Korn’s Brian ‘Head’ Welch Offers Advice for Parenting Troubled Teens
A little over a decade ago, Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch was addicted to methamphetamine and didn’t know how to stop using. So he turned to Christianity, quit the pioneering nu-metal band and eventually got sober, all the while learning how to be a dad to his daughter Jennea, who is now 17. He chronicled his downward spiral in the 2007 confessional memoir Save Me From Myself.
Welch returned to Korn in 2013 and performed on their most recent album, that year’s The Paradigm Shift. The guitarist has since authored a new book, With My Eyes Wide Open: Miracles & Mistakes on My Way Back to Korn, which tells the story of his time away from the band in often-gritty detail. It’s a sequel of sorts to his first book, 2008’s Save Me From Myself, and it presents a story of how he tackled a different set of tribulations.
From discovering that his daughter was a cutter to his heartbreaking financial difficulties, Welch details how difficult it was living a “normal” life and how he came to terms with his daughter’s turbulent adolescence and discovered the inner peace he needed to return to Korn. The guitarist stopped by Rolling Stone‘s office earlier this week to discuss his personal transformation.
Why did you want to write another book?
I wanted to explain what led to my return. Also, a lot of the new book is also about my daughter. I’d written about her in my first book, so in this one I showed what happened to her. I share a lot of intimate details about watching her struggle with depression and self-harm as she became a teenager.
Some parts of the book are gutting. How did you push yourself to be so open when you were writing?
I learned how to do that with my first book, when I wrote about my hidden meth addiction and all the crazy stuff with my ex-wife. Every time I shared something that was personal, people came out of the woodwork and would say, “Thank you for sharing that. You have no idea how similar our lives are.” So I feel like it’s what I’m supposed to do.
How did you decide to write about your daughter’s cutting?
I asked my daughter if she was OK with me sharing some of the intimate details of her struggles. It was two years later, and she was doing better. If she wasn’t going to be OK with it, I wouldn’t have done it. She and her counselor and I all were in agreement with what I shared in the book. My daughter wrote a bit for the end of the book, too. She’s still in process, but she’s over the hump. She’s a brave kid and I’m proud of her for allowing this.
Self-harm is an epidemic among teenagers. At the time, she was going through all these emotions and threatening to hurt herself or worse. We wanted to help others and make them feel like they’re not alone. The whole point of the book is to show that no matter how bad things get, you’ll get through it if you push and don’t give up. My daughter graduates next week from high school.
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