Korn’s Brian “Head” Welch Has Some Thoughts About As I Lay Dying’s Tim Lambesis
Before we begin… it’s probably safe to start referring to all musicians involved with As I Lay Dying as “former members of As I Lay Dying,” right? I mean, at this point, it seems pretty clear that the band is done (as if there were any real doubts), doesn’t it? Maybe Tim Lambesis will try to revive it in six years, but in the meantime…
So. Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch recently wrote a guest column for Loudwire in which he discussed the Lambesis situation. I’ve re-printed the entire thing below. It’s a long read, but it’s worth soldiering through it so that we can have a fun discussion afterwards. Cool? Cool. Here we go:
It was the year 2000. I was in a hotel room with a couple of band members, a few friends and some of the crew members from KoRn. We had an 8-ball or two of cocaine poured out on some tables. Everyone’s face was greasy and the late night coke conversations were in full effect — dramatic discussions about negative things in life, blown way out of proportion.
At the time, I was going through a nasty divorce. A few months prior, my wife had asked her new boyfriend and his friends to move into our home, and I was obviously full of anger, rage, sadness, bitterness and revenge. Honestly, I wished they were dead. Everything in me did. I mean, I was a “big rock star.” Who were they to do this to me? The problem with everything that I was feeling inside was, I didn’t have it in me to hurt anyone, I had never been a very violent person. I had to drink and snort my way into being brave enough to even consider taking revengeful actions against my wife and the dude that I perceived was ruining my life at the time.
There was another factor that made me hesitant as well … fear. My wife’s boyfriend and his friends were a part of some form of white pride crowd. It’s no secret that those kinds of people are very well known for violence, with no regard for consequences. I feared if I acted out on the revenge that I was feeling, I could put me, my daughter and some of my close friends in serious danger.
But man … I had a plethora of emotions inside that I didn’t know how to deal with. All I could do to try and deal with all the hate and pain I was feeling was constant abuse of alcohol and cocaine to numb me, which led me to the conversations that night snorting coke in that hotel room.
One of our road crew that was in the hotel room with me that night had been involved in gangs in the past and at one point was very high up in the chain of command. Eyes bulging out of my sockets, high as a kite, I asked him, “What would it take to have my wife and her new boyfriend hurt really bad… or worse?”
Now, maybe this question was inspired by all the coke in my system, I don’t know? But at that moment, I can honestly say I wish I could have hired someone to kill my wife and her boyfriend. In my mind, my wife was worthless and I felt she deserved some major punishment for what she did to our daughter and me. I had already murdered them in my heart.
Looking back on it today, I am so thankful for what came out of that dude’s mouth. As he stared into my eyes with the most dead-serious look I’ve ever been given, he said,
“Head, if you cross that line, you can never go back.”
I had known what this guy had seen and been through. I’d heard all his stories. His face seemed to say it all; Violence wasn’t who I was and I needed to just go my own way and concentrate on my daughter.
I am so thankful that he didn’t pour gasoline on the fire of hate that was burning in me. What if he was selfish and tried to get a butt-load of money out of me and encouraged me to go through with it? What if he encouraged me to murder like the Tim Lambesis situation? What if, in my lowest, weakest moment, all messed up in the head on coke, I got led into agreeing on a down payment for a hit on my wife and her boyfriend? What if the hit man ended up being a felon who needed to give the cops something huge to get himself out of some big trouble he was in?
I would be in a very similar situation as Tim Lambesis.
I’m not much different than Tim. I don’t think any of us are. We are all capable of bad choices under the weight of heavy circumstances. Some can snap in one way and others can snap in other ways. Some people can handle more or less than others, but EVERYONE has a certain breaking point — especially if there’s other substances involved.
When I heard about Tim Lambesis’ arrest, I was really bummed out because I instantly had a flashback of being in that similar dark place with my divorce. I tried to visit Tim right away, but couldn’t work it out. I obviously felt horrible for how completely shocked and scared his wife must have been to hear the news, but my heart went out for Tim a lot because so many people immediately wanted to lynch him.
Not me and my crew.
We believe in second, third, even one hundred chances, if that’s what it takes. I mean, we’ve been given countless chances, so why not Tim? He’s a normal dude who had fallen into the darkest, most confusing, empty place. He needed brothers, not more enemies.
I had a show in Texas about a month before the arrest and hung out with Tim and the As I Lay Dying guys for a few minutes on their bus. I didn’t know them real close, but we had crossed paths out on the road a few times and we all have many mutual friends. As you can see, all of this was EXTREMELY close to home for me. They were all great guys and I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams what lay just around the corner for Tim.
I finally did get to visit Tim a couple months ago at his parents’ home as he was under house arrest. Me and my boy ‘Ryan Ries’ from The Whosoevers brought Tim and his girlfriend some Mexican food and just hung out and talked. Tim was so humble, remorseful and clearheaded about everything. He and his girlfriend actually really encouraged us, as we did them. We also hid a hot pepper in Tim’s burrito like in the movie ‘Dumb & Dumber’ to break the ice, and because it was funny as hell, LOL.
I told Tim that as strange as it may have sounded, I was really excited about his future. I have seen God create overwhelming beauty out of a pile of ashes so many times, and I look forward to seeing all the good that comes out of this horrible situation. Seeing beauty birthed from the most ugly of circumstances is one of my most favorite miracles to witness. It proves there is a God who always loves and never gives up on humans – no matter how far we fall.
Let’s all try and give out positive vibes and prayers towards Tim, Meggan and this entire situation and watch as beauty is formed from all of the ashes.
That’s a beautiful sentiment, and I would argue that once he’s paid his debt to society, a substantial amount of people probably will give Tim Lambesis another chance… after all, if they can put what guys like Varg Vikernes and Ronnie Radke have done behind them, then they should be able to forget all about Lambesis’ misdeeds.
And yet Head’s editorial feels wrong-headed at best and disturbing at worst. The underlying message of the piece is really this: Lambesis isn’t responsible for his own actions. Who hasn’t wanted to kill their ex, right? And besides, he was on drugs! And everything is up to God anyway! So your heart has to go out to him that people were giving him such a hard time about what he did! And it is therefore totally appropriate to use “LOL” in this otherwise-incredibly-serious context!!!
Except that most people never act on the (hopefully fleeting) impulse to kill their ex, and blaming the fact that you were really fucked-up only takes you so far — it’s cool to say to a friend “Oh, sorry I was being kind of obnoxious last night, I was pretty wasted,” but “Oh, sorry I tried to have you killed, I was pretty wasted” is on a whole other level. And when a guy tried to have a life extinguished is not really the time for your heart to go out to him. I can’t believe I even have to say this, but: we all need to remember that Tim Lambesis is NOT the victim here. But Head makes it sound as though he is. As Lambesis’ former bandmate Nick Hipa has said, “There is no contrition in his pseudo-philosophical jargon.” Just displacement of responsibility.
P.S. Lambesis’ girlfriend has stayed by his side throughout this whole ordeal? Do you think she’s done it out of love, or because she’s afraid of what Lambesis might try and do to her if she leaves?
[via The PRP]