On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Welch is sitting in the P.F. Chang's on Mill Avenue in Tempe, eating his usual lemon chicken dinner before he picks up Jennea, now 9, from gymnastics. In the past three years, Welch has quit Korn, quit drugs, found Jesus, moved to Phoenix, and written a bestseller.

His second book, Washed by Blood, hits bookstores on June 24, and his first single as a solo artist, "Flush," premières July 8 on iTunes. The song starts with audio of someone vomiting into a toilet, followed by a flush and then a hammering metal riff that doesn't sound any more "Christian" than Korn. Warner Music will release the solo album on September 9.

In 2006, while he was writing the album, Welch holed up in the Best Western at Northern Avenue and 16th Street in Phoenix. There, he heard a message from the Lord to sell his California real estate and move to Arizona. Welch had one friend in Arizona (also a believer, with whom Welch has since parted ways) and has no other idea why God chose Phoenix.

"God called Israel, Moses, and Jesus to times of preparation in the desert. This is my time of preparation," Welch says. His voice is low, and he speaks in a melodic, easy-mannered rhythm. Now a single dad with sole custody, he has been living in Phoenix with Jennea ever since. He and his wife, who also struggled with meth addiction, divorced in 2001.

Welch still looks the part of a Korn star. He's wearing his trademark braided dreadlocks and ragged beard. A mural of tattoos works its way from his fists, up his arms, under his white T-shirt, and back out his neck — all the way to his beard.

"Are you the drummer from Korn?" a P.F. Chang's waiter asks. He's been nervously attending to Welch for 10 minutes, and he's finally worked up the nerve to pop the question.

"I was the guitarist, actually," Welch answers politely. Welch had been wondering aloud why the hostess and waiter both remembered that he likes a side of butter with his rice. It never occurred to him that they remember his order because he's recognizably famous — at least to metal fans.

"That's good stuff, Korn," the waiter says. "The music is just so powerful. It's like it takes you to another place." The waiter pauses. "Especially if you're high."

After the waiter walks away, Welch quietly says, "Especially if I'm high on the Holy Spirit. All those drugs are counterfeits for God, but when you tell someone that, they don't get it. It sounds crazy."

Had the waiter looked more closely, he'd have seen that Welch's eccentric tattoos are mostly Scripture verses. His favorite is on his neck. It's Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Welch says that quote saved his life, because he had spiraled into an obsessive and suicidal addiction. Because he used to sit in his tour bus, snorting meth and hoping to die by overdose.

In 2005, Welch, who says he grew up without any sort of religion, walked into a church and prayed that Jesus would free him from his addiction. Welch heard God tell him to quit Korn.

Welch was worth about $9 million at the time. Korn was at its peak. Loved by teens. Hated by parents, and known by almost everyone for its controversial lyrics, dark persona, multi-platinum albums, and two Grammys.

Fully aware that Korn was months away from signing a $23 million deal with Virgin Records, Welch e-mailed his resignation to his pals. In a rush of emotion, he announced his 10-year addiction and newfound faith.

The conversion made for a dramatic swing from one end of the morality spectrum to the other, à la Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper, and other rockers who ditched extramarital sex and drugs for God. (Though none dashed their careers on the rocks quite like Welch.)

Korn's notorious lyrics and association with Marilyn Manson, whose violent, sexual, and anti-religious stage antics include burning Bibles and drinking urine, had riled parents across the nation. Suddenly the band's star guitarist and founding member was a born-again Jesus freak.

Locked in a hotel room, Welch quit his meth and Xanax addictions cold turkey, he says. Then he hopped a plane to Israel, where he was baptized.

Welch says he didn't invite the media along but that MTV and CNN called after a local radio interview about his conversion. "I was just wanting to get some drug addicts at the church. The next day, it spread all over the Internet. Then CNN and MTV called, and I just went with it."

Korn's lead singer, Jonathan Davis, retaliated with two fiercely bitter songs to Welch on the band's 2007 untitled album.

