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Brian ‘Head’ Welch, guitarist for Korn and frontman of Love and Death, contributes a popular monthly column called ‘HeAd’s KoRner’ to Loudwire. In his newest entry, Head interviews Islander singer Mikey Carvajal. Check it out below:
I can’t get enough of this ‘Islander’ record! It’s pretty rare to find a record with no “filler” tracks, but this one seriously doesn’t have any, IMO.
Islander just wrapped up a tour with KoRn and Avenged (along with MANY other killer bands) on Mayhem Fest, and they were one of our favorites. They didn’t have the best time slot because they are so new, but whenever we crawled out of bed before 1pm, many of us were over there checkin’ them out. I caught up with Islander’s vocalist Mikey Carvajal; check out our interview below. And after you purchase their album ‘Violence & Destruction,’ make sure and listen to the entire thing, because the songs keep getting better and better as you go further into the record.
What motivates you each day?
Every day that I wake up and I’m still breathing, I know that I’m still here for a purpose. Sometimes I wake up tired and not feeling extremely motivated. But whenever that happens, I really have to stop for a moment and remember that it’s amazing any day that I am blessed to even open my eyes and still be here. The idea that God still has me on this earth. It’s for his purpose. Even if it’s just to hang out with my friends and play music on certain days. Also, knowing that I am responsible for my wife and taking care of her. That’s a huge motivator.
How did you know you wanted to be a musician? What was your path to being where you are currently?
In the mid-’90s my brother took me to a punk rock show to see MxPx and Ninety Pound Wuss. It was crazy. I was in the fifth grade and it totally freaked me out. I went home and told my mom that she had no clue what my brother had been going to and that I would never ever like music.
Fast forward some years and I was in the 8th grade. My brother begged me to go to a show with him at a small club near our hometown of Greenville, S.C. He said a band called P.O.D. was playing (Guano Apes were also there). I was a huge fan of professional wrestling and was still collecting tons of wrestling action figures during the time, so I specifically remember him begging me to go while I was sitting around a huge box of wrestling figures. So as plastic figurines of Sting and Hulk Hogan were present, I agreed to attend this show because it seemed like it meant a lot to him. About 150 to 200 kids came to the show that night and it was one of the most intense shows that I’ve still been to. People were diving off the stage and screaming every word and for some reason, I guess it was just the right time, I was really…REALLY into it.
I started searching for more and more bands and I eventually discovered a band called Luti-Kriss, which went on to become Norma Jean. I went to see them play at a gymnasium on a school night. The band was going nuts on stage. The singer, Josh Scogin, was hanging upside down from a basketball goal, the band was doing handstands and tackling the drum kit. I remember standing to the side of the stage with my jaw dropped. The 9th grade version of me had never seen anything like that at the time and that is the night I decided I wanted to play music for a living.
I started listening to more and more music and searching for people to play music with. I was in some garage/basement bands in high school. During that time, my friend Daniel Tapp taught me what song structure was. He was into writing Weezerish/Synthy pop music but was also influenced by bands like Bad Brains, Lightning Bolt, U2, hip hop …. really everything. He taught me a lot about what it meant to be an artist. We were constantly recording crappy demos on an E Machine computer in the dining room of my mom’s house.
Eventually I wanted to take music more seriously and met the dudes in Islander, but it wasn’t Islander at the time. We were in local bands here and there but eventually we ended up going our separate paths. Some of us moved or went to college. I got married. Several years later we ended up in the same town again and decided to start jamming for fun. Then we started booking our own tours and shooting our own music videos and we even recorded 2 EPs. I sent a Facebook message to A&R at Victory Records that included one of our songs. We drove up to Chicago for a showcase and here we are.
What are your top five albums all time?
It’s hard to pick five albums, I’ve become more of an “I like these songs from this album and this band” type of person, but I can definitely name the five albums that had the biggest impact on me musically growing up in no specific order.
