HeAd’s KoRner: Brian ‘Head’ Welch Gets Deep With Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix
Brian ‘Head’ Welch, guitarist for Korn and frontman of Love and Death, contributes a popular monthly column called ‘HeAd’s KoRner’ to Loudwire. In his newest entry, Head goes one-on-one with Papa Roach singer Jacoby Shaddix for a deeply revealing interview. Head also shares cellphone video of members of Korn and Papa Roach singing ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ side stage during a Twisted Sister performance. Check out Brian ‘Head’ Welch’s latest edition of ‘Head’s Korner’ below:
What’s up ya’ll? December’s already here, can you believe it? I love it actually, you know, that time goes by so quick. It helps us see life for what it really is — short.
Anyway, this past summer, KoRn got a chance to play with our boys in Papa Roach on a few European festivals. It was a killer time! And to prove it, there’s a video attached below that lead singer Jacoby Shaddix filmed of me and the other P-Roachers singing back up vocals LIVE with Twisted Sister on side stage while they were performing. Dream come true for me, haha! Twisted Sister was my second concert ever I think.
Also, I interviewed Jacoby while we were chillin’ one day, so check it out! It was a great interview. Jacoby has been through so much! He’s a survivor, for sure. Alright, ya’ll stay in peace during the busyness of the holiday season. Much love to you and yours!
Head: Gimme a picture of your childhood. What it good? Not so good?
Jacoby: My parents were hippies, so at a young age, we were like… I mean straight up, we were homeless for a minute when I was a little infant. Then we went from being homeless to living in somebody’s fenced-in laundry area. My dad was a Vietnam vet so he was kind of a recluse. He came back to America and just kinda dipped away out of society. Then he was a logger for a minute and, don’t laugh, but we lived in a teepee for a year.
Are you serious?! How long?
I swear to God. For a year when I was a kid, man. Yeah, we bathed in the river, they dammed up a small little creek and lined it with tarps and we bathed in it.
Where’d you take a crap?
In an outhouse or in a hole in the ground. Then my life rapidly changed after my mom split with my dad and got with someone who was in the mainstream life style. That’s when we got a black and white TV, then I went to a friend’s house and found out The Smurfs were actually blue, I thought they were flesh colored, haha. It was a pretty simple life. I mean my mom loved me and my stepdad loved me, but I had daddy issues because my biological father had bounced, so that was rough, you know. I was a bed wetter, too, so that kinda sucked. But then I found rock ‘n’ roll and that just put me in like a fast lane.
At what age did you know 100% that you wanted to be a full time musician?
I started going to shows man, and checkin’ out bands like Deftones back in the day, I was like 16…no, 14 or 15 cuz that’s right when all that was happening, so I would go see Deftones and that was it for me.
Were you at the Korn/Deftones show we did together in 1992 or ’93 before both bands were signed?
No, the first time I saw you guys, was with Sick of It All in Berkeley. I remember you guys had chicken wire on the cabs dude, and I was like, “Who are these freaks?” Then you just came out and blew my mind. I remember a few years later we came out to Family Values tour hustlin’ P-Roach with a boombox to your fans. Yeah man, you guys and Deftones, that whole scene is what we came up underneath.
What song did it for you?
[For Deftones, it was] ‘7 Words’ and ‘Engine No. 9.’ Those were the two, I was like ahh! I’m in this! Because I wanted to play music, but I didn’t have that “screw everything else, this is what I’m doing” mentality yet. I didn’t have that moment until I was going to those shows, in the mosh pit, sweatin’ it out and flippin’, seeing Chi, Chino, Steph and Abe gettin’ in it.
Me and Fieldy and Munk had these cheesy bands we were in years before forming Korn; were you in cheesy bands?
Papa Roach is my first band.
What?! That ain’t right!
Haha, I’m gonna trip you out though because our first releases were embarrassing, you know if we go back and listen to the first P-Roach recordings, we sound like a cross between Mr. Bungle, Red Hot Chili Peppers and metal, haha. You know, that whole ’90s scene that was funky and freaky — I even wore panty hose on my head.
