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Brian ‘Head’ Welch on Living Life with ‘Eyes Wide Open’

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In 2005, Brian ‘Head’ Welch made the radical decision to leave multi-platinum selling heavy metal super group Korn for … well, his faith.  Recently converted to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, Welch walked away from a band that he had co-founded more than a decade earlier.

His newfound faith wasn’t exactly everything he expected.  While his decision for Christ gave him great strength he still needed supernatural help to overcome his addiction to multiple drugs as well as raising a teen daughter lost in a world of depression and self-mutilation.  God provided.

In his latest book With My Eyes Wide Open: Miracles and Mistakes on My Way Back to Korn, the brutally honest Welch inspires readers to never give up on their faith even when they are being tested and nearly consumed by the rigors of bad decisions.

I recently sat down with Brian to discuss his decision to rejoin Korn after being away for eight years, why he sees being back in the band as a vast mission field, and how God is using him to help others see light in the darkness.

Your first book, Save Me from Myself: How I Found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story, came out in 2008.  In your latest, With My Eyes Wide Open, you have said that you can sum up the book in one word: restoration.  Why?

I met the Lord in 2005 and I felt His goodness.  The reality was that my eyes were opened to Him.  But then things just started messing up in my life and I just didn’t understand it.  I was walking through it, reading the Bible and I understood a lot of it but not the entire big picture.  The Lord’s ways are not our ways.  And seeing Him take me through things that were so difficult; it was weird because it was a mixture of faith and fear.  I was asking for Him to grow my faith and then the next thing I knew my money grew wings and flew away.  All of this fear was coming to the surface and I would wonder if it (God) was real?  There was all of this double-mindedness and then after a few years I would watch Him restore everything.  God doesn’t tear down anything unless He is going to rebuild it.  That’s what I mean by restoration.  That’s what happened in my life.  He restored all of my family relationships, my relationship with my friends, all the financial stuff, watching my daughter go through some things.  Romans 8:28 says, ‘He turns everything around for good for those who love Him’.  And I watched Him do that with every single thing that looked like a disaster in my life.

Overall, I see With My Eyes Wide Open as an explanation of sorts.  An explanation for some of the decisions you have made as a believer that some would see as controversial.  Do you agree?

Yeah, that’s a good way to look at it.  I did that with my first book too because there were people in the rock world, the band was so big and I just left.  There were people who thought I was a wacko.  They were saying that I had done one too many drugs, that I thought I saw Jesus.  People were saying all of this crazy stuff about me.  The books are a good way to explain the whole thing and to really get down to the heart of the matter.  I open my chest and expose my heart to everybody.  I expose my feelings and emotions and everything that led up to these decisions.  I do not take these decisions lightly.  There was a lot of fear and trembling in these big decisions I have made.  If it was really my destiny and the Lord’s will to walk away from Korn back in the day and to rejoin now, or to put my daughter into a boarding school because I went on tour.  So, all of these decisions came with so much fear and trembling.  With My Eyes Wide Open is a good way to explain to people who don’t understand why I would do certain things like go back to Korn.

Speaking of that, with your life so radically different now than it was before you left the band, what went into your decision to rejoin Korn after eight years, knowing that it might not necessarily be the best environment for you?

It was just circumstances.  It seemed like a lot but my band (Love and Death) was out on tour with P.O.D.  They are Christians but they don’t play the Christian market.  The Lord has placed them in the mainstream.  I was with them and it was just a happenstance type of thing where I was riding on their tour bus and they ended up at a big festival where Korn was also playing.  The next thing you know I’m reconciling with everybody.  I feel this love for everybody and I’m seeing how things are different.  I ended up playing one song with them on stage and the next thing you know they asked me to come back. I initially said no because I had left and was walking my own path for eight years.  I didn’t have a desire to go back.  Korn is a big machine and it tours so much that … I was ok with just touring once in a while.  I said no.  So, after getting counsel, prayer, and thinking about it, it became clear to me that it was time.  I don’t know how long it is going to be for but it’s a really beautiful thing right now.  It’s wild though.  Jesus was wild in the Gospels and did things the Pharisees got upset with.  I’m not trying to do that but I’m following Him and it seems like He’s doing that with my life.  God really had to pound it into my head that it was the right thing to do.

Shortly after you left the band, Korn’s bass player Fieldy (Reginald Arvizu), also found the Lord.  So, we now have a situation where two of the five members of the band are Christians.  Has your collective faith impacted other band mates?

Everyone in the band believes in God but I’m not quite sure where the other guys are at.  The other guys have been to church or have asked about church.  Everyone is open to faith.  It’s just … from what I have seen … also with the fans, there has been so much damage from people who are Christians in the media that haven’t exactly acted like Christians.  So, people are skeptical but I really believe the Lord is giving a new face to the Church.  He is restoring things. We are all messed up and have done stupid things in His name.  I know I have.  He is restoring that. The main thing for me and Fieldy is that we are reaching out to the fans.  There has been a couple of guys in Korn that … I can’t really talk about it but they have had some things go on but it is more personal for them.  God is working in their lives.  But all those thousands of fans, that’s the main thing the Lord has us focusing on.  With the media projects and after the concerts whenever we can and whenever the Lord leads.

By the world’s standards you have accomplished a great deal in the music industry as 40 million albums sold will attest. You have been nominated for seven Grammy Awards, earning two. You have also played before millions of people at your concerts.  What do you see as your greatest accomplishment at this point in your life?

Wow.  Laying my life down and letting Jesus use my life however He wants it is my greatest accomplishment.  With that foundation, everything else just falls into place.  With my daughter, with the band, everything.  Honestly, that’s one of the biggest things.  I give the Lord the credit for everything because His grace is unending.  That is a big struggle for people, giving their life to Him.  I’m not the only one.  There are obviously millions and millions of people who have done the same thing.  But that is definitely my biggest accomplishment and just seeing the fruit of that throughout the years.   I can’t wait to see what He does with that for the rest of my life. 

After people have read With My Eyes Wide Open what would you like your readers to get out of the experience?

Oh man, there is so much.  But the main thing is that God would actually open their eyes to the fact that He loves them and will restore every negative thing that has happened to them and make it good.  Every single thing – past, present, and future.  Difficulties, setbacks, and just negative things that have happened.  I want people to know that God is so real.  That is why Jesus is called the resurrection and the life.  He is not only the resurrection and the life but He resurrects every bad thing in your life that needs restoration.  That’s what I want people to get out of the book.  I want people to realize that God is loving and not who some of the religious people have made Him out to be.  He is a loving Father that wants to have a relationship with you.  He will lead you to surrender if you are willing.

Guest Name / Person Interviewed or Featured in Article or Video: 
Brian Welch
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