– ZAO, ‘Save Yourself From Hell’ (This album is so dark and tense. It has a punk and metal element going on with sludgy riffs and great lyrics.)
– P.O.D., ‘The Fundamental Elements of Southtown’ (This was the first thing that made me enjoy music with a passion. The lyrics and music weren’t cookie cutter.)
– Saves the Day, ‘Stay What You Are’ (I remember lying on the floor in my brother’s room which was filled with black lights and listening to this album straight through while reading the lyrics several times. I listened to this album for years to come on a daily basis.)
– Joy Electric, ‘Robot Rock’ (Synth-pop music is my favorite type of music outside of rock and roll. This album has perfect pop melodies and a nostalgic vibe for me.)
– Norma Jean, ‘Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child’ (If you had the chance to see Norma Jean around 2001-2002 before Scogin left the band, then you know just how special that band was. Something was different and refreshing about that version of the band. This album captured a bit of that charm that awoke rock and roll in my veins.)
Who are your top five artists?
-Edward H. Johnson (The inventor of Christmas lights.)
Who is a producer/mixer that you would like to work with or have worked with and why?
I’ve always wanted to work with Howard Benson because he has produced several records that I’ve enjoyed and from what I hear he lets the artist be the artist and doesn’t try to control them. However, on that same note. We recorded with Cameron Webb and I would do that again in a second. He was amazing even down to the way he spoke to us as people. He is a legit dude and I have so much respect for him. He didn’t try to change Islander but instead wanted us to be the best version of Islander that we could possibly be. He was sacrificial and didn’t see us as a form of a paycheck. He was genuinely interested in what it was we were creating and being a part of that process. There were times where I would get really frustrated with him, but at the end of the day he got the best performances out of me, and even taught me a little bit about how to speak to people when sharing criticisms, which is something I still need to work on daily.
If you had a loud speaker that reached everyone in the world for two minutes, what would you say?
I would let them know that I am so sorry for any hurts or anger that they have toward Christ because of me or any other person that claims to follow him. But that Jesus Christ loves them so, so much and that he came here to die for us and that he’s risen from the dead and he wants to have a real relationship with them and be the best friend they could ever have. And then I would tell them that if it is difficult to believe that this is all true, then I wanted them to know that it would still be really hard for me to believe that there was a loud speaker that reached all of them so I understand that this is all crazy, but it’s all still true. And then I would tell them that if they were busy working or watching a movie in the theatre or asking their girlfriend to marry them or something while I was on the loud speaker, then I was sorry I was bothering them but I only had two minutes of loud speaker time, but that what I said is the most important thing I could think to ever say to anyone if I knew I were never going to talk to them again on this earth. I would say something like that.
What are some of your favorite songs you have written and what were they inspired by?
When we were in the studio, we wrote a song called ‘New Wave.’ The music sounded like palm trees and the ocean being set on fire. Cameron (our producer) sat me down in a room and turned on a DVD with the volume muted. I listened to the instrumental version of ‘New Wave’ in my headphones the entire time I watched the movie and started writing the lyrics. I don’t remember what the movie was called but it was a little over an hour of footage of people surfing in slow motion, walking through towns, shopping, hanging out, riding in cars — just random imagery. To this day whenever I hear that song, I think about sitting on that couch while watching that movie.
We also wrote a song which features Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D. called ‘Criminals.’ The song deals with the fact that no one is better than anyone else in that we have all done something wrong. None of us are perfect so we are all on the same level of being guilty of something. We kinda poked fun at ourselves a bit in the studio calling ourselves outlaws. It’s a fun song admitting that we know we aren’t perfect, but that we can be forgiven.
‘Coconut Dracula’ is one of my favorites, as well. My family is from the Dominican Republic, and one night while speaking Spanish, my uncle Rey said something that sounded like ‘Coconut Dracula.’ I’m not sure what he actually said but I liked the way Coconut Dracula sounded, so I came up with this story about Count Dracula finding a coconut on the ground and taking a bite of it. He realizes that there is sweetness and beauty in the world and that he doesn’t have to be evil and kill people and suck their blood anymore. So he gets his name legally changed from Count Dracula to Coconut Dracula.
