KoRn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch was one of the first to react following the news of Chester Bennington’s suicide. At some point, we were all stunned by this report, and it took a few moments to register it wasn’t a hoax. Welch went to social media to share his grief and his first reaction was calling the Linkin Park singer’s suicide a “cowardly way out.” The guitarist recently spoke with Meltdown from WRIF and after quite a bit of backlash, he’s walked back his initial response:
“It was unfortunate. I spoke from a broken heart, a shattered heart, devastation and grief. And I would have worded it different. But when in the history of rock music, or even the music business, have we ever seen anything like that? Just monsters voices, such inspirations to so many. Chris Cornell ended his life [and I was] heartbroken. I wasn’t close to him, but it was just like… [You would expect that from] people that are messed up in their lives—not this guy who has a family and is doing so well. And we heard stories, maybe it was the Ativan that did it. So tragic, right? So I started feeling okay after that, ’cause a couple of months passed, or whatever.
We wake up and we all see this Chester all over TMZ. I’m, like, ‘This has gotta be a hoax. It’s gotta be a hoax. It just can’t be real.’ Then I find out that it’s actually true. And we were all devastated; you should have seen our faces. Just like the whole world, I bet, that knew of this guy. We were in shock. The whole band was talking about it.
What happened was I started grieving. I went and got alone. I went to my hotel room and just kind of was just in shock, thinking about reading everything. ‘Is it true?’ Are they sure? Are they sure they got it right?’ And I was just over it. I’m, like, ‘No more, man. Stop!’ Two guys are dead now. They took their lives. And I hear that Chester took it on Chris Cornell‘s birthday. I freaked out. I’m, like, ‘It’s gotta stop.’
You know Slash said it best. As I was tweeting, he said… he tweeted, ‘An avalanche of emotions and feelings: sadness, anger, confusion, loss, heartbreak.’ He says, ‘I can go on, but loss and heartbreak reign here.’
And I think I was going through all that stuff, and I did it online. So I learned not to process grief online. And apologies to any of his fans—I meant no disrespect. I was shattered, I was heartbroken and so sorry for my good friends that have been so close to him. But it’s been over a week now. It’s just a sad thing all around.”
Check out the full interview clip below: