Robb Flynn of San Francisco Bay Area metallers MACHINE HEAD has posted the latest installment of his online blog, "The General Journals: Diary Of A Frontman... And Other Ramblings". It follows below in its entirety.
"I'm in a shitty mood.
"Not for the story I'm about to tell, but because of my thoughts afterward.
"I went out to San Francisco for my buddy Joe's birthday shenanigans. We went out for Moroccan food at a joint called El Mansour. The place had a great vibe, belly dancing, sword balancing, and amazing food! The lamb in particular was to-freakin'-die-for, slow roasted and covered in honey and cinnamon.
"On the way out there, Joe's buddy Tony picked me up from JingleTown [studio], since I didn't want to drive as I knew I'd be drinking. On the hour-long trip out (Saturday traffic to San Francisco), he was telling me some pretty awesome stories about growing up in the ''70s. You see, Tony was a teenager in 1975, and used to go the famous San Francisco venue Winterland. Winterland was before my time, but being part of the scene you heard the legend, the stories and the history.
"Tony is a big BLACK SABBATH fan, saw them back in '75 on the 'Sabotage' tour and said it was a life-changing experience. Him and his buddies used to go to Winterland, load up on LSD, cigarettes, and weed, and go watch pretty much the cream of the crop of classic rock bands. TED NUGENT, SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE, JOURNEY, MONTROSE, you name it, he went and saw it. The shows would start and if people loved the opening band (essentially cheering non-stop) they'd get to do encores. He was telling me about a show JOURNEY (the opener!), killed it, and they got 4 encores, the support band got 4 encores! Then the headliner, MONTROSE, got 5 ENCORES! MONTROSE didn't stop playing until 2:30 in the morning, everyone stayed, no one would even dare consider leaving and people experienced some of the best music of their lives.
"An opener getting encores, crazy…
"And the venue allowed things like this to happen. The venue just kept the bands rolling.
"Not only that, but all of the shows at Winterland were $4.50.
"4 dollars and 50 cents…..18 freakin' quarters!
"All I could think of was 'what an amazing time for music.'
"People wonder why the 'classic rock' bands were so good. They were playing by their own rules, and they had a culture of venues and people around that were as crazy and fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants as the bands themselves. The promoters around that time did anything to make the bands happy and if it meant playing all goddamn night? Let 'em!
"I tell you right now, though, there isn't a band out there who would play til 2:30 a.m. nowadays, let alone find a major venue that would even ALLOW such a thing.
"I remember when I first started going to /playing thrash shows, it was a very similar thing. It was no rules, no security, no safety, no curfews, and for the most part anything went!
Venues these days are mostly run with union workers. In most major cities, you have to take breaks during the day, where a band can't even sound check for an hour because the union workers need a 'break.' Nowadays if you play 1 minute past 11 p.m. at any of the large union venues, it costs the band $1,000 dollars a minute. When we were out with METALLICA playing arenas they regularly play 20 minutes past 11:00 p.m., and they regularly paid $20,000 to do so.
"I went and saw PEARL JAM about a month ago, and they played one of the best, most truly rock 'n' roll shows I've seen in eons. It was fucking magical, Eddie Vedder drank 3 bottles of wine, and about 2 hours into the set, he started getting a little sloppy, forgetting lyrics, missing cues, it looked like it was about to fall off the rails. The band then they took a quick break and he came back and played 'Black'.
"Let me tell you, it was magic! I'm getting goose bumps writing this, just remembering it. It was such a turn-around; it totally took the night to an even higher level. At this point they were already 45 minutes past 11. They played several more songs and eventually the Oakland Arena (currently called the Oracle Arena, until some different stupid corporate sponsor buys it and changes it to something ridiculous like Florida's 1-800-Ask Gary Amphitheater) turned on the house lights, signaling them to stop. PEARL JAM said 'fuck you!' and played 2 more songs with the house lights on! Eddie Vedder then brought the band back out onstage to do an extra-long goodbye to the crowd. I love their fucking attitude.
