Creflo Dollar - Miracles and Mistakes
Hello, welcome, welcome. You know, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It's not just a phrase. To some, it's a lifestyle that can take you down a dark and dangerous path that's hard to escape. Many of today's youth struggle with feelings of anger, depression, and loneliness and, what's worse, many turn to drugs and heavy metal music as an outlet to deal with their pain. Now, a heavy metal concert is not an environment which you'd ever think you'd find God. Well, today, we'll meet Brian "Head" Welch and, to a world of followers of that heavy metal music, he's known as the guitarist of the widely known new metal group, Korn. Brian went down an angry, depressive path of drugs and self-destruction, much of which you'll hear about on today's show. His lifestyle got so bad that his crazy chaotic world brought him to his knees. Today's program is riveting. What you're going to witness today is this: what happened next in Brian's life stunned his fans and shocked the entire music world. It's a story of both miracles and mistakes. You don't want to miss a minute of today's show. I'm Creflo Dollar and this is "Your World".
You know, in the headbanging world of new metal, Brian Welch is legendary. Known as the co-founder of the Grammy Award-winning group, Korn, the wild intense lifestyle that Brian enjoyed led him down a dark path of heavy drug use that nearly destroyed his life. In 2005, Brian "Head" Welch shocked fans worldwide as he walked away from the metal group he co-founded. He gave up drugs and gave his life to God. Now watch this. It wasn't walking away from a lifestyle that was killing Brian that was the most shocking. It was when Brian returned to Korn clean, saved, and completely transformed. Join me in welcoming Brian to "Your World" today.
Creflo Dollar: Tell us about how you were raised and if you were raised in a so-called "normal" family.
Brian Welch: I was raised in, like, a pretty much just a middle-class family. My dad was a banker, my mom was a nurse and we didn't go to church except, like, two or three times. My mom tried to take us to church just 'cause it's good, you know, it's good for you. And so we went to, like, Episcopal church and everything, and me and my brother, we were little kids and we would just be, like, "We don't like it there". It felt like a funeral, kind of, 'cause it was just like, you know, it was like if you raised your voice as a kid back then, they'd be, like, "Shh". And you'd just be like, "This ain't fun, you know"? And so my mom's, like, "Well, you guys complain all the time". My dad thinks the church just wants to steal their money so she's, like, she gave up and so that's the only church experience I had. So it was pretty much a normal life. When I was about ten years old, sorry, nine years old, my parents went into business with my uncle, into the Chevron business. And so we moved from Los Angeles area two hours north of Bakersfield and that's where I grew up, yeah.
Creflo Dollar: How did you come to this place where you were dealing with self-hatred? Coming up in a type of family like that, what was going on emotional with you?
Brian Welch: Yeah, my dad was a drinker and he battled with anger. He was like, kind of, Jekyll and Hyde, you know? He was a nice guy when things were going well but when something made him mad, like, he was scary, you know? And so I think every time he blew up he would feel bad afterwards but it was just that type of thing and I got picked on, I'd say, pretty much right when I moved from L.A. to Bakersfield I started getting picked on and through junior high. It's like my friends went through puberty before me so they were just like smacking me around, you know, and so it was rough. I mean, I had my worst year was 7th grade, a lot of junior high people, like, junior high kids just had it rough. It's a hard transition into that, you know, from the little kid to the tween to the teenager, it's just like rough. So I remember looking in the mirror when I was getting picked on and stuff and I would look at myself and inside my mind I was, like, "I don't like you, you know? That's why people don't like you. Even the girls are rejecting me. I don't like that person, who that is, but I gotta live with myself". And so that root of self-hatred started right then and it carried me for a couple of decades, you know?
Creflo Dollar: And so how did that lead to the type of music that you would eventually begin to play?
