Rocking Austin

Published 11:10 am Saturday, April 3, 2010

Michelle Fimon isn’t a promoter, but a string of events led her to help bring a concert of some significance to Austin.

Thursday night, Brian “Head” Welch, former guitar player with the nu-metal band Korn will play the Paramount Theatre with opening acts Children 18:3 and The Classic Crime.

During his performance, Welch and his band will perform, as well as share his story, a story with chapters Fimon can relate to.

Like Welch, who fought his way through drugs and hardship, Fimon has dealt with her own demons as well as a bout with breast cancer one and a half years ago.

“I was at a place where I was absolutely paralyzed with a fear of dying,” Fimon said.

Who: Brian “Head” Welch, Children 18:3, and The Classic Crime

When: Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Where: The Paramount Theatre

Tickets: Sold Out, though there is a concert at Club 3 Dedrees Friday in Minneapolis

Fimon’s story is a long one. The victim of a physical attack in her teens, Fimon turned to drinking and fell into a life filled with self-destruction.

But that’s the past and while the story of what she endured is a tragic one, it’s not something Fimon wants center on. Her journey is only part of a larger story and the message it brings.

“What I’ve taken from all this is hope,” she said.

Fimon met Welch the first time around the time she was battling her cancer, and it started with a video on the site iamsecond.com. On that site she saw a video testimonial from Welch that she said hit her immediately.

“I saw the video and was struck by it,” she said. “The couple days that followed I couldn’t get this off my chest.”

Her next move, by her own admission, left her questioning herself. With little provocationsave the video, Fimon drove through the night to Colorado where Welch was performing.

“I got there and there were kids lined up at the venue,” she said. “Every one younger than me and I’m thinking, ‘what am I doing here?’”

Fimon retreated to her car and waited and during that wait, she just happened to bump into bandmates of Welch’s. She met them and even walked to a nearby 7/11 convenience store with them while telling them her story.

This ultimately led to a meeting with Welch himself after the show.

“We sat in the back of the tour bus, and he prayed for me,” Fimon said. “My cancer, my son, my finances, everything that had been turned upside down.”

Then last summer Fimon talked with him again, saw the LifeLight Tour coming through the area and realized the opportunity.

Naturally there was some fear involved in that Fimon hadn’t been a promoter before, but like every moment since meeting Welch the first time, things began falling into place.

The initial idea on where to hold the show was the Holiday Inn Convention Center, but it was booked that night. But there was still the Paramount.

“It kept gnawing at me, the Paramount,” she said. The idea was brought to Scott Anderson with the Paramount and eventually the board who threw their support into it.

The support also came from the community.

“That has been what really stood out. The response has been great,” she said. “This is an opportunity to send a message of life experiences that youth might not get through services.”

This is about the message in the end, but a message that doesn’t hide the darker sides. Although he’s changed his life around, Welch’s music is still a punch in both sound and words. Nothing is hidden, everything is laid bare.

The video for the song “Flush” uses vivid and disturbing imagery about the effects of a life dominated by drugs and alcohol and as Fimon admitted, left a little fear as to whether or not this would work.

“I saw ‘Flush’ and I was like ‘whoa,’” Fimon said. “I was uneasy at first, but realized what he was trying to get across.”

There is no way to tell for sure how fans will come out of the concert, but they have responded. The concert is sold out with buses arranged to come over from both Rochester and Albert Lea.

The important thing is that the message is there and that fans at least have the opportunity.

“It’s letting kids know, it’s okay to be spiritual,” she said.

It’s part of Fimon’s larger goal.

“My goal is to open the community’s eyes to how our town has changed over the years,” she said. “People are lost and hurting. You see so much hopelessness, everywhere and it’s dark. I mean dark.”