He is roommates with a Witch, a Werewolf, Frankenstein, and a Mummy. His monster friends are curious as to why Dracula is full of joy, wearing Batman pajamas, planting a garden and helping with charities. The song is from the Mummies point of view as he represents someone that is dead and covered in dirty rags. He is asking Dracula to teach him how to have the same kind of joy in his life that he has discovered.
What are your favorite cities to play and why?
We love our hometown of Greenville, S.C., of course because that’s our home. Our friends and families are here so it’s always nice to see everyone and be home for a minute. We really enjoy Denver. They have a VooDoo Donuts shop and we really like donuts. Pittsburgh, Pa. is a town that loves rock music. Dallas and Houston, Texas are both amazing. Phoenix, Ariz. was great to us. Anywhere in California because In-N-Out is everywhere. New York is amazing because Andrew and I both have family up that way that we get to see and it’s always nice to feel that since of being home even though we are hundreds of miles away still.
You mentioned recently you need to go on vocal rest more periodically. What would be your preferred alternate form of communication?
I really hate texting/Facebooking unless it’s not a serious conversation. Texting is an easy way to be misunderstood. Sometimes it can be difficult to find vocal rest when you’re on the road because of interviews, wanting to spend time with the fans or wanting to speak to my wife on the phone. Being a better listener is one of my goals though. I feel like if I can learn the art of listening better, communication will improve in general. So maybe it’s a good thing that I’m trying to speak less.
What’s next for Islander?
We just take one day at a time. We can’t decide what hand we will be dealt in all of this, but we can definitely play our cards to the best of our ability. Right now, our goal is to tour as much as possible and meet as many people as we can.
Do people ever confuse you for Michael Carbajal (American five-time world boxing champion)?
Hahaha. When I was younger everyone would ask me if I’ve heard of him. But I’ve never been mistaken for him. At one point, my dad had me training at a boxing school. Maybe if I had stuck with that it would have happened.
What do you think of weird people who have a fear of public restrooms?
It’s funny you ask because before we were touring often, I was one of those weird people. Now I view all restrooms like they belong to me. Sometimes I still find one that is so bad it freaks me out though. That happened on one of the last dates we were on tour with you guys. I just couldn’t do it so I actually asked Fieldy if I could just use the Korn restroom instead…
What was the experience like working with H.R. from Bad Brains on the track ‘Lucky Rabbit’?
We actually had recording time booked for him in California and it ended up falling through because he decided last minute to miss his flight and play a show with Fishbone. We really can’t blame him though, haha. After he missed the recording time we had scheduled, we had to figure something out, and came up with the crazy idea of him recording vocals through a phone like he did for Bad Brains at one point while not being able to be near an actual studio for whatever reason. So, I got in contact with him and asked him if that is something he would be into and he was totally down. So, I found an app for my iPhone that allows the recording of phone calls. He listened to the track and I explained to him what the song was about and told him to just do what he wanted to do. So yeah, that’s how H.R. ended up laying down vocals through a cell phone.
You’ve said before that one ultimate goal of yours would be to tour with Korn. You can scratch that off your bucket list. Was it everything you hoped it would be?
A month after we signed our deal, we had a meeting with our label to discuss our goals. I told them several things, but one of them was that we needed to be on tour with Korn. When I said that, we hadn’t even recorded a full length record, so I am sure it sounded crazy. We knew what we were shooting for though. So for our first major tour to be with you guys was a dream come true. However, the one thing I didn’t expect to come back from that tour with was some of the best friends anyone could ask for. I didn’t expect to feel so much love or to see so many people’s lives changed during that tour. And I surely had no clue that I would end up with my own bunk on your tour bus for the last few days of tour. So to answer your question, it was far more amazing than I had ever hoped it would be.
