Read just about any story about successful people and it's natural to think their lives are somehow "better." That their having achieved what they set out to achieve, and in some cases the fame or fortune that results, insulates them from the struggles the rest of us face.
But that's never the case. In fact, success often allows people to ignore, at least for a while, underlying challenges, problems, and issues.
In the end, we're all the same. We all have things we struggle with.
And hope to change.
If that's you, if you have things about your life -- or more to the point, about yourself -- that you would like to change, stream the award-winning documentary Loud Krazy Love. Tonight.
It's the best $5 you'll ever spend. (Especially if you're a parent.)
Loud Krazy Love is the story of Brian "Head" Welch and his daughter Jennea. In 2005, Brian was the guitarist for Korn, the pioneering, Grammy-winning, 40 million album-selling metal band. For a musician, it doesn't get much better.
Yet at the height of Korn's popularity, Brian decided to walk away from the band, and a $20 million-plus record deal, so he could try to overcome his drug addiction and become (in his words) "a good father."
But if you read the last sentence and thought, "Aw, that sounds sweet," Loud Krazy Love is anything but. It's brutal. Wrenching. Raw. Infuriating. Heartbreaking. Searingly honest.
And, once you wipe away a few tears, ultimately uplifting.
Because no path to real, lasting change is ever easy. Or quick.
Especially Brian's, as you'll find out from our conversation.
J.H.: A lot of people think their lives will magically be better once something specific happens: a job, family, money, personal achievement. That somehow "success" will make everything different.
B.W.: Success is a blessing. But it's not the answer.
Once you find the humility in your success -- once you remember that you're a person like everyone else, that becoming, say, a "rock star" is just your career and doesn't define you as a person ...
Then success can be a blessing.
But it's never the answer.
And can actually keep you from finding the answers to the things in your life that really matter.
I was struck by how the movie doesn't pretend that finding faith automatically means life will be perfect. Faith, like any major change in perspective or belief or outlook, is just a start.
You're right. Finding my faith didn't instantly fix my life.
But it did create hope. It was a voice saying, "This is your new starting point. Now we're going to deal with all those issues that make you the person you came to despise."
But then I got so disappointed when I realized it wasn't going to be a quick fix. Five years later, I found myself still doing some of the same things. Not drugs, but some of the same things emotionally: rage outbursts, freaking out, feeling guilty. In many ways, I felt I hadn't changed at all.
Mine was a long process. Seven, eight, nine years.
I have my own sense of what you hope people will take away from the film. But what do you hope people walk away with?
I want them to walk away looking at our mess (Brian and Jennea's) saying, "Oh, my gosh, you really put it out there."
And then I want them to think, "I can get through my mess." That they can make it to self-forgiveness. That they can forgive other people.
That they can deal with anything and everything if they focus, stay steadfast, and persevere.
And I hope people will realize -- and actually be encouraged by -- the fact that some results can be immediate. I had immediate results with certain addictions. And a lot of other encouraging things along the way.
But some of my emotional behaviors took forever. (Laughs.) And that's OK, because if you never give up, you can get there.
So, hopefully, people will see how long my journey was and not get discouraged when things aren't changing as fast as they might like.
It's all about effort. And time.
Say I've decided I need to make a huge change in my life, and the people around me aren't necessarily supportive. Or don't understand why.
When you decide to make a major change, it's not easy for other people. We all like familiarity. We all like things around us to stay the same.
But if you really need a change, there may be people you have to walk away from. Maybe they're a negative influence. Or, more likely, they just don't understand.
For me, I didn't want to be around people who reminded me of who I was as a kid. I needed everything to be new. I wanted to be around people who would inspire me to change.
That sometimes means walking away from a lot of people, but you'll be surprised by how it can come full circle. I came back into many people's lives at the proper time. They went through changes, I went through changes.
It's easy to want to feel safe, even though when you're struggling you're anything but safe.
So don't be afraid to walk away from the familiar. See it as exciting, not scary: new people, new situations, new experiences, new paths. And when you come back around, you'll get to show everyone the new you.
Change isn't something to dread. Change is an adventure.
When you rejoined Korn, was it hard not to slip back into old habits? Or overcome old triggers?
I was afraid of that. I did feel some anxiety.
But then I saw my friends' faces and realized they wanted the same things. They wanted positivity. They wanted to focus on the band and the music and not the rock star stuff. The "rock star" thing, the pride, the excess ... It's ultimately meaningless and empty.
What it's about is playing music, with your friends, for people who enjoy what you do. Once I saw that sense of unity and purpose, it was a lot easier.
The old days had passed, for me and for them.
Like I said: Life, and people, really can come full circle.
Yet to me one of the biggest takeaways from the movie is that no matter how much you change, life will never be perfect. And that's OK. Actually, more than OK.
Nothing will ever be perfect. I definitely will never be perfect. (Laughs.) I'll never be the perfect father. Or the perfect band member. No matter who you are, you will always have issues.
And like you said, that's OK. I left the band and lost so much, but a part of me wanted to go through the hard times. A part of me wanted to go through the struggle. I had read books where people lost everything and, in the process, developed spiritually and emotionally, gained wisdom. Everything ended up OK. It wasn't the end of the world.
So, in a strange way, I had this desire to go through it. And then when it actually started happening, I started freaking out. (Laughs.)
But I'm glad I went through it. I'm glad I went through it with my daughter. I'm glad I went through the financial struggles. And I'm glad I know that checking off one "box" doesn't mean that box will stay checked off forever. (Laughs.)
Everyone has their our own unique crosses to carry. And that's a good thing. Working through hard times brings the good out of you.
As long as you stay focused and, no matter what happens, refuse to give up.