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Robb Flynn Speaks Of The Time He (And Other Members) ‘Quit’ Machine Head


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Machine Head frontman/guitarist Robb Flynn is currently riding high on this weeks release of his bands latest album, “Bloodstone & Diamonds“. But in his latest journal entry he recounts the difficult birthing process that led to it becoming a reality. That process included sobriety, infighting and nearly every member of the band deciding to quit at one point. Read on for a meaty excerpt on all of that:

“I don’t know if there’s been this much debate about a Machine Head album since ‘The Burning Red.’ I’m serious, the reactions are so strong (good or bad) and people feel empowered / compelled enough to voice that opinion. I’ll be brutally honest here as I always want to be when I write these, but at first some of the reactions (both positive and negative) were a bit surprising. But the more I’ve thought about it, I feel like this is a good thing.

Why?

Because I’m grateful we can even put out a new record that is loved or hated or anything-ed. I’m grateful that we’re still making music 20 years after our debut album was released. I’m grateful to be playing Barcelona, Spain tonight after playing 4 sold-out shows in France and Belgium. I’m so, so grateful to be able to play music that inspires me for a living. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the things I’m grateful for. Now it doesn’t mean we don’t work our asses off for it, we do, but we know being in Machine Head is far from the worst job you can have. But all of it means we’re “lucky” to be able to do what we do, and to acknowledge it, to say it.

Two years ago I never thought this feeling of releasing a new album would ever happen again.

On Dec 14th we played the last show on Dethklok tour at the Roseland Ballroom (RIP) in New York City. It was a disastrous day and a disastrous ending to disastrous tour. At that point in time the tension in the band was so thick you could’ve tried to cut it with a knife, but the fucking thing probably would’ve broke your hand. Dave McClain walked off stage and said to me, “that’s the last show I ever play with Adam Duce.” The tour ended and we went home and we didn’t speak the whole time we were home. I buried myself in a bottle amongst other things.

It was over.

Machine Head was over.

And I had reached this exact same place 4 years earlier in 2008 halfway through a European Slipknot tour.

And here I was contemplating the same thing again… quitting the band. Quitting the band that I had started (none of this co-founding shit) with a couple of dudes who lived in my apartment building. At the time I started MH, I had been “around the block” a bit. I’d already released a few albums on different labels (Mechanic/Megaforce/Atlantic); I’d done quite a few van tours etc. These dudes from my building? Well, they had yet to even play a single show in their lives.

So yeah, the band, the band that I had named, drew the logo for, wrote the songs for, and had the contacts for…

I was quitting it.

My lost weekend turned into a lost few weeks. A high point was in late December 2012 when, at my wife’s birthday party I blacked-out bad. Yeah we were at home, the kids were in bed, but it was bad. The next morning (or afternoon) I woke up a fucking mess and decided to get sober.

Jan 2nd I got sober. A week later I started a Master Cleanse, I told Genevra I had to get away, who unhappily agreed, I told Phil and Dave I had to get away, and within 5 days, I booked, and was playing on, a solo / acoustic tour, driving my 4-Runner up and down the highways of California to play a set consisting of half cover songs and half reinterpreted Machine Head songs, in bars, to 100 to 200 people.

I had to strip myself naked, and do something that was frankly terrifying to do. I had to figure this out, and music was the only thing I knew how to do it with. My 2 choices: If I was really going to quit and throw it all away, or if I could (once again) stomach the unbelievable negativity that I was faced with on a daily basis from a quarter of the band. There’s just no room for negativity when at times you’re already in shitty situations. But you’re in it as a band and you should “band” together to get through it.

Or there was a third choice: Parting with a person who at one point, a lifetime ago, was like a brother to me. This person, who at the time of our brotherhood I would’ve (and damn near did) take a bullet for.

Those were my 3 choices.

Life gives us so many complicated problems, but when it boils down to the moment of truth, sometimes, it’s as simple as “stay… quit… change…”

So I quit Machine Head.

I quit, because I was too much of a pussy to part with this person. I decided to tell everyone the next time we were all together.

A week later I was talking with Dave and our manager Joey, and at one point Dave threw out that he was serious about New York, he “wasn’t playing with our bassist ever again, or HE was quitting the band!” Joey laughed and said “oh no you’re not, cause I’m fucking quitting the band!! I laughed and said “fuck you guys, cause I’M quitting the band.”

We all laughed for a minute… laughed that all 3 of us had just quit the band… and then we stopped… because really… there wasn’t anything funny about it. The three of us had all decided independently of each other that we were quitting the band because we couldn’t take the situation we were in anymore. The 3 of us were going to walk away from this, because of someone who didn’t even want to be there.

You all know the rest of the story.

But what you don’t know, is that in the chaos and aftermath of it all, Phil quit the band for a day. What you don’t know, is that Dave and I began fighting like cats and dogs. What you don’t know, is that all the problems between the three of us, that we’d swept under the rug in order to deal with a far bigger problem, now came to the forefront, and it’d be a good 9 months before we could work through them all.

So being able to have this moment now, to know that Phil, Dave, myself, Joey, and Jared can still make music, can still tour the world, can actually enjoy being a band again for the first time since I can remember, that we can put out a new record that’s loved or hated or anything-ed…

We are so beyond fucking grateful.

We are so beyond lucky….”

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