Usually people say that I am better looking in person; do you hold that to be true?
Hahahaha. Sure. You wear just the right amount of makeup.
Thanks to Lisa Monti, who also contributed to this article.
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Watch the film TODAY for FREE at 11 am PDT/2 pm EDT/8 pm CET on Bethel.tv
Heavy metal and Christianity don’t often mix, yet Brian “Head” Welch, lead guitarist of Korn, is front and center in the new faith-based film “Holy Ghost.”
Welch’s involvement isn’t the only iconoclastic element of the Kickstarter-funded project. The film debuts digitally on Sept. 6 for free to anyone in the world who wants it. In addition to the lack of the price tag, Wanderlust Productions, the company behind “Holy Ghost,” will sponsor a live-streaming concert with Welch and Christian band Jake Hamilton & The Sound at California’s Redding Civic Auditorium.
“Christians unfortunately have been given a bad rap,” said Welch. “I’m excited for real people to be able to talk about faith and not scare people away from it. It’s all about love and meeting God and having our eyes opened.”
Welch has been outspoken in the past about how faith helped him kick his addictions to drugs and alcohol, so his involvement in the making and promotion of “Holy Ghost” was a natural fit.
“It’s like I’ve been shown where to get a billion dollars and it’s like I can share all the money with everybody else,” Welch said. “Celebrities are given a platform and we’ve got to use it for something, because we’re all going to be accountable one day, so it’s important to use it wisely.”
If it works, expect Hollywood to take notice. Religious films such as “Heaven is For Real” and “God’s Not Dead” have stunned box office analysts this year. Arriving with minimal budgets and marketing campaigns, they’ve been able to effectively tap into the faith-based community in a way that enables them to outperform far glossier productions.
“Holy Ghost” is cut from the same cloth. The film primarily consists of interviews with religious figures such as author William P. Young and “Heaven is for Real” producer DeVon Franklin, as well as musicians such as Lenny Kravitz, talking about the ways their faith informs their work or the miracles they say they have witnessed.
Its production is certainly unique, given that the film never relied on a shooting script. Director Darren Wilson said he was interested in letting the film build organically instead of having a rigidly pre-determined structure or set interviews. He ended up with enough footage for two films and a sequel, “Holy Ghost Reborn,” is due out next year.
“I wanted to throw caution to the wind and take a risk,” said Wilson. “It ended up being exhilarating and terrifying.”
Wanderlust CEO Braden Heckman says the company is able to offer the film for free because it was fully funded on Kickstarter and he is confident that audiences will ultimately decide to buy their own copies once they’ve seen the finished product. On Kickstarter, the film raised $360,000 in just 45 days, which Wanderlust claims is the most money raised by a faith-based film in the history of the platform.
To help market the picture, the filmmakers are leaning heavily on a grassroots campaign that will see 650 churches host simulcasts for members of their congregation. It has also built up impressive social media outreach, promoting the film to a network of 230,000 Facebook fans.
“We aren’t betting everything on one night and going, oh how is this going to be profitable?” he said. “It already is profitable, because fans funded the whole thing.”
Part of the goal of the film is to challenge conventional ideas of what it means to be Christian by enlisting the likes of Welch and Kravitz. By distributing the picture digitally and relying on these pop culture figures, “Holy Ghost’s” creative team hopes they will be able to appeal to Millennials.
“‘Holy Ghost’ is about people inviting God into their heart and life and going out into world and not staying in church judging people and how they live and saying ‘prepare for hell,’” said Welch. “We want to show people the real Christ.”
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Source: Crowdfund Insider
Wanderlust Productions, the independent film studio behind the hit God Adventure trilogy FINGER OF GOD, FURIOUS LOVE and FATHER OF LIGHTS, is challenging Hollywood’s established business model with the debut of its Kickstarter-funded, faith film for Millennials, HOLY GHOST. This coming Saturday, September 6th, Wanderlust Productions is presenting the film’s world premiere experience, a live, one-time digital event where anyone in the world can see the film and the event free of charge.
