Brian ‘Head’ Welch‘s career would make for a great Hollywood biopic. Raised in Bakersfield, Calif. where he was bullied as a kid, he would eventually find huge success as a guitarist in the band Korn. After six hit albums with the group, Welch left the fold after finding religion and kicking a longtime drug problem. Since then he’s become a best-selling author and currently fronts his own solo band, who recently released a single called ‘Paralyzed.’ Welch is the latest artist to contribute to Noisecreep’s ‘Five Albums That Changed My Life’ series.
‘Back in Black’
“I remember listening to this record for the first time Christmas morning, 1980. I was 10-years-old at the time. Listening to those classic riffs, staring at a picture of Angus Young, I could think of only one thing, “I’ve got to learn how to play the guitar and become a rockstar.” So that’s what I did. Don’t ask me how I did it, cuz I have no idea.”
“Are you serious? ‘Eruption’ – is that a guitar? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing the first time it came on. The first Van Halen record was a complete masterpiece. It was the perfect party record too. ‘Runnin’ with the Devil,’ ‘Ain’t Talkin’ bout Love,’ ‘Jamie’s Cryin’,’ ‘Ice Cream Man’ – all instant classics. I tried learning ‘Eruption,’ but quickly found out it was pretty much impossible. Nobody can play that song with the right feel except Eddie.”
“I’d been playing guitar for a few years when this album came out. I pretty much knew Mötley weren’t the best musicians compared to some of the other bands I listened to, but this album was about more than just musicianship. It had that dirty Crüe sound and look that was so cool at the time. I think this album was a learning season for me about image. I learned that a band’s image could be very important if done right. Over a decade later, I had a surreal moment when Tommy Lee handed all of us in Korn the MTV award for ‘Freak on a Leash.’ Life is a trip.”
“After years of practicing solos, trying to be the fastest player in my hometown, I ended up moving to LA to get closer to the music industry. That’s when it happened. I got a copy of ‘The Real Thing’ and all my years of practicing leads were thrown out the window. It was the first album I really loved that had few leads. Instead, the album focused on song structure and it had a way of helping the whole band shine rather than only the singer and lead guitarist. It was very unique and refreshing. Way different than all the flashy “look how fast I can play” guitarists in a lot of the other metal bands I listened to. It was definitely a life changing album for me.”
“When the first Rage CD dropped, things definitely changed for me and my friends in Korn. We actually saw a video of Rage before we heard the album. It was a raw clip of them playing at a club in LA. We all flipped when we saw how crazy Zack went off live. We’d never seen any musician shake and spaz out as intensely as that dude. I didn’t know it was even possible. They inspired us Korn holes so much with the dynamics they had in their songs too. And Tom Morello’s guitar playing – forget about it. He inspired me to look at the instrument from a totally different perspective.”
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