BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Former Korn lead guitarist Brian “Head” Welch wanted to die.

Until he found something to live for.

“Now I’m living a fairytale,” said Welch, 34, who was a founding member of the hard-rock band Korn. “I swear this is real.”

Before a crowd of 10,000, in three services at Valley Bible Fellowship in Bakersfield, Calif., Welch recounted how his life was changed.

And how desperate he was just a few weeks ago.

“I was addicted to methamphetamines and tried everything ... rehab, stuff on the Internet, but nothing helped me kick it,” said Welch, sitting on stage with pastor Ron Vietti before fans, media and church members Feb. 27.

“I was trying on my own to quit and couldn’t do it. I wanted to die. No one knew what I was going through. I could not quit. Church was my last shot,” said Welch, who wore a black T-shirt, torn jeans and two braids in his hair. 

“I would sit in church high [on drugs],” he said. “I would wonder why people would go up to the front after the service. But one day it was for me. I said [to God], ‘Show me how to quit.’”

Vietti remembers a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt nodding his head at the altar call.

“He always wore the hood,” the pastor said. “Now I’m mentoring him.”

After surrendering his life to Jesus six weeks ago, Welch has not been the same person.

“Just like that I was able to quit drugs,” he said, illustrating with a snap of his fingers. “I realized God will do whatever it takes to make Himself real. I swear this is real.”

In the world’s eyes, Welch said, he had it all.

“I had money, women, drugs of choice,” he said. “But none of it brings happiness. You’ll never find fulfillment in those things. I did it. I was so low. I told God, ‘Just kill me, please.’”

He remembers crying on a daily basis in his misery.

“Instead He’s made me the happiest man in the world,” said Welch, who recently had “Jesus” tattooed across the knuckles of his left hand and Matthew 11:28 on his neck.

He explained that he is thankful for everything now.

“I drive down the street in my Hummer and I look at the sky and say, ‘Thank You, Jesus’,” said Welch, the single father of a 6-year-old daughter.

On Feb. 28, Welch and Vietti joined the church’s Holy Land tour to Israel where Welch plans to be baptized in the Jordan River by Vietti, a pastor for 25 years.

“He used to tell me he would cry every day because he was so sad and now he cries every day out of joy,” Vietti said.

Welch explained why he had Jesus tattooed on his knuckles.

“I was so low I owe it to God that everything I touch I see Jesus,” the guitarist said. “I don’t want to sin at all anymore.”

In each service, Welch invited others to surrender to Jesus.

“If you are nervous or your heart is pounding, just do it,” he encouraged the audience. “Just give in. It’s the coolest thing in the world.”

Carlos Flores, who calls himself the number one Korn fan, accepted the challenge.

With tears streaming down his face, Flores, a high school senior in Bakersfield, recounted, “I worked at a music store and would come in high on drugs. I know what he’s going through. I did drugs, sold drugs and tried to quit. Today I prayed and it feels good. It’s weird.”

Welch spoke with the groups of nearly 200 who gave their hearts to Christ at the end of the three services.

He told them to e-mail him at the church website and he’d answer them all personally.

Not all his fans were so quick to follow his example.