"I have been having fun watching my ex-guitar player bash us," Davis wrote on his personal blog, www.buttsexcrips.com. "What can I say but good luck, bro. I'm done with your false crusade. Korn will keep 'polluting' the world as long as we have fans. Life is fuckin crazy. Damn, fuck it."

Davis told Billboard.com, "It really irritated me that he's putting out this book and profiting off of talking shit about us — the guys who gave him everything in his life and put him where he's at."

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31 comments
Whois
Whois

I saw an interview with Brian on mmlrock.com, definitely seems like a humble dude. I'm a fan.

AJ
AJ

Sweet action.

Jordo2020
Jordo2020

He says it in this interview he had everything cars, money, woman, 200,000 dollar pool and he was still miserable, what then?? Why not try the guy who created you?? The Holy Spirit is way more powerful then any drug you can come across. He does so many things in your life if you just let him. Just try and focus on your breathing and it will calm your mind , then ask God to speak to you talk to him and you will feel him. You have to be sincere

Sparklesprinkler
Sparklesprinkler

I don't believe that Jesus or God existed/exists BUT whatever works to get people off of drugs. The mind is a powerful tool and imagination is, as well. If one can use it to their advantage and get free from destructive habits, more power to them. In the least, his "coming to Jesus" will be a bridge to lead him over to a strong Brian Welch. The longer he maintains being sober, the more and more his pleasure sensors will come back. It's just the brain that has been habitualized into happiness from drugs. That goes away sooner or later. More power to you, Brian. If it harms none, do as thee will!

fedism
fedism

Jesus exists and he wants you to be saved through him. Dont ever believe he doesnt, His word is pure yet tainted by our thoughts. Coming to Jesus does make you a strong firm person rather than a weak and refined being. I urge you to read some new testament scriptures.

Pats_ark
Pats_ark

I read the book. I don't see where Brian is bashing J. Davis, nor KORN for that matter. Personally, J. Davis could benefit from having God in his life. Maybe Davis would be a happier man?!

Jared Rich
Jared Rich

All of you satanic worshipers are blind to the power, love, and glory of GOD. Everyone knows that a man with out LORD JESUS in there life, wouldn't have givin up millions of dollars just to prove that JESUS had come to him (Welch) and shown him the way. I know that half of you reading this are laughing, but I will tell you that one day Jesus will return (and soon)to destroy all those that mock God. I tell you this because I believe that the heavy metal genre is a tool for the devil to lead astray God's children. I ask of you today that when you've had enough of this sinful world, from the bottem of your heart ask Jesus to guide you through the hard times and I guarantee that if you mean it, He will reveal that He is the loving, all powerful GOD! Blessed be all who live in the word of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Lmeadows93
Lmeadows93

God also told us to be humble to those. I dont believe he would have you bash those who said they don't believe in God. I'm a christian, and I hate saying it because of people liek you, calling others Satanic Worshipers. YOU are just like them, Jared Rich. You are no more greater or powerful or any more beloved to God then them. I think you're forgetting the biggest part God said. Love everyone. Do you know any of their stories? Who are you to call them mockeries, and condemers to hell. YOU are the ones driving others away from God, instead of bringing them. It sickens me.

monique
monique

Glad to hear he cleaned up his act for his daughter but find it funny that he felt it necessary to make his entire religious journey a publicly televised journey. Makes me think he was trying to make some future profit off of his enlightenment. I personally have no opinion on religion and believe if it works for you then good and if it doesn't then good. Just don't try to push your opinion either way on anyone else. But one tiny little issue I have is people who have lead morally challenging lives and think that asking for the Lords forgiveness is enough to wipe out all their wrong doing. One doesn�t need a bible or religion to know the difference between right or wrong, good or evil, moral or immoral. Unless you're a person that uses the bible as a crutch or thinks by not going to church you have a right to act immoral. We all know the drill�.Friday and Saturday night it�s time to get all crazy and Sunday wake up put on Sunday best, go to church and repent your sins. Blah�blah�blah�

