MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn was interviewed for a recent episode of “Cutter’s RockCast”. You can now listen to the chat using the Spreaker widget below.
Speaking about MACHINE HEAD‘s somewhat unconventional two-and-a-half-decade career, Flynn said: “As hippy-dippy as it sounds to say, we knew that when were even writing our first album that we were gonna have to do things differently. We were writing a music that might have been the heaviest music around at the time — back in 1993, ’94, we were literally one of the heaviest bands on earth. And we knew that we weren’t gonna get radio play, we knew that we wouldn’t played on MTV and that we were gonna have to go out there and earn our fans in different way. And to us, that way was the road. We’ve toured for no less than 17 months on every album and earned those fans one by one. And at some point, we were kind of, like, ‘We wanna be THE GRATEFUL DEAD of metal.’ It sounds very hippy-dippy to say, but that’s kind of what our mindset was. And we didn’t know how we would get there, but that’s just what we wanted to do. And now here we are, 24 years later, and I’m not gonna sit here and say we’re the heaviest band around — there are a million bands that have come along and taken that crown from us — but we’re one of the best bands around. And that, to me, is why we’re still here.”
Flynn also talked about the fact that MACHINE HEAD has managed to survive and thrive despite never having had a radio hit. Asked if he is bothered by the lack of support that MACHINE HEAD has received from some of the Active Rock stations out there, Flynn said: “If were ask a 26-year-old Robb who was touring on his second album, ‘The More Things Change…’, this question, I would have been, like, ‘Yeah, fuck those people!’ I remember the Lazer [103.3 radio station] in Iowa, we did a radio show with them, and it was a couple of the radio bands. And we were at the radio show, we were main support to the band, and they [the radio station] would refuse to mention our name. So they would mention the headliner, they would mention the opener, but they straight-up refused to mention our name ’cause they weren’t playing us. And I was, like, ‘Fuck these guys!’ We destroyed the dressing room, smashed the P.A., freaked out. I can handle you not playing our music, but you can’t even say our name? C’mon!”
He continued: [But] if you ask me now, look, I get it. This was the music that we wanted to make. This wasn’t aimed at getting airplay, it was aimed at filling a hole inside of us. And whether that music suited the radio climate of the times or whether it didn’t, it suited us. And when I look back on our career, I can look back and go, ‘We’ve had a hell of a run, man. We’ve had a hell of a run.’ The fact that we’ve done as well as we have despite not having all that stuff is maybe one of the most impressive things about it.
“I think if you would have said to me seven years ago, ‘MACHINE HEAD is a mainstream metal band,’ I would have been, like, ‘Ugh! Don’t say [that].’ But if you were to say that to me now, I would go, ‘You know what? We are,'” he said. “We write big hooks, we write big choruses. Sure, it’s brutal. But the difference between us and a lot of other metal bands is that we put in the work — we go do the promo, we do the radio shows, we do the radio interviews, we do all the press. We’re not trying to just negate this to some little niche. We’ve always wanted to reach a bigger audience, and we’ve never been ashamed to say that. And I think a lot of metal bands kind of get in that weird in-between zone, and it’s, like, ‘No. We’re not in that in-between zone.’ That’s what we want. We want our music to be heard. We feel we write great songs, and we want people to hear it. And so we’ve gone and done all the stuff that you need to do to do that. Some bands look at that as selling out, some fans look at that as selling out. To me, it’s just work, and we like working.”
MACHINE HEAD‘s latest album, “Catharsis”, was released on January 26 via Nuclear Blast. The effort was made available in several formats, including a CD/DVD digipak edition which contains footage of MACHINE HEAD‘s 2015 concert at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom.
The follow-up to 2014’s “Bloodstone & Diamonds”, “Catharsis” was produced by Flynn and was recorded, mixed, and co-produced by Zack Ohren (FALLUJAH, ALL SHALL PERISH) at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, California. Mastering was handled by Ted Jensen (HATEBREED, ALICE IN CHAINS, DEFTONES) at Sterling Sound in New York. Cover photography was created by Seanen Middleton.
The North American tour in support of “Catharsis” kicked off on January 25 in Mesa, Arizona. Due to a “severe lung infection” suffered by Flynn, five shows on the trek were canceled. The tour will resume tonight (Friday, February 23) in Chicago, Illinois.