MACHINE HEAD Frontman Talks New Album, Touring With SEPULTURA And ‘Big Four’

On September 13, Bob Zerull of Zoiks! Online conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn of San Francisco Bay Area metallers MACHINE HEAD. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Zoiks! Online: Can you tell us about your new album, “Unto The Locust”?

Robb Flynn: It is the logical follow up to “The Blackening”, but it is not “The Blackening II”. It’s definitely going… it’s part of the evolutionary chain of MACHINE HEAD records, but it’s still has all the things that you’ve grown to know and love about MACHINE HEAD. It’s got the patented harmonics, heavy vocals, fast, grooving.

Zoiks! Online: When you’re making an album, what point do you realize you have something special?

Robb Flynn: I think it differs from album to album. But with this record, even from the first song that was finished, we knew we had something special. The first song that was done was “This Is The End”. We knew we had something different, something special, and something very unique and that was inspiring. It was really inspiring to have such a strong start and that helped spread into the rest of the work.

Zoiks! Online: You are heading out to South America for the first time in a long time with SEPULTURA. How excited are you?

Robb Flynn: Super-excited. We played Argentina one time, but we’ve never been to Brazil, we’ve never been to Chile. To go out and have SEPULTURA co-headline with us and let us close is amazing. It’s huge. It’s killer, we’re really stoked. The response to the tour has been phenomenal; we’re very much looking forward to it. I’ve seen so many of the Rock In Rios with RUSH and the MAIDEN thing… I’ve just heard so many amazing thing about it; I can’t wait.

Zoiks! Online: How did that opportunity come about?

Robb Flynn: When I was at NAMM [in Anaheim, California], I went to see SEPULTURA play. We’ve never toured with SEPULTURA before, but we knew the guys. Obviously they were a huge influence to us. They were one of the main reasons that we wanted to sign with Roadrunner. We felt whoever SEPULTURA was with, they knew what they were doing. I was just talking to Andreas [Kisser, SEPULTURA guitarist] at the show and it was kind of like, “We should tour, man.” They were getting ready to release their record, we hadn’t been there, it was a great opportunity to get together. They were like, “You guys can headline, and it’ll be fucking awesome.”

Zoiks! Online: When the Big Four shows [featuring the so-called “Big Four” bands of 1980s thrash metal: METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX] were just a rumor, [SLAYER guitarist] Kerry King mentioned that he thought MACHINE HEAD should be a part of it. What was your reaction to that?

Robb Flynn: I was blown away when he said that. I don’t know if we felt like we should be involved. Those were the classic bands. Those were the bands that we looked up to. For my part, being on tour with METALLICA, it was cool to play this little role in putting that all together. I kept on asking Lars [Ulrich], “How come METALLICA and SLAYER have never toured together? You guys should tour. We’d be all hammered. Then in L.A., I introduced Kerry and Lars and said, “Hey, man, you guys should tour together.” I kept on sprinkling some seeds. I didn’t play any big role in it or anything, I was just sprinkling seeds here and there… watered it a little bit. To see it finally happen was just incredible; it’s such a cool thing.

Zoiks! Online: I interviewed KORN awhile back and asked them when they were starting out, what bands helped them get the word out and show them the ropes and they said MACHINE HEAD. Was there a band that was influential when you were first starting out that you learned from?

Robb Flynn: Hmmm, I don’t know if we learned from them, but BIOHAZARD, who was also on Roadrunner at the time, definitely were big supporters of the band. They were really hot at the time, they had that video on “Beavis And Butthead”. They really backed the band, even from before, I was seeing them open for THE EXPLOITED like super hardcore punk rock shows, We loved them. SEPULTURA I think gave us the thumbs, NAPALM DEATH, SLAYER… not getting us signed, but SLAYER took us on tour.

Read the entire interview from Zoiks! Online.