Interview by: Robert Cavuoto
Brian “Head” Welch is guitarist and foundering member of the band KORN. He has lead a life that most people could only fantasize about; he has money, success, and fame.
In his second book, With My Eyes Wide Open; Miracles & Mistakes on My Way Back to KORN, he shares a much different story. A story that takes a look behind the scenes at the struggles he and his daughter had to endure in order to survive. With his faith in God he sought guidance to get out from the darker side of life that had manifested due to poor business and financial decisions.
Like sharks preying on the weak, people claiming to be financial advisors and spiritual muses found Brian and went in for the kill, playing on his kindness and spirituality almost draining him dry of his money and future KORN royalties.
It’s a story about helping his daughter beat her drugs habit and helping get her life back on track with heart breaking decisions. Through prayer he was able to overcome these obstacles as well as to find salvation by reuniting with his old band KORN after a decade of being away. It’s a story many have told… but nobody’s is like this!
I caught up with Brian to discuss his new book and learn about the spirituality that guided him from ruination.
Robert: I really enjoyed your book; it was a great read on love, faith, and friendship. I’m intrigued by the title; how does it relate to your journey?
Brian “Head” Welch: We have natural eyes and we can see the world but we also have spiritual eyes. The Bible calls those eyes; “eyes of the heart.” It’s about walking through life with your “heart eyes” open. Knowing God and seeing God in your life. It’s about walking in the spirit as the scripture says. Walking with your heart eyes wide open so you can face any trial or set back and knowing it’s going to be ok.
Robert Cavuoto: The book was very honest and personal was it difficult to put all that information and feelings on paper to share with the world?
Brian “Head” Welch: Yeah it was difficult particularly when it came to my daughter’s story. It was just as hard as my first book where I shared so many personal things but I knew it was meant to be once I had her acceptance with it. She was so brave to give me permission to share her story and struggles.
Robert: You said countless prayers which you share in the book asking for guidance and helping in your struggles, can you tell me about those moments?
Brian “Head” Welch: It’s so important to pray, it’s not like when you were a kid asking your parents for everything you want. Jesus said, “You have not because you ask not.” I found the more pure the request the better. He is an invisible God but I want to know him more. I want to know his ways so I can be a better person instead of asking for a Ferrari.
Brian “Head” Welch: About a year and half into it I would say. The crazy thing was that he was also taking money from his family the entire time. I was confused as how can you play your own family? It was like a Ponzi scheme where he was using his own family to take money from.
Robert: When Edgar went to jail and the bail was set at $300K how did you avoid writing the check to bail him out.
Brian “Head” Welch: I had no intention of dropping that amount of money on him. My investments with him were a little at a time. Big chunks I wasn’t going to do.
Robert: I thought one of the darkest points in the book was when you took Edgar’s advise and got a loan from the doctors using your future KORN’s royalties as collateral. I felt like I wanted to jump through the pages and stop you.
Brian “Head” Welch: It was one of the stupidest things I did [laughing]. I want to say that God is very real and that he has shown himself to me as being real. At the time I was trying to put myself into circumstances that showed that money wasn’t everything to me. That is why I let things go by like that. I paid for that error and became a better and stronger person from it with more faith.
Robert: You still had the desire to write, play, and perform after leaving KORN and going from playing sold out arenas and festivals to bars, how difficult was that change?
Brian “Head” Welch: They were small clubs and if the room was three-quarters full I was happy. The low point was when there were only 30 or 50 people [laughing]. On nights like that I felt “What am I doing this for?” I would try to encourage myself to carry on with it but it was hard.
Robert: Tell me about the friendship you have with the members of KORN and their willingness to embrace you and take you back in the band.
Brian “Head” Welch: I think it just a “meant to be” type of thing.” We grew up together. They didn’t want to bring just any person into the band. They tried other people but I think that spot was held for me because of our closeness. It actually surprised me to be honest with you as I was gone almost a decade. People move on and things change so for them to hold that spot was special to say the least. People would say that some of the guys aren’t Christians but look at that the loyalty. You have to admire that for just loving a brother for that long. I’m so thankful them and what they did for me.
Robert: When you came back to KORN did you come back as a full member?
Brian “Head” Welch: We are all back together and we are the same as we were before.
Robert: I understand that you go out among your fans prior to a concert and pray. Have you ever encountered any musicians at your prayer sessions that you would have never expected to be spiritual and attending your sessions?
Brian “Head” Welch: I’ve met a lot of people that are on their own path and some are real personal so I let them be. There are all kinds of musicians that believe in God, open to prayer, and on their journey to seeking that. Some are more open and outspoken about it than others like Dave Mustaine and Dave Ellefson of Megadeth, Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden, and Alice Cooper. You can go on and on. It’s pretty cool.
Robert: Tell about the dichotomy between the inner peace you are experiencing now and what changes when you hit the stage with KORN and get that adrenaline rush?
Brian “Head” Welch: I love God and I have a relationship with him but I still love heavy music and getting wild. It’s just energy and a good outlet. Everyone is in unity together and rocking out.
Robert: How much money did you spend on drugs back in the day?
Brian “Head” Welch: I used to get the tour manager to front us a bunch of cash so it never came out of my pocket but at the end of the tour I would make less money. [laughing] The methamphetamines weren’t that expensive back then. It wasn’t a whole lot of money that you typically expect to hear about.
Robert: What have you learned on the business side of things, do you have a financial adviser now?
Brian “Head” Welch: I was an investment guy before I left KORN. When I left the band I had to prove to myself that money wasn’t my everything so I let it dwindle down to nothing. But now I’m making money again, being smart with it, and investing. I’m thinking about my future and my daughter’s future. I have advisers and I was doing great before I met them but they are shaping me nicely and proud to be with them.