The HOLY GHOST team is pleased to announce that Brian “Head” Welch, lead guitarist of the world-renowned heavy metal band Korn, will be introducing HOLY GHOST from the Redding Civic Auditorium in Redding, CA. Welch will also make a rare, solo musical appearance during the event, joining Christian band Jake Hamilton & The Sound for a live performance.
“We’re deeply grateful to Brian for his avid support and the prominent role he has agreed to play at the upcoming world premiere. There’s no question he’s going to add his own unique touch to the event,” said Darren Wilson, Director of HOLY GHOST and founder of Wanderlust Productions. “The HOLY GHOST World Premiere Experience is designed to engage fans in an incredible, one-time event built around the film. We’re expecting thousands of young people to physically join us in the Redding Auditorium while others simultaneously participate in hundreds of churches, at thousands of HOLY GHOST home screening parties, and in coffee houses, restaurants, and parks around the globe – anywhere where there’s an Internet connection. We are confident that this film and the experience itself will be surprising and richly rewarding for everyone who participates.”
HOLY GHOST was crowdfunded by 2,500 investors who surged to support Director Darren Wilson’s Kickstarter campaign, raising a record-breaking $360,000 in just 45 days to become the #1 most-funded, faith-based film and the #2 most-funded documentary in Kickstarter history. Wanderlust Productions is now crowd-promoting and crowd-marketing this film by mobilizing 25,000 of its most deeply dedicated fans through the #HolyGhostExperience campaign.
Director Darren Wilson shot HOLY GHOST with no script, no plan, and a single goal—to capture real-life evidence of God’s presence on Earth. As a result, HOLY GHOST is appealing and fresh from start to finish, documenting actual instances of divine healing, miracles and seemingly impossible events in improbable places. Filmed in Salt Lake City, Utah, in Monte Carlo, Monaco, at a Korn concert in Iowa, and in Varanasi, India, HOLY GHOST moves seamlessly at breakneck pace from edgy street ministry to life-threatening encounters to interviews with acclaimed Christian artists like Michael W. Smith and noted recording artists like Lenny Kravitz, keeping the audience engaged without missing a beat.
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On Friday, Brian Head Welch was a guest speaker at Bakersfield High School which was arranged by Grace Assembly of God.
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Thank you Fanni Meszaros!
Sounds like we have a fall tour announcement imminent! What are you hoping for with this upcoming Fall Tour?
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Source: UpState Live
Back in 1993, ‘nu metal’ was barely a thing in the musical landscape. But five young guys from Bakersfield, California started a band that would become the powerhouse metal band Korn. From their debut self-titled album which gained instant success, to the slew of consistent chart topping albums for the last 20 years, they have been a lasting force in the heavy music scene. The members remained constant until 2005 when Brian ‘Head’ Welch decided to leave the band because, in part, to his addiction to drugs. He then found religion, cleaned up, wrote books and started new bands. In 2013 he officially rejoined Korn, bringing the guitar double team of Brian and James ‘Munky’ Shaffer back to full strength. At the recent Rockstar Mayhem Festival in Saratoga Springs, NY, Jim Gilbert and I got to sit down with Head and talk about what the road back to Korn was like, and how it feels to be back.
Jim Gilbert: How have you been?
Brian ‘Head’ Welch: Life is good, man. You know there is always something to do on this tour. We wake up, eat and then we are busy like crazy. I am also working on a new book, and I am way behind on it, so it takes any free second I have. There are other bands we want to see, on the small stages too. Then we have meet-and-greet, and after the show we are doing after parties. So we have like an hour to shower off, and then we meet like a hundred people every night and then it’s bedtime.
Jeff Ayers: How are those after parties? We heard that some are thrown by other bands.
