Hats off to Machine Head for putting in a solid 20+ years of heavy music!
So how did MACHINE HEAD come about?
Robb Flynn: At “Day On The Green” [#19—featuring Metallica, Queensrÿche, Faith No More, Soundgarden], I started Machine Head.
Well, sort of… it was more of a figurative thought as I didn’t have a band yet, but after watching [being blown away by] Metallica for the umpteenth time, I decided that I was going to start a side project, as I was unhappy in my then-current band Vio-Lence. Later that night backstage (or maybe while Metallica was still playing and we were watching from the stage-right backstage bleachers?) I turned to my friend, partner-in-crime and long time Vio-Lence fan Adam Duce, and said I was going to start a then-unnamed side project and asked if he would like to play bass. He eagerly agreed!
I had two songs written by then, the heavily Godflesh-inspired “Death Church”, and “Blood For Blood” (both songs that I had already brought to Vio-Lence, but they were not interested in jamming either of them). Vio-Lence had gone through numerous label changes, were unsigned again, thrash was dead, and the vibe in the band at the time was that the new tunes were going to take a more heavy rock/grunge approach—which seemed a bit crazy to me. Though I wasn’t thrilled with our new direction, I said I would stay on, and though no one seemed happy about me doing it; starting a side project seemed fairly reasonable considering our circumstances.
Four months later following a [thoroughly documented] AM/PM gas station brawl after an Unjust/Deftones show at the Omni in Oakland, I quit Vio-Lence and focused on Machine Head full time…Although that was still four months away, and for now, it was just a thought, an idea, a dream—that metal could be taken to a different, heavier place.
- Did I think that 21 years later Machine Head would be a Top 25, Top 10 or Top 5 charting band throughout the world? Hell no.
- Did I think Machine Head would even be going 21 years later? God no!
- Did I think that we could become one of the best American metal bands on the planet? Yes.
21 years ago, Machine Head was born!
*Machine Head‘s music crosses several genres such as thrash metal, groove metal, and heavy metal. The band is influenced by Bay Area thrash metal bands such as: Metallica, Exodus, Slayer, Testament, and perhaps 90′s “groove-metal kings” Pantera.
Their early albums Burn My Eyes and The More Things Change show a more thrash-inspired approach and feature some kick-ass drumming by Chris Kontos and Dave McClain. The band changed their musical direction a bit for the albums The Burning Red and Supercharger, which resulted in some criticism because of the popularity of “nu-metal” at the time. However, they returned to form with the album Through the Ashes of Empires, which proved to be more popular with fans.
The band increased the complexity and technicality in their sound for the next album, The Blackening, which feature similar styles to the earlier albums, with complex song structures and guitar riffs. Their latest, Unto the Locust features heavier and faster riffs by both Robb Flynn and Phil Demmel supported by some faster drum patterns [blast beats] by Dave Mclain.
“[MACHINE HEAD] was just a thought, an idea, a dream—that metal could be taken to a different, heavier place.”
Official MACHINE HEAD Website
*above diary entry reprinted by permission
June 3, 2012 | Categories: Demolish Issue #1 | Tags: Adam Duce, Dave Mclain, ex-Vio-Lence, MACHINE HEAD, metallica, Phil Demmel, Robb Flynn, The Blackening, Unto the Locust, Vio-Lence | Leave A Comment »
By Curt King
*Are you a lyric person and know each and every word to your favorite Metal song(s)? Are you mainly into the music (like me) and enjoy the grooves, power or riffing throughout? Or perhaps you are just a casual listener and just like listening to the music “as a whole” and do not go off the deep-end analyzing your tuneage?! Which ever type you are, did you ever think about what the real musicians in your favorite bands thought? Yes, no…maybe?
Either way -I thought it would be interesting to “get inside” the head of the bands that I spoke to during Demolish interviews and or the various musicians we hung out with backstage or on their tour bus, you know -to find out what makes them tick and to see what they think makes a good song. Remember these guys are music fans too.
For my curiosity I decided to pose the question above to a wide selection of bands (you might even notice a certain Canadian band member filling out the “official” Demolish questionnaire in a pic below)! I really enjoy giving out these sheets for the guys (and a few gals) to fill out. Oftentimes it turns into a comedic outbreak and the bands really have fun with it. Other times I have to corner some of them to get them to take part. It never ceases to amaze me what they end up writing down too. Some are comedians, some are sarcastic BUT I would never say any were boring!
It also helps me to remember what we were doing at the time, for example, I recall eating pizza and drinking some beers with SACRED REICH backstage before their show at Bogart’s and you can still see pizza and or food stains all over the sheets! Priceless. Many of the band’s even gave me their home address and or phones number so I could send them the issue they appeared in. Wow, you mean at the end of the day these guys are “real” people? You bet…
OK, without further ado, here are some of the results from a hand-picked selection of my favorite bands! N-joy…
“Originality, intensity, feeling and good lyrics…something that never grows old.”
-Jay Abbene (Wrathchild) Guitar
“A song that grooves, has melody and context (and has nothing to do with religion.”
-Brad Divens (Wrathchild America) Lead Vocals/Bass
“Structure, heaviness and good lyrics.”
-Shannon Larkin (Wrathchild America) Drums
“Honesty”- Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth (OverKill) Lead Vocals
“Anything, any topic. Any feel or mood that’s cool. Must have power and talent, whether it’s three chords or three hundred.” – Bobby Gustafson (OverKill) Lead Guitar
“A good groove and good melody line. Also a good performance + production.” - Sid Falck (OverKill) Drummer
“When they say – Hey, that’s a good song”
- Chuck Billy (Testament) Lead Vocals
“A good feel. Good grooves and good lyrics that mean something.”
- Eric Peterson (Testament) Guitar
“One that is well-played, well-written and that you like and you won’t forget.”
- Alex Skolnick (Testament) Lead Guitar
“Make sure that it’s not boring! A lot of colors, a lot of changes, BUT with harmony and even melodies.”
-Denis “Piggy” D’Amour (Voivod) Lead Guitar
R.I.P. Piggy we miss you! You were a phenomenal guitarist and way ahead of your time.
“Feelings have to pass through my body…whatever it is.”
- Denis “Snake” Belanger (Voivod) Lead Singer
- Jean-Yves Theriault (Voivod) Bass/Artwork
“Must have a good topic, heavy/speed + slow “crunch” and something unexpected.” – Sean Killian (Vio-Lence) Lead Vocals
“Originality.” – Phil Demmel (Vio-Lence) Guitar
“The structure helps a lot. A strong riff with a catchy melody or hook + good playing.” -Robb Flynn (Vio-Lence) Guitar
So hopefully now you will know what these Metal giants think “makes a good song”!! Maybe you enjoyed reading these as much as I did asking them and compiling them over the years. If so peep the first round here.
*If you liked this post and or day dreaming inside our Metal time capsule, then please make sure you subscribe via our RSS feed (or via regular email)…if you are lost in Demolish land and cannot find your way out or where to go next, then click here. Rock on! - Curt King (Demolish Ed.)
May 7, 2010 | Categories: Demolish Asks II, Demolish Issue #1 | Tags: 80's metal, Alex Skolnick, Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth OVERKILL, Bobby Gustafson, Brad Divens, Chuck Billy, Denis Belanger, Denis D'Amour, entertainment, Eric Peterson, Heavy Metal Songs, Jay Abbene, Jean-Yves Theriault, Music, OverKill, Phil Demmel, Robb Flynn, Sean Killian, shannon larkin, Sid Falck, Testament, Vio-Lence, Voivod, what makes a good song, wrathchild america | Leave A Comment »