In an interview with Bringin’ It Backwards Podcast, Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch revealed why he ‘dislikes’ Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith No More. Ultimate-Guitar transcribed his comments.
You said you didn’t really start playing shows until you were 18, was that when Korn formed? What was the next band you joined or started playing more shows?
“So, we formed one more band that I forgot about when I was 18-19 years old, called Russian Roulette. Munky came into the picture then, but the thing was, that was when Whitesnake was really big on MTV and bands like that.
“And so Munky and Fieldy, they met another guy who was more into the punk realm, and he introduced them to Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith No More, and they got obsessed with them, and I didn’t like them.
“So they quit Russian Roulette, and they left me and they formed a band with the singer from the other band, Ragtime. And everybody turned, like, alternative punk, from glam rock to alternative punk, it was like, ‘This is it.’
“I didn’t get the Chili Peppers; the guy couldn’t sing – the bass was good, but Anthony Kiedis was just annoying to me.
“And so off they went, they moved to LA and started playing Hollywood clubs, and then my band broke up and I didn’t have any band for three or four years.
“We had a manager from A&M Records that was managing us, they were like, ‘We want to work with you guys.’ So it was crazy.
“They felt like we had a different sound because of the bass and guitars and whatnot we were just different, it was not like great at all, I think they just heard something, and so the producer was the guy that really liked it, he’s like, ‘Keep in touch when you find the singer.’
“We talked to Jonathan, told him all these connections we have – he said no at first, and then next thing you know, we just said, ‘Come try it, just come hang with us.’
“And he came down and hung out, and that’s when I realized he was that third-grader when we were kids, I was like, ‘You’re that kid, I know who you are,’ and he didn’t put it together yet, and he had dreadlocks and he just looked so cool on stage.
“So he joins, he jams with us and falls in love with the music, and then he starts talking to the A&M two managers we have, and they see him, and they’re fired up because he’s way better than the old singer, and way better stage presence.
“He looked like a star, and then he meets the producer, the producer’s like tripping out over him, it was meant to be, it was a moment in time that was meant to be.”
Once he’s in the band, you guys obviously started recording a record soon after that, or what was the next step for you?
“We did a demo, and so the thing was – A&M Records, they were doing another gig apart from A&M, they worked at A&M – they were like, ‘We’re gonna pass it around to everybody we know in the Hollywood scene and try to get these signed.’
“And the demo was average, you know? The thing was our live show, they told everybody, ‘You have to see them live.’
“He just passed the demo around and got people to come out to our shows, there were few that were really interested, but we didn’t have an offer and they were hesitant, we were told that sometimes you’re a hot thing in Hollywood.
“And if someone doesn’t sign you, the excitement just goes away, we got scared that we were kind of going over the hill and whatnot, and then we finally had a guy named Paul, he was coming to our shows secretly for five shows, and he comes backstage one day.
“And he works for Immortal Records, which was under Epic Records, and he says, ‘I want to work with you guys.’ So that’s the start of it.
“Lawyers take forever with contracts, I remember I was like, ‘I got a record deal!’
“So I quit my job and it took like months to finish the contracts, so I lived on different couches and whatnot until I got some money – because we got some money, I don’t know, like 20 grand each or something when we signed.
“We got the record budget, so we got to record the record, and once that was over, it was like 20 grand each.”
That was the first self-titled album that you guys got signed with? That record did amazing, did they put you on the road right away, have you played outside of California at that time?
“Yeah, we went on the road right away, our first tour was House of Pain and Biohazard, hip-hop and metal mix, I think by that time it was like Anthrax and Public Enemy, they had done something, Rage Against the Machine was out so that House of Pain and Biohazard tour was a cool tour.
“And we fit really well on it. We started getting some great responses from that tour, and then after that tour, we got the Megadeth tour, which was ’95, much bigger places.
“After that, we got the Ozzy tour, which was arenas; I followed Ozzy and his old career and ‘blown away’ is an understatement, it was like, ‘How does a kid in Bakersfield, California, who just made it, open for Ozzy?’
“It doesn’t make sense, because Ozzy was my everything during like ’81, ’82, it was just Ozzy, Randy Rhoads, it was just everything to me.
“And so I remember we went gold on that tour, and Sharon and Ozzy came to our dressing room and gave us some expensive wine and Sharon just predicted we’re gonna have a long career, she goes, ‘You’re gonna do very well’ – blown away, man.”