Machine Head's Robb Flynn

Machine Head’s Robb Flynn On The Backlash To “Catharsis”: “I Was America’s Punching Bag For Nine Months”


Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn was interviewed by Metal Hammer for a lengthy piece that was recently published online. The interview finds Flynn pulling no punches, including his thoughts on the unexpected departure of Phil Demmel and Dave McClain and the divisive response the band’s 2018 album “Catharsis” received. The interview also finds Flynn weighing in on the band’s latest single, “Do Or Die“, and their ongoing 25th anniversary tour in support of “Burn My Eyes“.

When it came to the topic of Demmel and McClain deciding to exit the band following a final tour together, Flynn offered:

“The world got to watch me get divorced on the world wide web. That’s the price of living your life in public. Sure, you get to share your travels around the world and all the high points, but you also get to share all the bad points, too. I didn’t want to pretend it wasn’t happening and then, at the end of the tour, announce that they were leaving.

We’ve had a painfully honest relationship with our fans and that’s been an amazing thing. It’s really created an incredible bond. We’ve gone on this journey together and there’s no way I could look myself in the eye and pretend that this didn’t happen for six weeks, just to protect the fanbase. So we dealt with it and put it out there.”

As for “Catharsis“, Demmel seemingly gave some insight into at least one of his reasons for leaving in an interview this past February, stating that he “hated” the record, calling the band a “Robb Flynn solo project” by that point. Flynn himself doesn’t necessarily subscribe to that accusation, telling Metal Hammer:

“When you step back you can see that everybody was a part of this. I don’t know exactly what brought it to a head, but I know that I’d been writing new music for a while and those guys didn’t want to work on stuff.

So I started demoing some stuff, just so they could hear what I was writing, and then I think there might have been a conversation about the future, because we knew that that upcoming tour was the last thing that we were doing for the tour cycle. Then it went pear-shaped.”

As for the reaction to “Catharsis“, Flynn said of the outpouring of negativity that reached him in response to its release:

“I was America’s punching bag for nine months from when the first song from ‘Catharsis‘ dropped. I couldn’t put up a single fucking post without a hundred trolls raging at me. Being the leader of a band can be lonely. When things aren’t necessarily received well, it’s even lonelier.”

He continued:

“I’m proud as fuck of that record. I knew it was going to piss people off. Somehow it’s become the mythology of ‘Catharsis‘, ‘It was a very divisive record!’ Every fucking article I read! Yeah, it was divisive to white supremacists and racist pieces of shit, it was divisive to the fuckin’ alt-right. But our fans loved it. People love that fucking record. A bunch of asshole trolls who got their fuckin’ panties in a bunch about it. Fuck ’em! I feel like certain groups, the press in particular, want me to apologise for that record. I ain’t apologising for shit!”

After a brief laugh, he went on to say:

“To the extremely vocal minority that didn’t like it, hey man, that’s cool! I’m not mad at you. I’m grateful that anybody liked any moment of Machine Head. If you ever liked one song that I’ve written in my life, I’m unbelievably grateful. Thank you so much for enjoying something that I did.

I think it’s unbelievably arrogant and naïve and fucking stupid to think that everything I write is going to appeal to every single person that ever bought even one album of ours. I don’t expect everybody to stay on this journey, but if you do stick around, it’s gonna be fucking crazy because that’s what life’s like.”

Machine Head recently wrapped up the first European/UK leg of their “Burn My Eyes” 25th anniversary tour with returning members Logan Mader and Chris Kontos back in the fold. Those shows feature two performances, one being a full album set each night with those aforementioned two alumni.

The second performance finds Flynn and current Machine Head bassist/vocalist Jared MacEachern playing a separate set of Machine Head‘s traditional material with Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka (Decapitated) on guitar and Matt Alston (Devilment) on drums. The following legs of have already been booked for that tour:

01/16 Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
01/18 Albuquerque, NM – El Rey
01/20 Dallas, TX – House Of Blues
01/21 San Antonio, TX – Aztec Theatre
01/22 Houston, TX – House Of Blues
01/22 Orlando, FL – House Of Blues
01/27 Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Revolution
01/28 Tampa, FL – Ritz Ybor
01/30 Atlanta, GA – Center Stage
01/31 Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore
02/01 New York City, NY – Webster Hall
02/04 Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
02/05 Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre
02/07 Boston, MA – House Of Blues
02/08 Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
02/09 Cleveland, OH – Agora Theater
02/11 Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue
02/12 Louisville, KY – Mercury Ballroom
02/14 Detroit, MI – Crofoot
02/15 Chicago, IL – Metro
02/16 Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theatre
02/18 Denver, CO – The Gothic Theatre
02/19 Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot
02/21 Oakland, CA – Fox Theater
02/22 Anaheim, CA – House Of Blues

04/19 Zaragoza, SPA – Teatro de las Esquinas
04/21 Santiago de Compostela, SPA – Capitol
04/23 Oporto, POR – Coliseu de Porto
04/24 Lisbon, POR – Coliseu de Lisboa
04/25 Madrid, SPA – La Riviera
04/27 Malaga, SPA – Paris 15
04/28 Murcia, SPA – Gamma
04/28 Valencia, SPA – Republicca
05/01 Barcelona, SPA – Razzmatazz
05/02 Toulouse, FRA – Le Bikini
05/05 Ludwigsburg, GER – MHP Arena
05/06 Wiesbaden, GER – Schlachthof
05/08 Hannover, GER – Swiss Life Hall
05/09 Prague, CZE – Forum Karlin
05/10 Bratislava, SLO – Refinery Gallery
05/12 Bucharest, ROM – Quantic Club
05/13 Sofia, BUL – Universiada Hall
05/15 Thessaloniki, GRE – Fix Factory Of Sound
05/16 Athens, GRE – Piraeus Academy
05/20 Kiev, UKR – Stereoplaza
05/22 Moscow, RUS – 1930 Moscow
05/23 St. Petersburg, RUS – A2
05/25 Helsinki, FIN – The Circus
05/28 Stockholm, SWE – Fryhuset Arenan
05/29 Oslo, NOR – Sentrum Scene
05/30 Aarhus, DEN – Train
06/01 Hamburg, GER – Grosse Freiheit 36
06/02 Utrecht, NET – Tivoliredenburg
06/03 Lille, FRA – Aeronef
06/05 London, UK – Alexandra Palace
06/06 Birmingham, UK – Academy

Tickets for those shows are available here. may receive a commission from tickets purchased through the link in the above post. “Supercharger” turns 20 in 2021, so you may want to catch them on this run, just sayin’.

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