BHW: Ours is more of a one with our fans kinda thing. We hang out, play some music, take pictures. It’s like a meet-and-greet, but you can buy drinks and hang out in a different atmosphere. There is a Q and A too.
JA: That sounds cool.
BHW: Yea, I don’t really like it. It’s a cool thing, but I was under the impression it was going to be the whole band there. Jonathan [Davis] has his kids out [on this tour] so he is never there. So the vibe is always, “Where’s Jonathan? Where’s Jonathan?” So I am not going to do it again, unless he signs an agreement that he is going to be there. I mean, I understand, he has his kids. But you know, I got a different impression about these after parties
JG: What’s the new book going to be about?
BHW: It’s about my eight years away from Korn, and my road back to Korn. So it is about me, trying to be the normal person, trying to be dad, and getting my life together while breaking apart a few times a year. I was always wasted the whole time before, and I couldn’t run to that stuff anymore, but I wanted to. A few times. I went through a lot of stuff, and I am writing all that stuff down. It’s flowing out of me, so I think it’s meant to be.
JA: It has to be cathartic, too, to be able to get that onto the page. I am a writer myself, and getting hardship, pain, and loss written down can be helpful and help with the healing
BHW: Yea, you are right. But it is hard too, I mean, I’m feeling it too. I had this episode with my daughter, during the time we [Love and Death] were fighting with this label. They were stringing us along, and they had done it a few times before that, and then they were like “We are going to pass”. So I said “I’m done!” and threw my phone and broke it, but I had this episode with my daughter because she got hit by the phone on accident. It was the worst day, I felt like I might lose her. It has been hard at times, too.
JG: In that eight year recovery, is there a defining moment? That pinnacle moment that smacked you in the face and made life clearer?
BHW: I’d say when I finally hit the day, well I don’t know if it was a day or a time period, but when you hit a place in life where you step back and go, ‘Everything just changed right now’ whether it is a new a career or something. When I went through my bankruptcy, I hit a place where I realized ‘I just went through all of that for a reason.” I faced every fear that I had in life, I faced every emotion that was caused by my drug addiction, every bad thing that I could face, I did, and made it through. Facing those things actually cleansed me from them, so I am new man. It felt like for a time there was a curse on my life. I wrote my first book, and that was cool, but I then started a label, which failed, then I lost my house, then people were trying to sue me left and right. Then I moved to Nashville, I started a new band that wasn’t successful, and it was just like ‘C’mon man!’. But [looking back], it was all a process to make the person I wanted to be, this new man. Then I entered into peace right there, and I have been good ever since.
JG: Can I ask what happened recently in Europe? You guys, Love and Death, were just on tour and you had to cancel dates, didn’t you get sick?
BHW: Yea I had a kidney stone, and had surgery. I was in three different hospitals, called the paramedics twice, once in an airport, once in a hotel. Right in front of the Russian fans, it was just bad. I didn’t know what was going on, because they initially told me I didn’t have a kidney stone, but then my gall bladder started failing. Then my kidneys started hurting really bad. The doctors were just messing around, and I ended up having surgery. I had to Google translate with my surgeon. I asked, “I still feel like I am going to die, we had the surgery, what’s wrong?” Then he would Google translate back to me, it was rough.
JA: Wow, that sounds crazy!
BHW: Yea, remember how I told you everything got better after that certain day? Well that was challenging. But, after going through everything I had before, when I faced the kidney stone I was O.K.. Even though I was in extreme pain, I was fine inside, I knew I could get through it.
JG: You took those eight years off from Korn, now that you are back for a little over a year, how has it been?
BHW: 2014 has been great. 2013 was a little challenging. I came in from running the show at Love and Death. Even though it was a tiny show, it was my show, so I was making all the business decisions, saving tons of money on flights, and hotels and stuff. So I came back here, and I was all about trying to do things different, business wise. I talked with the guys, and was like “Why is this happening? You know how much money we could save, etc?” So I would let it eat me up inside. I was treating the tour manager pretty bad, and he’s been doing this for fifteen years, and he has his ways. He doesn’t work on the things that save nickels, he works on the things that save lots of money. I was sitting there worrying about the nickels, so it took me awhile to balance that. I had a conversation with him eventually where I apologized, because this was a big change for me and had to adjust. Once I got past that though, I have had a good year.
