KORN guitarist Brian "Head" Welch was interviewed on the May 23 edition of "Whiplash", the KLOS radio show hosted by Full Metal Jackie. A few excerpts from the chat follow below (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
Full Metal Jackie: A book like "With My Eyes Wide Open: Miracles & Mistakes On My Way Back To Korn" details a lot of vulnerability. Brian, what makes that openness worthwhile?
Welch: "It's seeing the fans and the people that have read it thanking me and telling me, 'You're a rock star, whatever you are in the music world, but when I read your book, I have so many similarities.' 'Cause we're all just people; we're all broken people trying to make it and be happy on this planet. And so hearing them and looking in their faces as they tell me that is worth it all. And I share a lot of… We all have family dynamics that we need to work through and fight through sometimes, so I shared a lot of my struggles with my teen daughter and how she fell into depression, suicidal thoughts and self-harm and all that. And so I just hope to help a lot of these teenagers; it's an epidemic what they're going through nowadays."
Full Metal Jackie: That's an amazing thing to do, to be able to share so much of yourself. And, you know, you're doing a good thing.
Welch: "Thank you so much. It's hard to write… I mean, it's a long process — it takes a year and a half or two years or something — and I literally was trying to protect my keyboard from my tears at some points in the book as I was writing them, 'cause the stuff with your kid, that's just… it's brutal. And so every fear that I had about raising a teen girl, every fear came true. So it's pretty brutal to write about and think about it."
Full Metal Jackie: "With My Eyes Wide Open" is not your first book. What does it reveal about your development as a writer?
Welch: "Wow. I don't even think of myself like an author still. To this day, I just feel like I'm just sharing stories — sharing my life stories, all the way from raising my daughter when she was young, all the way to the teen years and then starting my solo career and rejoining KORN. I just write out stories. And you know what's funny? I turned in the book, and when I was done, I was, like, 'Okay, I'm done. I shared everything.' And [the publishers] were, like, ''Okay, you're not done. You're far from done. And we need to get you someone to help finish this. The story arc is all over the place.' So I needed a lot of help, but I got through it eventually."
Full Metal Jackie: You guys are working on the next KORN album. Compared to previous KORN albums, what makes the creative process different this time?
Welch: "Oh my Gosh! This record, I'm telling you… Me and Munky [guitarist James Shaffer] have connected in a way that we haven't, literally, in years and years. Last record was awesome, and I love it. But we came… We connected at Carolina Rebellion [in 2012], I played one song with them. Two weeks later, I was on the phone with Munky, and then a couple of weeks after that, I was in the studio with them. So it was, like, 'Hey, you wanna come write with us?' So we've had time to hang out and jam together for three years on the road. And so me and Munky really have connected as guitar twins, guitar duo, whatever you wanna call it. And so this is a really guitar-heavy record. And for the first time in our whole career, we recorded our guitars at the same time, facing each other and just jamming, riffing out. And this record is… I don't wanna blow it up or whatever too much, but I just really feel like it's the KORN record that all the fans have been waiting for. The intensity in Jonathan's [Davis] vocals and the music, the heaviness of it, is like no other KORN record in years. So I'm really, really excited for people to hear it."
Full Metal Jackie: Obviously, the members of KORN have all come a long way to where you guys are at today. How has maturity and self-awareness created better musical and personal connections with everyone in KORN?
Welch: "I love that question, 'cause the personal connection is the biggest thing. If you're not happy, and you hate everybody around you, what kind of fun is that? So that personal connection… You know what the key is? It's humility. And everybody in KORN, with each other, it's total… Just the humbleness is crazy, and it was not like that before I left. It's like everybody just wants everyone to be happy. And we give and we take in a healthy way so that everybody has a chance for their input. It's like we're united, pretty much, in what we like, so it's not always like an argument or anything like that. But even if there is some kind of an argument or a disagreement, we'll be, like, 'Okay. This guy can have it this time.' It's just really a humble atmosphere, which is key."
Full Metal Jackie: KORN formed not far from Los Angeles, about a hundred miles or so. What did L.A. represent to you as a young band trying to establish itself?
Welch: "Oh my Gosh! It was, like, everything. I mean, we were in Los Angeles. That was, like, the entertainment capital of the world, you could say. I mean, all of America's entertainment, especially back then, was just all over… the movies and the music, you know. And so just growing up two hours north of Los Angeles was just mindblowing, and to have a foot in the door like that… It's hard because if you don't have something special and unique, then it's hard to get into that industry. But, luckily, when we got Jonathan, we knew that we had the sound as a band that was unique and different, and the vocalist that was just such a freak… I mean, the coolest metal singer ever. And so those doors started opening. We didn't know how big it was gonna get, but once we got him, I knew that we were gonna do something. And just to see how far it's [gone], and how long it's lasted — I mean, almost twenty-two years — it's crazy. So it's incredible."
Full Metal Jackie: Did you ever think, looking back to when you guys were first coming up, that this many years later, you guys would still be doing it and still putting out new records and touring?
Welch: "No way! No way. Not even in a million years. I thought… When we were hitting close to ten years, I was, like, I thought we were gonna do this a few years and then the next music comes out or whatever. And so when I was a drug addict in KORN, I was, like, 'When is this gonna stop? When does this train stop so I can rest?' It was crazy. But, yeah, it's just going and going and going, and the fans are what make it… They're still coming out — they're still buying the music or downloading it for free. [Laughs] But at least they're coming to the shows. So they're keeping it alive. And hats off to them."
"Whiplash" airs every Monday night from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on the Los Angeles radio station 95.5 KLOS. The show can be heard on the KLOS web site at 955klos.com or you can listen in on the KLOS channel on iHeartRadio. Full Metal Jackie also hosts a nationally syndicated radio program, which can be heard all over the country.