Haha, I gotta hear that stuff.
Yeah, my embarrassing moments were in Papa Roach.
Dude, I don’t think I ever told you this, but when my wife split and left me to take care of our daughter alone, and I was all messed up on drugs, I had P-Roach ‘Infest’ on all summer. It was like my healing “I can get through this” album I listened to nonstop. What kind of stories have you heard about how Papa Roach have helped your fans get through horrible situations in life like depression, abuse or suicide?
Whoa! Haha, that’s rad, I never knew that. Yeah, I’ve met so many kids out there all over the world, that especially with the song ‘Last Resort,’ all kinds of kids have said that song has gotten them through the darkest times. I never intended to do that when I wrote music, that’s just what comes out when I write about what’s goin’ on in my heart, in my life or to the people around me.
Is that what was going on with you when you wrote ‘Last Resort’?
Dude, my best friend who I lived with at 17 tried to kill himself in the house we were livin’ in together. He went mental, but he found God and he’s good now.
No way, that’s rad he’s doin’ good now.
Yeah, and that song ‘Scars,’ these kids will come up to me, and they’re all cut up, and they’re like, “You know that song really helped me stop cutting myself.” I went through a phase where I was cutting myself, too. I was not right for a while.
Did that happen when you were younger or older?
Older, like a few years ago, you know what I’m saying. I got mental for a minute. You know, it’s funny how music works, because there was a phase in my life when ‘Last Resort’ was like, my own anthem. About a year and a half ago, I was like, “Oh my God dude, why is this song about me now?” It’s heavy man, and the crazy thing to come full circle on ‘Last Resort’ is the guy we named our band after has taken his own life. So there was just this weird circular story about the song and that dude, it’s heavy stuff.
It’s real life man, someone’s gotta write about the real world to help people know they are not alone.
Yeah man, it’s like we come from that dark place with that element of light in there, just that little light of hope, you know? It’s crazy how music works, and how it does move people, and help people.
Yeah man, it’s like we’re not here to be rock stars, we’re here for those fans. So many people wanna get in this business to get all rich and famous, but one day you begin to realize it’s all about your fans. It’s not about you. At the end of the day, you’re making your fans happy, and they’re hangin’ on to every word you say sometimes.
Yeah, it’s like every day on Twitter or Facebook, someone will be like, “Your band saved my life,” and I’m like, whoa! But when you think about it, maybe that’s just the bigger part of what we’re doing.
Alright, final question: What’s the hardest thing you ever went through in your life? How’d you get through it?
You know, my struggle with my addictions and stuff like that, it nearly tore everything away that was real to me. I put it before everything in my life – my wife and my kids, unfortunately. But I mean straight up, I got right with God, I got right with my sobriety, and I got a spiritual program that I work on, and my family and my life has been restored, straight up.
That’s so cool. I know the feeling man, we both made it through, thank God. My heart goes out to our fallen brothers and their families who didn’t make it. It was good talkin’ and hangin’ again, my brother. See you out there soon, I hope.
IF CRAZY FULL TIME TRAVELING MUSICIANS LIKE ME AND JACOBY CAN MAKE IT THROUGH, ANY OF YOU READERS CAN, AS WELL. DON’T GIVE UP, MAN!
Check Out Members of Korn + Papa Roach Singing Twisted Sister’s ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’
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Brian ‘Head’ Welch is a founding member of the multiplatinum band Korn and frontman of Love and Death. He is the New York Times best-selling author of the book ‘Save Me From Myself.’ Brian has won multiple Grammys and MTV Music Awards and is currently active in both Korn and Love and Death, as well as traveling the country speaking. Follow Brian ‘Head’ Welch’s schedule at www.loveanddeathmusic.com and pick up Love and Death’s recently released expanded edition of their debut album, ‘Between Here & Lost,’ at iTunes. Korn’s new album, ‘The Paradigm Shift,’ is also out now, and can be ordered at iTunes.