You may have remembered hearing the news back in 2005 that one of the world's most popular rock bands, Korn, was losing one of its members--to Jesus. Guitarist Brian "Head" Welch" decided that he wanted to make some major changes in his life--to get off drugs and embrace his Christian faith. Unfortunately for Korn fans, he also decided he could no longer stay in the band if he wanted to stay sober and live his faith.
Now, another member of the band, bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu has come out publically as a Christian and has co-authored a book, "Got the Life: My Journey of Addiction, Faith, Recovery, and Korn," (you can browse the book on Harper Collins' website) which was released earlier this month. However, unlike Head, Fieldy is determined to remain with the band.
In this interview with Beliefnet entertainment editor Dena Ross, Fieldy talks about what brought him to embrace Christianity, how he plans to stay sober, and Korn's response to his conversion.
Your new book begins with a vivid recounting of a night when you were drunk and physically abusive to your wife. Was that your breaking point--when you knew you had to make a really big change?
That was the beginning of my breaking point. I think it all started coming down when after seven days a week, 20 years straight of partying, my body not being able to take it anymore. And then, to top it off, things like that were happening all the time. That's one of many stories in the book. And then to really top it off, my dad goes into the hospital and dies.
Your dad was a Christian?
He walked with the Lord for 18 years.
Did you grow up in a Christian household?
Actually, we never had anything like that. Back in the day if people would even mention the name Jesus, I was like, "What? What's that?" I didn't even know. I didn't know anything.
So he became a Christian when you were older?
Yeah. I already lived on my own. But when we did hang out together, there was something about him—he had so much peace; he was just content. I liked that about him.
Now that you're a Christian, do you experience that same peace that you saw in him?
Yeah. I think I do. It's somewhat like peace, but it's not like you become a Christian and [your] problems go away. I still have my everyday struggles of life and situations that come my way. But I found the difference now is when difficult situations come my way, I'm on a strong foundation and I know how to handle the situation. I don't know how, but following and walking with Christ, He shows me how.
When exactly was the point when you decided to become a Christian?
It was probably after my dad's death. It was a slow process [that] changed me. Actually, it seems really slow, but it goes really fast—it's been three-and-a-half years. But, it was real casual and slow, and it still is today.
The only thing that really works for people is loving them where they're at. To love somebody equals time. You've got to give people time and actually hang out [with them]. I guess that's where my patience comes in. [Some people] dive in so strong and heavy that it's almost like they're using it [to] push people away. And I didn't want to do that. I wasn't trying to push people away.
Did Brian "Head" Welch [former guitarist for Korn who left the band in 2005 after becoming a Christian] play a role in your embracing Christianity?
I guess he did play a role, in a way, of me almost learning from… not really his mistakes, because that's his choices of what he wanted to do. But I don't want to have to quit Korn or do this or do that. I didn't follow his ways, and I'm glad, because I'm following the way that I've been called to follow, and he's going the way he's been called to follow. But who knows what tomorrow will bring. Head may be back rocking out with Korn [one day].
So you're still with the band, and you plan on staying with them?
Yeah. Korn's actually in the studio right now with the producer that did the first two Korn albums, Ross Robinson. We've been in for about a month—me, [guitarist] Munky and [drummer] Ray Luzier and [singer] Jonathan Davis, and we're working on a new album. We have a tour coming up April 25th, a U.S. tour. Then we take off to Europe in June for a couple of weeks.
Like I said, I was real humble, and changed by action, not by words. And action speaks louder than words, so I kind of just [became a Christian] and really never said anything.
It's funny, because Jonathan Davis would say something to somebody and he's, like, "Oh yeah, Fieldy's a Christian now," and I'm like, "I never even told you that." My actions were speaking for me. I've had a few friends do that, where I've never really said [I became a Christian].
Yeah. Absolutely, I think it's been positive because they enjoy my actions more--the way I'm living.
I learned that you really can't tell anybody what to do. You've got to love people where they're at. And if what I have is authentic and good, people are going to want it. And if they want it, cool. If they don't, they don't. That's their choice. I can't force it on them.
Do you think it will be difficult to stay sober and Christian in a band like Korn?
I think maybe for some people. But as for myself, when I first made my change, I was thrown right back out on tour into that dark circle of partying and all that, and I didn't have a problem with it. I would just change my schedule to working out in the daytime and going out and seeing the city—just flipping my schedule around so I'm not just sitting around. I don't know if I would be tempted, but I just knew how I used to think when I was partying and I'm like, "I can't even have a conversation with any of these people. They're probably not going to remember it anyways."
Things tend to get more negative and dark at night. It's a waste for me to be out there sober and hanging out with a bunch of people partying.
Do you think Head was nervous about his ability to stay sober and Christian in Korn?
From an outside view, I can only say that I don't really think he quit Korn for any other reason than maybe he was afraid of falling short and getting tempted. I think if he feels that way, he should stay away. And hopefully, if that is the reason, he can get strong enough to be able to one day come back, rock out with Korn and we could do some big things together.
Do you know of any other Christians in mainstream bands who are struggling with their faith in their profession?
We were touring with Flyleaf— they're a Christian band [that is popular in the mainstream] and I became friends with Sameer, the guitar player. I still talk to him now. He was struggling for a minute, and [he said], "Man, I just want to quit and just go home and praise the Lord."
We had a long talk, and I said, "If you stay in Flyleaf, I know it's hard but you're able to reach so many people. You walk off your bus and there's crowds of kids waiting." I told him the Holy Spirit doesn't always take us where we want to go. It took Christ out in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights with no food, no water, no nothing, and the devil. The Holy Spirit's not always going to take us where we want to go. You just got to know that that's where you're supposed to be. I told him, "If you walk away from this, you're going to have a hard time reaching anybody."
Sometimes the power you're using is not what you want, but you got to see. If you're strong enough to stay there, you should stay.
Do you have advice for our readers who may be struggling with addiction?
Remove yourself from wherever the craving is. If you're in the kitchen and you're craving some chocolate cake, go outside and go on a run or go on a walk. Remove yourself [completely]--not walk into a living room. Go get your mind on something else and do something else.
I've found one of the most powerful things for me that I turned to for a lot of years is in Corinthians 10, verse 11. "The temptations in your life are no different than what others experience, and God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure."
For anybody who's struggling, pull that out and read it and you'll win. It's powerful.