Brian “Head” Welch

An interview with former Korn guitartist Brian "Head" Welch
by Aaron Manogue
October 2011

Everyone has heard the story of talented musicians falling to the temptations of drugs and alcohol, and seeing some of the best musicians of our time falling too early. This was the case for one of the past decades biggest metal guitarists of our time. The only difference here is that this extremely talented musician was fortunate enough to get the help he needed, and get back to writing music before it was too late. Brian “Head” Welch, former guitarist and co-founder of the legendary band Korn, is back at it with new music. And for anyone who has ever had an addiction of any type, his story is one to admire. Not only is he back, he is back and hotter than ever with a new single titled “Paralyzed” out and an EP due out in early 2012. Maximum Ink’s Aaron Manogue spoke with Welch about his new EP, how finding Christianity has affected his music and if he’d ever consider rejoining Korn.

Maximum Ink: Tell me about your first single off of your upcoming 2012 EP, “Paralyzed.” Where did it come from and what is it about?
Brian “Head” Welch: Jason Rauch, who’s producing it and who co-wrote it, and he came to me with the idea and kind of the rhythm. Then I just added my stuff on it and then we just hooked back up. I remember when we were in the studio and he’s like “Alright, we need to do the middle section now.” So I suggested splitting up so we went to different rooms, because we were in his studio. We went to different rooms and I came back like a minute and a half later and he goes, “You got it, huh?” and I just said “Yup!” So it was really simple just like that and trust me they’re not all like that.

MI: The lyrics on it seem very, very deep and personal. Is that what you kind of went for with this song?
BW: It’s very personal to me but also, I think a lot of people can relate to life just sucking sometimes you know? We all need help out of the situation that we get ourselves into once in a while and that’s basically what that song comes down to is just being stuck. It’s like, “Come on. Get me out of here!” you know? I’ve been through plenty of those lately, especially in the last year or so.

MI: What can fans expect out of the upcoming release of your EP?
BW: I think it’ll have a lot of the same as “Paralyzed” does. I think they can expect better quality guitar stuff and lyrics and melodies and stuff because this guy (Jason Rauch) is a really good producer and he’s really pulled it out of me. He’s an old Korn fan so he’s just like, “Man, you got to get some smoking riffs on this thing.” He also writes stuff and my bass player writes stuff so it’s going to be kick ass. We’re just going to get it and we’re going to nail it. We’re hitting the studio on the seventh of November and basically every day until we have the EP done.

MI: What’s it like to get back to music after as you said, you’ve been through a lot of bullshit over the past few years?
BW: It’s still so liberating, man, totally. Just that free feeling, you know? It just feels like a new day, like a new day is happening and we’re just stoked to get this new music out and have a killer 2012 on tour, man. Get out there and reach more people with our music. I don’t have any more plans for any more books or anything like that. It’s just music right now for me.

MI: There’s a ton of intensity in “Paralyzed” and it kind of has a sound of Korn in it. Is that something that you meant for and is that your sound that you’ll stick with no matter what?
BW: We’re just going to do what comes. Obviously it’s going to sound like Korn my whole life. It’s just what I do and the music I write. That’s all I know how to write so I think there will be a hint of it but it’s a different quality of song that’s what we’re focusing on. My first album sounded a little like Korn too but a little more experimental but that song does definitely does. I totally agree with you. Some of these other songs are more of a unique sound I think. It’s just one of the chords I use on that song is a Korn chord as I call it. But I love Korn so you know, it’s all good. They’re doing dubstep stuff now, so I can do the heavy stuff now.

MI: Talk to me about how finding Christianity has changed your outlook on your music.
BW: It’s changed my music because now everything is for a purpose now. It’s not just to write a good song now or whatever. There’s a purpose behind it to try and touch someone’s soul, whether it’s directly or indirectly, you know? There’s a reason behind it now whereas before it was like, write music because everybody likes our stuff. Now it’s totally different and it’s a trip, man. I’m learning and I’m thinking about that stuff a lot.

MI: You talked about Korn going to dubstep and stuff like that. Do you keep in contact with the guys a lot and what do they say about your new stuff?
BW: I didn’t really talk to them for about two years, and it’s a good time to ask that question because about a month ago I reunited with Jon (Korn lead singer) and Fieldy (Korn bass player) and a lot of the crew guys are still they from the past, and it was a trip man. I got to see them, I got to hang out with them and they came to a show actually. Jonathan texted me yesterday and told me he just loved “Paralyzed.”

MI: That’s got to feel awesome like your family telling you how much they like your stuff.
BW: Yeah, totally. Before it was weird, because I’ve never really talked to them about how they feel about my stuff sounding like it does. I think they might wish I was back in the band sometimes you know? Because it’s like I took the sound we created together and I’m doing it. So sometimes I wish I could go back but I don’t know what the future holds. I said in my last book that I’d never, ever, ever go back. But then I don’t know because God’s working with people’s lives. I just can’t tell because you can’t tell the future.

MI: How do you think music has changed since you stepped out of the game to get yourself right?
BW: Oh my gosh, it’s so crazy! I’m glad that I caught onto it before I left Korn. One of my projects that I did when I was on drugs, because speed makes your all wired and stuff, obviously. And I learned how to master the computer so that’s a big change right there because you can write music all day on a computer and you can hear it back so quickly. That’s changed a lot. It’s really good what’s happened to the business for younger bands because now there’s room for a lot more music. I think that’s killer because there’s wasted talent never getting out.

MI: Is that cool though too starting with Korn and blowing up and then starting at the beginning again?
BW: Yeah, it’s a trip man. It’s all been for good for me, seriously. Being humbled again and realizing it’s not about all that stuff. It has just been really good for me.

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