Korn: Bridling Passion

If you’ve read my articles on “Peace”, you know that a few years ago I was in a really dark place. Without a purpose, I found myself in the hospital due to depression. When I got out of the hospital, at the beginning of

October 2014, the band Korn released their album “The Paradigm Shift.” My buddies and I had been listening to some of their singles for over a year.

Korn left to right: Reginald “Fieldy” Arivzu (bass), Jonathan Davis(lead vocals), Brian “Head” Welch (lead guitar/vocals), Ray Luzier (drums), James “Munky” Shaeffer (guitar)

We had buried ourselves in interviews, previous records, and everything Korn related.

As some of you may know, Korn’s lead guitarist, Brian “Head” Welch, left the band some 8 years prior due to the heavy toll that the band’s lifestyle was taking on him.

Drugs, orgies, and seemingly endless nights were all a part of the gig.

While away from Korn, Head found sobriety, new creative outlets, and quite astonishingly, God.


Fast forward to 2016: Head and the band’s bassist, Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, hold prayer meetings before shows. Head continues to use social media and his talent for storytelling to share the Gospel.

Which leads us to our question — Can passion be refined? Can intensity be bridled?

A few disclaimers: The following is in no way condoning drugs abuse or any form of destructive lifestyle. Rather, I am offering insight on the process in which creativity is shaped into something sustainable.

For every example of settling down like Korn, there is another example of a band running off the track. Many would blame the drug addictions and lavish lifestyles that can come with the stage but I think that’s too easy. In order to truly understand the pitfalls of an artist, you must understand an artist at their core; a creative energy that must have an outlet. Without an outlet, one of two things will happen: blackhole or super-nova.

It’s why we see artists fall into self-destructive behaviors (blackhole: punishes the individual). It’s why serial killers or any form of torture can seem eerily creative (super-nova: punishes others).

Without a proper outlet creativity reverts, digresses, and gives way to destruction.

Brian “Head” Welch I AM SECOND interview

This destruction always has a target and in the case of Korn, it was the band itself. Drugs led to more drugs and what started as a problem became an epidemic. Individually, the band members suffered at the hands of their addictions. Mental and emotional health took devastating blows. The damage festered and metastasized into a cancer depleting the band and effectively choking off part of their creative potential. Though inspiration for songs was readily available amidst the pain, such destruction can’t be maintained indefinitely.

Head took a massive step away from his demons and marched towards recovery. The band was forced to adapt due to his absence, and also make steps towards health. One by one, members got clean; trading cocaine and promiscuity for wives and children.

Today, you find the band member’s kids backstage where drugs and fifths used to be stockpiled. The same songs that used to reflect inner torment are now an encouragement that peace can be found.

Korn is a living breathing representation of how passion is bridled. It can take decades but only the persistent will remain. They live on to release albums like “The Paradigm Shift”. Their legacy is one overflowing with hope.

This Sunday I have the pleasure of going to see Korn. Head’s story continues to encourage me as I find myself in such a different place than I was when the last album released. And though hope is hard to find in the pit of destruction, I intended to press on and bridle my intensity Korn-style.

When I go see them Sunday night it won’t feel like I’m skipping church.

Struggling to find peace? I highly recommend getting on Youtube and watching Korn: Reconciliation for an hour of hope!

I do not own the rights to either picture featured in this article.

Photo of Brian “Head” Welch is from his interview with I Am Second

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