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With My Eyes Wide Open by Brian “Head” Welch (Book Review)

With My Eyes Wide Open by Brian “Head” Welch (Book Review)With My Eyes Wide Open: Miracles and Mistakes on My Way Back to KoRn Published by Thomas Nelson
Pages: 240
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He left KoRn to help himself. He went back to help others. And along the way, he nearly lost everything.
A life-changing spiritual awakening freed Brian “Head” Welch from a stranglehold of drugs and alcohol and prompted him to leave the highly successful nu-metal band KoRn in 2005. What followed was a decade-long trial by fire, from the perils of fathering a teen lost in depression and self-mutilation to the harsh realities of playing solo and surviving the shattering betrayal of a trusted friend. In this intensely inspiring redemption saga, perhaps most inspiring is Brian’s radical decision to rejoin KoRn and reconcile with the tribe of people he once considered family in the metal music scene.
Brian returned to his musical roots with a clear head and a devoted heart. Though his story is wild, hilarious, and deeply poignant, the message is simple: God will love you into the freedom of being yourself, as long as you keep the relationship going and never, ever quit.

After I decided to consider Luck, Love, and Lemon Pie a DNF (did not finish) I moved on to reading With My Eyes Wide Open by Brian “Head” Welch. I’ve always been a big fan of KoRn and I remember when Head first made the announcement that he was leaving KoRn to focus on raising his daughter as a single dad. I knew that he’d devoted his life to following Jesus and religion played a major role in his new life. I also remember when he rejoined KoRn. This book shares his life as a single dad, his tense relationship with his daughter, and the struggles he faced between leaving KoRn and their reunion. I love KoRn and I love Brian “Head” Welch but, unfortunately, I did not love this book.

I read it start to finish in 2 days. Admittedly, I stuck with it because I was stunned by the terrible decisions Head was making. It had nothing to do with this being a book that was capturing my attention. As a Christian myself I understand following where you feel God is leading you. I just couldn’t believe that Head allowed religion to blind him to the con artists that continually manipulated him and drove him into bankruptcy. The entire time I was reading it I kept thinking that surely he couldn’t be that blind to what was happening. He was with KoRn for years, surely he knew the importance of contracts and the risk of shady business deals. Just…damn Head. Really?!?

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He was well-intentioned with his daughter, Jennea, but I was stunned at poor decision after poor decision. He left KoRn to spend more time with her then rips her out of school, continues to move her around, gets her a dog just to give it away, and continues to make terrible decisions that drive his family into bankruptcy. Over and over again I found myself wanting to like the book but feeling annoyed and frustrated. I hate to say it, but it almost succeeded in making me less of a fan. Just…really Head? I mean, every single decision was horrible. 

It also irritated me that he fell back on religion as the reason for everything. I get it. I share his faith but personal accountability goes a long way and God did grant us free will. Head struck me as one of those people that discovers faith and then uses it as an excuse to justify everything in his life – good and bad. It doesn’t work like that. You have free will. You’re responsible for your behavior and decisions, even the shitty ones. You can’t claim you’re under attack for your faith when things are bad and claim that God is blessing you when things are good and use religion as a way of avoiding taking responsibility for your own life. 

As a last note – this book desperately needs a good editor. I feel like it could have been a million times better if an editor went through it and cleaned it up. I received an early copy of it through NetGalley and I know it’s not a final edition but damn. I mean…I just…I’m so disappointed in this. It could have and should have been fantastic but it fell very short of being anything better than fair. See more reviews on Amazon.

I've been a fan of the band KoRn since they debuted with their first album back in 1994 and was really excited to read this book by guitarist Brian "Head" Welch. I knew he left the band to focus on raising his daughter but I never knew the details of how much his life changed and how much he struggled after doing so. I had really high hopes for this book but in the end, it let me down.

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