Korn’s Brian HEAD Welch - ‘I never thought that we would be around this long’

Brian Welch opens up about the new Korn album and his incredible new documentary ‘Loud Krazy Love’

CAMERON EDNEY  STAFF WRITER
Posted 23.05.2019 09:03
Updated 23.05.2019 10:13

Korn New Album 2019

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Brian Welch

Interview

(Image © CAMERON EDNEY)

American metallers KoЯn formed in 1993, school friends with a dream of making it big, and for five guys from Bakersfield, California all their dreams came true and so much more. The band has released smash hit album after album, won two Grammy awards, had twenty-eight of forty singles smash the charts, sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and most importantly have continued to defy the odds and trends!

Not only did the band survive the Nu-metal movement, one of the driving forces behind the bands longevity is how the band have continuously re-invented their sound, experimented musically unlike any other heavy metal band on the planet, connected with millions of adoring fans worldwide through both music and lyrics, and still now in 2019 a little over twenty five years after the band formed they are still as driven and excited to be pushing boundaries as they gear up to release new material very soon!

Like most bands that have been around for this period of time, there have been plenty of euphoric highs and gut-wrenching lows. Band members have come and gone over the years, drug abuse amongst members has been well publicised and through it, all fans have remained loyal and been able to connect with KoЯn both musically and personally.

There’s no doubt that the band's guitarist Brian “Head” Welch’s drug addiction and abrupt decision to quit the band in 2005 upset many but at the time as we all know it was the right decision that Brian needed to make to clean himself up and get his life back in order. In May 2012 now clean and sober Brian rejoined his old friends and band-mates at the Carolina Rebellion in front of 30,000 fans to play ‘Blind’ and it opened the door to reconciliation and some of the finest music the band has ever released since Brian’s return.

During the past week, Brian has been in Australia to premiere his incredible Documentary ‘Loud Krazy Love’. A film that is so honest, raw, compelling and inspiring that it needs to be seen to really be appreciated. The documentary follows both Brian and his daughter Jennea from just before Brian left the band during the height of his methamphetamine addiction to becoming clean and sober, finding god, rejoining KoЯn all the while trying to raise his daughter. The film is so powerful and uplifting with so many amazing messages that this should be part of high school curriculums worldwide. I got so much out of this film that I was happy to watch it two nights running.

I had the absolute honour of meeting Brian this week and chatting with him about this incredible Documentary, his spiritual journey, the upcoming KoЯn album, working in the studio and what it’s like before hitting the stage these days clean and sober! Kick back as it gets Loud and Krazy with KoЯn’s Brian “Head” Welch!

Brian, it’s an absolute pleasure to speak with you today, thanks so much for putting time aside to do this! I want to kick off firstly talking about ‘Loud Krazy Love’! To me this documentary is mind-blowing; it’s raw, honest, brutal and beautiful all at once. I know that the idea for the story changed a few times but once you guys had decided on the story that was going to be portrayed, was there much hesitation from both Jennea and yourself to put the story out there for the world to see, especially being as raw and honest as it is?


No, I had prepared myself with the book [‘With My Eyes Wide Open’] and so I was prepared for it; and Jennea was open. She just wanted to help some kids; she had met so many kids that had struggled with the same sort of issues that she really wanted to help them to talk about this.

Having been fortunate to watch ‘Loud Krazy Love’ twice this week and attend the special Q & A Sessions you did following the film, it was quite apparent to me that each and every person in the cinemas was going to walk out taking away something different from what they had just witnessed. I personally took away more from this than I ever expected, for me, it was totally inspiring, especially from a parenting aspect. Brian having lived through it all, what did you take away from the movie after seeing it for the first time in its full, completed form?


Oh man, I’ve come so far and did so much! I can’t believe I’m here finally to peace, contentment and just satisfaction in life. I know there’s going to be some other things in the future that will happen that we have to overcome, but right now it’s pretty nice to be chilled, satisfied and contempt.

I am not a very religious person by any stretch but I really loved how much of your spiritual journey was incorporated into the documentary and wanted to ask you about that trip to Israel only ten days after quitting KoЯn. Looking back on that time now, do you feel it was the right thing to do and how much did that trip influence you to dig deeper into religion and your own spirituality?


I think it was all just part of the journey, it didn’t really make me dig deeper, it was just cool to be somewhere where they say Christ walked, so that was really cool to me. I’d like to go back there now cause I know a lot more, I have a lot more knowledge and back then I was just coming off the meth, chilling in Israel. People were telling me about all of these sites and I was “oh cool” but I didn’t do much about it so I know I’ll go back someday. It was a cool experience and I didn’t have to pay a dime cause somebody backed out at the last minute and they transferred my name, it was surreal!

Your daughter Jennea is absolutely beautiful and I mentioned to someone this week that as great as it was to see your perspective on things, having always been in the public eye I found it more powerful and intriguing to hear things from your daughters perspective. Did she take a lot of convincing to get on board with the project initially and was she guarded about what footage would or wouldn’t be used in for the film?


I think she took one thing out of the film, but it wasn’t a big deal. She cried when she first watched it cause I think there were a couple of things where she didn’t know exactly how it was all going to be put together, and she wasn’t upset, she was just emotional. I think it was the cuts on her arms that made her cry, it was just brutal. We had to stop it and we had a councillor there with us Judith, who is a friend of ours too, she was like “okay let’s not do it”, it was a pretty intense day, to say the least!

At one point in the documentary you said all you wanted to do was be a good dad, do things right, but you felt like with every decision you were screwing up the kid. At what point of time for you did you start to feel like, finally… I am doing this right, I’m doing a great job and helping guide Jennea in the right direction?


