ARTISTdirect.com editor-in-chief Rick Florino recently 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.
ARTISTdirect.com: Did you know you were going to put out a live record before these shows? What’s the mindset behind “Machine Fucking Head Live”?
Flynn: We recorded many different stops in America, the U.K., and Europe. From there, my engineer and I went through and culled the best performances together. We used the shows I thought had the best energy from the crowd and definitely the best energy and performance from us. Then, we just organized it. You can tell sonically when it sounds different. It’s still rocking though. We began doing these dates, and we realized pretty early on that the crowds were fucking insane. [laughs] We were like, “We’ve got to document this and capture it in some way man!” A DVD is a pretty big undertaking. We did one in the U.K. last time, and we wanted to do one for the U.S. However, it didn’t come together. We decided to do a live record instead, and it was so rad to document this period of time. The last live album came out in 2003, and it was only up until “Supercharger”. It’s got the first four records. We put out “Elegies” after that, and it documented “Through the Ashes Of Empires”. Nothing has documented “The Blackening” and “Unto The Locust”, so this was the perfect time to put out something. It’s been a year since the last album came out.
ARTISTdirect.com: What’s your take on “Unto The Locust” as a whole?
Flynn: We wanted to make a record that could stand alongside “The Blackening”. We didn’t want to make “The Blackening II”. We knew that from day one. We just wanted to make a great record that was different in its own right but could stand alongside it. Take BLACK SABBATH‘s “Paranoid”. It’s a freaking awesome record. The next record they did, “Master Of Reality”, is amazing in a totally different way. We wanted to do something like that. “Ride The Lightning” is awesome. In the same manner, “Master Of Puppets” is amazing in a different way. “Permanent Waves” is great, and “Moving Pictures” is totally great in a different way. We got into that kind of mindset. We tried to not copy what we did in the past. Obviously, we’ve got our sound and we keep true to it, but we’re bringing in something new and fresh and challenging ourselves as musicians and seeing where we can go. You never really know that. You can say, “Yeah, I want to do this” before it happens. Once you get into it, you let the music take you where it takes you.
ARTISTdirect.com: You’ve got to listen to this from start-to-finish.
Flynn: For us, that’s how records should be. We’re all big movie buffs, and we wanted to have this cinematic feel or flare to it. It’s got its ups and downs. There’s a gripping, opening scene that keeps you captivated. There are other moments that make the story real. The best movies always end with something amazing. Or in the case of “The Empire Strikes Back”, it leaves you wanting more. I’m showing my inner “Star Wars” nerd there. [laughs] But, “The Empire Strikes Back” has the ultimate cliffhanger. You’re like, “Oh my God, I’ve got to see the next one”.
ARTISTdirect.com: What’s the first thing you think of now when you think of “The Burning Red”?
Flynn: I’m proud of it. There’s some great music on there. It’s a pretty dark record. It was a very cathartic record in a lot of ways. I think it stood the test of time well. Musically, it has. I don’t know if our fashion sense stood the test of time from that record. When I look back on it, it’s cool.
Read the entire interview from ARTISTdirect.com.