Guitarist Brian "Head" Welch, a founding member of Korn, has left the band and has rededicated his life to Christianity, according to the group's management.
"Korn has parted ways with guitarist Brian 'Head' Welch, who has chosen Jesus Christ as his savior, and will be dedicating his musical pursuits to that end," a statement from the band reads. "Korn respects Brian's wishes, and hopes he finds the happiness he's searching for."
The announcement puts to rest weeks of rumors that Welch was unhappy with Korn's direction. On February 8, he had apparently written a "letter of resignation" to the band's management. In the note, Welch detailed a long list of reasons for leaving the band, including increased moral objections to Korn's music and videos. In particular, he was upset by how he was portrayed in the clip for their cover of Cameo's "Word Up," off their recently released Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 album. In the video, Welch's face was superimposed on a dog patrolling a strip club.
"I can go up there and play those songs and those solos but ... I distanced myself from Korn for probably a year and a half, two years. I just wanted to fade away, it was crazy. I was so gone," Welch told Bakersfield, California, radio station KRAB on Sunday. "But I found my way out and I want to help anyone that wants to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I had to go through the lows to appreciate the highs and it's not perfect but it's damn near."
Welch plans on further explaining his decision to leave Korn this coming Sunday, when he'll address the congregation at the Valley Bible Fellowship in Bakersfield, California. And on February 28 he plans to leave for Israel.
Korn formed in 1992 as the Bakersfield metal act LAPD, which featured Welch and guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer, bassist Reggie "Fieldy" Arvizu and drummer David Silveria. In 1993, vocalist Jonathan Davis joined the group, and they rechristened themselves Korn. Their self-titled 1994 debut went double platinum and was hailed as a landmark album in the burgeoning nü-metal scene. The group released six studio albums with Welch, sales of which have topped the 11-million mark in the U.S. alone. Their final album with Welch, Take a Look in the Mirror, was released in 2003.
According to Korn's management, the band is currently in the studio working on a new record, which is due in stores in September.