Machine Head's Robb Flynn

Machine Head’s Robb Flynn Comments On Using Racial & Homophobic Slurs In New Song “Bastards”


Though the album isn’t in stores yet, the reaction to the material shared in advance from Machine Head‘s forthcoming new album has certainly been divisive. The reaction to the latest track to debut, “Bastards“, may be the most extreme yet however. Notably frontman/guitarist Robb Flynn uses racial and homophobic slurs in the track to get his point of acceptance across on the politically oriented track.

Metal Hammer asked him why he chose to go that route, to which he replied:

“That song is a simple folk song to me, it’s four chords that have been played a million times over for the last hundred years, and it’s still the best way to tell a story. That song is based off a conversation my wife and I had with my two boys, the day after the election in America. It was a really intense conversation, it was a really difficult conversation.

I was really affected by it and I ended up writing this poem the next day. When I was done writing, I just picked up a guitar and I started playing those chords and singing the chorus, I went and recorded a YouTube clip of an acoustic version, and at that time I thought that was it.

I got what I needed to say out, and I wanted to get out what I needed to say in vulgar terms, in coarse terms and use the language that I was hearing Them use against them. And that’s where that idea came from. I wrote that song in 45 minutes, I was very affected, I knew what I was saying but it needed to be said.

There was no plan to put it on the record. Machine Head has always had empowering songs, but that whole idea of stand your ground, don’t let the bastards grind you down, kept on popping up in all these other songs – Catharsis, Hope Begets Hope, Eulogy – and it became this tie in the record. Even though the band hadn’t played a band version of that song, at that point, it started making me think we should try a band version, and I wanted to tune it to F because it sounds fucking heavy, and in some weird way it became the centre-piece of the album.

There was no ‘Why should I say this or why should I say that,’ I just did it because it felt right to do, it felt right to say, it was and still is a confusing time.”

You may recall that Flynn shared this early performance of the track this past November. Machine Head‘s new album “Catharsis” will be out on January 26th.