Earlier this week, Korn guitarist Brian “Head’ Welch released his latest book, With My Eyes Wide Open: Miracles and Mistakes on My Way Back to Korn. Of course the book delves into his reunion with the band that he rose to fame with, but more often than not, it’s a pretty funny and sometimes surprisingly moving book about being navigating single fatherhood and attempting to get his business affairs in order after leaving Korn. Specifically, the book spends a lot of time on his relationship with his daughter Jennea, who okayed the book before he put it out. We caught up with Welch about the book, playing their self-titled album, and the status of his solo act, Love & Death.
This book is as much about your daughter as it is about you.
She was involved in the whole idea of it. She’s in a boarding school, but it’s not like a boarding school, it’s like a family to me. So I ran it through Tiffany, the lady that runs the boarding school . I told her I had a book and I wanted to share all the struggles I’d been through. I wanted to know what would be safe to share, and what would Jennea be comfortable with. So we had family meetings and counseling sessions about the book. I just told it like it happened, and my daughter did have a say in it. There were one or two things that she didn’t feel right about having in the book, and I took them out. It wasn’t like some big thing that needed to be in the book. So she was a part of it. She read it and okayed it, even the hard chapters toward the end.
What has it been like back in Korn since you became a Christian?
It’s awesome. It’s just who i am now. People seem to know it and accept it. If they’re into it, great. If not, who cares? We’re all just people doing what we do in the rock world. It’s crazy, because that’s my life, and I’m a dad, a rock musician and a Christian all in one. When I was reading it, I was like ‘this is really a unique book.’ There’s more out there though. I felt like I was the only one, but you’ve got Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson from Megadeth, Nicko McBrain from Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper. They’re out there.
What was it like to play your first album in its entirety last year?
It was fun, but there was a heaviness in the air also. Mainly with the band, the fans seemed to love it. When we wrote those songs, we were such different people. We were partying like crazy. Some of the party was really fun, a lot of it was fun, but some of it was really dark. Jonathan had a hard time singing that album, and he was really happy when we were done doing that live show. The rest of us too, there was a heaviness when we played it. The first half of the album, up to “Shoots and Ladders,” was banging, and there was a lot of energy. Towards the second half, it starts to get a little more dark, especially ending with “Daddy.” I’m glad we did it, and there were some fans just crying in the front row. There’s a lot of abuse that happens in the world, and a lot of Korn fans have suffered abuse, whether it be bullying, sexual abuse, or depression and problems with parents. It was crazy to see people crying in the front row, and Jonathan was crying some nights. We’re glad it’s over and are looking forward to the future.
Now that you’re back in Korn, what is Love & Death to you?
It’s got it’s own sound. Jasen Rauch, the producer, is in Breaking Benjamin, and was also in Red, but he left Red to produce. He started writing and producing, and was involved with Breaking Benjamin’s Dear Agony, and was in contact with Ben, so when Ben put the band together, he called him back. He’s been touring with them. He’s a big part of the sound for Love & Death. He’s a great producer. I love heavy music, but I wanted Love & Death to be it’s own thing. I wanted it to be more melodic. I wouldn’t say softer-sounding, but I wanted it to be more things that Korn wouldn’t do. It’s not going to be a touring band for now – I never say never – but we’re going to put out an album. Jason produced and plays some guitar on it. JR from Islander sings and plays guitar on it, and the drummer from Red, who was Love & Death’s original drummer, is going to play some drums on it.
This month your daughter graduates from high school. Given the struggles you have with her in the book, how are you going to deal with it once she graduates?
They’ve got spread their wings and fly. I’m good now. I’m glad I was strict with her before. I might’ve gone overboard, though. When she was already in rebellion and I was trying to control it, that was a mistake. Even the girl from boarding school was like ‘dude, you need to chill out.’ So I was overprotective, but I trust her now, that’s the difference. She’s going to be an adult in July legally, but I’m still going to help her ,and she’s going to go to college. I trust her judgment now, and she’s a different person.
With My Eyes Wide Open is out now and can be purchased here.