"In the end, they played 70 minutes over 'curfew' and I'd imagine left Oakland about $70,000 dollars lighter to do so. Of course PEARL JAM can afford it, and frankly it gave every single person there one of the best shows of their life. But this gesture to keep the 'room' in a good mood in conjunction with the Winterland conversation, it got me thinking.
"Shit has changed.
"On the one hand, I love PEARL JAM's 'fuck you, were doing it our way' attitude, and on the other hand, it angered and depressed me.
"Only the METALLICAs and PEARL JAMs can pull things like this. Bands that have sold millions of records, and they can afford it.
"If MACHINE HEAD tried playing an hour over curfew at say, the House Of Blues in Dallas, Texas, we'd be walking out of there with our entire guarantee eaten up. Even if the fans wanted it, some venue would do their best to shut it down, cut power, close curtain, whatever.
"The music business has sucked the life out of creativity. No one is encouraged to take risks, no one is encouraged to push the envelope, because it's all about first-week sales! It's about pointless radio play and how good your last tour went. How venues and promoters are squeezing the last drop of spontaneity out of your soul by not 'allowing' you to playing past curfew and not drawing outside the line.
"When we play that game, we essentially applaud mediocrity.
"There's nothing dangerous about music these days, there's nothing surprising about it either. There can't be. Other than PEARL JAM, the only 'band' that doesn't seem to really give a flying fuck and plays by their own rules isn't really a band at all, are they? Axl and the ROSES are known for bending the rules and telling the powers that be to 'fuck off,' but because their band is so confusing they come across as a joke. But people don't see this. People don't see any of this!
"And the reason you don't care is because it's too easy to get sucked into your phone, or your Facebook, or your Twitter, or your Tumblr, or your Instagram, or your games, or your TV shows.
"Music isn't important anymore. Say it is all you want, but the fact is, the 2 biggest rock records of last year only sold 400,000 copies, neither even went gold.
"Music is in the background of a game. Why go to a show when you can watch clips of it on YouTube and bitch about how it stinks live?
"And you know what, I miss music being important! I miss live shows being important. I miss feeling a part of something that was so high on my list I'd crawl through broken glass to get it.
"All this technology we have now that's supposed to make us 'connected?' It's making me feel more fucking disconnected than ever. I mean watching all the things that other people are doing that I'm not invited to or even a apart of? And yet at the same time completely disgusted by faux-self-importance it has given everyone, (here's my dog or cat for the millionth time, here's a selfie for the millionth time, here's my kids for the millionth time, here' the food I'm eating for the millionth time, here's what I'm doing and you're not). Don't you wish you were eating what I'm eating?
I've thought of tweeting or Facebooking something so many time and just went, 'who cares', why should anyone care about this, and you SHOULDN'T care.
"You're all my 'friends,' you've all 'liked' me, but really, you're not my friends, because we don't know each other. You took a photo of me, or you interviewed me, or we talked after a show. And after you get past the initial coolness, of re-connecting with someone from high school on Facebook or Twitter, you realize you truly have drifted apart.
"And fuckin' A, I'm glad we did.
"I don't want to be 'friends' with everyone; I don't want to be 'liked' by everyone. I want to feel connected to something. And nothing I look at in the music business does that. I don't get radio bands; I don't get any of these fucking 'scene bands.' I don't get bands singing about how great being American is, as if the geographic location you were born, (and had zero control over in any way shape or form), somehow makes us better than any other geographical place of birth!?
"I don't get why people don't want to see live music anymore, I don't get it. Did you see the clip of Hetfield talking about how America needs to start 'wanting' music again? This is James 'Fucking' Hetfield talking, people! Didn't those words do anything to anyone? Didn't what he said make you feel a bit disgusted? I'm a METALLICA fan and those words being spoken kind of stung a bit.
