For the next few weeks we will be posting excerpts from Brian’s new book, <em>Stronger</em>.
Here’s the third excerpt. Read. Enjoy. Practice.
Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.
The initial tour we booked for my first solo album was through New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas. After the amazing first show we played in Arizona, the band and I were ready to hit the road and experience many more incredible shows. I figured that, since I was from the band Korn, and Korn typically had thousands of people showing up at their concerts, we would have no problem bringing in at the very least 250 to 300 people.
The first stop on the tour was Colorado Springs. Everything seemed great when we arrived there. A local radio station was spinning my single “Flush,” and we had an interview on the morning radio show that I thought went pretty well. Later in the day, we had sound check, and it went off without any problems. I headed back to the hotel, got ready for the show, then hurried back to the club—actually, a bar with a cool stage—to get things started. When I walked out to play, my heart sank. Fewer than a hundred people were crowded in front of the stage; behind them it was empty all the way to the back of the club.
Well, it wasn’t exactly empty all the way back. There were some people sitting at the bar and a few people playing pool. That kind of made it worse, though, because the people at the bar and playing pool were conversing as if we weren’t even there! I guess I’d been thinking too highly of myself when I thought “the guy from Korn” could at least pack out a bar. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the fans that were there; but it was a hard adjustment to go from playing in front of huge crowds to seeing an empty place. It made me feel like I sucked. It’s the dread of every famous musician—that your crowd disappears and doesn’t care about you anymore.
The show went great, though. The people who were there were really into it, and after the show, the band and I got to talk to them. That was something that rarely happened when I was with Korn. A lot of them said we sounded better than our album, so we were stoked. After the show, an amazing thing happened. We learned that a girl named Michelle, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, had driven out from Minnesota to meet us, because she wanted us to pray for her. When we heard that, we invited her into the back lounge of our tour bus to pray together. In the Korn days, the back of the bus was known for many things, and none of those things was praying. So it was an amazing thing to lay hands on a girl to pray for her, rather than laying hands on her for other, obvious reasons like the old days.
The next night, we played in Farmington, New Mexico. There were more people at that show, and everyone was going crazy. I had my first encounter with a drug dealer on the road at the Farmington gig. Some dude came up to me and asked if I wanted to buy some dope. I calmly told him no thank you. Drugs simply aren’t tempting to me anymore. To me it’s like someone saying, “Hey bro, do you wanna buy a piece of crap?” That’s what drugs are, so why would I want to buy poop?
Ultimately, the mix of those first two stops on the tour continued for the whole summer. We played some horrible places that were empty, and we played some huge places that were packed. For the smaller gigs, I tried to adjust to the fact that I was starting all over again, which meant paying my dues all over again. At the beginning of the tour, I’d thought I was above having to start from scratch because I was from the mighty rock band Korn. But God has a way of smacking you back down to reality; it’s called humility.
That summer, I had a couple really heavy emotional meltdowns that sent me running away and throwing in the towel, but God never let me go. I was definitely humbled and taught to revaluate myself honestly. The biggest lesson I learned was that my satisfaction and contentment don’t come from playing tiny shows that look like failures, or huge shows that look like successes. They come only from my relationship with Jesus.
The next time you find yourself running around feeling unsatisfied because you don’t appear to have everything you want at that moment, remember that everything you really want and need is already living inside of you, and His name is Jesus.
© 2010 Brian “Head” Welch. All rights reserved.