Book Review – With My Eyes Wide Open by Brian “Head” Welch

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Brian “Head” Welch was a guitarist for KoRn until 2005. KoRn was popular, edgy. He was a rock star. And of course this lifestyle had a lot of perks. They had a lot of fans, they made a lot of money, they toured all over. But there was also a down side. Welch knew all too well the darker side of the music industry — drugs, alcohol, and an inner rage he couldn’t control. He found himself spiraling farther and farther downwards until… he met God.
He made a decision. He was quitting KoRn. His daughter, Jennea, was affected by how often he was gone with the band, and he decided enough was enough. He wasn’t going to give in to the drugs and alcohol any longer. He was going to be the father she needed.

With My Eyes Wide Open tells the story of the years between Welch’s decision to quit KoRn and the decision to go back. It’s filled with extreme highs and lows as the guitarist tries to figure out exactly what God wants him to do with his life.

Admittedly, I didn’t really like the book at first. The dialog seems stiff and rehearsed, as if it’s been heavily edited from what a person might actually remember. Welch is also very dramatic in his description of the moment he felt God speak to him. Not to say that that’s not a significant moment. It just… seems showy.
And of course, being in such a popular band and having so many ties to the music industry, there’s a lot of name dropping. Like, a lot.

But, aside from that, I was really drawn to the story. I love to read real life examples of God working. This book particularly interested me because I was curious why Welch decided to go back to KoRn after being convicted to leave back in 2005. I remember when I was younger, around the time that Welch was putting out his solo music, hearing people talk about how he had left the “evil” band KoRn, and how he had completely given his life to God. And then I never really heard anything after that.
I happen to like KoRn nowadays. Maybe not all of their music, but enough to peak my curiosity. The drugs and all are bad, yeah. So why go back? Welch goes on to write that he felt God was leading him to. I know a lot of people who don’t believe that that could be true, but he writes that he has been given so many opportunities to minister to fans who would never set foot in a church. I don’t think that’s something to scoff at.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who asks. It could be a bit triggering in places to some, especially as he talks about his daughter and her battle with depression, but otherwise very worthwhile.
While Welch’s world of fame and fortune is miles away from my own, there are still so many things to take from his testimony. Addiction and depression happen to people of all walks of life. God can use anyone to carry out his plan. It’s almost never easy, and sometimes that plan might just be very different than expected.

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