Brian Welch: I was drawn to the heavy metal stuff when life was good, man. I just liked the sound of it. Once I heard that just electric guitar and what you could do with that, I watched everything on MTV 'cause MTV came out when I was just getting into guitar and so I would watch, like, it didn't have to always be metal. It was like anything, you know, that had guitar. I was like, "I want that". So once I talked my mom into getting me an electric and started learning how to play the stuff on TV or my albums, I started getting into heavy metal more because that's where you just show off, you know? And so I got into AC/DC, "Back in Black", and it was just my thing. It wasn't, like, the darkness of it or nothing, really, didn't get me. It's just the feeling of it. And so I just would practice, you know? I'd get picked on at school but I'd go home and I'd sit in my room, practice, and I got so good that even the bullies would be saying, "Hey, man, let me come by. I wanna hear you play Van Halen", you know? So it was like, "This is my thing", you know? And it was really fun for me.
Creflo Dollar: So could you for the audience and for me, could you define metal music or, as you term it, new metal music? How would you define that type of music in comparison with, you know, other music and what does it have in it that's appealing to teenagers?
Brian Welch: It's kind of like the hip hop and stuff where nowadays it's pop, or just, like, rebellious and edgy and heavy metal's been a lot about, like, anger. And back in the day when I was a kid, it seems like they would go against religion and they thought they're going against God but if they would just read the Scriptures, Jesus was against religion too, but, yeah, just the anger and rage and I think a lot of kids relate to that. And one thing about Korn, I will say, that right when we came out, our singer had a thing where he was dealing with, like, childhood issues. He was really going through it and so he put 'em in our music. And so when our fans started listening to us, it was like counseling to them because it was like, it was real, like, you know, why'd you abuse me? About getting bullied, all kinds of stuff like that. And so we were a voice for a generation of wounded, rejected people. And so our fans were more than fans. They were just, it felt like a big family and Korn has always been more than music to us.
Creflo Dollar: So that's a positive impact from the music. Were there any negative impacts as a result of that?
Brian Welch: Oh yeah, I mean, it was like everyone, it was a big cult following of just fans and just "F-U, you're not better than me. How could you abuse me"? You know, it was destructive but it was like, it felt good to vomit that stuff out because we keep stuff inside, you know? And so, with the whole lifestyle, the drugs and, you know, just there was no healing. It was just like we're in this together and so let's cover it up: alcohol, drugs, sex, all that stuff, you know?
Creflo Dollar: So how did you form this group called Korn and your relationship with the group began to impact your life in a way that, you know, you've got Korn going, you're having success, big-time success. Then you made a decision to walk away from it. Take us on that journey, you know, Korn's beginning, its impact on you, and your decision to walk away from it.
Brian Welch: Okay, yeah, we were, man, all of us wanted to be rock stars when we were kids and when we got 18 it was like, "Let's move to L.A. and try to become rock stars". And so...
Creflo Dollar: I mean, I understand that. I'm black and wanted to be a rock star. I just couldn't grow my hair like yours, man.
Brian Welch: You wanted the dreadlocks? But I, yeah, it was just like, "We wanna be rock stars". So we all, you know, different circumstances, but we grew up together in school and then we all ended up in L.A. together and we formed this band and we had this other singer that was from L.A. though and, once I joined the band, we got rid of him and found our old singer who was back in Bakersfield. He was working on dead bodies and stuff, he was a mortician assistant. And so I was like, "That's a perfect singer for heavy metal", right? And so we talked him into quitting his job and he went from dead bodies to Pizza Hut and we all worked at Pizza Hut and started writing songs. Next thing you know, we have a record deal, we're playing clubs in L.A. We get a record deal. We'd go in and record our album. The record company puts us on the road. They didn't really know where to put us at first. Our first show was with Gwen Stefani's No Doubt, and then to some old punk rock bands and then they started putting us with, like, the big wigs, like, Ozzy and Megadeth and all these bands and that's when we went gold. And then our second record came out. It was exciting, you know? We're kids and we're just like, "I won the lottery". They could have gave us, like, canned food and we would have done this for free, you know? We loved the music but we're making money and by the time our third record came out, number one on Billboard, on MTV every day, two Grammy Awards, two MTV awards, like, we're, you know, just friends with all these people in the industry, but when you get to that level, all of the drug dealers and the strippers and everybody back then wanted to be at that show. And so they would come and they'd bring all their stuff with them. So, you know, I got hooked on everything except heroin and it's like I was miserable the whole time we had our success, I mean, it was fun at one point but I was killing myself, you know? And all of us were and so I got sober for a while and then 9/11 happened and I started drinking again after that stress and all that. And I swore I wouldn't do crystal meth because that's what my ex-wife was hooked on and I was hooked on it before but I had quit but I ended up moving back to Bakersfield where it all started, where my parents still live today. And I was a single dad. I got full custody of my precious daughter. She was three years old and I tried to do the right thing for a while and, you know what? Dr. Dollar, I was just like, I had that self-hatred and so when I got sober, to try to be there for my daughter, I still was depressed. I didn't like myself, you know? And then in between tours, I was drinking all the time and I hung out with this guy. He owned a oil business and he was just all successful but he knew how to get meth too. And so I was like, "I'm just gonna try it, just I used to love it so I'll just try it". And so the next weekend I tried it again and then I was hooked for two years. I took the meth all around the world. I took it in Asia, New Zealand, Australia. I took it to Europe. I ran out. I had my dealer FedEx me eight balls in the mail. And right then I was like, "I'm risking my life. I'm risking my freedom. I gotta change". And so when I got home off that tour, luckily I didn't go to jail, and I hit my manager up and I was like, "I need to rehab", and I went to talk to this outpatient place and I just was... it wasn't me and I quit for a little bit, then I would... and so...
