Q&A: Brian "Head" Welch of Love and Death
Singer-guitarist Brian "Head" Welch no longer wants to be known as "that guy from Korn." He left the nu metal godfathers in 2005 to pursue a solo career and his faith.
Though he will continue to author books under the name "Brian 'Head' Welch," he has rebranded his solo music Love and Death, a band that includes bassist Michael Valentine, drummer Dan Johnson and guitarist/backing vocalist. He will continue to do speaking dates under his birth name, as well.
"I know that Korn was huge," Welch told SoundSpike. "That's where I come from. I'm not escaping it. I've been wanting to do a band thing for a while. But my managers were like, 'You can't. You have to be Brian "Head" Welch or "Head" because you put out books and the name is the brand. It'll help with the business.' I was like, 'That's stupid.' But I went along with it. I just got to the point where I was like, 'You know what? I don't even want to do this anymore unless we do some band name thing.'"
Welch, widely considered to be one of the best heavy metal guitarists around, will release Love and Death's debut EP "Chemicals" on April 24. He spoke to SoundSpike about Love and Death's forthcoming tour with P.O.D., Red and Icon for Hire, the importance of prayer and his newfound happiness.
SoundSpike: Are you excited about your tour with P.O.D., Red and Icon for Hire?
Brian "Head" Welch: Yeah, totally. Our set's going to be mostly new stuff. So yeah, it's going to be really -- I don't know. It's just going to feel new. I only want to play a song or two off my first album. I've realized my voice now and what works, after singing for so long. Most of those songs just don't work the way I sing now. I'm just excited for the new stuff.
Have you been longtime friends with P.O.D. and Red?
I've known P.O.D. since the late 1990s. Red, I met around '09 or 2010. We went on tour became friends and so it's really cool stuff going on.
You mentioned that you finally found your voice. That must have been a journey to have everything fall into place.
It's still falling into place. I'm not there yet. I'm further than I used to be. It's really cool. It's been a journey. A lot of ups and downs and 'Why am I even doing music again? Why don't I do something else?' That type of stuff. Something keeps me going, you know?
How did you keep your motivation up?
Mainly prayer. When you're doing what you're supposed to be doing, you'll get backed up and things will just fall into place. "All right God, you want me to do this? Something's gotta shift. I'm done. I'm tapped out. I got nothing left." It was just stuff like that. Then something would happen. There's always an encouragement at the lowest point to keep you walking. That seems to happen. That's what would happen. Something cool would come and the excitement would build again.
What kind of stuff happened that led you to believe you're on the right track?
Put out the album [2008's "Save Me From Myself"], toured a little bit, things were a little shaky -- there was some good points too -- we hooked up with a new producer in Nashville. I thought, "Cool. Let's try something new with a new dude." Things got exciting again because I was going up and I was starting with a new producer and new songs. Things kind of tanked and I got nowhere with that producer. I'm touring on the old songs still. It was good because I found what works for me out there on the road. I started writing new songs. I don't know, just executing things.
Who produced "Chemicals"?
[Ex-Red member] Jasen Rauch. Me and him work well together, so I'm really stoked.
What does he bring out in you?
You can take some riffs that are mediocre and he'll say, "Why don't you try this?" and he'll change one part of it and it's, like, awesome. He has the ear. He works really fast. I don't know. He also writes, too. He used to be in Red. Did you know that? He just really steps up and brings the best to what you bring him.
Why did you decide to go with the name Love and Death?
It's a team effort now. I didn't want to be the solo guy from Korn always. It's a new chapter. I'd rather be more of a band vibe than the ex-member of Korn solo thing. I didn't like that. It was time for a change. The name came to me one night and we went for it.
It sounds like everything is working out well for you.
I'm hoping we can get on some mainstream [bills]. I do Christian stuff, obviously, now that I'm not that "One Dude from Korn Who Turned Christian and Went Solo." Now that that's not in the forefront, maybe we'll get on some other tours. I'm just enjoying life. I don't trip out on that stuff. We'll see where this all takes us.
28 - Scottsdale, AZ - Scottsdale Bible Church
30 - Mobile, AL - Soul Kitchen (with P.O.D. and Icon for Hire)
1 - Atlanta, GA - The Center Stage Theater (with P.O.D.)
3 - Pittsburgh, PA - The Altar Bar (with P.O.D. and Icon for Hire)
6 - Baltimore, MD - Rams Head Live (with P.O.D., Red and Icon for Hire)
8 - Lancaster, PA - Chameleon Club (with P.O.D., Red and Icon for Hire)
9 - Poughkeepsie, NY - The Chance (with P.O.D., Red, Icon for Hire and Moodna Creek)
11 - Traverse City, MI - Ground Zero (with P.O.D. and Icon for Hire)
12 - Libertyville, IL - Austin's Fuel Room (with P.O.D. and Icon for Hire)
16 - Milwaukee, WI - The Rave (with P.O.D., Red and Icon for Hire)
17 - Flint, MI - The Machine Shop (with P.O.D., Red and Icon for Hire)
18 - Steger, IL - Another Hole in the Wall (with P.O.D., Red and Icon for Hire)
19 - Sikeston, MO - First United Methodist Church (Brian "Head" Welch)
22 - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel (with P.O.D., Red and Icon for Hire)
24 - Memphis, TN - New Daisy Theatre (with P.O.D., Red and Icon for Hire)
25 - Artesia, NM - The Jahva House (Brian "Head" Welch)
9 - Barnegat, NJ - Bayside Chapel (Brian "Head" Welch)
21 - Wilmore, KY - Ichthus
26 - Dunn Loring, VA - The Vine
28 - Shirleysburg, PA - Creation Northeast
30 - Charlotte, NC - Invasion (Brian "Head" Welch)
11 - Oshkosh, WI - Sunnyview Fairgrounds
12 - Willmar, MN - Sonshine Festival
21 - Enumclaw, WA - Creation Northwest
28 - Loveland, CO - HeavenFest (Brian "Head" Welch)
31 - Parmelee, SD - Rosebud Sioux Tribe Fairgrounds
2 - Midland, TX - Rock the Desert
3 - Gilford, NH - Soulfest (Brian "Welch" Head)
11 - Clarksburg, WV - Jesus Fest (Brian "Welch" Head)
17 - Great Falls, MT - DownPour Christian Music Festival
26 - Stephens City, VA - Abundant Life Church (Brian "Head" Welch)
31 - Worthing, SD - Lifelight Festival