Nicole Martinez
Nicole Martinez

Theres a difference. A relationship with Jesus is different thatn going to church in your Sundays Best. Christians NEVER claim to be perfect..its just the opposite we are claiming we NEED a savior. Jesus Christ , Gods son walked the earth, lived then died for our sin. He was raised from the grave, over 500 people saw him at one time, others also saw him and there are historical account of this. No other God is living except Jesus! Jesus told us HE is THE way, no one can come to His Father except thru Him. Instead of basing the most important decision you will make in Eternity based on opinions, really check it out. Take the time to read a Bible and pray for yourself. Im not saying this in an argumentative way at all, I just know I had said the same things you are and now I know the Truth. Seriously dont wait, really seek out Jesus and you will find Him. What do you have to lose?

The Nameless
The Nameless

All I can say on the topic of religion is the name of Head's song - DIE RELIGION DIE!!!

Regarding his music, some of the stuff is better than the last KoRn album XD

rodat6
rodat6

Better to find reality than Jesus, the first is real, the latter is make believe.

ahmed
ahmed

Nice job following ur heart decpite what ur friends and fans sayed about. I could have never done that. Im a huge korn fan and look forward to hearing ur album. Stay cool.

Brocklei
Brocklei

Great article.

Go easy on the boy Maynard, hes just a kid.

Ryan
Ryan

if you don't want to be exposed as ignorant or foolish when you open your mouth to speak or type words to broadcast, then this is extremely important.

1. Don't confuse faith and love and knowledge of God with the various institutions that claim to know and preach It's true Word.

2. Recognize the fact that, God aside, there are countless things that you have already "discovered" or "know" which you do not understand.

3. Recognizing that, consider the possibility that there is something so difficult to know, that it can only be glimpsed or discovered in a flash of sudden mental clarity.

(In the same way that many scientists, bodhisattvas, businessmen, etc. suddenly realize the solution to a problem which had hitherto baffled them. baffled them to a point of mental exhaustion. and only at the precise moment of psychological alignment are they able to see clearly that which, only a moment before, had so profoundly confounded them.)

4. The institution of a religion is not Religion itself.

5. The existence which inspires religious and philosophical minds all around the world, is not contained by any, single one.

6. If you are unhappy with the Church or Temple practices, don't take it out on God. These are humans making human mistakes and poor judgments.

7. An atheist zealot is fundamentally no different from a religious zealot. they're just sitting at the other end of the see-saw.

8. The two "see-saw zealots" reinforce each other. They complement each other. The existence of the one drives the other to further solidify their beliefs. "Look at the atheists... they look so lost." "Look at those crazy Jesus-freaks... they are out-of-their-minds."

9. If you are not thinking for your self and following your own heart... im sorry. This is perhaps the most scary thing that an individual can do. Who is capable of living their own life, walking their own authentic path? even if no one will else follow? or even if people will stand taunting from the sidelines of their own life as you walk yours?

10. Only the person with that kind of courage will discover the most precious and invaluable gems.

Finally... Cheers! I look forward to hearing the new tracks.

Don't get stuck in the muck.

Jae
Jae

it's cool the we got to hear his side of what was going on in his life. it's also great that he made a choice for the better for his life. i'm a huge korn fan, and glad that head as changed his ways for his daughter. there's always two sides of each story, and the media can make these out to be bad or good just to sell mags. i still listen to korn now, and this story hasn't changed my mind about the band. they still kick ass, and do what they had to do to go on. it's not our job as fans to choose sides, but just to except their choices. in this case, head knew that he was going down hill, and he had to do what he thought was right, for his health and life he was living. i'm a native american, and we see the one person in many different ways. we shouldn't say that on religion is better than the other, because in the end we're all praying to the same person. i'm glad that he got his act together, and is doing well. media loves to put words into people's mouths to sell mags, and in this case i'd rather hear it from the guys from the band. in most of the interviews i've seen, they are giving well wishes to head for his changes in life. thanks to head for all the kick ass music over the years, and continued success in what ever he puts his mind too. anything can happen, and he's proven that to his fans. thanks again! korn rocks!

