On November 26, KSSU Loud Rock director Daniel Cordova conducted an interview with guitarist Phil Demmel of San Frnacisco Bay Area metallers MACHINE HEAD. You can now stream the chat using the SoundCloud player below. A couple of excerpts follow.
KSSU Loud Rock: [Bassist] Adam (Duce) and [guitarist/vocalist] Robb (Flynn) seem like a very intense collection of guys, and there seems to be a lot of intensity between everyone in the band. Is it as intense as Blabbermouth articles make it sound or are they being blown out of proportion? I’ve read therapy, I’ve read near-breakups, etc.
Demmel: We’re a family, you know? We’re brothers and every family has their dynamic. They are both alpha males and very driven and everybody in this band has their points of view and but heads. Theirs was just the more public of it. They are very intense individuals, so their arguments get intense or whatever. It’s all about communication, and finding that, how to deal with the confrontations and the issues and concerns. So, think that we’re working on that as I’m sure every band does. We’ve been the same lineup for the same…. Shit, ten years now. So there hasn’t been any member changes in the past twelve or so…
KSSU Loud Rock: I’ve also noticed in the liner notes [for MACHINE HEAD‘s latest album, “Unto The Locust”], that you are more prevalent in the lyrical writing. Is that something that you just found yourself with more inspiration to bring or was Robb like, “I’m tired, help me”?
Demmel: Robb‘s always open for lyrics and helping out with lyrics. It’s always been kind of the last thing that gets done going into the recording. I’ve noticed on the past three records, because that’s what I’ve been around for, while we’re recording we’re still writing lyrics and trying different things. I helped with “The Blackening” with a few songs, just gave him a few. I write different that Robb, lyric-wise. I’ve been writing lyrics for the past thirty years or so, but I write from a more colorful, describing place and Robb is more pronouns, “I, me, you,” this kind of thing. I like to describe things more and come from a more metaphorical…. The locust thing was my idea. So, I think working together on this record, and I was just coming out of this emotional place with a lot of things going on so I had all this purging to do. So, “Locust” um…
KSSU Loud Rock: “Pearls”…
Demmel: Yeah, “Pearls Before Swine” was most of my lyrics, “I Am Hell” was my original concept about a pyromaniac. “Be Still and Know”, I think I had the title more than anything came from something I’ve got it tattooed. It was my grandma’s Bible verse that she gave to me. She put it on my birthday cards and Christmas cards and stuff like that. Each grandkid had a different bible verse and that was mine. I think that Robb and I have found this working relationship has far as writing lyrics. I come out and he’s just, “Throw anything at me! Any phrase! I need five syllables! Ends in ‘L,'” or something like that.
KSSU Loud Rock: I know you guys are in touring mode, but has anything been written for the next album?
Demmel: Not really. Robb has some ideas that he’s shown me, like a couple skeletons. I came up with something over the break. We’ve been home for a couple weeks and I’m excited to show the dudes. So, no real concrete ideas, but couple little skeleton ideas. We write real slow, we’re trying to get a head start.
KSSU Loud Rock: Are you able to touch on anything going on with Roadrunner (Records) right now? As far as, you position on the label, and people stepping now and moving out and stuff like that.
Demmel: You know, it sucked to see all that happen. To see people that have really battled for the band over the years, and become our family that we see on the road, and work with these people, and they were just true fans of the music. They were responsible for a lot of what we are. We’re contractually fulfilled with Roadrunner. The live record (“Machine Fucking Head Live”) was just something, you know, we had this stuff done we wanted to have some material to keep out. That wasn’t part of our original contract. We don’t know what we’re going to do. We’ve got three or four [labels] that we’re looking at right now and haven’t ruled anybody out. It’s nice being a free agent that everybody wants right now, as apposed to 2003 when we were the free agent that nobody cared about.
Read the entire interview at KSSU Loud Rock.