Creflo Dollar: So you're battling this thing we call lasciviousness, you know, one more time equals one more time equals one more time, yeah.
Brian Welch: And so around that time I had some friends in Bakersfield that were inviting me to come over their house and do real estate deals with. I was a functioning meth-head. I was, like, "I want my money to grow". I loved the money. But these people were Christians, you know? And they were like, you know, "We're just hanging out", and one of 'em, like, built monster trucks and put on car shows and he would win every year. He was this awesome guy. So I was like, "That's not like Ned Flanders from 'The Simpsons.' I thought all Christians were, like, goofy like Ned Flanders. Like, this guy is cool". And so they invited me to go to church and they didn't know I was on speed and so I was, like, "Yeah, I need to go 'cause, like, I need to hang out with sober people just 'cause the Christians are probably sober at church so I'll just go with them". And when I got there, I had no concept of, like, I'm gonna meet God. I was just, like, "I wanna hang out with the goody-goodies who have it together". So I get there and this pastor's up there. He's just in jeans and just regular clothes. And I thought you had to wear a robe like those people, like, Episcopal church, you know? Like the priest, I always...
Creflo Dollar: Exactly.
Brian Welch: And this guy's just normal. He was like, "You bring all your junk to Jesus and God will transform your life if you ask him to come in, you read your Bible and fellowship with other Christians, your life will change". And I was, like, "Either this guy has the answer or he's like some kind of, just trying to get people's money, you know"? You know how the mind works and so...
Creflo Dollar: All the stuff you heard, you know, when you were growing up.
Brian Welch: Exactly. And so, you know, I raised my hand at that church service and I said, "Lord Jesus, come into my heart, and give me a new life", you know? And one day I was at home and I was just going, "How do I know that this is real, though? How do I really"... And I was thumbing through the Bible and every page I turned to I was, like, 'cause it was talking to me, you know? I'm like, and I remember thinking how do I know for sure? And I just... that's when I felt it. A realm opened up around me in that room and it felt like eternity came and just wrapped its arms around me and I don't know if it was Jesus or an angel, and I was just like, I was shaking and I just looked up and all I could say was, "Father"? And I felt like I was home for the first time and that experience changed my life. Changed my life.
Creflo Dollar: You know, you said so much, especially in this area of religion. I wrote a book called "Why I Hate Religion". And one of the reasons I hate religion is because it keeps you away from the God of grace. The God of grace that says that "I have given you unmerited, undeserved favor. And that you don't get what you deserve; I'm gonna give you what you don't deserve". So you come to this place where you make a decision to leave the group, to raise your daughter. Now, this was a ten-year period and for most people they hear it, like, you know, you stepped out for a minute and then jumped back in. But you really went through some very serious things and in that time God tells you to go back? Tell us about that moment because, you know, isn't it just like him to send light into dark places? But it wasn't so dark when you went back. Talk about that.
