Interview: Former Lead Guitarist, Founder of Korn Reflects on Conversion, Freedom from Drugs

Money, fame, success; you've got it all, right? Not according to Brian "Head" Welch, the former lead guitarist and founder of multi-Grammy nu-metal rock band Korn.

The mega rock star details his life story in his new book, Save Me From Myself: How I found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story, that will be released July 7 (07-07-07). The biography explains the freedom he received from a life devastated by drugs and caught up in the negative lifestyle that comes with being in an out-of-control band. His testimony is a life that hit rock bottom, but was lifted up by Christ.

The Christian Post was able to catch up with the musician at his hotel in New York. His appearance may not have looked like the typical Christian (long pony tails, a divided and braided goatee, tattooes), but his witness was a heartfelt and sincere plea of what God has done in his life.

The following are excerpts from the interview:

CP: You have a new book that is going to be released on July 7, called Save Me From Myself: How I found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story. In it, you talk about your life as the lead guitarist in Korn and your conversion to Christianity following that. As part of that band, you garnered huge fame and wealth, but your book talks about the struggles that came with that kind of lifestyle. Can you explain some of the problems you had to deal with?.

Welch: That lifestyle, going in, before even we got Korn, it was like partying. Partying was the thing. It went along with the music. You know, drugs and drinking, drinking especially, went along with the music and stuff. When we got into Korn, the drugs crept in from the get-go. We wrote the first Korn songs on drugs, on speed, up for days. So that was a big impact on the band, you know.

It leveled out. The drug use kind of went away when we started touring. And then it started to come back as we got bigger, you know. It's like more people were experimenting, and we got wrapped up in it a little too much. Everybody went through some kind of turning point in their lives, not just me, but mine was more drastic.

CP: So how was it that you came back to Christ? Was it a single moment – like one night where you were thinking "Oh, I just can't do this anymore" – or was it more of a drawn out process?

Welch: You know, it seemed that the more successful Korn got, the traumas in my personal life increased. It's like the more famous you got, the more problems you got and stuff.

I got hooked on meth. That was the worst part of my drug addiction. I got hooked on methamphetamines the last two years I was in Korn, and I did meth everyday. I couldn't get out of bed without it. I wanted it, but I wanted to quit. I couldn't quit. I tried to quit. I went to rehab, and I just couldn't quit.

I didn't even know I was going back to Christ. I didn't know I had Christ. I didn't know Christ was real. I knew they said he was real, but I never experienced him. So when I went to rehab I couldn't quit the dang drug. I got invited to church by a friend, and they took me in. The preacher was talking about how you can just go … all you got to do is talk to God in your everyday life and He'll be involved. If you just hang out with Him, all the bad things will just fall out of your life.

So I went home, I rolled up a bill, started snorting some drugs, and I prayed on drugs. I was like, 'Lord, if You're real like that guy said, please take these drugs from me. Make them go away. Reveal Yourself to me and all that.' I think in a week or two, I got the urge to throw away all my drugs with the help of a friend. I was done.

So He showed me He was real, and I was like, 'OK, now You're real. Now what? What do You want me to do? Cool. This is awesome. Now what?' And that's when I left Korn.

CP: Do you feel your time with Korn has helped you in any way, and that you can use some of that as you pursue a more Christian lifestyle?

Welch: Has the time with Korn helped me? Yeah. I don't regret the things. Being in Korn, I believe it was all for a purpose. You know, God turns around everything for the good.

But I could see Him reaching out to me earlier on too, because it seems right when I went into Korn, all these things – you'll see them in the book – all these things that were just not cool. It was like bad luck. It went along with the fame.

It was like me and my ex-girlfriend had a baby, and we gave her up for adoption. I didn't know how bad it was going to rip my heart out until it happened. And it was like right when Korn formed, right when it was going on tour that happened. I feel that God was reaching out to me saying, 'You know, that's not really where I want you.' And He was trying to show me, but I just kept walking. You know you get those traumas out and you just keep walking and that's what I did until I couldn't understand anymore.

CP: I read somewhere that you grew up in a Christian household. Do you think that was a big part in helping you find your faith?

Welch: [Actually,] I didn't grow up in a Christian household. Yeah, I went to church, an Episcopalian church, probably like 10 times, and I got baptized on my forehead. And I went to Sunday school for like a summer, but that was it. My parents didn't talk about God. There was no God. We just had a family that worked hard. You know, they tried to be good parents, and that was it.

What happened was, when I was in junior high, I was into watching all these horror movies and metal music. I was hanging out with these kids that weren't really nice to me. They were like bullies. And I met this one Christian family at the end of my eighth grade year, and they just told me about Jesus the whole summer.

Toward the end, I went home one night, and I was watching horror movies, I felt led, turned off the TV, and went and prayed. I said, 'Lord, let Jesus please come into my heart,' because that's what she taught me to pray. And I said, 'Amen,' and I got up and turned the flick back on. I felt something going on, but I didn't know what it was. And I didn't go and tell her because I just didn't know to.

When high school started, I started drifting back to the old friends and away from the family. I got out of high school, moved to L.A., within a few years I was in Korn. I was living that life without even thinking about that experience. That was until I sunk, you know. So it's all a purpose. God rules.

CP: I don't know if you can talk about this or not, but I saw that you are releasing a solo debut album whose title is rumored to be "It's Time to See Religion Die," and you're putting it under your nickname "Head." Are you able to share any details about that? Will it be more of a faith-based CD?

Welch: That's not the name yet. I have a song on the CD called that, but I don't think I'm going to call it that. It's a song about my testimony. Some of them are faith-based. I've got a song called 'Washed By Blood.' But a lot of it is about my testimony, about my drug use, and about just pushing all that stuff away and starting with a new life. I've got a song called 'Save Me From Myself.' I think that anybody can get into it, because it's not all Christian and gospel like that.

CP: What do you inevitably want people to take away from your book after they've read it? Do you have a goal for it?

Welch: The goal for my book is like a prayer that I have. It's like, 'God, I don't want people to read my book and say "Oh, wow. That's cool. Religion worked for him, and if he thinks Christ saved him, that's good."' I don't want someone to read it and think 'Oh, I'm strong enough to get it on my own. I'll start exercising or something.' My prayer is that people would realize how real God is and want to hunger after Him more than anything in this world. I just pray that eyes will be opened.

He's lovable, man. He's so awesome. It's like I'm so content with everything. I could be on a boring plane ride and just think about the Lord. You're in love with God, and He loves you. That's just so awesome.

And I want the whole world to be saved. I know that's kind of an immature Christian, but 'Why me, you know? Why do I get this goodness, Lord?' I'm saved by grace only. I didn't do anything except just ask Him. He led me into that church. I just said, 'Lord, show me You're real.' I even prayed the 'doubting Thomas prayer.' I was like, 'Show me You're real.'

So I just want people to know God. I just pray that it imparts a hunger, even Christians, to know God more. You know, deeper. There's always more going to God. Never settle. There are so many Christians that grew up, and they level off somewhere. I've been talking to people, and they're like, 'Meh.' They even grew up with Him.

We've got to dive into Him. There's so much more. He's a big God. I pray that it imparts a hunger to Christians and others. That's what I want. And if tons of drug addicts get set free from their drugs by the book, that's awesome.

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