For 20 years, the metal band Korn has experienced success beyond their wildest dreams and plenty of heartache and disappointment. Songs such as “Freak on a Leash” and “Falling Away From Me,” have won the band numerous accolades. One of the founding members, Brian “Head” Welch, spent some time addicted to drugs before becoming a Christian in 2005. At that time, Head decided to leave the band. After eight long years, Head is reunited with Korn and the award-winning group is set to tour the country to promote their currently unnamed new album. They will stop at the Fillmore Silver Spring on May 21. A&E recently spoke with Head about his return to the band, the new album and positive feelings flowing through all the members of the group.
A&E: What’s it been like for you being back with the band after being away for so long?
Head: It’s the most exciting time in my life. One of them — it’s like Top 2, I would say. … It’s the most positive turnaround that I’ve ever experienced. Everybody is positive in every way and there’s no negative vibe anywhere. At all. I’m tripping out.
A&E: Has the band kind of embraced or come to terms with your Christian faith? Has it ever been an issue?
Head: Yeah, I think I freaked everybody out when it first happened because I was acting kinda strange back then. But yeah, totally, there’s another guy in Korn who’s in the Christian faith — Fieldy [Reginald Arvizu], the bass player. It’s just everyone has found their way in life and as far as, like, Munky [James Shaffer], he’s like, “Dude, whatever makes people happy, I’m down for it. Whatever makes you a better person, then there’s nothing wrong with that.” Everyone’s totally accepting of it and it’s really cool.
A&E: How would you say you guys are different now as opposed to 10 years ago or so?
Head: One of the main, main things, probably the main thing, is that everybody is thankful and appreciative of what we’ve been given in life and the gifts we’ve been given with Korn and with music. We no longer take it for granted. That’s a huge thing because there were a lot of egos, myself included, floating around 10 years ago and 20 years ago and stuff like that. For everyone to just be humbled and to be like, man, thank you so much for letting me do this — whoever you’re thanking. It’s like this awesome gift of music that connects with so many people fell into our laps. So yeah, that’s the biggest thing.
A&E: You guys are back in the studio. What can you tell me about the new album you guys are working on?
Head: This is my favorite album. It just fell into place. I was gone eight years and once we started writing after a couple of months to jam with these guys I felt like I was only gone a year. It fell into place that good. It’s a lot more guitar driven, but it sounds new and fresh, like 2013 Korn. The biggest thing I think is the song quality. As far as like the melody, choruses, the hooks and the lyrics — the lyrics are really well thought out and they just sound like a new level for Jonathan Davis. You can feel his heart on a lot of the lyrics because he’s been through a lot. Poor guy is always going through something crazy. I think we all are in life. Another thing that’s different is we wrote, like, 25 songs this time. Usually, we just barely write 11 or 13 songs — just enough to get on the album. So, yeah, there’s a lot of songs to choose from and one thing about this album, you know there’s a lot of albums where you come in and there’s three or four songs on it that are good and the rest are like, ‘Eh, it’s all right.’ But this album, every song is going to be good. I haven’t felt like that with a Korn album, to be honest. I think maybe the first album and “Follow the Leader” were the two closest ones, but this one, for me, has the most quality songs on one full-length album.
A&E: With so many songs, are you guys thinking about a double album or are they in the box for the next album?
Head: Yeah, they’re in the box. Here’s what happens. We did like 20, 25 songs, something like that, and with Jon doing the vocals, we were running out of time. We got it down to 15 or 16. So if we get 11 songs on the album, we still have 16 to choose from, so we’ll choose the best 16 … sorry, the best 10 or 11 songs on the album, and then the other five we’ll use for whatever, like bonus tracks or maybe movie stuff, I don’t know. Then we’ll have five left over that we didn’t do vocals on for the future if we choose to.
A&E: Have you guys come up with a title for the album yet?
Head: NO! You just reminded me we’ve gotta come up with a title. [Laughs] Crap, yeah. I think Munky’s been working on some things, but, yeah, we’re getting close to the time we’re supposed to mix the album. Yeah, we’d better come up with something pretty quick.
A&E: Other than just listening and being entertained, what do you hope fans take away from this new album?
Head: Hmm, that’s a good question. I just hope they feel the positive vibe of the reconciliation with friends. There’s something that happens when us guys get together musically. You know? It was meant to be back in the day and it’s meant to be now. I just hope people take away, like, the whole forgiveness thing because we’ve been through hell and back and we came back together. Everything’s forgiven. We’re closer than we’ve ever been as brothers and I hope people can catch that vibe and hopefully it’ll spread into their lives because bitterness and unforgiveness, it’s like a cancer in relationships and families. If you can just find forgiveness and reconciliation, everything gets better and life is happier. We’re only here a short time, you know?