On Tuesday, Korn's management made a formal announcement that guitarist Brian "Head" Welch was leaving the band to rededicate his life to Christianity. On Thursday night, in an effort to explain his decision to both his fans and his former bandmates, Welch spoke with MTV News.
"I love everybody in the band — I was afraid to leave. It made me sad to think that I would be hurting the band if I left. For the last year and a half, I wanted to leave, but someone would always talk to me and convince me to stay," Welch said. "But I've had a problem with the way things were going since the second record. I mean, we would do things, and I would be like, 'Oh, this is metal! This is the rock and roll life!' But inside, I thought they took it too far. It was a little too crude for me."
Welch said that the statement issued by Korn's management company blew things out of proportion, and that his newfound spirituality was just another step on his path of self-discovery (see "Brian 'Head' Welch Leaves Korn, Citing Moral Objections To Band's Music"). It wasn't the reason he left Korn — the band he helped form in 1993, a band that's sold more than 11 million records in the U.S. He left because he had become sick of "chasing the almighty buck," and felt that being respected by his young daughter was more important than being rich.
"I have a 6-year-old daughter, and I want her to be able to look me in the eye. I'm a single dad, that's what it comes down to," he said. "And the guys were really accommodating when I would tell them that. They'd be like, 'Bring your daughter on tour! We'll work the tour around you.' But that's not the place for a 6-year-old. She would be sitting backstage sometimes, just counting dollars. Because Fieldy would tell her, 'Every time you hear a curse word, you'll get a dollar. It will help us stop cursing.' And at the end of the day, she'd turn to me and be like, 'Look at all my money, Daddy!' "
So after a weekend of soul-searching, coupled with reading from a Bible his friend had leant him, Welch decided it was time to go. And his decision was not a popular one with his bandmates.
"I think it made the guys mad. It confused them. I left at the worst possible time. We got off Sony, and all the money was there, we were going to own all of our songs, but I had to prove to myself that money wasn't my God," he said. "I talked to Jonathan [Davis] and he said, 'I don't get it, man, you're all happy and we're sitting here grieving because our band is breaking up. And I wanted to tell him, 'Well, for years, you guys were out partying while I was sitting on the tour bus wanting to die.' "
Welch also said that for the past month, he's been trying to reach out to the other members of Korn, but has gotten little response. He said he spent his final days in Korn talking with bassist Fieldy, and had even mentioned the songs he'd been recording on his own, which reflected his growing spirituality. Fieldy was less than receptive.
"I just asked Fieldy if he'd be interested in producing some of the stuff I've been working on, but he hasn't called me back in weeks," Welch said. "I mean, I was saying some stuff to him during my final days in Korn, some crazy stuff. But since I've left the band, I've heard nothing from him at all."
Welch's solo material — which will be released under the name "Head" — will not be Christian music. Rather, he said, he wants it to be an "extension of the Korn family."
"I always loved that Korn's music helped kids let out aggression. But with my new music, I want kids to know that there's more out there," he said. "I want to show them there's a light at the end of the pain tunnel. That there's more out there than just aggression. I want to say to them, 'Hey kids, come over here. Let's bounce back and forth and have fun.' "
And yes, Welch does plan on speaking on Sunday at the Valley Bible Fellowship. He's just not certain what he's going to say. He's just going to speak from the heart. And he wants his fans to know that even if they can't make it out to Bakersfield, California, to hear him speak, they can check out his message on his new Web site — www.HeadToChrist.com — which launches Friday (February 25).
"Man, when I get up there onstage, it's going to be me just letting things flow. I have no idea what I'm going to say, it's just going to come out," he said. "I mean, I'm going to be like a kid up there. Because that's really what I am now. I'm a baby Christian."