JA: Your new record, The Paradigm Shift, is doing great. You just came out with that the end of last year, what is the plan for after Mayhem Fest?
BHW: Well, I wish I had confirmation to tell you about this thing we are working on, but I can’t say it yet. We are looking to do a really nice tour in the fall. I thought it was just going to be a few shows to close out the year, festivals and stuff like that. But this thing came up, and I am really excited for it to come together. So big tour in the fall, and then I don’t know about next year. We haven’t really gotten that far yet. I think it would be good to take a couple of months off [from touring]. You know, do a couple of cool shows, but everybody just go away for a little bit. Give everybody a break, the fans a break, the band a break, and then start writing the next record. We will see what happens.
JA: Do you guys write music individually and then bring it together or is the writing process a collaboration?
BHW: The big thing with Korn, is we like to get into a room, and flesh it all out together. But we also write at home to bring ideas to those sessions. Definitely have to do that, because the famous thing we like to talk about is when we are holding our guitars and staring at our feet on the floor, and we try to do stuff and it sounds like we are beginning teenagers all over again. Looking around the room asking, “Is this cool?” [laughs]. That’s desperate, so playing on our own helps to stop that.
JG: You guys have been playing now for a long time, and being on the road with the same guys over and over again, it can put strains on dealing with each other. Do you guys handle that pretty well as a band?
BHW: Obviously, humans are humans. Even the people you love will get on your nerves, and it will happen out here on the road too. But you learn to just walk away, and then come back. That’s all is. There are some days, like four weeks into the tour, and you have a great night with everybody and you are on the bus just laughing. On the hard moments, you just walk away and try and go refuel by yourself. At this point, we all know how to do that really well.
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Check out photos by David Hans
Korn materialized from the murky depths of Bakersfield, CA at a time when mainstream rock radio was reeling from the loss of Kurt Cobain from the airwaves. From coast to coast, labels were churning out carbon copies of Nirvana hoping to strike gold once again, but the majority of them resulted in nothing more than cheap imitation.
Something had to give. Someone had to shift the paradigm and put the posers out of their misery before it was too late.
The reality was that we didn’t need another Cobain, because never in a million years could there ever be one. What we needed was a movement predicated on something real rather than forced, atypical rather than another notch on the belt of the status quo.
When I first heard “Shoots and Ladders” at nine-years-old, I knew even then that a new scene was forming. A frightening one, to be sure, but one intriguing enough to warrant seeking out “Follow the Leader” when it was released a year later.
Whether it was the distinctly dark illustrations from Greg Capullo and Todd McFarlane, or the organized lyrical chaos of Jonathan Davis, everything about that album resonated with me as a kid about to enter junior high.
The Nu-metal masterpiece, “Freak on a Leash,” dropped as a single on my eleventh birthday, which meant that the days of Britney Spears and 98 Degrees dominating MTV’s Total Request Live were numbered. While I wasn’t enamored with what the rest of the Nu-metal scene was doing, Korn’s output never ceased to fascinate me.
I caught up with guitarist Brian “Head” Welch and drummer Ray Luzier prior to their set as part of the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival recently to discuss all things band-related.
If you’ve never seen them live before, you owe it to yourself to venture out at least once while they’re still at the top of their game.
Question: Are you guys enjoying the tour so far?
Luzier: We’re loving every minute of it.
Question: So, you guys have an upcoming CD release?
