Misty Williams of the Bakersfield Californian is reporting that hundreds of KORN fans mingled in with thousands of regular church members and curious visitors at the Valley Bible Fellowship in east Bakersfield, California Sunday morning (Feb. 27) to hear their rock star idol, guitarist Brian "Head" Welch of platinum-selling metal band KORN.
Money and fame offered no satisfaction, Welch said. For years, Welch said he battled a methamphetamine addiction, struggling to let go. Then a friend dragged him to Valley Bible a couple months ago.
"Happiness comes from one place, and that's the Lord," he said.
Around 10,000 people packed into the auditorium over the course of the day to hear Welch, who spoke during three different services.
The event was definitely "out of the norm," said associate pastor Jim Crews.
The church had received a number of threatening e-mails, mostly from out of state, Crews said, but Bakersfield police officers were on hand to make sure the services went smoothly.
When Crews showed up at 7 a.m., fans were already there — signs in tow.
One sign read, "Brian, I drove 33 hours to be here," he said.
"There's just an overall excitement," Crews said.
Welch said he wanted to set a better example for his 6-year-old daughter.
"Me and my daughter have the best relationship I have ever dreamed about in my whole life," he said.
Now, the former KORN guitarist is looking forward to a solo career, writing positive songs with positive lyrics, although he said he wouldn't mind dropping out of the spotlight.
Some fans said they plan to buy Welch's next CD but still don't understand why he had to leave KORN.
The band's lyrics don't mesh with his new values, Welch said.
At least one longtime KORN fan had a change of heart Sunday.
Zack Fromm flew from Chicago Saturday night on Welch's dime. Welch met Fromm's mother on a cross-country flight last week and decided to invite the 22-year-old to come listen.
"It was pretty much an eye opener," said Fromm, who wore a small silver cross around his neck.
"I felt there's a void in my life," he said. "That's why I came here."
Still, many of Welch's fans were befuddled about his seemingly sudden change of heart even after the service.
Bakersfield High School student Richard De La Cruz, 15, had hoped in vain that Welch hadn't quit.
"That was my favorite band in the world," said De La Cruz, as he waited in line with scores of other fans for an autograph. "I was hoping it was going to be a joke." Read more (free registration required).