HeAd’s KoRner: Brian ‘Head’ Welch Recalls His Early Crossroads + Premieres Love and Death’s Lyric Video for ‘Lo Lamento’
Brian ‘Head’ Welch, guitarist for Korn and Love and Death, contributed a popular monthly column called ‘HeAd’s KoRner’ to Loudwire a couple years back. He returns with a special edition of HeAd's KoRner to talk about his early days in music and to premiere the lyric video for the Love and Death song 'Lo Lamento.'
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
– Robert Frost
Once upon a time, many years ago, I was 22 years old and I found myself at my first major "crossroads" in life. I was staring at two completely different paths and I could only pick one.
Back in 1989, I attempted to pursue a career in music. I originally thought that pursuing a music career meant moving from my hometown in Bakersfield, Calif., to Los Angeles to live as a struggling musician for a while until one day hopefully making my way into the music industry somehow -- performing, producing, writing, engineering -- I didn't care what I did, as long as it involved music.
I was totally focused and I actually ended up going to a music recording school and graduated sometime in 1989. The problem was I couldn't find a job that would pay after I got out of the school. All of the recording studios in the area wanted interns like myself to work for free for a while and I couldn't afford that. With no options left, I ended up getting a horrible job testing drum machines for eight hours a day. Pushing buttons all day long and intently listening to snare drums, toms, and cymbals in my headphones for hours and hours was not what I went to school for at all! But I was stuck. As you can imagine, that got old real quick and I got pretty discouraged with the whole music career idea. Things went from bad to worse when I ended up getting a job at a Pizza Hut as a delivery driver at night and a furniture delivery man during the day.
(Fun fact: On my furniture delivery job, I once delivered a big piece of art to actor Robert Downey Jr.'s house that he wanted hung up over the headboard of his bed. Those were the days he was on the news a lot for wild drug arrests and he was definitely on one of his binges that day. As he opened the front door with lightning speed after we rang the doorbell, he hurried us into his bedroom and quickly jumped up on his extra tall king-sized bed like a grasshopper to help us position the frame to his liking. I was like what is going on right now?! Haha.)
Anyway, as you can see, my choosing of the road to music pretty much ended up feeling like a road to nowhere at first. Then to make matters worse, my roommate at the time started selling acid and some of my other friends always had mushrooms around so I ended up getting wrapped up in all that mess.
The first time I took a hallucinogenic drug actually seemed like a blast and I ended up on a lifeguard stand at the beach at 3am watching the foot prints in the sand talk to me. The footprints appeared to be mouths and they had voices, LOL! But after a couple of bad trips over the next few months I was over it; over the acid/shrooms and over the way I was living life. The delivery jobs sucked and the only thing I had going for me music-wise was being a roadie for Munky, Fieldy and David in their band called "Creep."
That's when I found myself at a major crossroads. It was 1992 and after much thought, I decided to move back home with my parents to get away from all the partying I was doing. My parents owned a Chevron gas station and after talking with my dad, I cut my hair and was ready to give up the music road to travel the safer straight and narrow road. And besides the fact that my new haircut made me look like Kramer from Seinfeld, I was ready for the change. But just as my moving boxes were packed and ready to go, out of the blue my friends gave me an offer that left me standing at that first major crossroads in life. Munky, Fieldy and David offered me a position in their band Creep. Damn, why did I cut my hair?! Can I actually bang my head in a metal band looking like Kramer?! I thought.
With my mind completely fixated on my decision I ended up choosing the road that would change my life forever. I called my dad and canceled the gas station plans and joined the band Creep that would later transform into KoRn... and the rest is history!
Wow... gas station attendant or rock star. What a different life I would've had if I chose the other road, right?
Over the years I have found myself at a crossroads a few other times as well where I had to make difficult decisions that would effect my life forever. One of the other major crossroads was leaving KoRn, which I won't get into now as it's been covered quite a bit. But another major crossroads was when I had to make the decision to go back to KoRn or continue with my solo band Love and Death. I was gone from KoRn for a long time and although Love and Death was a small band, it was mine and I loved it. After much soul searching, getting advice and talking to KoRn's management, I was ecstatic that we'd reached a deal: I would take Love and Death on tour with KoRn and perform two different shows in two different bands every night. But after a couple tours I started to realize I was losing my desire to front a band as a lead singer. I felt way more at home as a guitarist and so Love and Death started to fade into the background. The other L&D band members ended up either quitting music or joining other bands and I was back where I was destined to be: touring the planet with my brothers in KoRn.
Over the last couple of years a lot of fans have expressed to me how much they liked Love and Death, so I came up with an idea to keep the band alive in a way that made the most sense. Since I developed such a strong distaste for being a frontman, I decided to ask guitarist JR Bareis to step up as lead vocalist while I'd focus mainly on the screaming in the band. JR's got a natural singing voice so it made perfect sense to me. But JR did need a bit of convincing.
Being a friend and big fan of Jasen Rauch's work (L&D producer & guitarist of Breaking Benjamin), we grabbed him to help lead us into our new direction since he's our producer and basically another guitarist in Love and Death with all the playing & writing he does for the band. Jasen really worked with JR on vocals and he helped us shape our newest single "Lo Lamento" into a pretty slammin' jam if I may say so myself. And with the amazing up and coming producer/mixer Chris Collier stepping up to mix the track, "Lo Lamento" is off to a killer start since its release last month.
The plan now is to release a full length album late 2016/early 2017. I want to thank all of you who have asked for new Love and Death music the last couple of years. We appreciate you sticking with us and being patient and we hope to get a full album to you by late fall, 2016!
I want you all to remember there will always be difficult choices you have to make in life, but if you allow the big guy upstairs to guide you, you'll end up exactly where you're destined to be. And just because I'm in a pretty big rock band, that doesn't mean my life is more important than yours. We are all equal in this life, don't ever forget your value!!!
Anyway, thanks for letting me ramble, much love to y'all, and here's the premiere of the brand new lyric video for Love and Death's new song "Lo Lamento," directed by DJ Lipscomb.
Love and Death, "Lo Lamento" Lyric Video
Brian 'Head' Welch is a founding member of the bands Korn and Love and Death. His new book, 'With My Eyes Wide Open,' is available for pre-order here. You can catch Brian on the road this summer with Korn as they tour North America with Rob Zombie. For a full list of dates, click here.
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