John Parks of Legendary Rock Interviews recently conducted an interview with former KORN guitarist Brian “Head” Welch. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Legendary Rock Interviews: It was sort of shocking to the fanbase and I’m sure your bandmates in KORN when you announced you were quitting but I think it was sort of inevitable and understandable given the fact that you were lost in addiction and trying to raise a daughter.
Head: Yeah. I really enjoy the music stuff we did, I really, really love the tunes and the music end of it all. I’m really stoked that we accomplished as much as we did musically and I love it, I still love hearing and playing that music. It was really cool to have been a part of that whole part of KORN. I just personally think back to some of the stuff I did back then, the way I treated people and the things I did and I am really, truly sorry. Some of the things I did to people, to myself even, were just horrible things to have done and that’s what I am ashamed of, not the music or the guitars that me, Fieldy [bass] and Munky [guitar] did. I’m proud of the whole band musically, all of us, including Jonathan [Davis, vocals], who really was on some other level with his performances but some of the lyrics, even back then I was like, “Why are we singing about that? We could be trying to sing about something more deep or more real, ya know?” Having said that, I will totally admit that most of the time i loved what he was writing and coming up with at that time. He and all of us were just doing what came naturally to us as angry, drunk kids. That’s all we were. On the surface we were laughing and having a good time but all of us had our issues and the lyrics of those early KORN albums were really an outlet to express some of that anger and issues we had. Jonathan knew better than anyone how to tap into that angry place and let it all out.
Legendary Rock Interviews: What’s the plan for the new release from HEAD? Is it going to be where you keep releasing singles to iTunes and Amazon or are you looking to do an official full length or physical product?
Head: I want to do an official EP. I really want to make as big of a deal as possible and get behind it as much as possible because I think it’s some of the best material I have ever done. We are label shopping and considering all that but I’m not gonna sit around and wait, I want to have the actual product for people to get at shows or get online and put out this EP. The music we are recording is incredible and we are really stoked so I wanna get it out there and print copies as well as have it on iTunes. We are label-shopping, but as for the EP, we are doing it through a digital label called InGrooves. They have a lot of the bigger selling stuff on iTunes and are a really good label as far as digi-labels go. The business is just so much different these days. Everything has changed.
Legendary Rock Interviews: It’s interesting you mention that. I was wondering how much you guys from KORN think about the fact that you were part of that last great, golden wave of music sales. There’s a whole new generation of kids who have no concept of midnite record release parties or massive sales displays and one of the first bands that comes to my mind when I think of ’90s or 2000s record sales is KORN. Does that take on significance to you?
Head: That’s a trip, really. You’re right, though. There were record-breaking numbers, too, in that era of CD sales. The industry was selling at an unbelievable clip. It is crazy to me that I was a part of that. My bass player never “made it” or whatever, financially, in music and is always telling me, “You should just be walking around smiling all the time. You really have no right to ever be unhappy or depressed about anything, Brian. You wrote books, you were in KORN and sold millions upon millions of records back when music actually sold and have all this respect from people based on all that. The money was perfect and your timing was perfect, you have lost all rights to be angry at anything for the rest of your life, dude.” He’s happy to be making really cool music in our band and everything but he’s always reminding me of how grateful I should be and I am. It was and is a special thing for all of us.
Legendary Rock Interviews: I’ve seen the tip of the iceberg as far as the sex, drugs and insanity behind the scenes in the rock world and I’ve got three little kids myself so, like I said, I do understand some of your decisions to get straight and all that. Do you ever look at your daughter and think, “Thank God I got off the roller coaster when I did, while she was around to look at me and identify with me?”
Head: Oh my God, dude, I am so thankful. That’s right up there on the list of reasons of why leaving KORN was the only choice for me at that moment. I thought I could try and get clean and keep playing the money machine rolling and the insanity going or I could really try and make a personal stand for myself and my kid and be like, “You know what?! I’m cool with leaving it all. I wanna raise my kid in a decent environment and keep my head and have her see her dad as someone she can respect.” A lot of the stuff we did and were involved with wasn’t respectable and I walked away from all that. I truly sucked at so much as a father and as a person, but at least I could do that one thing for the sake of my kid to at least be able to have her see that and think about that. I truly think that was the one thing I could have done to positively affect my daughter for the rest of her life.
Legendary Rock Interviews: Since so much of the sniping and disrespect is in the rearview now, the inevitable question is always going to be, “Is Head gonna reunite and get back for another KORN tour or album?”
Head: You mean like a big, classic rock MÖTLEY CRÜE reunion tour thing (laughs)?
Legendary Rock Interviews: (laughs) Yeah, I guess that’s what I’m driving at…
Head: It would have to be a situation where we all agree on things and be for a real purpose and some concrete, higher-power reason. I’m happy right now doing my stuff and I feel really content doing it and those guys are really busy and content doing their thing. I have no plans to do such a reunion, but if it were for the right reasons and we all felt the same way about it I would definitely keep an open mind about it.
Legendary Rock Interviews: I talk to lots of “ex” members of bands and the general consensus seems to be that whatever’s good for their former band seems to be good for them personally or business-wise. Do you sort of feel the same way?
Head: Oh yeah, without a doubt. I am very happy for those guys and proud of that music and totally past the point of holding an ill will for any of them. I just hung out with Jonathan and his wife the whole night a few months back and hung out with Fieldy some time after that when I was out on tour with my band. It is without a doubt all good. I have nothing but good vibes for them and I’m sure we will always stay in touch.
Read the entire interview from Legendary Rock Interviews.