Brian “Head” Welch has apologized for implying Chester Bennington was a “coward” just hours after the LINKIN PARK frontman’s death.
Bennington was found dead on July 20 at his home in Southern California. A Los Angeles County coroner confirmed that the cause of death was “suicide by hanging.”
In a Facebook message posted shortly after he saw the news, the 47-year-old KORN guitarist said “giving up on your kids, fans, and life is the cowardly way out.”
Reacting to the controversial post, one commenter called Welch‘s remarks “incredibly tactless and distasteful” while another blasted them as “ignorant.”
Now, in a brand new interview with Meltdown of Detroit’s WRIF radio station, Welch clarified his statement, saying that he “meant no disrespect” and insisting that he “would have worded” his message “differently” if he had a chance to do it all over again. The guitarist, who just two months earlier revealed that Chris Cornell‘s death hit him hard, said (hear audio below): “It was unfortunate. I spoke from a broken heart, a shattered heart, devastation and grief. And I would have worded it different. But when in the history of rock music, or even the music business, have we ever seen anything like that? [Both guys with] monster voices, such inspirations to so many. Chris Cornell ended his life [and I was] heartbroken. I wasn’t close to him, but it was just like… [You would expect that from] people that are messed up in their lives — not this guy who has a family and is doing so well. And we heard stories, maybe it was the Ativan [a medication used to ease symptoms of anxiety] that did it. So tragic, right? So I started feeling okay after that, ’cause a couple of months passed, or whatever. We wake up and we all see this [news of] Chester [hanging himself] all over TMZ. I’m, like, ‘This has gotta be a hoax. It’s gotta be a hoax. It just can’t be real.’ Then I find out that it’s actually true. And we were all devastated; you should have seen our faces. Just like the whole world, I bet, that knew of this guy. We were in shock. The whole band was talking about it.”
He continued: “What happened was I started grieving. I went and got alone. I went to my hotel room and just kind of was just in shock, thinking about reading everything. ‘Are they sure? Are they sure they got it right?’ And I was just over it. I’m, like, ‘No more, man. Stop!’ Two guys are dead now. They took their lives. And I hear that Chester took it on Chris Cornell‘s birthday. I freaked out. I’m, like, ‘It’s gotta stop.’
Welch went on to say: “Slash [GUNS N’ ROSES] said it best. As I was tweeting, he said… he tweeted, ‘An avalanche of emotions and feelings: sadness, anger, confusion, loss, heartbreak.’ He says, ‘I can go on, but loss and heartbreak reign here.’ And I think I was going through all that stuff, and I did it online. So I learned not to process grief online. And apologies to any of his fans — I meant no disrespect. I was shattered, I was heartbroken and so sorry for my good friends that have been so close to him. But it’s been over a week now. It’s just a sad thing all around.”
The KORN axeman added that he “will take the blame” for the things he said in his original post “because it’s my fault. But I would have worded it differently. ‘Cause I’m honored to [Chester], and the LINKIN PARK guys are so amazing; they’re so cool, man.”
Bennington was laid to rest in a private funeral Saturday (July 29) near his home in Palos Verdes.
LINKIN PARK has canceled plans for a North American tour, with the future of the group unclear at this point.