Toby Cook of The Quietus 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.
The Quietus: Being  years into your career, you’re now elder statesmen of the early ’90s metal bands. With the whole “Big Four” thing going on now, who do you see as your generation’s “Big Four?” And do you see MACHINE HEAD as part of it?
Robb Flynn: Absolutely, we see ourselves as part of something like that. I mean, we paved the way for, and inspired and influenced pretty much a whole generation of bands, and that’s just such an incredible feeling. I read [METALLICA‘s] James Hetfield saying that “The Blackening” completely influenced “Death Magnetic” and then when he told me to my face, and I was like, “What the fuck!?” My fucking brain imploded, y’know? This is a band that was a huge inspiration to us and to have it come around full circle is just incredible. And to have the likes of TRIVIUM, the KILLSWITCH ENGAGE guys, DISTURBED and LAMB OF GOD in existence? It’s pretty cool. So I guess, then, if I had to pick a “Big Four” of our generation, I’d say: SLIPKNOT, MACHINE HEAD, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and LAMB OF GOD.
The Quietus: In the past, you’ve had a habit at shows of pulling people out of the audience for drinking contests or got them to jam on a few chords. In the wake of what happened with Dimebag Darrell back in 2004, did you ever discuss ending that, or was it necessary to continue it, almost as an act of defiance?
Robb Flynn: No, I can’t go around living my life in that much fear. I mean, that’s not to say that we don’t need security — we need security, obviously — we’re happy to have security and there’s obviously times when there are security threats that we have to deal with. A lot of the time those things are completely spontaneous, it’s not like it’s a regular occurrence, it’s something random, really; it’s a lot to do with getting lost in the moment, and sure, in wake of the Dimebag thing, most bands have taken steps with security, but you can’t live your life in fear like that.
The Quietus: The U.K.’s always had a good relationship with MACHINE HEAD and you’re about to embark on an arena tour playing places like Wembley Arena. Is it a challenge to maintain that sense of intimacy and connection for which you’ve become known?
Robb Flynn: We always make an effort to bring out a big show but you have to remember that within that big show there’s still four people playing music, and that ultimately we’re all there not to watch TV or pyro or fucking chicks dancing or whatever, we’re all there because of this music. And as long as you remember that the connection that is there is because of that, I think that’s how you can keep that intimacy. Never let the show, or the effects, or whatever, overshadow the fact that we’re all here because we love music — even in a big venue.
The Quietus: So where do you go next from playing somewhere like Wembley? Does it feel, in a way, like justification for all the effort you’ve put in over the years?
Robb Flynn: I think we can go bigger! Much bigger! I mean, we’re really happy with this run and it seems like a milestone in the band’s career, but I want to headline the O2! I want to headline Wembley stadium! I feel like we can still bring this to a larger audience, we still think there are a lot of people out there that can get turned on to the music we create and can connect in the same way as so many other people have.
Read the entire interview from The Quietus.