“I was an idiot. I mean it’s pretty clear,” Welch says, admitting the painful reality that he was conned. “I was like, ‘Screw the money. I don’t care; it’s not going to rule my life anymore. I walk by faith now.’ When I look back, it’s like, ‘Whoa, why’d I do that? I can’t believe I did that.’”
Though his days with Edgar were over, Welch’s ties to his questionable business operations still lingered. The lawsuits were piling up, and Welch was broke. At one point it got so bad that Welch and his daughter had to dig through their couch cushions to gather change.
“That was the low point, and my biggest fear was possible — having to move back home with my parents until I got my royalties situated,” Welch says. “I just didn’t know how far I was going to fall.”
Welch would eventually regroup with some friends to finish his solo record and start his own label, but life on the road this time around wasn’t what he’d hope it would be. Being a vocalist was not an easy task, and sometimes there would only be 30 to 40 people at his gigs. In order to stay close to his daughter, he would often bring her on the road with him. She asked him to take her to a festival in Rockingham, North Carolina, in 2012 to catch some of her favorite bands. It just so happened that Korn was also on the same bill, and after visiting with the guys they invited him onstage to perform the band’s early hit “Blind” at the end of their set. This would eventually lead to Welch returning to the band full time.
You might think that Welch returned to the band because he was broke, but he says it wasn’t about the money.
“That was definitely a plus, but I could have also sold my royalties. I was pretty low, but I still had value. I owned this catalog. So money wasn’t the motive at all, because I could have just done a deal. I don’t think I would have gotten millions, but I could have gotten out of debt in a heartbeat with what I own. I love that I can earn money now and be smart with it and invest it, and I’ve been giving another chance financially. “
As excited as he was about getting a second chance with the band, the situation with his daughter had worsened. If the self-harming weren’t enough, Jennea and Welch were barely speaking to each other. When he confronted her about spending all of her time on Facebook talking to kids that Welch didn’t approve of, she fired back and told him that her friends were the only ones who made her feel like she didn’t want to kill herself. He took drastic action.
Welch eventually enrolled his daughter into a program at a Christian boarding school in Lafayette, Indiana, called Awakening Youth Academy. He didn’t tell her that’s what they were doing, though. As expected, the surprised teenager resisted her new environment. Welch left her there with tears streaming down his face. He hoped it’d be the hardest thing he’d ever have to do in his life.
Jennea eventually opted to stay in the program and recently graduated high school there.
“I got to hand her high school graduation diploma to her, and I was bawling,” Welch says. “Since then, she’s entered into the college program at the academy. The people are like our family over there. It’s not like a normal boarding school; it’s like a family-oriented type thing.”
The story seems to have had a happy ending, but did Welch really just pawn his daughter off on a boarding school so he could go back out on tour with Korn?
“It was a season where it all just fell together, and if I didn’t go back on the road I wouldn’t have been able to handle her anyway,” Welch says. “Even if I didn’t go back to Korn, I didn’t have the tools to be able to take care of her by myself. Maybe if I had a wife or something, but I was a single dad and I couldn’t do it. If anyone was critical of that, I would invite them to meet my daughter and see how she turned out.”
Welch’s own demons and addictions still exist. In 2015, he started drinking wine with friends. The wine led to Fireball whiskey shots. Part of his brain didn’t enjoy getting drunk anymore, but there was a darker side to deal with.
“For some reason, my addictive personality made me think, ‘I’m gonna keep getting wasted and I’ll quit next week. I’m only going to do it a couple more times, even though I didn’t like it that much.’ That was pretty dark,” Welch says.
He went into counseling and tried to quit, but it was short-lived.
“A month [later], and the next thing I know I was at a hotel bar doing shots and drinking beer. I was like, ‘Am I back as an addict?’ I was scared because I had just gotten counseling ... but I’m back at the bar.”
Now that’s he’s back in Korn, he is around alcohol on a daily basis, and it’s not always easy.
“I kind of get anxious because I see the personality change right away,” he says. “People become nicer and then they just want to talk. Guys in my band will go from silent or small talk and then they’ll just want to talk about everything, and I’m like, ‘You’re so annoying right now.’”
He laughs. He knows he’s in a tough situation for someone trying to stay sober.
“Every night, I’m around people that drink because I’m at a rock concert. We have wine and beer backstage but no hard liquor, and everyone drinks every night while I’m on the road,” he says. “No one gets sloshed around me, except maybe the fans I meet. I don’t go to bars often, because what’s the point? It’s a little anxious and annoying being around it, but it’s fine.”
Korn is scheduled to play Ak-Chin Pavilion on Saturday, July 23.