Ex-Korn guitarist with new band at Toyota Arena

Brian Welch admits he had a notorious reputation when he played with the Grammy-winning metal rock band Korn.

He said he indulged in the drugs and alcohol that go along with the angst of being a rock star.

Then he had an epiphany.

"When I was a kid, I dreamed of being a rock star," he said in a phone interview with the Herald this week. "But after a while, I found it to be a very lonely existence.

"Once I reached that level (of success) I'd run out of things to buy. I was partying all the time, which ruined relationships and left me feeling empty. I'd lost myself."

So in 2005, he left Korn and turned to Christian rock to put balance back in his life as well as satisfy his musical soul. He formed a new band in 2009 called Head and said he couldn't be happier.

His metamorphous from Korn to Christian rock might have all the trappings of a spiritual journey, but Welch guarantees there is very little difference in the rock sound.

"Our sound is still loud and heavy like Korn," Welch said. "But the message in the music is very different."

Tri-City metalheads can hear some of the old Korn sound Welch is known for when The Nothing and Everything Tour hits town Tuesday.

Headlining the tour are Christian rockers Red, with Head, Disciple and Silverline rounding out the roster.

The concert will be at the Toyota Arena, which is next door to the coliseum in Kennewick. Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets are $22 in advance or $25 at the door. Reserved seats are $27 with a VIP package for $37, which includes preferred seats and a preshow meet and greet with the bands.

Welch is better known as "Head" among rock fans. It's a nickname he picked up in grade school.

"I've always had this really big head," Welch said with a hearty laugh. "In grade school, kids started calling me 'Head' because it was so big, and it just stuck."

Another reason Welch felt the need to live a less stressful life was to spend more time with his 12-year-old daughter.

"She's a little mouthy sometimes and prefers the kind of music that's opposite from mine," he joked. "And she's learning how to play guitar. We'll see how long that holds her interest."

Welch also fed a philanthropic streak by giving money to build an orphanage in India a few years ago.

"There are so many kids over there whose lives are so miserable because either their parents sell them off or they're tossed out into the streets," he said. "This orphanage looks out for those kids. I'd like to build more."

The tour's headlining act, Red, might perform mostly as a Christian rock band, but the group earned Grammy nominations for best rock gospel album for its first two albums, End of Silence and Innocence & Instinct.

The band will release its third album, Until We Have Faces, sometime next year.

Tickets to the concert are available online at www.ticketmaster.com or at the Toyota Center box office. Tickets purchased at the box office avoid service charges.

* Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com