Love and Death (featuring Brian “Head” Welch – formerly of Korn) Interview and Live Show Review from The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY
Mention the name Brian “Head” Welch and it’s likely you’ll hear, “Isn’t that the dude that went Jesus crazy and left Korn?”
While always fascinated with Nirvana and Kurt Cobain, I was too young to understand what “Smells Like Teen Spirit” meant to the world. Despite living through grunge, I didn’t quite grasp its power until my college years. I grew up alongside Korn and the nu-metal movement, so, more or less, they were my first game-changers. Their first four albums are undeniably classics. Nu-metal died with Untouchables, and as far as I’m concerned, so did Korn. Although their music hasn’t aged well, Korn’s live show, without question, is worth the price of admission – still to this very day. But, they’re just not the same without Head on the stage. Their records are just not the same without Head in the studio.
In 2009, under his nickname Head, Brian Welch released his first solo album, Save Me from Myself. I didn’t expect much, so I wasn’t disappointed. On the bright side, the lyrics were a departure from the often adolescent themes that plague his former band. Welch’s lyrics were uplifting, even motivating, and thankfully devoid of magniloquent preachings. Lyrics aside, the album was a disappointment, mainly due to the lack of hooks. I remember sitting there thinking, “Please give me something to move my head to!” Ultimately, I gave Brian Welch a pass. Stepping out on his own and releasing something as challenging as Save Me from Myself was an exercise in bravery. The aforementioned pass was given because I knew once he settled-in and found his voice – literally and figuratively – that he could take his solo career to the next level.
In 2012, Brian Welch rebranded his band Head as Love and Death. I remember seeing the press release and just shaking my head, waiting for a trainwreck. Then, I heard “Paralyzed.” Let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised. So pleasantly surprised that I listened to it about 20 times. Basically, I was listening to Brian Welch jam on the best Korn single in a decade. Korn was busy doing dub-step, and Welch is doing Korn better than Korn does Korn. Then, an EP appears called Chemicals. The title track had me hooked. Hooked…hooks? Those things? Yes. All the damage Save Me from Myself did, this EP erased…and then some. I don’t care what he calls himself, but the bottom line is, he has arrived.
May 9th, 2012, I’m in lovely (cough) Poughkeepsie, NY. Love and Death is playing at The Chance, opening for RED, and the mighty POD. He did a six song set, opening with “Paralyzed.” He didn’t miss a beat as he plowed through “Save Me from Myself” and “Chemicals.” We then got a cover of “Whip It,” which appears on the Chemicals EP. He closed the set with a Korn medley, followed by a full version of “Blind.” He’s got a great band out with him. They play with such energy and passion. As for Welch, he sounded great, and most importantly, looked comfortable. Gone are the days of the guitar player thrust into being a frontman. He owned the stage. Needless to say, I eagerly await the upcoming Love and Death LP.
One thing I picked up on didn’t happen on the stage. It happened at merch. I’ve seen thousands of merch tables in my day. Very rarely have I seen what I’m about to tell you. During RED’s set, Welch made his way to the Love and Death table. I saw countless groups of fans go from banging their heads to running – literally – to Love and Death’s merch table. Mid-set. Mid-song. Amazing stuff. This dude is a star. Period. When you’re a star, that’s how people react.
I bet after the first few paragraphs of this article you’d never have thought I’d end up here – end up with such positivity. But you know what? I did. Brian Welch made a fan out of me. Go listen to the interview we did below with him. Watch the videos embedded below. Get out to see him live. So, “the dude that went Jesus crazy and left Korn?” …that guy we talked about in the first paragraph… took me, one of his biggest critics – and made me a fan. And that doesn’t happen everyday.
You can download or stream the interview here.
You can navigate through all things Love and Death on their official site.