ShipRocked set sail for its 10th anniversary last week and took along thousands of die-hard rock fans from the Port of Galveston to the coast of Mexico. One of the highlights of the 2019 cruise was having Brian “Head” Welch, Korn guitarist, onboard to play with The Stowaways and preview a movie screening of his new film Loud Krazy Love. The movie chronicles the rise of Korn and Welch’s decision to leave the band at the height of their success in 2005 to take care of his daughter Jennea Marie.
Most of the film examines the complex relationship the guitarist has with his daughter as a single father and how they have overcome struggles through drug addiction and came out the other side with a strong healthy relationship. He openly speaks about the impact that God has had on his life and how he found peace through religion. This story has a happy ending as Welch and his daughter are moving forward and Head has now re-joined Korn since 2013 with his longtime bandmates making new music and touring the world.
The movie played to a packed house in the theater on Wednesday afternoon and brought out all kinds of emotion as everyone watching could relate to aspects of the story. The film is honest and genuine and brought about one of the most special moments we have seen on a ShipRocked when Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach stood up during the Q&A session and told Head how much of an inspiration he was to him and how Head had talked him out of walking away from Papa Roach at one of his darkest times.
Loud Krazy Love is a must see for any music fan and is a story of hope. It will be available everywhere in June.
AXS caught up with Head onboard the Carnival Valor after the Loud Krazy Love screening to talk about the movie, the band and what is in store for 2019.
AXS: We just watched the movie and the whole room was quite emotional at the end. I’m so happy it had a happy ending for your family.
Brian “Head” Welch:Our life is good now. We are closer than we have ever been. It wasn’t a fake ending for sure.
AXS: When you were at the height of your drug addiction, did you have a support system? Your parents were in the movie and they helped a lot, but did you have a real support system?
BW: Well you can only have a support system if you open up and be honest with other people and yourself and I wasn’t. It was a hidden thing. I didn’t have a support system. They were there, and if I had said anything they would have been there. Whoever it was, the Korn guys, well they were a mess too. Jonathan was sober. He would have been my support but I didn’t let him in. When I left, that’s when the support came.
AXS: When you went back to Korn, were there any issues? The film made it look like it gelled together quickly.
BW: When I first came back, Jonathan was coming off a Xanax addiction. I saw him and he didn’t look healthy at all. I didn’t want to see anybody doing any hard drugs anymore. I was worried if it was the right time. Then he got off them, stopped everything.
Doing the first record with the electronic music, we butted heads a little bit with that. It was mainly Jonathan and his love of that and my dislike for it. And so we had to meet in the middle and that was hard. We wouldn’t see eye to eye but we would move forward and respect the fact that you had to give balance. It was compromise.
AXS: Is there any advice you would give to your younger self?
BW: Don’t do drugs. I would be like, just keep walking on the journey. Don’t give up. You will have some really devastating times in your life. Just keep walking and breathing and you will get through everything.
AXS: After you left Korn, I read you went to India to do service. Why did you choose India?
BW: I wanted to help people. It had always been about me. It was my gratification, my life, me, me, me. I wanted to help people and didn’t know what that looked like. I met this dude who had this studio in L.A., and he was doing movie editing and commercials plus music. We gelled. He was a Christian too and he was in a rough life before. We had so much in common. All he was doing it for was to feed orphans. He asked if I wanted to go to India. I went with him there. I wanted to go experience the country. Seeing how much people suffer is the tough part. It puts things in perspective. I need to go back actually. He was very influential to me for that.
AXS: We have lost a lot of iconic musicians in the last few years. Lemmy Kilmister, Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell and others. Do you have any fond memories of any of the guys in the past few years?
BW: Last time I saw Chester was in Louisville at Louder than Life festival, playing with Stone Temple Pilots. He came to me and talked to me about everything from Linkin Park to STP. One of my friends came over and she was very pregnant. He told her how beautiful she looked. She melted. She didn’t know who he was. That was my last memory. He made someone cry being so kind to them. When you think of him like that, he did that to a lot of people. He didn’t have to say that. That was just the way he was.
Vinnie Paul came on tour with us three years ago, and we were just hanging out. He was hanging out with our bass player Fieldy. Fieldy had mentioned something about Paul McCartney and they were talking about him. About a week later, Vinny comes in with a Paul McCartney’s bass and had got it signed by him and gave it to Fieldy. Everyone was in shock on the tour. Everyone was in shock on the whole tour wanting to know how he got the bass and how he got it signed by Paul. I think he was friends with Paul and had met him. That was Vinny. He was like Chester, just always going out of their way to be kind.
AXS: Vinnie always supported every band, any up and coming band traveling through Dallas. He would be at their show.
BW: Vinnie would show up at Islander concerts in Vegas because he lived in Vegas part-time. He inspired me. I say that I love people and I give too, but Vinnie was on another level of giving.
AXS: People say that about you too. The guys in Islander say that about you too. You support them, and your young guitar player, JR Bareis, in Love and Death. I met him and his family last year and everybody has very nice things to say about the influence you have had on him and his career.
Love and Death were on ShipRocked a few years ago. This is your second time on the boat. What was your favorite ShipRocked moment?
BW: This has been a better experience for me. I think because I was stressed out being around all the people drinking last time. I am more comfortable in my own skin and I understand the ship. I know when to go hang out with people and know when to go back and strengthen and have chill time.
AXS: How did you feel when your daughter picked up the guitar?
BW: It was awesome, but at the same time I don’t want her to have this life. But if she has something to give the world, then go for it. But after the years have passed, she has decided at this point in her life she doesn’t want this life and she is not really pursuing music. She is doing it as a hobby.
AXS: It’s fun for you guys to play together sometimes I’m sure.
BW: Yes for sure, she actually wrote a song on the new Love and Death album. I wrote the chorus and she wrote the rest of it.
AXS: What is coming up for you in 2019?
BW: A new Korn record. Jonathan is killing it. I am loving what he is doing. A Love and Death record will be out sometime this year too. I have been saying it for years but it is really happening now.