Brian “Head” Welch of nu metal band Korn has been open about his story for a while now, but the documentary, Loud Krazy Love, explores the brokenness of his life in greater detail than he has previously shared. The film, which focuses on his relationship with his daughter, highlights the incredible mercy God has on all of us, even those who seem impossibly far from Him.
“You know, God allows things to come into your life to feel like it’s crushing you because it squeezes out all of the impurities. That’s how you get cleaned in your soul. I see that now,” says Welch, reflecting on his journey. But when we go through hard times, Welch says it’s like God is saying, “If you could just hang on there, just hang to watch what I do, I’m going to restore all things.”
Loud Krazy Love
All of us are broken, but many of us are unwilling to be truthful about just how deep that brokenness goes. Loud Krazy Love, which was created in partnership with I Am Second, pulls few punches, taking a raw look at the life Welch was leading both before and after leaving Korn, and the impact his choices had on his daughter, Jennea, as she grew up.
Welch’s parents, Phil and Maryellen, say he was “normal kid” and Welch says he had a “normal family,” but his time in Korn during the band’s heyday was anything but normal. Korn was wildly successful in the 1990s and the band members lived the stereotypical rockstar lifestyle, constantly touring and partying every night. Bass player Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu says it was “the ultimate wave, everything you could ever want.” They were on TV all the time, selling out arenas, and making tons of money. But Welch says he was merely playing a role: “I had to make people believe I was happy when I had everything.” The reality was, “I lived a lie.”
At the time when Welch and his wife, Rebekah, conceived Jennea, he was addicted to drugs and had a heavy drinking habit. “I knew something was missing,” he says, “because I was trying to fill an empty space with something that was hurting me.” When Jennea was born, Welch says he felt “the most euphoric, miraculous, unconditional love” and it was like there was “total purity in the room.” He loved her so much, but he was afraid of being a bad father, so he decided to stop drinking and doing drugs. Yet he soon slipped back into his destructive habits, and his relationship with his wife deteriorated, even into physical violence. All this happened while Korn was at the peak of its success. Welch remembers wondering at the time, “Why does the American dream look like a nightmare?”
Jennea says she has plenty of childhood memories of her dad’s time in Korn. She remembers seeing “naked chicks” walking around and girls making out in the crowd. She says those experiences “changed my perspective on how I saw other people in the world, how I saw a man and woman together in their marriage…it changed how I saw, like, love.”
Rebekah left them when Jennea was still a toddler, so Jennea grew up without a mother. Meanwhile Welch’s life spiraled out of control as he became more enslaved to his meth addiction and to “sexual perversion.” He says, “I had become an animal.”
But God reached out to Welch through Eric Powers, his real estate broker. Powers invited Welch to church and gave him a Bible, but “he never pushed,” says Welch, “and I really liked that about him.” Through going to church and reading the Bible, Welch experienced a peace he had never felt before, “a drawing of God to his heart.” Even though he went on one more meth binge after that, God revealed himself to Welch, showing him unconditional love and forgiveness.
“For the first time in my life,” Welch says, “I felt like I was home.” So he threw away his drugs, dedicated his life to God, and officially quit Korn on February 22nd, 2005.
Following God Is Hard
But while leaving the band was necessary (Welch’s parents called the decision an act of love for himself and his daughter), his life did not become easier. In many ways it got much more difficult: “You think you’re making the best choices for your daughter and everything and it’s just, like, it’s just hard.” He still made bad choices right after quitting the band, such as when he decided to hand Jennea’s care over to a nanny. Someone ripped him off, and he got to a point where he could barely make ends meet.
Then Jennea’s life began unraveling. She didn’t have a mom, her dad was emotionally unstable, and she couldn’t connect with the girls around her. She says she hated herself and that life at the time “was awful…I was hurting and I didn’t know why and I wanted someone to help me.” Welch would give in to anger and act out physically (although not against her), and she would mimic his behavior. One day she told him, “I cut myself because of you.” She even tried to kill herself. For his part, Welch would lash out at God because his life and his daughter were falling apart even though he had dedicated his life to God.
After Jennea had an especially severe cutting incident, Welch decided to check her into a place called Awakening Youth, which offers a “therapeutic living experience” for troubled young people. This intervention helped her turn her life around. It was also around that time in 2012 that Welch reconnected with his former bandmates at an event called Carolina Rebellion. He ended up playing with them in front of thousands of people for the first time in eight years without rehearsing. Through that experience, he decided to rejoin Korn.