Brian "Head" Welch, who left KORN in 2005 after becoming a Christian and returned to the band eight years later, spoke to Hillsong about his decision to exit the group at the height of its commercial success. Addicted to methamphetamines and alcohol, Welch departed to raise his daughter by himself after the wealth and fame he once thought would bring him happiness and fulfillment left him miserable and empty.
"All the years of the drugs, all the years of the pornography, it was all about me, me, me, me," Welch explained (see video below). "And this little girl came, and I wanted to be the best dad. I wanted to be, I had the heart to be the best dad I could, but I couldn't. And when Christ came into my life, I just said, 'Look, take me. I'm yours. Do what you want with me. But I need you to make me a good father.'
"When I went to church and decided to surrender, I was at this guy's house," he continued. "He took me to church and he was telling me, 'You should stay in the band. You could be a light there.' As he was speaking to me, I felt this overwhelming feeling to leave his house and go home and quit the band, as he's telling me to stay. And so I went home and I sent messages out, and I said, 'I'm leaving the band, you guys. I need God in my life. I wanna be a dad.' And so that was it. I thought that music and just everything that I was doing, I just needed a clean break — I needed to get in a sterile environment to learn who God is.
"My number one prayer, then and now, is: 'Lord, I wanna know you. I wanna really, really know you — the person of your heart, the person behind the scriptures, the person that is the secret you that… 'Cause you can only read so much — the whole experience has to reveal the depth, and that's what I wanted. And I don't wanna be on the road with cocaine all around me and everything, trying to learn about my faith. It just wouldn't work. And my daughter — he used her as a bait, if you will, to follow her, to be a dad for her, to stay home.
"When I looked at that kid, I was, like, 'Daddy's gonna quit his career. I'm gonna quit my job. I'm gonna quit the band and I'm gonna be home with you every day,'" he added. "And she just lit up. She was, like, 'Really?' 'Cause kids at school would be, like, 'Where's your mom and dad?' And she would be, like, 'I don't have my mom. And my dad is at work.' Five years old, having to tell [other kids that]. It broke my heart. And so, to be able to tell her, 'I'm gonna be home every day, and take you to school every day,' it was healing to my heart."
Asked if it was hard or easy to walk away from KORN, Welch said: "It was hard, but I had grace for it, and I was ready just to be bold and not care what anybody thinks anymore and just do something that I know deep inside of me was the right decision. But there was a little bit of a temptation on the side. There was a 25-million-dollar record deal. 'Cause we sold so many records in a decade with Sony that we were free after 10 years — our contract was up. And records still sold back then. And [our management] went to the other labels and they said, 'KORN's free. What are you gonna offer them?' to every label. And so, basically, they were, like, 'What do you want? They've done so well. How much do you want?' And it ended up being 23.5 [million dollars] or something. That was right when I was quitting, and so, I was, like, 'The money or the faith, and my daughter? What am I gonna do?' So I didn't see any of that money, even though I helped build the band up to that. But it was one of the first 360 deals, which is the merchandise and the music all tied in one. So they basically had to go work on the road to make that money back. They were just given upfront money. And I was sick of touring — I didn't wanna go on the road and make that money back."
According to Welch, his bandmates were completely surprised by his decision to leave KORN. "They thought I snorted too much meth and started seeing Jesus," he said. "So they were concerned. They were shocked. They were heartbroken. They were devastated because I grew up with them. I met the singer in fourth grade and the bass player in seventh and the other guitar player in ninth grade. So this was like the bro leaving. So they were really upset."
Both Welch and KORN bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu have had highly public conversion experiences, ones that have been greeted with a certain amount of skepticism.
Welch rejoined KORN for a handful of live performances in 2012 before officially becoming part of the lineup again in early 2013.