“The Paradigm Shift” is not only the title of Korn’s latest CD, it reflects the latest chapter in guitarist Head’s life.
After years of the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, Head finally decided he had to get his own head on straight. In 2005, he became a Christian and left the band he helped found in 1993 in his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. As a single dad raising a daughter on his own, he knew his life had to change. His little girl, now 15, helped bring him back to Korn this year.
“It’s funny, because my daughter led me out of Korn,” he says by phone from a recent tour stop in Yakima, Wash. “I was so worried about her being just lost in the world. For her sake, I needed to be clean. I gave my life to the Lord, and eight years later, she’s a teenager, and she’s a rocker.”
She begged him to take her to a rock concert, so he started calling his friends and they ended up at a Korn show, because that’s where she wanted to go.
“Next thing you know, I’m talking to the guys, and then I’m playing one song on stage, and then two weeks later, I’m back in the band,” he says. With apologies all around, he and his bandmates are back on good footing.
“It was really just easy,” he says.
He’ll be onstage Wednesday night (11/20) when Korn and Rob Zombie rock the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Cedar Rapids, and he’s glad to be back.
- “Night of the Living Dreads” tour featuring Korn and Rob Zombie, with Scar the Martyr
- 7 p.m. Wednesday (11/20)
- U.S. Cellular Center, Cedar Rapids
- Tickets: $29.50 to $55
- Tickets available at the arena box office, 1-(800) 745-3000 or Uscellularcenter.com
- Artist’s website: Korn.com
Born Brian Welch in 1970, he says his mom is the only one who still calls him Brian. He’s been Head ever since middle school.
“When I was 13 years old, my head grew before my body and the name stuck,” says Welch, now 43, who moved to Nashville in 2010.
He got his first guitar at age 10, learned the basics through lessons, then started diving into rock by ear and went into more training when he wanted to branch out into solos. The industry labeled Korn “nu metal,” but Welch says the band really broke new ground my mixing metals and styles for something he calls “edgy.”
“There’s so many things mixed in,” he says, with metal, melody, slapping bass “that no other metal bands do,” and an industrial vibe.
“It’s just a bunch of stiff mixed in a big bowl that becomes Korn.”
The band last played Cedar Rapids in 2011, and Welch promises the same kind of high-energy show fans have come to expect, mixing some vintage Korn with cuts from the new CD. But with new song titled “Love and Meth” and “Lullaby For A Sadist,” how does he balance his worlds?
“We don’t really cross lines,” he says. “There’s f-bombs all over the place, but that’s the culture — the metal culture talks like that. I feel like I’m good to go into any culture and blend in and just be like, ‘Hey, we’re all human and I don’t judge you, you don’t judge me, let’s hang out.’ So it doesn’t really bother me.
“One thing I don’t want to do is the really crazy sexual stuff like Korn used to do back in the day. That’s just a little too much, because I have my daughter, and I just don’t want to do that. So we don’t really cross those lines at all — we don’t go there. We just play the songs that we all agree on, and it’s awesome,” he says.
He credits a friend in California with leading him out of the darkness.
“That lifestyle gets old,” Welch says. “It got old two or three years in to touring. Really? Every night’s a Saturday? It’s like if a kid goes to a candy store every day and eats the candy, he’s gonna get sick. But I got stuck in that addiction, where I needed it to feel normal — I needed to get drunk or do drugs or whatever.
“It’s cool, because the church I wound up in was more crazy than being in Korn. Somebody told me there was an ex-murderer in the church, and there was ex-drug addicts all over the place and an ex-prostitute … but these people turned their lives around. I went there, and I was like, if they could do it, I could it. If Jesus is real, my life will change if I keep trying and praying — and it did.”
He’s not worried about falling back to the old ways.
“God’s spirit promises to fill you, and I’m filled,” he says. “I don’t need that stuff. The high of my spiritual life is all I need. People think that I’ve calmed down or lost my spiritual life coming back to Korn. But the thing is, I’m more plugged in now than I’ve ever been, and I’m back in Korn and I know I’m supposed to be here.”