Machine Head were formed in 1991 in Oakland, California, by Robb Flynn (lead vocals, guitar) and Adam Duce (bass, backing vocals). The current line up of the band comprises Robb Flynn (lead vocals, guitar), Adam Duce (bass, backing vocals), Phil Demmel (lead guitars) and Dave McClain (drums). Machine Head are one of the leading and ultimately influential bands of America’s new heavy metal wave. The very first track they ever worked on was entitled “Death Church” and surprisingly enough was included in the band’s debut album “Burn My Eyes”.
During their early days, after they signed with Roadrunner Records, they toured in the U.S. opening for Napalm Death and Obituary. Following the release of “Burn My Eyes”, Machine Head toured North America alongside Biohazard and Slayer. “Davidian” is perceived as the key track from “Burn My Eyes” and managed to reach number 25 on the UK charts at the time, even though it was removed from radio airplay very soon after its first broadcast, due to the track’s lyrics “[…] Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast […]”, signaling the beginning of the band’s global success.
Line Up Changes:
Before reaching today’s line up, Machine Head went through a series of line up troubles. Apart from Robb Flynn and Adam Duce, who have been members since the earliest days of the band, guitarists and drummers have come and gone several times in the past.
Their first drummer was Tony Constanza, who barely stayed in the band for a year (1991) and then joined other bands such as Crisis and Crowbar. Tony Constanza was replaced by Chris Kontos in late 1991, who remained a member of Machine Head until 1996, when he left to join Konkhra and later Testament, while currently plays for Spiral Arms. Machine Head’s first guitarist was Logan Mader, who left the band to join Pale Demons, Medication, Stereo Black and finally Soulfly. He was replaced by Ahrue Luster in 1998, who stayed in the band until 2002 and then left first to join Horde Of Torment and later Il Nino.
Before moving on to more biographical information of the band, I should take some time to describe each current member’s background and former activity, since I find such information very interesting. Robb Flynn, whose actual name, before he was adopted, was Lawrence Matthew Cardine, was born on July 19, 1968 in Oakland, California. His first band – from 1985 to 1987 – was Forbidden for which he wrote four songs, all of which were included in the band’s debut album and which are: “Chalice of Blood”, “As Good As Dead”, “Forbidden Evil” and part of “March Into Fire”. He left from the band right before the recording of their debut album to join Vio-lence, a member of which was also Phil Demmel – current lead guitarist of Machine Head. Right after Robb Flynn joined Vio-lence, the band signed a contract deal with Mechanic Records and released a demo tape and later a seven-track album entitled “Eternal Nightmare”. Later, in 1990 they released their second album, “Oppressing the Masses” under Megaforce record label (featuring bands such as Anthrax, Testament, M.O.D. and many more) and in 1991 they released a four-track EP. In 1992 Robb Flynn left the band to form Machine Head.
Very little is known about Adam Duce… He was born in 1971 and he is one of the founding members of Machine Head along with Robb Flynn, but other than that no other biographical information on him has ever been published.
Moving on to Phil Demmel… Demmel was born on April 1, 1967. He initially was the lead guitarist of Vio-lence, a band in which his full talent and innovation was first shown. “Eternal Nightmare” is one of the basic tracks of Vio-lence, which proves Demmel’s value, since most of the track’s writing was done by him. After Vio-lence disbanded, he first joined Torque, a local band in Oakland, California, which was basically a Machine Head wannabe band. Then he joined a band named Tecyhnocracy, but soon after they released their first album, he left because, as he has previously stated, he didn’t want to go on tour with them and leave his wife behind at the time. The first time Phil Demmel played for Machine Head was in 2002, when he temporarily joined the band, just to help them out in a couple of shows, but soon after that he officially became the lead guitarist of the band.
Last but not least, Dave McClain was born on October 24, 1965 in Wiesbaden, Germany. He joined Machine Head in 1996 to replace Chris Kontos. Prior to that, he served as a drummer for San Antonio Slayer, Murdercar, Narita and Sacred Reich. The first album that he recorded with Machine Head was “The More Things Change…” which was released in 1997.
Machine Head up to date have released six albums in total. The first is entitled “Burn My Eyes”, was released in 1994, was produced by Colin Richardson and mixed by Colin Richardson and Vincent Wojno. The second album, “The More Things Change…” was released in 1997, was produced by Colin Richardson and mixed by Colin Richardson, Robb Flynn and Andy Sneap. The band’s third album was “The Burning Red”, which was released in 1999, was produced by Ross Robinson and mixed by Terry Date. “Supercharger”, their fourth album, was released in 2001, was produced by Johnny K and mixed by Colin Richardson. The fifth album was “Through The Ashes of Empires” (2004) and was produced by Robb Flynn and mixed by Colin Richardson. Their latest album is entitled “The Blackening” and was released in 2007. “The Blackening” just like “Through The Ashes of Empires” was produced by Robb Flynn and mixed by Colin Richardson.
Other than that, the band also released a live album, “Hellalive” in 2003, which was recorded live at Brixton Academy in London on December 8, 2001. “Hellalive” was produced by Machine Head and mixed by Colin Richardson. In 2005 Machine Head released their only DVD up to date, “Elegies”, which includes live performances of the band from Brixton Academy in London from their live performance on December 8, 2001, several official video clips from “Imperium”, “Days Turn Blue to Gray” and “The Blood, the Sweat, the Tears” as well as personal statements from the band’s members and the makings of “Through the Ashes of Empires” and the three video clips included in the DVD. Machine Head’s latest release is a special edition of “The Blackening”, which includes several live performances of the band and bonus tracks. Robb Flynn and Adam Duce also participated in Roadrunner Records’ release “Roadrunner United” (2005) and consequently the DVD “Roadrunner United: The Concert” (2008).