by Jenny Collins ’05
Daily chapel gives the NWC community opportunities to be encouraged and challenged by distinguished speakers.
The first chapel of 2012 featured Brian “Head” Welch, interviewed on stage by NWC Church Relations’ Tim Elrod. While on campus, Welch also visited with youth pastors at a lunch Q&A and sat down with the Pilot for an interview. Following are excerpts from those conversations.
With the right costume and matching eye patch, Brian “Head” Welch could pass for a pirate. But ever since he “encountered the God of eternity” in 2005, Welch’s treasure has transformed from fame, money and drugs to the joy and peace of being a child of God. Today he exudes an inner light that seems to set many of his tattoos aglow—opting for body art that reflects his faith.
For more than a decade, Welch’s success with the heavy metal rock band Korn catapulted upward, while his personal life spiraled downward with addiction. When his wife walked out on him and their daughter, he found himself in a new role as a single father. After visiting a church with a business partner and surrendering to Jesus Christ seven years ago, he threw away the drugs, left Korn and, for the first time, told his daughter he’d be home to take her to school.
Now living in Nashville with 13-year-old Jennea, Welch is pursuing his music with a similar sound but a radically different spirit. In 2007, he released the album “Save Me from Myself,” along with a book of the same title.
Tell us how your faith and music work together.
I’m a scary Christian, I guess. I love metal, all right? God changed my heart, but my music…the metal is shouting. I read the Bible, and it says, “Give a shout to the Lord.” And I love other kinds of music. I listen to Kim Walker and Jesus Culture and Misty Edwards. That’s my favorite type of music. But my gift is the metal.
I tried to do the softer [music], and He [God] was like, “Come on!” Like a smack on the head. “That’s not you.” [On my new album] the songs are the best songs I’ve done, I think. But my relationship with the Lord is first.
How have you changed as a dad?
I just try to help [Jennea] stay on that path. I gotta be a dad. She wanted to watch Family Guy last night, but I said, “I don’t want you watching that. And besides, they mock God on there, too, sometimes. Why give them ratings?” I don’t want to be this overly strict parent, but at the same time, there are boundaries that I’ll never cross. I’m trying to figure it all out. We argue, we joke around. It’s just [like that] with dads and daughters.
Do you ever feel the pull to rejoin Korn?
Yeah, we’re on good terms right now. The singer [asked], “Why don’t you open for us?” I could tell my story to my old fans. It’s like an open door, right? So I was praying about it, and I just felt uneasy. I prayed and they [Korn] changed their minds, and schedules conflicted, and God just totally said “No.” But God’s working in their lives, too. One is friends with the pastor that I got saved through. The drummer was baptized. The bass player’s full-on Christian. So there’s three Korn kernels [who] have made a step of faith.
What is your fan base like today?
It’s becoming more and more of the old Korn fans. But it’s all over the place. I was at a church and I had an eighty-year-old lady come. She came back she liked it so much. People could be a Michael W. Smith fan and still want to follow me because of God’s work in me. Maybe not listen to my music but maybe they’ll get the books or just hear messages from me.
What fuels you?
Prayer. Not to be cliché, but I like to pray a lot. And worship. I walk by the Spirit. He’s speaking to me about pressing in more. I want more of God. And it’s not an addiction thing. Really, the gentle stuff is just wooing me, drawing me into His heart more. And I’m trying to eat healthy, and I got the gym on my list of things to do. You gotta have energy doing the stuff that we’re doing, and I’m not getting any younger.
What’s the first thing you’ll say to God in heaven?
Thank you! I could’ve been in Hell forever. So just…thank you, thank you, thank you.
Hear Brian tell his story at iamsecond.com.