Ishtar
Ishtar

I'm sorry you couldn't handle having millions while maintaining a family life, but don't blame Korn's dark themes. I've outgrown them but I still think this guy is a wuss for blaming everything on the lifestyle and not taking responsibility for his actions. He's not even taking responsibility now, he's just placing it on a magical invisible man. Might as well wait for the unicorns to come save you and carry you to heaven.

Thomas
Thomas

The Cross is a torture implement, murder should not be glamorized by the assention to the cross.christianity = harry potter with more blood and guts!It is a dangerous element of society masquerading as ceremony, while stirring hate and division.

Geoff
Geoff

The author of this article is a blatant liar! When interviewing Brian & us (I'm his brother) he claimed he was a christian and was "totally excited. This is awesome dude" about Brian's positive change and wanted to write about Brian's transformation. Most of the negative quotes by family & friends were taken from longer statements that were overall positive, however, he only used partial quotes in order to paint an ugly picture. He totally slanted this story with his opinion in order to make Brian appear to be an idiot and freak. This is why I've rarely responded to media requests for interviews. Now I truly know to take what the media says about celebrities with a grain of salt due to their 75% B.S. factor. What a shame that you didn't just display the facts of his life and let your readers judge him for themselves. Don't you believe they're intelligent enough? Lying @#*#!!!

N2c
N2c

hahaha your noones brother... you are lowly scum and are uncreditable to any realations whatsoever to Brian you sound like a 12 year old or a really messed up 20 year old... you have absolutly no purpose but to piss me and other people off you troll

TH
TH

God Bless You Brian and Jennea!!! God's Hand is upon you!My daughter and I are so touched & moved by your testimony! God worked thru the gift of my daughter as well, giving me strength to leave "babylon" and eternal JOY in relationshipship with Him. During her teen years, when things were rough - she was a huge Korn fan...I had to break/remove her Korn CD's from our home. She is 21 now, happily married to an amazing guy, whom I adore...and very excited about your testimony. There is a whole generation out there God will reach out to...God Bless you for your love & devotion and obedience to Him! There is MORE, yet MORE for you & Jennea! Praying for you & your family! Lifting you UP, and encouraging you to keep going in the things of God and ALL He has for you! You have good mentors in the Faith, I have seen you at meetings!God loves your humbleness before Him - like King David. Speaking health & blessing & Zoe over you - His wisdom,His favor,His discernment in you! The hope of Glory! God in you!He is Our Jehovah Nissi! Praises to God, and Jesus Our Redeemer!HEBREWS 6:18,19

Mattress
Mattress

I have been a Korn fan since 1994 when "shoots and Ladders" was their first radio promo. I have been a New Times reader since 1998. I met Korn at Tower Records on Mill Ave back in 1998 So I think I could consider myself an old-school fan.I thought the article on Head was great and answered alot of the questions the fans had been missing. The media didnt really do much for us but try and start a silly little war with Head and the remaining members. Im pretty disappointed with Johnathan though. Its one thing to bag on a guy for the car he drives, his fat girl-friend, or the lame-ass shift he works at Sonic. But to attack a man for trying to sober up and be a responsible Dad and his choice of whatever religion in my book is pretty fucking sad. Hopefully I will run into Head on the streets of Phoenix and thank him for the great years of music he helped to create...Good for you Brian!!!! Oh yeah, and you cashed that check didnt you Jonathan???

Shane Watson
Shane Watson

"The song starts with audio of someone vomiting into a toilet, followed by a flush and then a hammering metal riff that doesn't sound any more "Christian" than Korn."

