who I was. But he saw the line of people and saw it was about addiction, and came and talked to me. He was kind of agitated, asking me how I knew God was real, and all this stuff. Then he told us his parents had been praying for him because of his addictions. To make a long story short, we prayed for him and he gave his life to the Lord. He left with a big smile. It was pretty cool.

They say there’s always a rock bottom when it comes to addiction. When did you hit yours?
2004 was the lowest point. I was on a world tour with Korn and was so addicted to meth. I hid it in my bags and took it all over the world. Some of the countries had a penalty of death if you get caught with drugs, and I was scared. But part of me wanted to get caught so I could get put to death. That was my frame of mind. I came home after a tour after taking my daughter on the road with me, and she was skipping around the house singing “All Day I Dream About Sex,” a Korn song. She didn’t know what she was singing, but it sounded so weird. It was a low point. Then I had health problems. I was eating horribly. It was crazy. I was in the gutter.

Do you ever think about how much money you have spent on drugs over the years?
No, because I had endless money. I was making so much money. My money kept increasing every year I was in Korn. I started out with thousands, then it got to millions. As long as it kept growing it was okay. I spent thousands on drugs, but methamphetamine is the cheap man’s drug.

During your recovery process, you write in the book that you had several relapses before eventually kicking drugs. Have you been able to stay clean since then?
About a month after I got baptized in the Jordan River I came home and found some speed in a hidden place in my closet. It was in a first aid kit. It was a big bag. I had faith, but right then nobody was at my house and I could have just dove into it. I left the room and started praying. Suddenly I had strength and had an idea. I got a camera and took pictures and video of me throwing the stuff down the toilet. A picture of that ended up in the book.

What inspired you to come out with Washed By Blood, a version of your story aimed at younger readers?
I was thinking about my old Korn fans when I wrote the book. They didn’t understand what was going on with me. I kept it real and raw in the first version. The book publisher had the idea to strip it down so the younger kids and the more conservative Christians who may have been offended by the rawness of the book could get into it, too. I want to be able to speak to younger kids too, but I wasn’t thinking about that when I was writing the book. I was just wanting to tell my story like it is.

Give us a preview of your debut solo album, which is also called Save Me From Myself.
I worked really hard on it. It’s crazy, because it’s heavier than the stuff I was doing in Korn at the end. It’s heavy music, but it’s real. I have songs about drug addiction, I have spiritual songs, I have songs about my exit from Korn. It’s real stuff. I had a lot to say. I went through a lot, and you can feel the realness of it because the lyrics are so true.

Who did you collaborate with on the CD?
Some crazy good musicians. Tony Levin is a bass player who worked with Peter Gabriel and David Bowie. He’s a legend in the industry. I worked with a drummer named Josh Freese, who has played on 200 albums. He’s an awesome session drummer, and has toured with Nine Inch Nails and Perfect Circle. He’s a really humble guy. Archie J. Muise, who worked with the Doobie Brothers, did some rhythm guitar for me when I was out of the studio because of meltdowns. I was going through a lot of changes, so sometimes I’d freak out in the studio if I had a problem and bailed out. Archie would cover me when I did that.

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