KORN will reunite with founding guitarist Brian "Head" Welch for two German festival shows next summer. The shows, set to take place at the Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park festivals that take place between June 7 and June 9, will feature Welch playing full sets with the group. KORN posted a statement at its web site saying, "Head returns as a special guest to play two full shows with KORN for the first time since 2004."Speaking to Loudwire at last week's ShipRocked 2012 music cruise (see video below), KORN guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer said that he was optimistic about the possibility of Welch rejoining KORN on a full-time basis after the upcoming dates. "I don't project it, but yeah, that's the hope, that's the optimism of this," he said. "But we do one thing at a time and see how it develops and then talk about it, instead of rushing into something and then being… everyone's unhappy again and then there's an ugly split. That's the last thing we want. So we'll just take it step by step and sort of figure out how each thing… we'll see how the shows go, we'll see how things transpire [before the gigs]. 'Cause there's gonna be rehearsals, there's gonna be interactions, obviously, because we have to get ready for the show and anything else that might happen. Who knows?! We might get in a giant fight and then call the whole show off. But I doubt it." Welch joined KORN onstage for the song "Blind" last May 5 at the Carolina Rebellion festival in Rockingham, North Carolina, marking the first time in eight years that KORN played with Welch. "Everybody was talking about this show in North Carolina where it was sort of unplanned and he showed up and I hadn't seen him in, oh my God, like, seven years — I hadn't seen or talked to him," Shaffer said. "So it was a little bit… It was great seeing him, and we stayed in contact after that. You know, let's just see how it will work — 'just try it out, see if you like it, see if we like it,' and go from there. I think it's a good opportunity for fans to witness something and also us to have our brother — he's our brother — have him be on stage with us again. 'Cause he's one of the members of the band that helped define this sound. And I'm looking forward to having some good laughs, for sure. 'Cause he's a funny guy and he brings the funny out in people. That's what I'm looking forward to."
Welch left KORN in 2005 to become a born-again Christian. The band never officially replaced him and stayed a four-piece, although they've used several touring guitarists for live work. Welch and bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu have said in interviews that a full reunion could be possible one day. Welch's new band, LOVE AND DEATH, will release its debut album, "Between Here & Lost", in January. KORN has been touring for much of the past year behind its 10th studio album, "The Path Of Totality", but plans to begin work on a new set of material in early 2013.