What would happen if one of your wildest dreams came true? Something that you never saw coming…. that happened to me.
Back story: When I was about 16, I picked up a random compilation cd at Hot Topic. At that time, I was somewhat obsessed with Marilyn Manson and Rammstein and wanted to add more such music to my collection. So when I got home, I popped the disc into my ever trusty boombox. I skimmed through the tracks until I became mesmerized by one song in particular. It began with a cascade of cymbals, then a guitar riff that appeared to be a teaser of what’s to come. As this charade continued a bit, the bass hit. All of this magic kept building and building like foreplay until… “Arrreee yoouuuu readyyyyy?” I listened to KoRn’s Blind obsessively for months.
Fast forward to US Navy. I was 18. I had just gotten stationed to Yokosuka Japan, where I’d be for the next 3 1/2 years. Shortly after I got there, a Marine was playing Freak on a Leash on his boombox outside. I had never heard of this song before because I was in boot camp at the time. Again, I was mesmerized with KoRn’s sound. The drums, the guitars, bass, voice, everything…
Over the course of my time in Japan, KoRn was EVERYWHERE. I heard their music everywhere I went: bars, on the ship, in the barracks, out in town, etc. Hell, I used to listen to them while I ran during PT (Physical Training). This bar I used to frequent in the Honch called Popeyes would often play the Family Values Tour VHS on the tv. Every time it was KoRn’s turn, everyone would stop what they’re doing and just watch them in awe. At that time, I thought it’d be really cool to see them live (and even have the chance to meet them), but I didn’t think it was ever possible because they were so big.
Fast forward again to after I had gotten out of the Navy and was in college, around 2011. While I was working on a paper for a Biology class, I stumbled upon a tweet that Brian Head Welch was in town for a solo show. I instantly knew that I had to see him. He looked way different than I had remembered seeing him in KoRn. Long black hair with hundreds of white hair elastics throughout. Black eyeliner. And, lots of tattoos. I thought it was cool. And, he and his band rocked it that night. They also played Blind at the end. 😀
After Brian Head Welch’s show that night, I felt compelled to buy his Save Me From Myself book. It took me a day to read it. Then, I got his book Stronger. I also read that in a day. His books are that good. A lot of what he went through spoke to me because I was also dealing with depression.
About a year later, I saw that Brian was going to be at the Masquerade in ATL for a show. I knew I had to meet him then. In the meantime, Brian was giving away his song Paralyzed a day early to a fan that tweeted about his song on Twitter. Well, I happened to win it. I think I was more excited about his tweet than winning the song. Although, the song was a nice touch.
So let’s get to the awesome Masquerade show… After Brian’s set, I went back to his merch area and saw him standing there talking to people. I was like this is it. So, I stood in line, patiently waiting for my turn. When I finally got to him, I really didn’t know what to say. And I can say now that I had never been so nervous to speak to a human being. I couldn’t even look at him right then because I felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack. It just seemed too surreal. I finally regained my composure and told him that I enjoyed his show. Then, I showed him some random stuff on my phone. Why did I do that?
Over the course of a year, Brian and his band Love & Death played a bunch of shows around my area. So, I kept going to them. It was something fun to look forward to. I also liked the guys in the band because they were always so nice and friendly.
One day, while I was waiting for a class to begin, I saw a post from The Rise Guys on 93.3 The Planet about being on a contest to win Carolina Rebellion tickets. Guess who was the headliner? KoRn. I signed up to be in the contest thinking that I would never get picked. Also, that same week, Rick Florino was giving away a signed copy of his book. Guess who was one of the signers? Munky. Crazy enough, I got picked to be in the contest and I WON THE BOOK! Talk about a total mindblow…
I failed horribly at the contest, but I was given the tickets anyway. After learning I had won the tickets, one of the hosts, Mattman, told me that they have a KoRn poster in their office that’s signed by all of them. I was freaking out. I had to see this poster. And sure enough, it was signed by all of them. Munky, Fieldy, JD, Head, and David. I took a picture of it.
A couple days before Carolina Rebellion, I saw Love & Death again in ATL. They opened for POD and RED. Another amazing performance. After the show, I felt like I had to tell Brian about my not-so-random occurrences that happened. So, I told him that I had something crazy to tell him. Then, we walked away from the crowd a bit to be more private.. I told him about how I won the book that Munky had signed and also how I won tickets to Carolina Rebellion. Then, I showed him the photo of the signed KoRn poster that I saw hanging in the radio station that day. He had a very surprised reaction. Then it dawned on me. All of this that happened was meant to happen.
Skip forward to Carolina Rebellion. When my friend and I got there, we saw that KoRn was signing at the FYE tent that day. Yessss!!! My dreams are finally coming true, I thought. I got to meet Fieldy, Ray, and Munky. They signed their debut cd for me and they were so nice! Then a bit later, I got to meet Jonathan Davis. He was also very nice.
My friend and I got as close to the KoRn stage as we could get. We were about the 3rd row, right in front of Munky. I was so stoked to be finally seeing KoRn with my own eyes. At one point of the show, Munky threw a guitar pick into the crowd and I felt it hit my foot. I reached down to grab it..and then I felt a hand squeezing the life out of mine to get it. I didn’t want to fight over a guitar pick, even though it meant so much to me. I let him have it. That moment ruined the rest of the show for me. I was ready to leave, but my friend talked me into staying. Then, I heard the drums going for Blind. Jonathan Davis started talking about how a certain spot had been empty for such a long time. And then it happened. Brian walked out on stage with his guitar. I just couldn’t process what was going on until it was over. My friend happened to get Fieldy’s pick and she gave it to me. And then it hit me. I cried so hard because everything that I’ve wanted for so long actually happened: I got to meet KoRn, I finally got to watch them play, and then I got to see Brian play with them.
A couple weeks after that, I saw Love & Death in Asheville. I got to talk to Brian beforehand outside of his bus. He asked me about Carolina Rebellion and if the KoRn guys were nice to me. And, he finished off signing my KoRn cd. I told him about missing out on getting Munky’s pick and he told me you’ll get another one. I was like, lol yeah right.
So, I had to see KoRn at least once on their first tour with Brian back. It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t. So I made the drive to Silver Spring MD because that was as close as they’d be in the area. I got to stand right in front of Head during that show and I totally geeked out over Ball Tongue. So much fun!
After the show, I met with a guitar tech for Device. He gave me both Brian AND Munky’s guitar picks. Brian was right after all… total full circle moment.
That night after the show, Brian, Munky, and Ray hung out with us fans for like an hour even though it was late. And, I managed to get a photo taken with my guitar heroes, Brian and Munky.
KoRn will always be a special band to me because their music was there for me through everything in life. I will always love them so much!
Thanks for reading!
Love and light,