Brian Welch was raised in the industrial farm town of Bakersfield, California. Early in his life, Brian felt like he was different from most kids and was picked on a lot in school. One way Brian says he was different was that his head was bigger than the rest of his body. This is how he got the nickname “Head.”
Through the difficulties of growing up, he found something that he could call his own, music. He loved Ozzy Osbourne and other metal rock groups. Originally, he wanted to play drums, but his father encouraged him to play the guitar because it was quieter. Brian seemed to be a natural at the guitar, excelled, and found his niche. Around this time, he also had his first introduction to drugs from some of his friends.
Through his teen years, Brian continued with his music and he met the people with whom he would eventually form Korn. In his early 20s, Brian moved to Los Angeles with a few members of Korn. Drug and alcohol abuse became a regular part of his life. Korn’s popularity and phenomenal success were growing along with drug abuse and tumultuous times happening behind the scenes. Brian had gained the world by making it big with Korn.
In 2004, Brian hit rock bottom. It was hard for him to meet the demands of life on the road as well as being a single father. One of the turning points was when he heard little Jennea singing a Korn song called “A.D.I.D.A.S.,” which stands for “All Day I Dream About Sex.” Brian knew that he couldn’t keep Jennea in that life and wanted something to change. In 2005, Brian accepted Jesus into his life, a choice that changed him forever. Brian still struggled with drugs and cried out to God to remove them. With help from God, Brian was delivered from drugs in a short amount of time. Brian left his old life behind, including almost two decades of drug abuse. He made the hard decision to leave Korn at the height of their success and has made a new life.
Brian’s new book, Stronger: Forty Days of Metal and Spirituality, is a candid devotional, in which he shares openly about events in his life and how God has taught him biblical principles through his darkest moments. “Today I am stronger than I’ve ever been in my life, capable of facing any challenge that comes at me, and my experiences with the Bible have a lot to do with that,” says Brian. “It has been a long hard road getting here, but deep inside of me there’s a stillness that never goes away.”
Brian chose 40 of his favorite scriptures to share and then shares how they have touched his life. “I’ve experienced other crazy things that I want to share,” says Brian, “because through it all, I’ve had God at my side.”
On Day 1 the scripture is Matthew 16:26, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Brian tells of partying on tour in 2000with Metallica and Kid Rock. “Metallica had their own private jet, so they were able to fly from concert to concert,” says Brian, “One night, I was hanging out with Kid Rock and Lars Ulrich, Metallica’s drummer, invited us to fly with them on their private jet that night. Before I could ponder, I had my bags in my hand, along with a little something I’d picked up after Korn’s set: an eight-ball of cocaine.”
Go behind the scenes with Brian Welch on In The Green Room
During the flight Brian and three other guys began getting high on cocaine. The private jet took them to Dallas, Texas, where they continued the partying at a local night club. “At around 4:00 A.M., something extremely weird happened. We were all locked up in the back room of the club, wrapped up in a ridiculously serious but totally meaningless cocaine conversation about music,” says Brian, “and all of a sudden, one of the guys tried to throw in his two cents, but the cocaine had taken his ability to talk away. Completely out of the blue he had become almost mute.”
That night went from a surreal dream coming true to a dark dungeon. “Although I didn’t yet think of the problem in Christian terms, I see now that I had gained the whole world, but I was losing my soul,” says Brian. “I’d gained fame, but lost the person that I was. I’d gained money, but I’d lost my satisfaction and contentment in life. I’d gained fans, but I was always away from the people that I loved the most. I could have lost my soul forever, but the Person who loved me the most rescued me before it was too late. Now I am His forever.”