MACHINE HEAD mainman Robb Flynn has downplayed the number of lineup changes the band has gone through in its nearly three-decade existence.
Flynn is the sole remaining original member of MACHINE HEAD, which formed in 1991 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The group recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of its debut album, "Burn My Eyes", by performing the LP in its entirety on European and North American tours, with former members Chris Kontos (drums) and Logan Mader (guitar) temporarily rejoining the band.
In a recent interview with "The Robbcast Podcast", Flynn addressed the MACHINE HEAD personnel shuffles, explaining that the group's lineup has been stable a lot longer than he is sometimes given credit for.
"I hear this a lot: 'Oh, you've had so many bandmember changes,'" he said (hear audio below). "And I'm never gonna sit here and say we haven't had bandmember changes, but we've had six bandmember changes in 27 years. 27 years is a really long time. We started in '91. It's 2020 right now. I think it's kind of the easy thing to exaggerate — it makes a story of, 'Oh, there's always chaos in the lineup.' But there's been many times when we've had a perfectly stable lineup for seven to 10 years, and nobody ever comments on that. [Laughs]
"The way I look at it [is] even THE BEATLES… 10 years is what most bands can handle. That's it," he continued. "BLACK SABBATH — 10 years; THE BEATLES — 10 years; LED ZEPPELIN — 10 years. Some of the greatest bands of all time have only been able to hold it together for 10 years, and then broken up. To the point where they hated each other so much that they couldn't even get in a room and make music anymore. And I always remind myself of that — that even THE BEATLES… And then THE BEATLES never got back together, sadly to say. And BLACK SABBATH took 37 years, 40 years to get back together. I think that when you look at it like that, it kind of puts things into a frame of reference.
"[Drummer Dave] McClain was in the band for 23 years. [Guitarist] Phil [Demmel] was in the band for 15 years, [bassist] Adam [Duce] 20 years. Even [bassist] Jared [MacEachern] now — Jared's the new guy; he's been in the band for almost eight years now. You've just gotta kind of remember that.
"Bands do go on a lot longer than they used to [laughs] these days," Flynn added. "Bands never used to last this long. We're kind of reaching this new phase of music where bands kind of go on forever, because they become such a corporate institution at some point, like some bands. And I'm not gonna say MACHINE HEAD's that, but there's other bands out there where there's just so much money being generated that it's not worth it for them to break up. Even if they hate each other and travel on different airplanes and stay in different hotels and can't even speak to each other and just walk onstage and play and then leave, the band still continues, because there's so much money being made. I don't necessarily have an opinion about that — whether that's good or band or I don't know — but we've never really had that in the history of music. Bands either died, O.D.ed or fucking broke up, like THE DOORS, like Jimi Hendrix, like BLACK SABBATH, like — name any band."
Flynn also discussed his motivation for keeping MACHINE HEAD alive for nearly 30 years, even as it becomes increasingly difficult to make money in the music business.
"The reason that I continue on, I guess, is I fucking love what I do, man," he said. "I love playing music. Music is such an important part of my life, and has been, from my earliest memories. The shows that MACHINE HEAD has and the fanbase that we have and the dedication of the Head Cases is fucking — it'll straight up bring me to tears sometimes. It's so passionate about the music we make and the band and what we stand for. If there's only three hundred of 'em, or there's three thousand of 'em, motherfucker, I'm gonna go out there and fucking give a thousand percent and kill it every night, because that's the shit that makes us feel alive. They make me feel alive; I make them feel alive. It's this crazy circle of energy and power and communion. And that's what it's about for me."
This past February, MACHINE HEAD released a new standalone single called "Circle The Drain". It was the first new MACHINE HEAD song since "Do Or Die", which came out last October and was described by some fans and media outlets as a "diss" track aimed at MACHINE HEAD's detractors, in particular those who have been critical of the band's last album, 2018's "Catharsis".
Each show on MACHINE HEAD's "Burn My Eyes" 25th-anniversary tour consisted of two parts: part one saw Flynn and MacEachern performing alongside new recruits, Polish guitarist Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka (DECAPITATED) and British drummer Matt Alston (DEVILMENT, EASTERN FRONT); while part two featured "Burn My Eyes" played in its entirety for the first time ever, with Kontos and guitarist Mader joining in.