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Save Me from Myself (How I Found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs and Lived to Tell My Story)
Author: Brian "Head" Welch
Publisher: HarperCollins
Length: 225 pages

More often than not, I think I can safely venture to say that one would probably register skepticism at best after reading a book by a rock musician who proclaims his religious conversion after a roller coaster ride that scaled stardom with a world-renowned band and indulgences in the ever-attendant debauchery (drugs--the whole nine yards). Indeed, I am among those skeptics given the fact that we have heard these proclamations before from notables in similar circumstances.

That all said, Brian "Head" Welch, former lead guitarist of metal group Korn, has written a book that had me curious from the outset but slowly captivated, and on faith (actually, the book's running theme), convinced as I finished it, of his transformation to clean living, practicing Christian. Welch lays his life bare from childhood to the present, and what a journey it has been. He starts with his ordinary, middle-class upbringing in Bakersfield, California and leads into an array of experiences: his minor forays into drugs in high school; the various bands he was in which would eventually lead him to Korn; his burgeoning drug habit (most notably, methamphetamine); excessive drinking; his tempestuous relationship with his girlfriend-then-wife; their wrenching decision to give their first child up for adoption; the birth of his second daughter, Jennea; his futile attempts to kick his bad habits, and finally, his decision to leave Korn and his ultimate surrender to God that put him on the road to personal salvation and enabled him to raise Jennea in a positive environment. 

All of this sound dizzying? Well, it is, and even though this is Welch's maiden voyage into the world of writing, Save Me from Myself is a descriptive, well-written, yet to-the-point cautionary tale that may evoke all of our youth-filled rock star dreams yet implicitly warns that such dreams can come with a heavy personal price. Welch makes a point early on that his number one goal as a kid was to become a rock star and play with his idols, such as Ozzy Osbourne. Welch got that chance years later when Korn played Ozzfest. In a telling excerpt, he explains that he wasn't able to bask in the opportunity, this finally fulfilled dream-come-true wished long ago in Bakersfield: "I knew I had to shake the drugs, but just couldn't ...For one thing, I was just too addicted ... part of me didn't want to quit ... The first tour I did in the middle of this drug-soaked depression was Ozzfest ... though we played with a ton of great bands that summer, I don't think I saw a single one of them, not even Ozzy. Instead, I just sat in the back room of my tour bus, alone, every night." Welch doesn't seem to want to play on anybody's sympathies; he just wants to get the message out how life on and off the road was and the devastation that ensued for him.

He describes in detail his path to embracing his new faith and the stumbles he took along the way. It's refreshing to see how he doesn't blame anybody else for his wrongdoings but himself, and he makes a point of saying that he doesn't want to be seen as "perfect" because of his turnaround but that he's only human. What could have ended up as a treacly, preachy tome on one's downfall and subsequent redemption instead is a well-written, unflinchingly honest look at a life that Welch pulled from the abyss in the nick of time. (The passages that describe his relationship with his daughter Jennea are especially touching, as the reader can sense his desire to be a good role model for her.) Save Me from Myself makes you want to root for him that he stays on his chosen path. Skeptics be darned, somehow, it seems that he will.

Christine M. Chagaris
July 21, 2007

 

 
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