By New Times
By Connor Radnovich
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Ray Stern
By Keegan Hamilton
By Matthew Hendley
By Monica Alonzo
By Monica Alonzo
"We got 25 million bucks," Kwatinetz said, explaining Korn's new deal. (Six years later, Korn would get a similar $23 million deal just months after Welch quit.)
"It should have been the best day of my life," Welch remembers. A $5 million windfall and a starring role on South Park. But it wasn't.
"I was so excited. I told my wife, and we just started fighting," Welch says. He ended up sitting on the couch alone, he recalls, unable to crack a smile when South Park's Priest Maxi chastised the animated Korn figures for bringing their evil tunes to his town.
"I'm supposed to be at the height of my career, and I'm terrible," Welch remembers. That scene typifies Welch's ride to the top. "There always seemed to be some kind of drama with my personal life whenever things were good with the band," he says.
Rebekah Landis is now clean from meth, too, and lives in Reno, Nevada. She says her own drug addictions made Welch's life miserable. "Brian was always one of those honest, genuine, loyal people. Even when he was on drugs or drunk," Landis says. "But methamphetamine ruins your whole life. It ruins your soul, so you can't care or function. You may feel okay for a little while but, eventually, it's like you have no feelings left, like you're an empty shell."
"It was surreal. It just took off. We were on MTV every day. It got stressful. The band would fight when we got pressured," Welch says.
When Rebekah gave birth to Jennea, Welch promised himself that he'd quit meth. He didn't. Neither did Rebekah. About two years later, Rebekah left. Welch was suddenly a single dad with sole custody, a full-time rock star, and a meth addict.
"After going through all that pain, I promised myself I wouldn't do speed again. Then with all the pain, I got drunk one night. I ran into a guy, and we started talking about speed. I said, 'All right. Just once.'"
It was meth that had killed Welch's marriage, sure, but it was meth that he turned to for deliverance from the pain.
"Then, I bought a big ol' bag, and I started using every day, all day long, for two years. When we traveled to countries where they said, 'You'll get put to death if they find drugs,' I had it hidden in my deodorant, all in my suitcases.'"
Look at any picture of Korn, and Welch looks glassy-eyed. Look at any picture from 2002 to 2005, and he looks as if he were in a coma. Backstage, there's a lot of marijuana and a lot of cocaine, Welch says.
"Everybody on the road either drank, smoked weed, or did a ton of coke. There was never heroin. There was always Xanax, Vicodin, alcohol, weed, and coke, wherever we went. I snuck the speed around. No one else did speed because it ruins you so bad. I found a way to sneak it."
Welch wasn't a casual user with his meth. He was a shaking, can't-live-without-it addict — an extremely paranoid one, too. When the president of Indonesia walked across a tarmac to greet Korn's plane, Welch was sure he was being busted for drugs.
"The president comes up to me, and he puts his hand on my neck really firm. I thought he was gonna call me out for having drugs, and he goes, 'My son loves you guys.'"
Back in the States, Welch spent his days alone in his personal tour bus, doing speed, sleeping, and feeding an addiction to Internet porn.
"One thing you have to understand is that there are different brands [of meth], and, sometimes, addicts get so used to one brand to where it stops working so well," Welch writes in Save Me from Myself.
"I was so addicted that I had eight brands going at once. Eight different brands of speed. In addition to all those pills, and all the beer. I was so afraid I would run out."
While recording a promo single for Korn's Greatest Hits Vol. 1 in 2004, the drug use started affecting Welch's guitar solos. One day, he chucked his custom-built Ibanez 7-string guitar at his tech. The tech ducked just in time, and the $2,000 guitar hit a wall and shattered.
"Through the years we had brought him up, we were really concerned about drugs," says Phil, Brian's father. His parents' concern grew with his fame. "We would ask him, and he would assure us that he wasn't using."
Ultimately, it was a 5-year-old girl who saved Welch's life. You don't have to hang out with Jennea long to see why. Now 9, the curly-haired brunette is cute, funny, and a great conversationalist.
Eating a cheeseburger on a Tuesday evening, Jennea talks about her hamster Cody, her SpongeBob SquarePants collection, her favorite musician (One Republic), and her new guitar.
But life wasn't so peaceful for Jennea or Brian during the Korn years. Once Welch had sole custody, he tried to quit meth, but failed.