Former Korn Guitarist Baptized in the
KIBBUTZ KINNERET, Israel (March 6) - Ex-metal guitarist Brian
"Head" Welch was baptized Saturday in the Jordan
river, just weeks after quitting his band, drug habits
and rock-and-roll lifestyle for religion.
Welch, a founding member of the multi-platinum metal
band Korn, joined some 20 other white-robed Christian
pilgrims from a Bakersfield, California, church who were
immersed by their pastor, Ron Vietti, in the cool, gray
waters near the shore.
Despite saying he was there to be "dunked in the water,"
Welch said the ritual baptism had washed away his anger.
"You know when you get angry and it builds up? I felt like
hurting someone before, now I feel like hugging people," he said.
Wearing a silver cross necklace and earring, Welch,
with "Matthew 11:28," tattooed prominently across
his neck in reference to a Bible verse stood out from his fellow pilgrims.
Pastor Vietti said Welch, who also has "Jesus" tattooed
across his knuckles, is already attracting a new group
of young people to the message of Christianity.
"Because music is such a big thing in the world, Brian has
natural avenue for sending a message. In recent weeks
people have committed their lives to God because they're
so inspired by his story... They think
there's fire in him," Vietti said.
Welch is one of thousands of pilgrims baptized annually
in the revered river. According to Biblical tradition, John
the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. Baptism
is a Christian sacrament marked by ritual use of water
to admit and purify a new or rededicated Christian.
After 13 years with the band - and the rock-and-roll lifestyle -
Welch said he has become increasingly depressed and
drug-addicted in recent years. The band announced his resignation Feb. 22.
"Everything that people think a rock band sees and goes
through, multiply that by 10," Welch said. "The drugs and
everything you can imagine, I've got to get rid of it, man. It wasn't me."
Welch said he has finally ended a dependency on methamphetamines
and other drugs. He said he had been ready to give up on life
after several addiction treatment programs did not help him,
until turning his life to God allowed him to quit.
Welch said he has been angry for more than two years and
that it has negatively affected everyone close to him.
"My managers at Korn, I've been tormenting them for the
last couple of months," he explained. "They thought I was
mad at them but I'm not. It's something inside me spiritually
that needs to be fixed."
Welch said he plans to release music and help kids. "My songs
are God saying things to me, him talking to people. He's going
to use me to heal people and people are going to be drawn
to it, just watch, they will be."
Korn's self-titled 1994 debut was heralded for its haunting,
edgy songs. Music critics and fans attributed much of Korn's
unique sound to Welch and fellow guitarist James "Munky"
Shaffer. During the 1990's, the group climbed to the top ten
of almost every alternative/rock station in the U.S. and Europe.
Their sixth and final album with Welch, "Take a Look in the Mirror,"
was released in 2003.
BIG 8 AT IT'S BEST NEWS DAVID A GARCIA GOD LOVE'S YOU
WE ARE HERE FOR YOU MARCH.8.2005