"You can bitch all you want that MACHINE HEAD only does festival tours and only plays for 30 minutes, but all those bands (including us) that play festival tours, can't draw squat when were not on festival tours. And even the big metal festivals are having troubles. Maybe the days of bands touring is coming to an end? Bands didn't always tour, you know, Mozart didn't hit the road for a year or 2 back in the day. Touring is really a phenomenon of the last 60 years or so. People didn't always buy records, or CDs, or files, or streams, that's also a phenomenon of the last 60 or 70 years.
"I don't get the political fucking correctness of music anymore.
"I don't get the narrow-mindedness of the world anymore.
San Francisco Bay Area metallers MACHINE HEAD entered GREEN DAY's Oakland, California's JingleTown Recording compound on February 9 to begin recording their new album for a late 2014 release via Nuclear Blast Entertainment.
Comments MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn in the latest installment of his online blog, "The General Journals: Diary Of A Frontman... And Other Ramblings": "As I step off the insane recording treadmill I've been on for a few weeks, one thing is for certain, it's all about slow and steady progress. I mean, I really wish I had more of an exciting update to give you, but I've been slammed recording guitars, laying down vocals, and working on some killer packaging ideas with the Nuclear Blast crew.
"Less than a week before we got into JingleTown, we finished a pair of songs, one of which was literally not even an idea the week previous. Phil [Demmel, guitar] brought in some great, GREAT stuff at the 11th hour and we were able to turn it into a really cool song with the working title of 'Sharkbite Days Revisited'. The other song, formerly known as 'Blazing Saddles', just wasn't working. Even though it had some cool parts, it was just too goddamned hard to play and make it sound natural, so we back-burnered it for a while. It was the type of song where we finally realized our mortality, LOL! One of those 'dammit, I can't play this fast at my age anymore' kind of moments! But it was a song that came at a time when we needed a good kick in the ass, and it completely helped break my writer's block. It was the crack in the dam, and after that, all hell flowed. So if anything, it served its purpose well!
"So on the second to last day of rehearsals, [Dave] McClain [drums] and I deconstructed 'Blazing Saddles', and then reconstructed it into a far simpler structure, and it's fuckin' rockin'! Less of a SLAYER/SLIPKNOT vibe, and more of a 'Screaming For Vengeance'-era JUDAS PRIEST feel to it. Appropriately, it has now been given the working title 'Simmering Saddles'.
"I laid down some scratch vocal ideas on the 3 'newest' tunes, and made some huge progress on the song (working title: 'Riffnado'). I can already tell it's gonna be really cool.
"So that's about it for now. I know it doesn't look like much, but as my engineer Juan says, 'There some blood on the board there' (pic below)."
"Killers & Kings". The B-side will be a cover version of the track "Our Darkest Days" from one of MACHINE HEAD's favorite bands, IGNITE.
The third of four tarot cards making up the cover artwork for the "Killers & Kings" single can be seen below. Also available is video footage of MACHINE HEAD members Phil Demmel (guitar), Dave McClain (drums) and Jared MacEachern (bass) laying down backing vocals on the "Our Darkest Days" cover version.
Says MACHINE HEAD guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn: "I remember growing up in the thrash scene and always wanting to hear the demo version of songs. You searched them out. Thankfully, my buddy Jim was a big 'tape trader,' and through trading, we had both METALLICA demos, EXODUS demos, bootlegs of songs sometimes 'years' before they came out.
"I knew how to play every note of 'Pleasure Of The Flesh' by EXODUS easily two years before the record was out. I had SLAYER's 'Reign In Blood' three months before it came out. I remember it still had the hi-hat counts starting the songs!!
"My friends and I would debate the merits of each (the demo was always better, LOL!).
"It's so much cooler to hear it BEFORE the album is out!
"So we're gonna do that for you.
"I can't wait for you guys to hear this stuff. Then you can debate it, haha!"
Tentative songtitles set to appear on the new MACHINE HEAD album include "Killers & Kings", "Beneath The Silt", "Eyes Of The Dead" (formerly "Ojos De La Muerte"), "Sail Into The Black", How We Die" and "Night Of The Long Knives".
