Guitar World magazine recently conducted an in-depth interview with former KORN guitarist Brian "Head" Welch. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Guitar World: What triggered your decision to quit KORN?
Brian "Head" Welch: "When I started playing in KORN, I began drifting downward spiritually. I became addicted to drugs like methamphetamine. I became rich and famous, although I never thought of myself as a rock star or as being bigger and better than anyone. I loved music, but I found myself at the point where I wanted to die. I didn't care about life.
"I think I hit the bottom when my wife left me while I was on the road. She started partying, bailed out with some dudes, and took my money and left me with our daughter. Then I had to take my daughter on the road with me. The band agreed to pay my daughter a dollar every time someone cussed in front of her. Before I knew it, my daughter was making, like, $100 a day, and I told people to try to chill in front of her. She was getting excited about making all this money, and it wasn't working. I had to put my kid before my career and all the money I was making. I decided to do the right thing. I was dying inside. If I didn't have my daughter, I would be dead right now, for sure.
"On top of that, I got my heart broken over the last few years. My friends were starting to be mean to each other and started to hate each other. There was too much drama going on between all the members of KORN. One guy hated another guy's guts; one guy couldn't go into the dressing room when the other guy was in there; this other guy would gossip about another guy in the band. These dudes were 30 years old, and they would compete about getting the best chick. That came before their friendships. Some of them treat women like they're objects. I never felt like that.
"It just broke my heart, and I had to get away from it. I love them to death, but they know how bad it got. It's not their fault, but I couldn't do that any longer. My family at home fell apart, and my family on the road fell apart. I had nothing. I've had a big heart my whole life; all the KORN fans know that. A lot of people told me that I was different. I was about love my whole life. I wanted to go track love down because I lost it."
Guitar World: How did your separation from your wife affect you?
Brian "Head" Welch: "Things kept getting worse with my ex-wife. She had a couple of kids with two different dudes, and I wanted to kill her. I really thought about killing her a couple of times when I was heavy on drugs. I just wanted her dead. I thought she was worthless to this world. She was having all these babies and not even being a mom.
"As soon as I cleaned up I called her and told her that I was sorry for allowing drugs in my house. I feel like she wouldn't have gotten hooked on drugs if I had been a man and stood up and not let them in my house. It was my fault. I brought them home from tour. I told her that I was sorry, that I loved her and that we'd always be friends. She was in jail when I called her. She got busted for holding meth. I took my daughter to see her for the first time in four years. I documented it; I'm making a documentary about how my life has changed and how God produced all this stuff. It's the most beautiful thing. My ex-wife and I are best friends now. I can't believe it. He's put back together relationships that I thought I had lost forever."
Guitar World: You recorded a tribute to Dimebag Darrell. What inspired it?
Brian "Head" Welch: "Munky and I used to hang out with him in Dallas. He always told us that we needed to put solos on our records. Last November, when Munky and I were on tour with KORN, I reminded him of what Dimebag had said. I told him that we should put an instrumental guitar song on our next record. Of course, now I've left the band, so I decided to do that on my record instead. There's really no guitar on the record I'm making now. The only song that has any guitar is this one that I wrote for Dimebag. There aren't any words — it's just guitar solos, grabbing the emotions that I felt when he died. All the stuff that happened to him was so sad. It just talks to me; it says it all. The emotion of the song is crazy.
"That guy killed Dimebag just because he thought that Dimebag broke up PANTERA. Now me leaving KORN kinda puts a target on my back. But I'm not afraid. The peace and joy that I feel from this life give me peace with everything else. I could die today. I'm not afraid to die at all. Whatever my purpose is, I trust God to take care of it. I think I'm here to teach. A lot of people think that Christians are sissies, but it's not like that. It doesn't have to be like that anymore. Things are going to change."