Brian Welch: Right, right, yeah. I was at a show with my daughter and they were playing and I reconciled with them and there was tears and they asked me to play a song with them. And I went and played a song with them, and some of the crowd were in tears. And God was just showing up. I could feel God, I could see God moving. And so a couple of weeks later, they asked me to come back. I denied it at first 'cause I was, like, my story is I left everything, all the money, all the fame, to follow Jesus. That was my story. And meanwhile, the Lord's like, patting me on the back, going, "Hey, did you ask me what this, you know, if this is me"? And I started praying. I got counsel from people. Next thing you know, I realized that the Lord's leading me back to Korn. And I joined the band and I've been there for four years and I didn't know if people expected me to be that Jesus freak or whatever, so I just kind of chilled and loved on people, you know? 'Cause everybody knew my story. But a couple of years into it, I reached out. I was like, "Lord, I wanna do more but I don't know, you know, how to do this". And so he sent me a director that did this movie, "Holy Ghost", and this guy, Todd White. And the director called me and said, "Hey, I was just praying and I feel like that what do you think if we brought our cameras to a Korn show? You and Todd go out in the crowd and just see what God does". And I was like, "I'm totally uncomfortable with that, yeah". Because when you're uncomfortable, that means God's gonna just show off, you know? And so we went out there and we filmed it all. It's in the movie, "Holy Ghost", and all, like, ministering to fans. Fans in tears and just...
Creflo Dollar: That's powerful, man.
Brian Welch: It's crazy, right?
Creflo Dollar: That's powerful.
Brian Welch: So that's what I do, all the time now.
Creflo Dollar: That's powerful. That is a creative radical altar call. You know, Jesus saw a man one day, Zacchaeus, and he saw him in the tree. He said, "Man, get on down here. I have need of thee". And they started complaining: Jesus is going to the house of a sinner. And without saying anything, the presence of God filled that man's house and the man just stood up and said, "Okay, okay, I'll restore everybody I stole from and I'll give 'em fourfold of how I owe 'em". And Jesus just looked at him, said, "Okay". See, there's something about when you allow Jesus in places where people don't expect to see him, that he can make a difference to do that. I so appreciate what you're doing. People have got to understand that if we don't carry Jesus into certain places, how's he gonna impact people's lives? If we are, you know, we say we're not ashamed of him but is it possible that God can use light in the midst of dark places? And you say, "Yes". You've proven it. You've continued to prove this. And my prayer is that the religious mindset will be so shattered that people will accept a Jesus who will accept you just like you are but he won't leave you like you are. And that's what I wanted to... you can come just like you are, but he won't leave you like you are. I believe that there is someone watching today that may be experiencing self-hatred. They're right in the middle of a search for significance. You've had experience with it in your own life. You've had experience with your kid. What could you say to those individuals right now concerning the feelings they have for themselves to kind of help them to walk out of that? If you could look at that camera right here and speak to those people.
Brian Welch: Yeah, I would say that, man, you have a choice. We have a choice that we can make and we can keep going down that road where you're just feeling the depression, you're feeling the self-hatred and you could try to just medicate it like I was doing with the drugs and the drinking. You could try to, you know, do all this other stuff it's not gonna work. But something has to rise up inside of you. There's gotta be something that says, "I gotta know if God is real". Just like me, just like so many others, something's gotta rise up inside of you and you say, "I've gotta search for myself if God is real". And Jesus is the best friend. He's the only one that could come in and transform your heart. And I'm telling you right now, sometimes we're like a beaten dog where a new master comes and tries to pet the dog and the dog just snaps at the master, but Jesus, we're like those dogs sometimes and we snap at God. We snap at Christians and all that. But I'm telling you, he is a master that will come into your life. He'll change your heart, he'll take the depression away. He'll give you a new mind and you won't even recognize yourself in a couple of years, five years from now. And so just give it a chance. Just give it a chance. Give Jesus a chance. It's not religion. All you gotta do is just say, "Jesus, if you're real, come into me, come and live inside of me, make me a brand new person. Change my heart. Take this depression away". And if you just go after him and never quit, you'll see miracles in your life, I promise. I promise you.
Creflo Dollar: Hey, man, awesome. Awesome advice. I want to encourage you to look past what someone looks like or even how they act and see what they need. And like Brian, we must be willing to meet people where they are so that we can share the grace of God and help them to understand how much he loves them.