Former KORN guitarist Brian "Head" Welch recently spoke to the Toledo Blade Religion Editor David Yonke about his spiritual conversion and departure from the multi-platinum nu-metal act. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
On his spiritual conversion in January:
"I thought I had it all, everything I thought was important — money, fame, pretty women. But it came to a point I wanted to die. But I had a kid and I couldn't kill myself. I said to God, 'Help me! Either help me or kill me, God. Send me where I'm supposed to go, hell, heaven, or whatever.' I was a good person but I messed up a lot."
On his two-year addiction to methamphetamines:
"I went to rehab before I met God, but I couldn't get cured. I was at the end of my rope. I couldn't get off it. Then I started going to church."
On attending Valley Bible Fellowship in Bakersfield, Calif., pastored by the Rev. Ron Vietti, and his subsequent life change:
"Pastor Ron said, 'You seek God with all your heart, and everything else in your life will fall into place.' When I went to church that day I was high on meth. I said, 'OK, I heard that, but I can't do it.'
"I said, 'Heal me, God. You said you would heal me if I seek you with all my heart.' And he delivered me from everything. I didn't need to go to rehab. It totally worked. I believe in Him so much. There's no man or program that could have cured me. Only God."
On forming a business partnership with actor Stephen Baldwin and setting up a record label called "Livin' It" for which the guitarist is planning to release his first solo album:
"The creative energy I have is unreal. I can't even believe the music. It's totally different than the KORN music. I'm just doing what God's telling me to do. I pray before every lyric that I sing. I pray before everything I do. I invite Him into every aspect of my life. The things He's doing through me, it's just blowing my mind."
On his decision to quit KORN, even before he was born again, because of the immorality of the group's lyrics and the dysfunctional relationships among band members:
"It's a lie, man. That's why I wanted to get out of there. There's a lot of reasons why I left KORN. We all look like friends on stage, or on video, like we're jamming and playing good music. But in reality, the band was falling apart. The people hated each other …
"I couldn't live like that with my friends worshipping money. I couldn't live like that. People wanted to chase girls, they had a silent competition about finding the best girls, and who had the best party on the bus. It was childish. It broke my heart.
"I just love those guys, even though they think I'm crazy. I pray for them every day."
On the fact that he didn't have many religious influences as a child:
"My family never took me to church except a couple of times. But when I was 12, I hung out with this kid's family and they were Christians and he became my best friend. His family had peace. I asked his mother what peace was about, and she told me how to ask Jesus into my heart. So I asked Jesus into my heart when I was 12, but then I slowly drifted away."
On helping establish a nonprofit group called Head Home, which is helping feed and house orphans in India:
"I worshipped money so much that it ruined my life. Money is not my god. I just want to manage His money for Him, for the poor people, the lost kids. I just love everybody."