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Korn and Gwar Take Heat for Insensitive Comments about Chester Bennington’s Suicide

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If there’s any silver lining to be found surrounding the suicides of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington — and it’s certainly very, very early to even be talking silver linings as everyone continues to grieve — it’s that mental health issues have been thrust into the spotlight, with special attention being given to how widespread — and normal — these problems are.

One person who clearly has not gotten that memo yet is Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, who at least had the awareness to realize his comments may come off is insensitive but erases that in one fell swoop by bringing bullshit religious tropes into the picture:

“Honestly, Chester’s an old friend who we’ve hung with many times, and I have friends who are extremely close to him, but this is truly pissing me off! How can these guys send this message to their kids and fans?! I’m sick of this suicide shit! I’ve battled depression/mental illness, and I’m trying to be sempethetic, but it’s hard when you’re pissed! Enough is enough! Giving up on your kids, fans, and life is the cowardly way out!!! Not trying to be insensitive… I’m just having an emotional day. Love you Chester. And Chris. I’m sorry, I know meds and/or alcohol may have been involved, I’m just processing like all of us and I know we are all having some of the same thoughts/feelings. Lord, take Chester in your arms and please re-unite him with his family and all of us one day. Be with his wife and kids with your grace during this difficult time.”

We’ve all had those same thoughts — suicide is selfish, how dare you leave your family behind, etc. — but the reality is always way, way more complicated. Of course those thoughts crossed Chester’s mind, but whatever pain he was dealing with inside was so overwhelming that none of it seemed to matter in the moment. It’s not as simple a picture as Head is painting.

Head later back-pedaled on his remarks in a Facebook video message after the band’s show last night, at which Korn dedicated a song to Bennington, stating:

“I got emotional today about it. It’s so close to home. We are a small community here in the rock world. I got mad and sad and grieving… I know everybody is out there. I just don’t want it to happen anymore. Just don’t get the rope or whatever and put it around your neck — no more. Don’t get the pills and take them, don’t get a gun and shoot yourself.”

Which, once again, is a gross oversimplification of the issue at hand. A master of nuance, Welch is not.

Gwar, meanwhile, were just plain old insensitive. Several fan reports from the band’s show at yesterday’s Warped Tour show in Noblesville, IN (outside of Indianapolis) have the band’s vocalist Brent Purgason (“Pustulus”) saying from the stage, “Suicide is no joke, but Linkin Park sure is.” Which, look, I get it: Gwar have made a career out of being insensitive and inflammatory, and we’ve even celebrated that aspect of their performance here at MetalSucks. But maybe give the guy, his family and fans at least a fucking day to grieve, you know? There’s no need for that. I can say with 100% certainty that a good chunk of Gwar’s fans watching yesterday’s show were introduced to heavy music through Linkin Park, long before they became fans of Gwar.

Born of Osiris guitarist Lee McKinney took particular offense to Gwar’s comments, saying in a series of tweets:

“I don’t care if your band is a fucking gimmick… have some class GWAR. We don’t need your sarcasm. This community needs strength right now.”

“GWAR kicked me off a tour for hurting my foot. I would have came back and sat in a chair to continue. They said no and took our guarantees.”

McKinney broke his foot back in 2015 two weeks into Born of Osiris’s tour with Gwar and Battlecross. Though he vowed to re-join the band and tour as soon as he was ready, that never materialized. No one has spoken about the reason behind that until now, although it’s worth pointing out there are always two sides to every story. It also seems apt to note that if McKinney is claiming this isn’t a time for insensitive comments, perhaps it is also not a time to bring up old beef: it certainly would have been enough for him to blast Gwar for Pustulus’ words and leave it at that.

Keep it classy out there, people. Suicide is a serious issue that’s touched many of our lives, and now is not the time for insensitivity. Be compassionate, understanding and caring.

Honestly, Chester's an old friend who we've hung with many times, and I have friends who are extremely close to him, but this is truly pissing me off! How can these guys send this message to their kids and fans?! I'm sick of this suicide shit! I've battled depression/mental illness, and I'm trying to be sempethetic, but it's hard when you're pissed! Enough is enough! Giving up on your kids, fans, and life is the cowardly way out!!! Not trying to be insensitive… I'm just having an emotional day. Love you Chester. And Chris. I'm sorry, I know meds and/or alcohol may have been involved, I'm just processing like all of us and I know we are all having some of the same thoughts/feelings. Lord, take Chester in your arms and please re-unite him with his family and all of us one day. Be with his wife and kids with your grace during this difficult time.

A post shared by Brian Welch (@brianheadwelch) on

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