by brandon speck
Brian “Head” Welch may have had the most public Christian conversion since Paul. But before anyone knew, P.O.D. frontman and Sonny Sandoval was on the front lines of the transformation.
Sandoval had just had a conversation the Korn guitarist, who had left his life of drug addiction and bondage found Jesus and hadn’t even told his bandmates yet.
Sandoval offered his adivice – take it easy. Next thing he knew, Larry King had Welch sitting in the chair.
Korn had taken P.O.D. to Europe in 2000, where the two had brief, but telling interactions.
“I remember interacting with him just very briefly because he was going through his own things. And I remember I was sitting at catering with my wife and my six-week-old daughter and he had come out,” Sandoval said. “At the time he was all strung out, he mentioned my baby and said he had a daughter and I was like ‘Awesome man’ and we kind of related there.”
Welch reached out to Sandoval after his conversion, sharing what God had done in his life, likely at the time debating on leaving his musical love, the band he had made his living with.
Sandoval said Welch was also talking about seeing God in his (Sonny’s) life.
“Here I am humbled because I’m going through struggles and things myself, thinking, ‘How could God use me?’ and here he is encouraging me,” Sandoval said. “I remember just telling him, ‘Dude,’ because he was just like ‘once I come out to the band and to the world…’ he already had that religious mentality, ‘What do I do? How do I start preaching?’ All this stuff and I was like ‘Bro, the world is gonna be watching you and you’re going to be leaving one of the biggest bands in all the world to follow Christ. You don’t have to say a word. You don’t have to say a word.’ He was just like, ‘Will my parents think Im a freak?’ And I’m like, ‘because you are,'” Sandoval said, then laughed. ‘That’s OK.'”
Sandoval said once someone in Welch’s position gets saved, they come from such an extreme lifestyle, and the immediate reaction is to go to the other extreme. His advice to Head was to sit at God’s feet and take it easy.
“We had this awesome conversation,” Sonny said. “The next thing I know he was everywhere, CNN, Larry King, and they just labeled him as this huge freak. I remember just like ‘Wow.’ And so he did his thing, I didn’t have any conversation with him.”
Whosoever starter Ryan Ries had been impacted by Heads’ book and asked Sonny to get ahold of him. The two got in contact. Welch called Sonny, actually.
“The first thing he said was almost comical, something like, ‘I really got crazy huh bro. I got ahead of myself huh.’ And I just started laughing. I was like ‘Bro, God will never fault you man for just being excited about Him.’ He’s come so far from then,now he’s had his own experience with religion, I always say the “institution of Christianity” and the “institution of church.”
Welch has bypassed that institution, and like his fellow Whosoever, fostered his relationship with Christ, not a religion.
Welch has been busy since, with the Whosoevers and releasing Love & Death’s first full-length, to touring like crazy, the latest with the likes of Thousand Foot Krutch and joining his former band on stage on a European tour with his new band.
Sandoval said the two share texts of prayer requests and just checking in on each other.
Two Whosoevers keeping each other in check.
“Dude, he’s come so far. I’m so proud of that guy and again, that’s where the Whosoevers is real. It’s real,” Sandoval said. “There’s nothing fake. There’s nothing phony about it. There’s nothing showy, nothing about self. It really is because we love each other and that’s, again, how the Whosoevers started.”