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Tradin' in Korn For a Crown of Thorns
A song Talk by the Rock Doc, psychologist Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka, Dr. B.L.T.: 

The song: (link to free MP3 copy of Dr. B.L.Tune): 
Tradin' in Korn For a Crown of Thorns

The talk: MTV is not known for hanging out in church on Sunday mornings, but on February 27, 2005, a rare an exception was made. Television camera crews representing Fox, CNN, and virtually every major national news organization were also present. Police cars lined the streets near the parking lot and security guards were espied on the church rooftop. Crowd management was challenging, and at moments, mildly irritated and a few downright angry Korn fans demanded to enter the building, filled to capacity, and beyond. Twelve hundred people gathered and stared at giant video screens in a nearby section of the church designated for overflow. The event was broadcast "live" via satellite at a church in Las Vegas. 

So what was the big event? Somebody turned away from a brutally resilient methamphetamine addiction and found Jesus.

But this "somebody" was not just anybody. He was Brian "Head" Welch, formerly of the Bakersfield-based platinum-selling metal band Korn. Fans looked in disbelief, as a message on the band's website read, "Korn has parted ways with guitarist Brian "Head" Welch, who has chosen Jesus Christ as his savior, and will be dedicating his musical pursuits to that end." It was a powerful moment in Bakersfield's cultural history. Korn is, after all, Bakersfield's "Beatles," and, the biggest thing to come from Kern County (I call it Korn Kounty), since Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.

Reactions among Korn fans and Christians who followed modern music trends varied. For example, T Sick from the band, Sick Trigger had this to say: "I think he is being very unwise in this decision. I believe in Jesus but I play all kinds of music and I don't "separate" myself from a needy world. God says be separate from the world in basic practice but don't leave the world...understand? It's kinda tricky and hard for some to comprehend. I would only hope that Brian would change his mind, stay in Korn, and help change them that are around him in THAT world. In the meantime, I'm calling Jonathon and am going to offer to take Brian's place." (For those unfamiliar with "Jonathon," he is Jonathon Davis, Korn's founder and frontman).

Then, there was the multi-talented Jerry Rothberg of the Q. Street Blues band, who said: "I don't know that much about the band, but I was Jonathon Davis's 6th grade teacher for three months. He was one of my most well-behaved students, and if he's happy about Brian leaving, then I'm happy too."

I spoke with Rick Davis, Jonathon Davis's father several weeks prior to Brian's departure from the band, and he shared his concern with Korn's dark, often disturbing and ostensibly perverse lyrics--a concern he had often expressed to his son, whom he was otherwise very impressed with and proud of. This is now a concern held by Brian Welch, who is now looking for ways to be a better example to his six-year-old daughter, and a better way to be what I call a "rock 'n' roll" model for teens.

"It's a mind boggling thing to finally realize that God is real," Welch said to Ron Vietti, Senior Pastor of Valley Bible Church, sometime after Welch came forward to receive Christ at an alter call offered at one of the morning worship services. Pastor Ron has subsequently taken Welch under his mentorship, and the two have an agreement that Welch can call the pastor anytime of the day or night with questions, problems and trials related to his newfound faith in Christ---or anything at all for that matter. Welch has taken Pastor Vietti up on his offer, and has called him at late hours of the night and wee hours of the morning.

"I felt like dying," Welch said, as he described the emptiness he encountered when he realized that nothing the rock star lifestyle had to offer could add an ounce of happiness to his troubled soul. He tried to fill the emptiness with drugs and found himself in an increasingly deep state of despair and hopelessness. Then, in his state of utter desperation, he cried out to God, "Show me that you're real." He wasn't expecting God to come through, but now that God has revealed himself to Brian Welch, he describes himself as "...the happiest man in the world."

I attended the second of three services. In the first service alone, over fifty people came forward to receive Christ as a result of Welch's powerful testimony. Brian Welch and Pastor Ron are on their way to Israel where the pastor will baptize him, tattoos and all, in none other than the Jordan River. When they get back, Welch will work on a new CD of his own original uplifting songs containing positive messages of hope based on the savior of his soul. He also plans on investing in youth by building skateboard parks, recreation centers, rehabilitation centers and modern, youth-oriented churches called Soul Factories.

Yes, reaction among Korn fans and/or Christians varied. "I just have one word to describe my reaction," said Jonathon (not the one from Korn), a jubilant member of what I call the "Starbucks Bible Boys," (a group of devoted and Godly men in the community who gather every morning for Bible studies at Starbucks on Rosedale Highway in Bakersfield). "Hallelujiah!"

Amen to that



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