Korn: On Top Of The World (p2)
While for several years dismissed by some as a vestige of an era long since past, the winds of fortune are seemingly blowing Korn’s way again. There’s been a palpably enhanced sense of nostalgia surrounding them in recent times – that’s likely attributable to a series of factors, such as the mega-selling nu-metal forebears performing their game-changing 1994 self-titled record in its entirety, or Jonathan Davis reintroducing the scatting vocal style their on new single, “Rotting In Vain” (from the new album, The Serenity of Suffering).
Perhaps the event which has most reignited fan interest, though, was the return of guitarist Brian “Head” Welch in 2013. The axeman departed Korn in 2005, years of partying and drug addiction having taken a sizeable toll. Converting to Christianity and embracing sobriety, said tenure away from the group is documented in his latest book, With My Eyes Wide Open: Miracles And Mistakes On My Way Back To Korn. This period featured Head swindled out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and raising his daughter as a single parent. After assuring BLUNT that a return to Australia is in the works for next year, Welch gave us the lowdown on their new LP – and plenty more.
What do you believe continues to stoke Korn’s creative fire? Some may view the considerable success the band has experienced and ponder where such ongoing “inspiration” is derived from. Especially some of the darker lyrical topics that Jonathan explores.
I don’t know, man. I think it was good for us to take a break. I think it was good for me to take a break; raise my daughter, find my faith, and do all of that. And I think it was good for Korn to experiment with other sounds, electronics, and all of that stuff they did, because it made everybody grow, and it made it fun. If this record came out after [2003’s] Take A Look In The Mirror or something like that, it just would have been too similar to those records. So I like that a lot of the records are different. This one kind of brings everything full circle.
Jonathan just finds stuff to write about. He goes, “Life is a battle. We’re all born into a war.” We have happy times and good times, and we have difficult times. Jonathan seems to go through difficult times, and he likes the because he finds serenity in the suffering – like the album title says. He finds things to write about through his emotional pain, and going through relationship problems and all of that. It just never ends. It seems like it all gets set up, like, something in life gets set up where he’s inspired to write. And there’s been one or two records where maybe he had writer’s block, or something, but for the most part, it just kind of flows and happens for him.
I wanted to ask about the books you’ve written as well, particularly your latest one. How therapeutic a process was it for you to be able to document those times?
It was very therapeutic! It was like scooping out the darkness in my soul – confession, and just sharing my struggles and overcoming my faults, my mistakes and my failures, and becoming a better person. Because we’re all messed up. I always say that I come from a line of alcoholics in my family, so the worst possible job to get if there’s alcoholics in your family is to become a rockstar [laughs]. I had just a destructive life being in the rock star world. It was good for me to write about it and about how I overcame that. And that helps people that are maybe more normal – at one place and one time they’re not living the rockstar life, but they’re like, “If this guy can overcome it, I can overcome my problems and become a better person.”
I like to do it in a way because religious people have made God look like an angry person that doesn’t like rock ‘n’ roll, and all this stuff, for years. I’ve had an encounter with God, and he’s a loving God; he loves everybody. He’s not mad at any rockers for making devil music [laughs]. It’s so stupid. I’m just trying to do my small part to change lives, one by one.
“I’m just trying to do my small part to change lives, one by one.”
The book details your experiences with a conman, Edgar [note – not his real name], in whom you placed a great deal of trust only to be betrayed. Are you hopeful that those who wronged you will read it and perhaps re-think their ways?
Yeah, totally, I hope that because I actually talked to somebody that still talks to that guy, Edgar. And he straight up told him, he goes, “Man, I used to be in a gangster life, like, my family was from that life. I tried to be a better person but I was just corrupt… I was trying to get my life together but I was still living corrupt.” He basically admits that he was an idiot. It was crazy, because people were telling me that back then, “Be careful of that guy,” and I knew it, but at the same time, part of me was just like, “I don’t want to care about the money, even if I lose everything.”
I want to see that life will be okay, that I’ll still be okay. It was a journey I had to go through, because I don’t think my brain was functioning properly either, y’know? [laughs] Years of drug addiction and alcoholism – it was like my brain was healing and I was just… I don’t know, I wasn’t myself. But it took a few years to get my head back together, and now I’m really smart with money and all that. It was definitely a learning process. I hope that all of those people become better people, and I do forgive them all, even though if you read about it, it doesn’t look like they deserve it. But I forgive them because it helps me not have bitterness.
What does your daughter think when she sees Korn perform live?
[Laughs] She loves it. Dude, this kid is like a ’90s girl. Her other favourite band is Blink-182. She just turned 18, so she just really loves the ’90s era. So she’s proud of her dad. When she was 13, 14, 15 – in those years, she did not like me. It was really hard. So to see her really proud of me is just such a huge blessing for us.
Any famous last words?
One of my favourite places to go on the planet is Australia, and I cannot wait to tour in Australia. I just want to send love to all of the Australian fans, and we can’t wait to see you guys again. 2017 – look for us.
KEEP READING: Page 1 | 2