Jeffrey Easton of Metal Exiles recently conducted an interview with drummer Dave McClain of San Francisco Bay Area metallers MACHINE HEAD. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Exiles: It has been a long time since “The Blackening” came out. What has held up a new record besides touring?
Dave: We toured for three years on “The Blackening” and when we got off the road last year we went our separate ways. We needed some family time and to decompress or do whatever before we got back in writing mode. When we did get back together, it was for a few days a week to see what we had going on and as the songs started building we were practicing more. We wanted to get in and write the record, but we did not want to rush it, but this [Rockstar Energy Drink] Mayhem [Festival] tour came on our radar so we gave ourselves a deadline to get into the studio and get it done so we got pretty busy towards the end of last year.
Metal Exiles: Considering the length of time you spent on the road for “The Blackening”, do you feel with record sales the way they are that it is necessary to stay out on the road longer?
Dave: “The Blackening” kept doing better so it just snowballed for us. Seven years before ,we did not know if we were going to be a band so we were just soaking it in. Then METALLICA came around the last year and a half of our tour so we did some random dates with them then it turned into a full-blown tour. Now with record sales the way they are, it is all based around live shows, so it is good that we can keep touring and keep it going.
Metal Exiles: The first single is “Locust”, [which features] a lot of great time changes and [is] very aggressive. Why was this chosen as the first single and is this a precursor of what we should expect from the entire record?
Dave: We chose “Locust” because it is, against the other material, middle of the road. It is between the dark stuff we do and the fast brutal stuff. “Locust” just turned into a song for us, just like “Halo” did. We fell in love with the song and when it came time to pick the single, it was just the obvious choice.
Metal Exiles: Is this record picking up where “The Blackening” left off, and what new ground are you guys trying to plow?
Dave: We did not have a set plan when we went into writing, but we did not want to write “The Blackening Part Two”. We were not going to write a bunch of 10-minute songs or three-minute songs; we just went into it blind. We have this musical freedom that we have enjoyed on the last three records, starting with “Through The Ashes Of Empires”, as we do not have any outside influences, nobody looking over our shoulder watching what we are doing.
Metal Exiles: You drummed with SACRED REICH in the early ’90s. What is your best SACRED REICH moment?
Dave: First was just getting the gig with those guys. I was 25 at the time and they were my favorite band at the time. I auditioned for them and they told me I had the gig and they were going to be out on the road with SEPULTURA. It was a dream come true for me. We got to tour with PANTERA on the “Vulgar Display Of Power” tour when that album had just blown up.
Read the entire interview from Metal Exiles.