Luzier: The Paradigm Shift: World Tour Edition. It’s at Best Buy right now, they’re promoting it. You can also get it on iTunes soon, as well. It has our new single, “Hater,” which is being played on the radio and during our live set. There’s a song called “The Game is Over,” which was meant for the Hercules soundtrack, and I really like it a lot. There’s also one that didn’t make the original album called “Die Another Day.”
Question: Do you guys get excited to see the film when one of your songs is chosen for a soundtrack?
Luzier: I was a session guy for a while, so I had a lot of movie soundtrack stuff come along. It’s pretty cool when you hear yourself, but I’ve been on a lot of movies such as “Money for Nothing” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.”
Question: How does Mayhem compare to other festivals you guys have played?
Welch: They’re all about the same. They’re really fun and they have a great vibe. When you get into the building scene, sometimes it feels like you’re in prison due to being stuck backstage within the walls. It’s better than prison, obviously, but the backstage areas aren’t as glamorous as people think.
Luzier: Everyone’s always trying to get backstage, because they think it’s this amazing place. When they finally get there, they’re usually like, “This is it?”
Welch: These tours are better, because everyone wants to hang out and there are more bands to watch.
Luzier: Overseas, they’re definitely different. The states are getting better, but, to me, when you go over to Donington or Rock am Ring, those people camp out in tents to be the first ones running in there when the gates open at 9 a.m.
Question: How you guys construct a setlist when playing a festival?
Welch: We definitely need to put together a new one for the next tour.
Luzier: It’s hard, you know, because Korn has been around for so long. I’ve been in the band almost eight years, but they’ve been together almost 20. There’s a lot of material. 120 songs. We try to please the old-school fans, but then other fans get pissed when we don’t play the new stuff. A few years ago, when Brian was out of the band, we did a medley of like eight Korn songs in 10 minutes where we played a verse and chorus of each. It was cool, because everyone who wanted to hear “Twisted Transistor” or all the other songs we never play got to hear them. I hope we do that again someday. We have to play the hits, but we also try to play obscure ones. Our real show is about 90 minutes and here we only get to play an hour.
Question: What music are you currently listening to?
Luzier: Honestly, I’m supporting my boys from Emmure over on the side stage. I had never heard of them before this tour, but I’ve become a big fan. I went over to watch them the other day and I actually bought their album on iTunes. That’s right. I bought it, kids. Don’t steal music. I’m so sick of that. Just to support them, I paid for the record. I also listen to Gojira and Seal, that’s how weird I am. I listen to eclectic stuff.
Welch: I like a new band on this tour called Islander. They’re really good and great to watch.
Question: What’s your strangest road experience?
Welch: Someone offered me coke the other night, which was weird.
Luzier: I’ve never done a drug in my life, so it’s always funny when someone offers me something. Weird stuff happens every day. My drum set gets mixed up on the truck sometimes, so half of it is uneven when it first goes on stage. Mostly, it’s like Groundhog Day, because you wake up and do the same stuff.
Welch: One of the other band’s crew members punched another guy the other night, as well.
Question: What would you be doing if you weren’t drumming for Korn?
Luzier: We’re lifers. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I’d probably be an engineer in the studio, because I’m a music geek who loves the mixing process. I always tell people at my drum clinics that the music business is in such a weird state right now that you should have something to fall back on. 10 or 15 years ago, I wouldn’t have said that, but now it’s much different. It’s weird, really. I told myself a long time ago that I’d be doing it whether I was successful or not. Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, I’ve done it all. Some people get into it thinking they have to rock stars or nothing, but I’ve had a rocky road. Korn blew up very quickly and stayed on this wave, but I didn’t have that. I played with David Lee Roth for years and the guys from Stone Temple Pilots, but then I’d put on a wig to go play disco on the weekends. Korn found me and it’s my new home. It’s awesome.
Don’t miss Korn as part of the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. They’re absolutely killing it night after night on the main stage.
See http://www.rockstarmayhemfest.com for details.
“The Paradigm Shift: World Tour Edition” is available now as a Best Buy Exclusive.
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Source: Parkview Christian Church