"That day Jennea was born was like the most euphoric, miraculous unconditional love – total purity in the room – but, I think deep down inside of me I knew I was incapable of being what she needed and deserved." Brian Welch
Ask anyone how much they value their father’s love and you will hear a wide range of emotional responses. From the extremes of love and anger, everyone has a different story when it comes to sharing the heights and depths of experiences with the man they call dad. Loud Crazy Love shows the powerful impact of the relationship between father and daughter when it involves one of the founders of the pioneers of the nu metal music genre, KoRn. Brian “Head” Welch suddenly walked away from a multi-million dollar recording deal with the band he founded to get himself clean from drugs, honour the work of God in his life and to care for his daughter, Jennea.
Beginning in Bakersfield, California, the band started through a bunch of school friends who would come to redefine heavy metal music. Their meteoric rise to fame brought along all of the trappings of money, sex, and drugs. The lifestyle that may draw people to the industry proved to be a shallow and hollow experience for Welch, until his daughter was born and he began to reevaluate his life. The guitarist saw that the atmosphere that he lived in was destroying his body, soul and relationship with his only child. In an attempt to get things right, he eventually found his way into a church and that is where the functional addict discovered the love of Jesus.
Brian’s salvation came as a surprise to his family, the band and even to himself. Despite making the decision to follow Christ, he had quite a bit of work to do to make up for all the damage he had caused to his body and the key relationships in his life. The radical decision to quit KoRn and to dedicate his attention to Jennea seemed to be a noble cause, but things were not easy in this transition for him or for her. The film goes on to show the journey that both needed to travel to find out what was best for their family, their hearts and for the music.
Just like the music of the metal band redefined a genre, Loud Crazy Love manages to reinvent the Christian film documentary. What looks to be a film for the fans of KoRn and Brian Welch is really a story of the long road to redemption for a man and his daughter. First-time directors Trey Hill and Scott Mayo do not hold anything back in showing the response of the band and family to Welch’s salvation. The directors depict every aspect of the band’s lifestyle and do not sanitise any of the language or lifestyles of most of those in the film.
The personal exploration of the Welchs’ lives makes for compelling cinema and proves to be a story that is worth engaging with for the sake of seeing life from their perspective. Going from showing the dark underbelly of the music industry to an endearing biographical sketch of a father and daughter trying to make their way in the world together. By taking on this subject matter, this documentary defies the traditional trappings of Christian films and documentaries. Underneath the tattoos and dreadlocks, there is proof that we are all human and have needs that extend beyond our life situations. The Welch family is willing to show their imperfections despite serving a perfect God and show that they continue to need a daily dose of grace and mercy.
Who is this film meant for? Anyone wanting to engage with a raw, intense and encouraging tale of redemption and progressive sanctification. This is not a film for those with sensitive dispositions, because the world of heavy metal musicians includes all of the aspects you would expect. The language, situations and vices will make some squirm in their seats, but it may make some encouraged that there are Christians that inhabit this world. KoRn and metal fans should love the story of one of their heroes even though his life trajectory may be diametrically opposed to their life choices.
There is no gloss to Brian ‘Head’ Welch’s story, he exposes the extreme highs and utter depths of his life. Especially when it comes to his relationship with Jennea and Christ, he proves that salvation is life-changing, but that the journey out of the pit takes time and comes in different forms for everyone. His story shows that his faith is at the core of his life, how Christ met him where he is living and can work with the KoRn guitarist to impact the world with his unique message.
No sanitising of this film
Even if you are not a KoRn fan, this is worth seeing
This is not for the overly sensitive audience member
Bio and image Russell is an American ex-pat who has been transplanted in his new home of Sydney. He is a reviewer for Insights Magazine and the blog Russelling Reviews. He moderates events called Reel Dialogue (reeldialogue.com) which connects the film industry with the general public.