People undergo life-changing transformations all of the time, both for good and for ill. Few of those changes are documented for posterity in all of their agonizing, exhilarating glory.

Not like this.

Not like the way that transformation is portrayed in "Loud Krazy Love," a documentary about Korn's Brian “Head” Welch, guitarist of the Bakersfield-bred, two-time Grammy winning nu-metal band.

The film, which debuted on Showtime last December, documents Welch's struggles with addiction and chaos,  meaning and purpose, as told through the lens of his turbulent, but ultimately redeemed relationship with daughter Jennea.

"Loud Krazy Love" takes us through Welch's descent into drug and alcohol abuse, his departure from Korn in 2005, his spiritual awakening as a Christian, his return to Korn in 2012-13, and the impact his new awareness has had on his life, his family and the rock band that bears his unmistakable signature.

"I'm focused, I'm grateful, I'm thankful," Welch said in a phone interview Thursday from his home in Nashville. "I'm just focused on family and the gifts that we've been given. I came back, through my spirituality, to become a better father, a better friend and a musician. And with the understanding that it's not all about me. I'm far from perfect, but I'm a way better version of myself."

 "Loud Krazy Love," which becomes available via DVD and digital sales on June 18, will make its Bakersfield premiere with a one-time special showing Monday at Reading Cinemas Valley Plaza 16. 

The 90-minute film opens with Korn at its peak of popularity in the 1990s, riding a wave of awards and platinum-selling singles like “Freak on a Leash.”

The success, and its byproducts, almost destroyed him. His newborn daughter, who turns 21 in July, helped save him.

“I was just scared that I was gonna screw up the kid like I was screwing up myself,” he says in the film. “I couldn’t stop being bad to my body. I couldn’t stop these addictions. I had become an animal.”

Welch is not a Christian in the way some might understand that mainstream faith.

"When life gets hard, because it does get hard, fight through it and know that God is everywhere," Welch said. "He's not just in a church. And Jesus is a lot better than Christians around the world make him out to be.

"But I walk the spirituality in my own way. The conservative, the political side, that's not me. Everyone is wired differently."

Maybe Welch is wired differently, in the spiritual sense, because he came to Christianity through a different door.

"I was not raised in a church," he said. "It was all completely new to me. I went to Bible camp one summer and I hated it, so my mom didn't make me and brother go after that."

He wears his Christianity proudly and openly but doesn't push it on anyone, least not his Korn bandmates — lead singer Jonathan Davis, guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer, bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu and drummer Ray Luzier, who replaced original drummer David Silveria in 2009.

"Everyone in the band believes in God and an afterlife, totally" but they may approach the concepts differently, Welch said.

"I'm convinced Jesus is the antidote, the missing piece of this broken human existence. Not everyone in the band believes that, but they respect me, and they're happy that I'm happy. All the other guys are open to it."

The film, directed by Trey Hill and Scott Mayo, won Best Feature Award at the 2018 Dallas International Film Festival. It has been screened in prisons, addiction recovery centers, mega-churches, universities and elsewhere.

"It's so cool for it to come to Bakersfield," said Welch, a 1988 East High School graduate. "I wish my schedule was more open so I could be there. One of the directors is going to fly out just to be present and maybe do the Q and A, to be a voice for the documentary."

Welch said the band's early success was ultimately damaging.

"We basically came out of high school and partied," he said. "Then we formed Korn and started being admired right away. You don't really have a chance to grow up. Then we became distant from each other. We didn't like each other because we didn't like ourselves. 

"It's actually pleasant to hang out with each other now. We've got our human annoyances. I'm a spaz; they call me ADHD because I'm always bouncing off walls. I probably get the most annoying of anybody. Although our new drummer,  Ray Luzier, can be pretty annoying. He tells the same stories over and over. He used to play with David Lee Roth, from Van Halen, and I guess it was pretty wild, so he's got stories. They're good stories, so we don't mind."

Korn, in the process of completing its 13th album, goes out on tour with Alice in Chains and Underoath this summer, starting July 18 in Austin, Texas. Korn will play in Irvine on Aug. 30, the tour's closest venue to Bakersfield.

But Welch will be back.

His parents still live in Bakersfield, as do his brother, his brother's wife and two boys, as well as an aunt, uncle and cousins.

"Bakersfield is close to all of our hearts," he said. "I've spent every Christmas there since I was 9 years old, except one, the year I gave my daughter a puppy. She was 9."

He also gave her a true father, a gift that at one time might not have seemed possible.

Contact The Californian’s Robert Price at 661-395-7399, rprice@bakersfield.com or on Twitter: @stubblebuzz. 

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.