San Francisco Bay Area metallers MACHINE HEAD will enter the studio in February to begin recording their new album for a late summer release via the band's new label, Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Tentative songtitles set to appear on the CD include "Killers & Kings", "Beneath The Silt", "Ojos De La Muerte", "Sail Into The Black" and "Night Of The Long Knives".
Speaking to U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine, MACHINE HEAD guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn stated about the band's new material: "It sounds like MACHINE HEAD! It's definitely moving forward, which I feel like we're probably always gonna do.
"We're not a band that ever looks back. We do our thing and try to take the life experiences that we have and the musicianship that we've evolved and try to use it. Obviously, we have our sound and we have the MACHINE HEAD patented harmonics, the downtuned riffs and I sing the way I sing.
"I think Bob Dylan said it best: 'You just find new ways to say the same thing.'"
Speaking about some of the specific tracks and the lyrical themes covered on the new album, Flynn said: "I've got some pretty cool lyrics ready. There's a song called 'Night Of The Long Knives', and it's pretty fucked! It's about the Manson murders, and the lyrics are really dark and vicious.
"We've found some new twists to give to the MACHINE HEAD sound and some new fire and excitement."
Asked what the band's main aims were when they started composing music for the new CD, Flynn said: "Well, it's nice to try and have a plan, but music has a way of unravelling over time! [Laughs] You've just got to roll with it.
"With [2007's] 'The Blackening', I'd love to say I had this grand vision of nine- and 10-minute songs, but the first four songs we wrote were the four shorter songs on the record. For months, there was no indication whatsoever that we'd have 10-minute songs. That stuff came later.
"Human nature wants to control and dictate where things will go, but you can't. It won't let you! The more you try, the more it goes, 'Fuck you.' It's going some other way!"
Regarding whether the songwriting process comes more easily after more than two decades as a band, Flynn said: "I just try and do my thing. With this record in particular, I've tried to discipline myself more with routine, writing a little bit every day, but for months I was in a riff rut. Every riff I wrote fuckin' sucked! Then we took a two-week break and I was writing my Facebook journals about the 'Through The Ashes Of Empires' [MACHINE HEAD's 2003 album] story, and that cleared my head. At the end of those two weeks, the floodgates opened and all hell of riffs poured out. I was so stoked! This torrent of riffs, this molten hot lava, was at my fingertips. It's such a good feeling."
Flynn also revealed that MACHINE HEAD has "definitely got some ideas" for the artwork and imagery for the band's new album, but added: "It's weird, though, because who the fuck even buys albums anymore?
"An album cover is a necessary thing but for so many people it's justa little one-and-a-half-inch square on an iPhone.
"We're going to have a lot of worldwide special editions, so for the people who are still into that stuff, we'll have some next-level shit. Especially with our new label, Nuclear Blast, they can do all of that stuff. They're not afraid to do all these crazy, over-the-top special-edition things and big two-foot metal cases and all that.
"I'm a super-nerd collector and that shit rules to me!"
MACHINE HEAD's most recent studio release, 2011's "Unto The Locust", entered The Billboard 200 chart at position No. 22 — putting them in the Top 25 for the first time in the band's history.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD singer M. Shadows claims that he isn't bothered by MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn's criticism of AVENGED SEVENFOLD's new album, telling a radio station in Canada that "everyone should be entitled to say whatever they want."
In a lengthy critique of "Hail To The King" at MACHINE HEAD's Facebook page, Flynn wrote that the new AVENGED disc is a "blatant jackery" of material from other acts.
Flynn didn't pull any punches, writing, "Congratulations to AVENGED SEVENFOLD on their latest 'covers album' coming in at #1. Who knew that re-recording METALLICA, GUNS N' ROSES, and MEGADETH songs could be such a worldwide hit!!?? Ba-dap Psssssss!!"
