While I was up in the mountains, I visited one of my favorite bookstores, Cornerstone. I go in there and almost always walk out with some music and/or several books. It has to be one of THE NICEST bookstore I’ve ever been in, Christian or otherwise. The wood and stone working is just phenomenal.
Friday was no exception. I headed in there with my grandmother before going to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games for the Ceilidh (that’s pronounced kay-lee). I have to have at least a half an hour in there, if not more. I spend most of my time in the books. I found several I wanted and have a list going for when I get back up there next week. haha. Anyway, I figured I needed something different to read aside from what I’ve been looking at lately (a book by Len Sweet and one by Rafe Esquith). I had heard about this book about Brian “Head” Welch and saw it on the shelf there. There was only one copy. If you’re not aware, Brian Welch was one of the founding members of the band KORN.
Now… Growing up I heard about them but dang they were a little freaky and scared me a bit. They were so angry and their videos were just…creepy. So why in the world would I want a book about this guy? Pure curiosity, plain and simple. The book is called Washed by Blood: Lessons from My Time in KORN and My Journey to Christ. So, yes, I bought it. And I read it all in less than 24 hours. It is written in two parts, one called Life without God and the second called God Finds Me. Very interesting stuff about how he grew up, hearing about God from a friend when he was younger and he liked being around the kid’s family because they were so positive. He didn’t mind their Christianity, but he didn’t “take to it” either. It was also intriguing to hear about how KORN actually came about and then reading his perception of what he thought fame was (which didn’t include realizing that everyone else already thinks many rock stars do drugs) and how living “the life” wasn’t filling him up, just slipping him into depression and into some serious, hardcore drugs. The book also talked about how he got married to a girl because he wanted to make sure she had health insurance because she was pregnant, how having a child didn’t stop him from doing drugs. He’d stop for a bit, but he and his wife would find themselves in the same cycle all over again. I had no idea he also ended up raising his daughter on his own because he was afraid of what his wife was becoming while he was away on tour and his daughter was home with her and the shady people she was bringing into their house because she was into so many drugs.
The latter half of the book is also very interesting looking at how he came to Christ and the different experiences he had as a result. It was everything from having a number of former drug dealers inform him that they had become Christians, delving into his bible like a mad man, church experiences, dealing with the media and press upon his conversion and departure from KORN, figuring out how to reconcile with his family, understanding the bible, going through withdrawal, figuring out how to be a good father, how to get back into music, missions trips… It was really nuts to read how completely and drastically his life changed. How once he gave his life to Christ, he became so determined to change and learn all he could about Jesus, the Bible, the Christian life. There was such a profound difference based on the stories he shared. There were set backs once in a while, but he really worked hard to surround himself with people that he could trust and it was just incredible to read how hard he tried to turn his life around with Christ.
He’s still making music and out of curiosity I went to his website. The KORN music definitely isn’t my type and that’s still the music style he is into, heavy metal (I guess?), but he’s writing a lot of Christian music. The pictures are really interesting. The man is tattooed up and down, but he’s gotten tons of verses tattooed all over – his neck, hands, arm… Crazy. But, if that’s what works for someone, more power to ya. There are also pictures with his daughter that are just awesome. His words to her at the end of the book brought tears to my eyes, telling her that the scary man he once as is gone because “God set Daddy free”. It was just so interesting to hear what was going on inside his head as it all was happening, growing up, in KORN, his thoughts on the fame, the drugs, reasoning for using the drugs, how he perceived Christianity, how hard it was for him to make a decision to finally leave the band (he stayed in the band very unhappy, but not wanting to give up on it despite his heart being at home with his daughter who lived with a nanny most of the time, not her mother since she left), how he wanted both the rock star status but also to have a wife and family to come home to, etc.
For the curious out there, here’s a video from youtube. It’s a pretty good interview. It says a lot that I’ve mentioned and is about another book he wrote, Save Me from Myself. It’s in 3 parts, but the rest of the interview sections can be found in the bar off to the side (Related Videos). There are also other interviews from CNN, etc.
Brian “Head” Welch – Interview