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Live In The Moment: Brian 'Head' Welch On Korn Past, Present And Future

Wednesday, 07 May 2014 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Let's be realistic here: Korn are still massive. Although they no longer scale the commercial heights that were theirs during the late ‘90s, the nu-metal behemoths still sell out gigs quicker than coyotes devour a fresh kill.

Having recently returned to the fold after a well documented absence of almost a decade, guitarist Brian 'Head' Welch has been welcomed back with open arms, adding his six seven strings to their recent album, ‘The Paradigm Shift’. Prior to the band's incendiary performance at London's Brixton Academy, we sat down with him to chat all things Korn, including their past, the band today and what the future holds.

What did it feel like walking on stage at the Carolina Rebellion Fest 2012, after seven years away from Korn?

I was just like: “What is going on here?” I'd played some shows [both solo and as Love And Death], but they were smaller, so playing with Korn felt like a lifetime ago. So to walk out there with them again felt so right. I was really nervous and it felt like I was returning home, but I thought it was just going to be an appearance. Y'know: “Hey! Good to see you guys!” Then it turned into all this.

What's the difference between Korn 2005 and Korn 2014?

It's pretty much the same, but everyone's happy. There were a lot of miserable people when I was in Korn – I was one of 'em - and now everyone's just like: “Hey, we love you, it's great to have you back.” But it's not perfect every day. There's fights sometimes, but they're not bad.

Did you follow Korn's career once you left the band?

I was trying to be a new person so I tried not to look back too much. But I couldn't help myself, y'know? I was like “I've just gotta hear it” when they released stuff. Some I think they did really well, I really like some more than others just like everyone else.

What's the best show Korn have ever done?

Probably Woodstock '99. It was bigger than life – every single band in music at that time was there. From rap to metal to Nine Inch Nails to Red Hot Chili Peppers. Everyone was there. To be a part of that was just massive. And the crowd, 200,000 people or something like that, plus however many millions were watching it live. I don't even know.

What's your favourite Korn album?

I realise that we have a lot of 'classic' albums and everything from back in the day, but my favourite one is 'The Paradigm Shift' just because of where I was at in life when we recorded it. It holds a special place in my heart. If I had to pick another one, I'd probably say 'Issues'.

Do you think Korn will ever work with [producer] Ross Robinson again?

I'm not sure they [the other members of Korn] would want to. They already did it again [on 2010's 'Korn III: Remember Who You Are'] and I just think they want to move on. I haven't worked with Ross in years so I don't know what it was like, I just know that they want to leave the past in the past after doing it that last time. But then again, you never know what life brings. We'll see.

Korn have always been ahead of the curve. Do you take influence from newer acts?

I think that this younger generation is hearing different things from what we were because of how the world's evolving. There's a lot of bands out there that I really like – when Underoath were around, I used to love them. Then you get all of these hardcore bands, or metalcore or whatever... I like that stuff ‘cause it's melodic but it's just brutal. I got into a lot of those bands and I just love all of the breakdowns and how everyone's just going 'AAAAAAAAARGH!' and the fans are all swinging their fists around. Jonathan [Davis, vocals] likes all the electronic stuff so we have all these cool influences.

What's the best thing about being in Korn right now?

Just taking it one year at a time and one album at a time. Y'know, I'm looking forward to living in the moment. Plus, Jonathan is doing well. He's happy and his mind is there, and I'd like to do another album with him when he's like this and see how it comes out. When we did 'the Paradigm Shift', he was coming off of Xanax and had a blow to his family when his son was diagnosed with diabetes, so he doesn't really remember writing the last album. I'm looking forward to doing a new record with Jonathan clear and involved from day one.

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