It was when I got help! I tried to do everything myself, I tried to be the super parent. I tried to fulfil mum and dad roles then when everything was crashing around me in my personal life I needed help. Even if things are going good, no one can be everything so once I got help from Awakening Youth that’s when things fell into place. Awakening Youth had strength for my weaknesses as far as communication; healthy communication, not flying off the handle and yelling at everything and arguing. They helped us to not argue anymore.

Right when I got that help, to help with parenting and counselling communication that’s when I could relax and feel like not everything had to be on my shoulders. I could just love her, be dad instead of being mum, dad, god, friend everything together; it was just too much for a human to take!

The film also paints your daughter to have music in her blood, a bit of a singer, dancer, and musician… having experienced so much over the years on the road herself I’m certain she would have picked up so many valuable lessons both musically and just the what not to dos and so forth. Not only as a dad but as a musician what’s the best advice you think you have given your daughter musically?


Do something else [laughs] no I’m just joking! She just wants to do it as a hobby, she knows the money is good and the fans are awesome but she’s like “it’s not what I want, to be gone from home all the time”… When it comes to the best advice I’ve given her it’s just probably to create from your heart, use your ear and feel it, instead of doing everything by the book. You have to feel your music! I gave her some bands to listen to like Deftones that she loves; she has a good variety of influences from Deftones to Blink 182 and everything in between so she just has a lot of melody that I helped her out with!

Moving away from the film and on to KoЯn … I personally think that most recent album is the best work you guys have done up to this point! This week during the q & A’s that followed the film you mentioned the new KoЯn album is done and how excited you are about it. What can you tell us about the new album… what direction is the album taking in comparison to ‘The Serenity of Suffering’?


Man thank you so much for saying that, it’s along the lines of the last one. It's similar, it’s heavy like that but there are some new things that we haven’t done in a long time that I can’t really talk about cause I’ll get in trouble. We want to release all the info all together. Jonathan dug really deep cause he had a lot of loss last year; so he just went for it. James, Ray and I wrote with Nick [Raskulinecz] our producer for the better part of the year. We worked for hours and put in so much studio time.

Fieldys got five kids, so he would come in and do some writing and lay his bass tracks down; it was a really great collaborative effort and we’re really excited for people to hear it.

And when will that be? Have you guys got a release date in mind at this point of time?


No, we’re just talking to the label right now trying to pin it down cause there’s so many different projects coming out. It’s gotta be a thing where it lands on the right date and is good for the label to roll it out!

You’re an exceptional guitarist and as we know a lot of work is done during pre-production to nut out the core of the songs. When you go into the studio to lay down tracks and solos, without creating a mechanical, stale sound, how much room do you leave for creative spontaneous flow? For example, ripping out a solo on the day that everyone just agrees fits better for the song and is decided on the spot that it should be used instead of what you had been previously working on!


That’s a great question; I’ve never been asked that before! I’ve never been asked a question in regards to if everything is planned out or if we’re on the spot doing things! I think I like to be more planned out to where I know what I’m doing because I’m just like that; but I have been on the spot at times, our producer Nick would say “I think we can beat it” and so I get all nervous. I don’t like being on the spot I like to prepare and Munkys like “get that pedal… get the craziest sounding pedal out and let’s make some noise we’ve never heard before”. He’s more like that than me!

KoЯn has always been a band in my opinion that has been ahead of the game in heavy music, never afraid to take risks and experiment on albums as you also mentioned this week where the guys did take some chances musically even when you were out of the band. Do you think that it’s that approach musically from the beginning that you’ve had that has helped the band have longevity in an industry where so many are done and dusted within 5 years?


Yeah, it’s crazy I never thought that we would be around this long and everyone is so excited about the new record, management, the label, the band. Jonathan has a new energy and it’s crazy to think that it’s exciting still. I think we’re just a bunch of characters and Jonathan has his own thing going on, and Munky does; Billy has his thing… we all have this energy during the show, of course, the people connecting with Jonathan's pain, I think all of those factors helped mixed the unique writing we’ve done and Jonathan's voice has connected with people, I think those are the key ingredients.

I wanted to ask you what it’s like nowadays before taking to the stage… sixty seconds before you hit the stage the house lights dim, the crowd starts going insane, now clean and sober what runs through your mind in those moments before running out and doing your thing?


The crowd better bring the energy cause we don’t have a good time unless the crowd has energy. Adrenaline… the nerves are not there anymore, it’s just adrenaline and sometimes I get the yawns right before I go onstage. I’ll start to yawn a lot and it’s not from boredom it’s like my bodies reserving energy cause when I hit the stage I’m gonna go nuts! Munky usually takes a dump right before every show

[Laughs] well it’s not like you can stop the show halfway through and say I’ll be back in a minute [laughs]

[Laughs] Yeah, exactly

Lastly, Brian, I want to thank you for not only opening me up to a more spiritual awakening but thank you for so many fuckin years of incredible music and memories. I wish you all the very best of luck on your journey with the band and your daughter man. Do you have any last words for our readers?


Please if everybody can post about Loud Krazy Love; all the help we can get with social media would be great! It's grassroots underground documentaries that need all the help they can get it’s just how it is in the doc world, so I appreciate everyone doing that!

For more information on Screenings of Loud Krazy Love around Australia please head over to the following websites

www.loudkrazylove.com.au or www.eventcinemas.com.au

Author Bio

Cameron has photographed some of the world's biggest hard rock & metal artists including... Kiss, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Rob Zombie and is currently writing and Shooting for: Wicked Pix (Australia), Drumscene Magazine (Australia), Rock Confidential (USA), Loud.ist (USA), Brutal Planet Magazine (USA) Cameron Edney and Wicked Pix