Former MACHINE HEAD guitarist Phil Demmel says that the upcoming 25th-anniversary celebration of the band's "Burn My Eyes" album will be "a cool thing for the fans" to see.
This fall, MACHINE HEAD will embark on the "Burn My Eyes" 25th-anniversary tour. The shows will see MACHINE HEAD's original drummer Chris Kontos and guitarist Logan Mader join guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn and bassist Jared MacEachern onstage again to play the group's classic 1994 debut album in full.
Demmel, who exited MACHINE HEAD last fall after a 16-year stint with the group, told the "Robbcast Podcast" in a new interview that he was pleased to see MACHINE HEAD's "Burn My Eyes" lineup reunite for the upcoming trek.
"When the 'Burn My Eyes' [anniversary tour] got announced, the first thing I thought was, 'What a cool thing for the fans,'" he said (hear audio below). "To see Kontos and Logan… I wish for… in a perfect world that Adam [Duce, bass] could be there, but, obviously, that can't happen."
According to Phil, he was never completely comfortable performing the "Burn My Eyes" material live with MACHINE HEAD. "Playing those old songs always felt like cover tunes to me," Demmel admitted. "I never felt any sort of ownership or entitlement to them, and probably never played them correctly. [Laughs] I could never get the 'Davidian' solo for Logan. He's got such a weird style. There's things of mine that he won't be able to play — or if he does or whatever — but there's things of his that I just never played right. So it's just right that they play those songs."
Demmel went on to draw a parallel to another Bay Area band which went through a series of lineup changes during its storied history,
"There's a band called Y&T — they're one of my favorite rock bands of all time," Demmel said. "And everybody died — Joey Alves [rhythm guitar] died, Phil Kennemore [bass] died and Leonard [Haze, drums] died — and it was never the same. I always wanted to see Leonard playing those songs. Even if the new dude was some awesome, killer drummer, I didn't care — those were those songs. So when you hear the beginning of 'Davidian' or certain parts of others, [like] 'A Nation On Fire', it's, like, 'That's Kontos.' And Logan — the beginning of 'A Nation Of Fire', it should be Logan playing that stuff."
Demmel recently said that MACHINE HEAD "became a Robb Flynn solo project" prior to his departure from the San Francisco Bay Area group. The guitarist announced his exit from MACHINE HEAD in October, explaining at the time that he wanted "to step away and do something else musically." Phil, who first played with Robb in VIO-LENCE in the late 1980s and early 1990s, went on to complete MACHINE HEAD's "Freaks & Zeroes Tour" last fall before officially leaving the band.
Flynn is the sole remaining original member of MACHINE HEAD, which was formed in the early 1990s.
Robb has yet to announce permanent replacements for Demmel and drummer Dave McClain, who also quit MACHINE HEAD in November.