What an ignorant statement. So, you can tell a Christian artist by the lack of gravity in their riffs? Really, now? While we're ignorantly pigeonholing, by all means, tell me what Buddhist rappers sound like. Oh, and what about Scientologist hybrid artists? Can you identify their sound on a record? For those missing the references, I'm talking about the Beastie Boys and Beck.

It will never cease to amaze me how people can continue to be so ignorant about Christian musicians. They're not all Amy Grant, you know? Educate yourselves. It's interesting how it's still somehow PC to be totally ignorant regarding Christians.

Again, educate yourselves on Christian artists. They're not all watered-down ripoffs of secular acts.

See: Stavesacre, Chevelle, Sufjan Stevens, Jeremy Enigk, Starflyer 59, Pedro The Lion, etc.

flores
flores

I thanked god when I first heard you left the band because I knew christian music was going to get bad ass and i always loved to hear korn growing up. Thank you for letting God to grow in you... Nothing beats the peace in side us

Lance Boyle
Lance Boyle

Now, screaming metal disco, THERE'S a genre waiting to explode!

Pamela
Pamela

Oh my what a beautiful story and a true showing of courage! We all need to take a lesson from this human being...Life is precious and taken for granted so much! We are only here one time and what are we going to leave behind? What are we doing to make a difference? Brian just made a difference in my life...Thank You! Pamela

Unborn Again
Unborn Again

Good move by Brian Welch. Korn may have sold a lot of records, but that doesn't mean they're good anymore than the fact that McDonald's has sold billions of burgers means that those burgers are good. Hopefully screaming metal goes the way of disco.

Father of a former Korn fan
Father of a former Korn fan

Jennea's comment that Brian got funnier after deciding to entrust his life to the Lord is testament to the fact that he is now more alive. Jesus told his followers that "I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly". Brian is one of His followers now and he is experiencing a new and abundant life. Not abundance as in the perverse culture from whence he came (drugs, sex, money, possessions, notoriety, etc), but abundance in the here and now, just being alive and free from dependence on those "things" that never satisfied his thirst. No more chasing or buying things that do not bring peace and happiness! And as one who struggles with depression and who has struggled with addiction, I rejoice with you Brian!Godspeed on you journey of faith!

David
David

I disagree with the last comment. You are being led by the Holy Spirit, who does not lie and told you to stay away from church. I did the church thing for 12 years and it did nothing but get in the way of my faith.

I love the fact you use electric rather than acoustic guitars! Too much Christian rock music uses it, or if they do it sounds weak, tame and muffled. I can't wait to hear your music and believe me, there are more people on the "middle of the fence" in terms of being Christian yet not wanting to listen to filth, than you're being led to believe.

Father of a former Korn fan
Father of a former Korn fan

Jennea's comment that Brian got funnier after his conversion is spot on. It's an aspect of the reality that he is more alive, which is exactly what a life trusting in God is all about. "I come that you might have life and have it abundantly" is something that Jesus said to his disciples. Brian is now one of his disciples and experiencing abundant life. Not abundant life as in the perverse culture from whence he came (drugs, sex, money, possessions,notoriety, etc) but rather life in the here and now with no dependence on "things" to make him whole, happy or complete. It's obvious that none of those "things" ever did the trick anyway.Godspeed in your journey of faith, Brian! Now your life will have a greater and better influence than ever before possible!

Jason Thorn
Jason Thorn

Open letter to Brian Welch:What you've done is a brave and wonderful thing, and the fact that you have a better relationship with your daughter is very hopeful. You've done a lot of things right, and I'll be praying for you. I'm sorry about your bandmates in KORN that don't see what you've done, but they're still in that "smoke-filled room." The most you can do is pray for them.My only advice to you is to seek a church as you learn more about God. As you grow in God, you will need guidance, and a church that challenges you to grow and develop can only help you.God bless you in your endeavors.

 
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