KORN's BRIAN 'HEAD' WELCH Says COVID-19 Is A 'Serious Issue,' But 'We Can't Let Our Country Crumble'December 3, 2021
KORN guitarist Brian "Head" Welch spoke to the "Talk Toomey" podcast about what it has been like for him and his bandmates to tour the U.S. this past summer while the pandemic was still in full swing. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It's crazy, because it's a serious thing. I know people — young people I even know — that have died from COVID. So it's a serious issue. But you've gotta live, man. We've gotta get this world… We can't let our country crumble. So we got out there. And our fans needed us. People need live music; they need that inspiration. And so we just were, like, 'Let's go out there and do it, and no matter what comes against us, we'll keep going.' And I'm, like, 'Look, if it's not meant to be, we'll be back home. If it's not meant to be, then it won't work.' But every time somebody got COVID, we just kept going.
"Jonathan [Davis, KORN singer] was the most safe dude on the tour with his girlfriend. And they were just, like, away from everybody; I barely saw him. And it was with a mask and all that. So it was crazy [that he ended up testing positive for COVID-19].
"We were at this hotel in Florida and it was a freakin' bodybuilding convention. And there was all these steroid, jacked up… There were girls that looked bigger than our security guards by three times; they were just stacked. And so when we walked through the lobby, it was just muscles everywhere. And I think that's where it started.
"So we just fought through it, man," Welch continued. "And I couldn't believe Munky [KORN guitarist James Shaffer] got it afterwards. And every time the tour manager came in and told us whoever got it, it was, like… He would come in white as a ghost with his eyes just huge. 'Cause our crew — we love our crew; they're, like, family, and they're finally working after a year and a half. And everyone's, like, 'Shit, are we going home?' And so every time he came in, he was just wide-eyed. But we had J.R. [Bareis] from LOVE AND DEATH fly out; Munky wanted him to fill in for him. He's just a very professional, kind human being and kills it — a great guitar player. And then we're almost through the tour, and then Ray [Luzier, KORN drummer] gets it. And so we're talking back and forth on text, and I'm, like, 'Why did you go to that ROLLING STONES concert, you idiot?' [Laughs] And then, next thing you know, we get a fill-in and he's doing it. Ray flies to the stadium shows with SYSTEM OF A DOWN, KORN and with HELMET. And he gets there, and he gets a text, 'Serj [Tankian] has COVID. SYSTEM OF A DOWN is canceling. KORN is canceling.' So, at that point, I just throw my hands up. My daughter flew in for the concert. I'm texting her, telling her SYSTEM OF A DOWN's setlist, because she loves SYSTEM. And as I'm telling her, I get another text, and I text her right back. I said, 'Never mind. That show is canceled. Let's go to the beach.' So we went on a little vacation. But that was it. We fought through; we made it through.
"[I wanna give] a shoutout to everybody out there that just pushed hard for the tour to happen, all the events to happen," Brian added. "It was amazing. The backstage security and the promoters and everybody at each venue were so appreciative; they were, like, 'Thank you so much for coming and doing this.' Everybody wanted to work and feel normal again. And we got that for… I think we were out — with the breaks and everything — we were out for almost three months."
As a result of Davis's infection in August, KORN postponed six dates and canceled two on its recent U.S. tour. A month later, Munky also contracted COVID-19 and was temporarily replaced by Bareis. In October, Luzier became the third member of the band to get infected, forcing him to miss three shows on KORN's U.S. tour. Filling in for him was FEVER 333's Aric Improta.
Davis, who was reportedly fully vaccinated, had been taking a seat on a custom throne near the drum riser at KORN's later shows due to lingering effects of his bout with COVID-19.
In video footage of KORN's August 27 concert in Tinley Park, Illinois — Jonathan's first gig back after revealing his positive diagnosis — he could be seen walking slowly around the stage, coughing and appearing to take a minute to catch his breath. According to TMZ, Davis also took occasional hits from an oxygen tank set up near this throne.
KORN's new album, "Requiem", will arrive on February 4, 2022 via Loma Vista Recordings. The official music video for the disc's first single, "Start The Healing", directed by Tim Saccenti (FLYING LOTUS, RUN THE JEWELS, DEPECHE MODE),was made available last week.
"Requiem" was produced by Chris Collier and KORN.
Fans had been anticipating new music after KORN previewed a snippet of "Start The Healing" within an augmented reality filter and billboards bearing the band's iconic logo began appearing worldwide earlier in the month.
"Requiem" is available for pre-order in an array of collectible formats. These include an exclusive silver vinyl variant strictly limited to 1,000 copies.
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