Brian ‘Head’ Welch spoke to Evangelical Focus about his life after a dramatic conversion 15 years ago. The rock guitarist says faith makes a difference in times of coronavirus. “Everything is so fragile in the world, I don’t know how people do it without a strong connection with God”.
Brian ‘Head’ Welch is considered one of the best rock guitarists and is a founding member of Korn, one of the youth icons of an entire generation.
Since he experienced a life-changing conversion to Christ fifteen years ago, he has been very open about how God changed his lifestyle and restored his relationship with her daughter.
The auto-biographic documentary “Loud Krazy Love” shares his personal journey in depth. Brian used this chance to speak to Evangelical Focus about life, faith, rock music and the coronavirus.
Question. Brian, thank you for spending some time with us!
Answer. Good to see you, I have been thinking about you guys in Spain with the Coronavirus and everything. There is a lot going on, eh?
Q. Yes, it has been a big issue. In the hospitals, also with the economy, people losing their jobs… As a church we are praying because it has been tough. How is it in the United States?
A. It has been the same, a big issue. And everybody trying to know how they are going to get help. I see everybody and… I don’t know how people do it without a strong connection with God. Because everything is so fragile in the world - things can change in a second. But when you have that heart-to-heart connection, you just go with the Spirit’s flow, you trust.
Q. In the last years, hundreds of thousands have seen your testimony on the “I am second” platform. I remember when I was a university student, seeing the video impacted me. Why do you think so many relate well to your experience?
A. I think that people in this generation need real and raw stories, because if you sugar-coat things and you try to edit things out of real life… Well, I’m going to say it like this, a lot of people can smell a phony from miles away. People want reality.
Also, in my case it was a very dramatic change, you know? I went from being in a crazy rock band, partying like a wild man, to following Jesus. So I was one of those testimonies in which people go like, ‘wait, what? Is that real?’
I’m just thankful that I have a story with Christ. I’ve been telling the story for fifteen years in one way or another.
Q. What have you learned in these fifteen years? Have you had friends, mentors or people who have helped you grow in the faith so that you can now help others?
A. I had a few mentors who helped me in the beginning, and the good thing is that most of them told me, ‘I am mentoring you to go to Jesus yourself, because He is alive’. So they stirred me and corrected me when I was a little bit off. But they told me that the big thing is that Holy Spirit will teach you and you can go the Scriptures yourself. That was a big help.
There is an open door directly to God, directly to Jesus Christ. I think that we need to get our foundation on that intimate relationship with Him ourselves, because when things come in this planet, like the coronavirus, and people get fearful… If you have your relationship with God yourself, you will have a strong peace in the midst of devastation or loss of job or sickness. You will have this hope, this firm foundation. It is an anchor for the soul, as it says in the Bible.
Q. Your documentary “Loud Krazy Love” is online in English and also in Spanish. It is much focused on your relationship with your daughter Jennea. When did you realise that you somehow had to choose between your career as a rock star with Korn and your relationship and the raising up of your daughter?
A. Well, she was five years old by that time. Mostly everybody in the band and all the people around us were raging party-maniacs. Being around this atmosphere, and trying to be sober, it didn’t work.
I needed to be at home, I was gone so much, touring all over the world. She [Jennea] therefore would be left with people who were not her parents – great people I love, like her grandparents and strong friends. But it’s not the same as having your parent there. So I had to give up one for the other for a time. She was young, and needed my attention. Well, she needed to see an act of love, that sacrifice for her.
So I sacrificed that job, the career, the money. And I got a lot of ridicule because I stood up for who I was. I said: ‘I’m following Jesus now, I can’t do this anymore’. I surrendered, ‘I give up. God, I now have to go away, and see what you want from me’.
Q. When you first converted to Christianity, there was much mocking against you. Articles like in the Rolling Stone magazine showed photos of you getting baptised in the river Jordan. Everybody then seemed to be asking themselves: “Has Brian ‘Head’ Welch gone crazy? “Do you think people still think that?
A. (Laughs) I think people see that this is genuine, that I am not a kind of a repulsive Jesus freak. I hope they see that I’m authentic, that my faith is deep. That my love and respect for people is genuine and strong. I hope they see that I’m really walking this out, that this is something firm and secure.
There are some people who probably just know me on the surface, and may say, ‘Brian is one of those fools that thinks he has an imaginary friend named Jesus’. Things like that, you know?
Every single person has a different opinion, especially on social media, that’s how it is. I just know who I am and I’m strong in that. I don’t really care what people think but I do try to shine a light.
Q. In the last years, other very famous people in the context of pop, rock and hip-hop music such as Justin Bieber of Kanye West, have said they’ve met Jesus Christ. What do you think of their cases? Many still would say it’s not a genuine conversion…
A. I would tell people, ‘stop being negative, just pray for them’! They’re starting a journey. Those who say these conversions are not genuine, they don’t understand the motives. People in the public eye like Kanye West or Justin Bieber that are so vocal about it, well, obviously they had a touch from Jesus.
Any negative people who say, ‘oh, that’s not genuine’, will have to answer some day, because they should just be happy for them. Even if they make mistakes and say crazy things and do things they wouldn’t agree with! They should realise that they got a touch from Christ. We should pray for them, so that they can grow in this, you know?
I hope that most people hope the best for these people and want to see true growth in the faith. But I really don’t understand the negativity in the body of Christ. We pray that God touches the world and goes after people, and then when He does, we say, ‘Well, that’s not genuine’. It’s insane!
Q. If you think about being salt and light and bringing the gospel to other people, how does mission look for you in your daily life? How do you live out your faith in a context with non-believers?
A. Everything is in season. In this season, obviously there is the Coronavirus and I am resting. Last week I interviewed a Korn fan that read my book. She cried up to God, she yelled up while reading the book, saying, ‘why can I feel you like that? Where have you been? What do I have to do to get you into my life?’ And she felt this really warm and familiar voice that wasn’t of her own saying, ‘I always have been there’. And immediately her eyes were open and her heart was open to understand that God has been with her, her whole life.
When I go on the road I do concerts in a six-week tour, I would do online stuff (I call them ‘nuggets of wisdom’) and the friends would come after the concerts, and we would talk to them. Other times my daughter and me go to public places talking about our movie and about our faith.
And sometimes, I just love people. They know who I am and they know my faith, but I don’t have to say it because I am caring, I’m just hanging out being a normal person, having jokes, and eating with them.
So, it just depends on the time.
Q. Are you in touch with other rock artists who are Christians to encourage each other and do projects together?
A. I have a solo band called “Love and Death”, we’re working on that with some guys who are members of other bands such as Breaking Benjamin, Spoken, and Red. We will have something out pretty soon.
And I’m just connected with friends, other musicians, like Lacey formerly from the band Flyleaf, Austin from Of Mice and Men, Sonny from P.O.D, and others. But I have a lot of people that I’m connected with.
Q. One last question that people who are listening and reading this interview may ask themselves: How can people pray for you?
Just pray for wisdom, for decisions in what I am doing, both in my personal life and in my business life. Pray for speaking to people, for opportunities and what to do next as far as sharing my faith.
And pray also for my daughter, she is almost 22 years old, and getting ready to finish college (university). I ask that God will show her clearly what’s next and give her opportunities to be where she needs to be.