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Phil Demmel Says Machine Head Became A “Robb Flynn Solo Project”, Reveals He ‘Hates’ Latest Album “Catharsis”


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Former Machine Head guitarist Phil Demmel played his last show with the aforementioned band back in November of last year, exiting the group alongside fellow longtime drummer Dave McClain. Though initially deciding to quit the band prior to the trek, both Demmel & McClain finished out a farewell tour to the band’s then current lineup and largely kept quiet on the details of their reasons to do so.

In a new interview on ‘Talk Toomey‘, Demmel has opened up on why he decided to leave the band after a 15-year stint. Speaking on that, he offered:

“I’m not gonna badmouth the breakup or him [Robb]. I think he’s an amazing musician and the times I had in Machine Head were awesome. The last few years just weren’t. We just didn’t work as people anymore.”

He continued:

“I think he [Robb] strayed from the path of being a band. He stayed on his path. Instead of us being on the same path or asking to be on the same path, it just became, ‘This is what we’re doing.’ and…”

Demmel also distanced himself from the band’s divisive 2018 release, “Catharsis“, going so far to say that he “hates” the effort, offering:

“I hate the last record. There’s moments of what I wrote that I like. I wrote most of the music to ‘California Bleeding‘, but then he [Robb] wrote the lyrics on top of it that I just wish that… Me and Dave talk about it, like, ‘Fuck! I wish I could take my riffs back.’ [Laughs] ‘No, that isn’t what we want them used for.’

So, I think, in that sense, it just became a Robb Flynn solo project, and that isn’t what I signed up for. And the last few years were basically collecting a paycheck. And I just couldn’t do that. The stress and all the talks and all the ‘can’t do this,’ ‘don’t do that,’ ‘don’t do this,’ ‘don’t stand there,’ ‘don’t say this,’ ‘don’t sing the words to the audience,’ don’t point.'”

At one point during the “Catharsis” cycle the band were seen wearing matching white outfits, a decision to which Demmel says he just viewed as being part of the job and he didn’t protest as to not be a “squeaky wheel.” Meanwhile, when Machine Head frontman/guitarist Robb Flynn initially revealed the news of Demmel and McClain‘s decision to quit the band, he pointed the finger at himself in part, stating:

“We have grown apart as people. Musically we’ve grown apart. I have held onto too tight to the reins of this band and I have suffocated those guys. I got some rough edges—I’m kind of a barnacle. And those rough edges have given us the success we have, but they’ve also hurt the people around me.”

In response to whether or not Flynn also conveyed those feelings to Demmel directly as well, he replied:

“The way I remember it, the final talk that we kind of had… I don’t wanna speak out of turn here, so I’m gonna choose my words pretty carefully. I think that—personally; I only speak for me—I think that Robb was just as done with me as I was with him. I think it was, like, ‘Maybe we can go to therapy,’ but it was kind of things that are just being said just to, like, ‘Hey, we both know this is over.’ I think I kind of did him a favor by not having him have to fire me. I think that he believed what he said. And he knows what’s happening, but it’s just the way that he’s running things now. And so, it just didn’t work anymore.”

He also spoke on whether or not the lineup farewell tour was as awkward as it seems, stating:

“…I wasn’t gonna do the [last] tour,” he revealed. “I was hoping that they’d get somebody to replace me. And then Dave said, ‘Well, I’m not gonna do the tour unless you do the tour.’ So, if Dave left, then the tour [would have been] canceled. So we just kind of agreed to, ‘We’ll honor the tour [and] be done.’ The last tour, [it was] totally awkward. Me and Robb [weren’t] talking. It [wasn’t] mean, but there [was] no talking. Onstage, it [was] kind of forced.

I’m sitting here now just kind of processing everything that has happened, and I think that there is still some… I don’t wanna say ‘bitterness,’ but just… I don’t know if I’ve been able to really process the way everything has ended and gone.”

Machine Head themselves intend to continue on with a new guitarist and drummer yet to be announced. Demmel himself stated of a potential replacement:

“…I think that the guitar position for that band would just be a plug-and-play situation. I contributed heavily to the material. But in the end, Robb wants to do what he’s gonna do, so I don’t know how much that would be a factor. The records that I contributed to—five records; well, actually four—I’m not gonna count the last one. ‘The Blackening‘, ‘Locust‘… Those records would look entirely different without my contributions.”

Despite how his time in the band ended, Demmel still prefers to look back at the positive:

“I look back at my time in the band and I’m really proud of everything that we’ve done. I helped take this band from its lowest point to its highest point. We wrote some amazing records, played some amazing shows. So I’m trying to reflect on all the positive stuff. And just being free now of… So much was held back towards the end—in the past couple of years, three or four years—and just being stress-free is what I’m kind of focusing on now. Just focus on all the positive stuff that we’ve done and move forward with all the fun stuff that’s happening now.”

In the same chat, Demmel reveals that Viol-lence have accepted an overseas show offer that will be announced soon. Demmel and that band will be reuniting for an “Eternal Nightmare” show on April 13th at the Oakland Metro in Oakland, CA and a matinee show the day afterwards at the same venue.

[via Blabbermouth]

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