The singer/guitarist went on to list his "Top 10 jokes about the new AVENGED SEVENFOLD record," starting with Number 10: "AVENGED SEVENFOLD — Now with even MORE METALLICA.
" For Number Seven, Flynn wrote, "Eyeliner sales skyrocket as thousands of heartbroken goth girls realize 'Hail To The King' is actually 'that ugly AC/DC band's song 'Thunderstruck'."
It was back to METALLICA for Number Three, as Flynn wrote, "'Black album' sales skyrocket as fans realize where new songs came from."
And at Number Two, he fired off, "After hearing AVENGED's GUNS N' ROSES cover 'Doing Time', Axl actually calls Slash, says, 'Dude, what the fuck?!'"
Flynn maintained that he was just having some fun with AVENGED in his critique, saying he was "happy" for the band's success and adding, "While I like the new record, and really dug the last record 'Nightmare' . . . It's time to poke a little fun at A7X."
MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn's latest installment of his online blog, "The General Journals: Diary Of A Frontman... And Other Ramblings - Life Affirming", reads as follows:
"Congratulations to AVENGED SEVENFOLD on their latest 'covers album' coming in at #1.
"Who knew that re-recording METALLICA, GUNS N' ROSES and MEGADETH songs could be such a worldwide hit!!?? Ba-dap Psssssss!!
"I'm on fire!!
"In case you've been living under a rock, AVENGED came in at #1 in multiple countries throughout the world. I'm happy for them. Good band. And while I like the new record, and really dug the last record 'Nightmare', hopefully we're all coming down from our post-orgasmic #1-album-bliss, because it's time to call a spade a spade!! It's time to poke a little fun at A7X, cause there's some blatant jackery goin' on there wiggas!!
"So here are my top 10 jokes about the new AVENGED SEVENFOLD record:
10) AVENGED SEVENFOLD - 'Now with even MORE METALLICA'
9) AVENGED SEVENFOLD to change name to "SAD BUT TWO"
"Number of 'spurting penises' drawn on AVENGED logos suddenly skyrockets
7) Eyeliner sales skyrocket as thousands of heartbroken goth girls realize 'Hail To The King' is actually 'that ugly AC/DC band's song 'Thunderstruck'.'
6) After hearing 'Heretic', Dave Mustaine flips out, blames Obama, METALLICA and UFOs for the A7X stealing 'Symphony Of Destruction'.
5) After seeing how much success the band BUSH had stealing other band names for song titles, A7X decided to steal 'In Flames' for latest chorus. Future chorus lyrics include 'Tr-vi-um' and 'Kill-switch En-gage'
4) Upon hearing latest album, Lars Ulrich goes all gangsta, breaks bottle of Dom Perignon on M. Shadows head, while his 11ft girlfriend put Shadows in headlock, as he screams in Shadows' face, 'You're gonna rip off 'St. Anger' next right, HUH? You're gonna rip off 'St Anger' NEXT RIGHT? HUH, HUH, HUH!!"
MACHINE HEAD guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn has commented on RADIOHEAD frontman Thom Yorke's much-publicized decision to pull songs from music streaming service Spotify.
[dropcap]...[/dropcap] older people... er uh, people my age *ahem*.
"In fact, I was talking to a buddy out here on [Rockstar Energy Drink]Mayhem [Festival] the other day, and he was telling me about a band's new record I should check out, and I was like, 'Oh, yeah, thanks for the reminder. I'll have to Spotify that,' and he gave me a little shit, like, 'Oh, man, you gotta go and 'buy' that shit,' and I was, like, 'I AM buying it, I got Spotify Premium, they're getting money off my stream and if I love it, I'll most likely buy it on iTunes, but dude, I'm on tour, at an amphitheater in the middle of nowhere, when am I going to buy that shit at a store? That most likely doesn't even carry said record?'
"That's the beauty of Spotify. I can get music in an instant, no waiting, no trips to the store, literally within 30 seconds! For 10 bucks a month!! Shit, I spend 5 times that on fucking coffee which doesn't do jack shit for me!!