Interview - Machine Head
Sam: First question that
comes to mind is, what happened with Roadrunner? You guys ended up
re-signing with them in the U.S.?
Robb Flynn: "We did, after 'Supercharger' we demanded to be let go from Roadrunner, and after months of negotiating, you know, they agreed to. We severed ties with them back in April of 2002. At the time when we did it, the band was kinda like, in a different place, and you know, we were pretty unhappy. Ahrue ended up leaving shortly thereafter. And also, we had a manager at the time who was dealing with most of the relationships between them and us, and he was definitely pulling this whole kinda 'us against them' thing. And you know, after hearing that for about 6 months we started believing it, you know? And we didn't realize how much Roadrunner was really doing for us at the time. We had limited information which we found out, but, anyway we were unsigned basically for about a year. In that year we started writing as a three-piece, and started asking ourselves alot of 'why are we doing this?' questions, and 'what are we trying to get out of this?'. At the end of the day it just became about creating music, and not being concerned about if it was going to get airplay, or if it was going to be whatever, but just about writing what we felt were great, heavy songs. If they were 8 minutes and had 15 changes in them, you know, as long as we were still having fun with it, and as long as it was a good song still, we were like 'cool'. We had always intended to re-sign with Roadrunner in Europe because we'd always had a good relationship with them. So we did that, and at the same time the American deal was supposed to happen, but then at the last minute they wanted to hear what we were doing. So we sent 'um some stuff and we're like 'yeah the new songs are like 6 and 8 minutes long, and the vocals don't even start until like 3 minutes in', and they're like 'whoa, hey, we don't know what to do with this'. And at that time, they didn't. So they ended up not doing that, and then the record came out over in Europe and it did just beyond what anybody could...imagine it would do. You know, like a record as extreme as it was, and as challenging as it was, it just came out. And so they were like 'wow', maybe there is something here, and they reconsidered. We had alot of offers on the table at that point, from American labels. But they came in and had the biggest belief in the band, and kinda understood where we were coming from, so we ended up going with them again."
Sam: Is this the first album you guys have made since 'Burn My Eyes' that's been like, unfucked with by anybody?
Sam: You can hear it.
RF: "Yeah, and we're like, 'hey, that's a good plan, let's keep that'. And, you know, because we were unsigned, no one gave a shit about Machine Head. I mean, the fans gave a shit about Machine Head, but no one in the industry gave a shit if we lived or died. We just sat there and basically wrote a record for ourselves. And, you know, we're glad that we did, we're glad that we stuck with our guns and we're glad that things worked out the way that they did. And you know, Roadrunner especially now, here in the U.S., is kickin' ass, so it's cool for us. Record came in at #88, sold 11,000 records in it's first week, you know the fact that it did that...the video didn't get played until the first week of release, the record has been out for 6 months for import and download. The fact that it did that many numbers was a miracle. It was fuckin' amazing that it did that. We gotta thank our street team, we gotta thank the killer Machine Head fans that we have."
Sam: You guys swinging back through here, or going over to Europe again?
RF: "Yeah, we're going to Europe for a little bit, then we're gonna come back, probably like, July or September. We plan on touring behind this for a long time."
Sam: Nice...I couldn't wait, I ended up buying the import, there's an extra track on the U.S. release though?
RF: "Yup, 'Seasons Wither' which was... basically when we were on the road over in Europe we just started jammin' on riffs occasionally. And Phil brought in alot of the riffs for 'Seasons Wither', and we started screwing around with it. We had some time off before we knew the record...at that point we were still unsigned in America, we didn't actually get signed in America until February of this year. So, we knew people wanted to have an extra track, we had already considered that. for making our American fans, for them being as patent as they've been, we felt like it would be cool to have an extra thing on there. Give them the bonus track instead of Europe this time. So, we did that, and we came back and I worked on it. We had time off, we weren't even practicing, I took 2 weeks and just wrote the rest of the song around it, brought it into the guys, and we were just like 'wow, this is cool'. Went in, recorded it, ended up working out very good. I think it fits in with the record really good too."
Sam: You guys finally going to do a DVD... ever?
RF: "We've been talking about it. You know, DVD's cost alot of money to produce and write, and that's the thing. You know, we're a band on our 5th album, we don't want to put out some cheesy DVD. We've got alot of songs to choose from, and we've got alot of stuff. If we do it, we want to do it right. We know alot of younger bands are putting out DVD's and they're all pretty much...you know a couple of hand-held cameras, we think that could be cool, but you know? There's a million bootlegs that are that. If we're gonna do it, we really want to do it right, It's gonna happen this album, but it's not gonna happen right now."
Sam: I was noticing in the lyrics, you always do this, but you're touching on some really heavy personal shit.
RF: "Yeah...yeah, I, uh, I've got issues. (laughs)"
Sam: Everybody has issues...
RF: "I got alot of issues, and they come up from time to time. You know? The music that's lasted with me for my life has been the music that's had some kind of connection to me like whether it was an emotional connection or just something that I could completely relate to. Whether it was just like 'fuck, I know what that guy is going through', or what that girl is going through or whatever. So, I try and write from that perspective, and I can't say that it works every time but, you know, some of the stuff on the record is just stuff I need to get off my chest."
Sam: I just thought it took alot of balls to put that name at the end of 'Left Unfinished', that blew me away.
RF: "Well, thank you"
Sam: How's Phil workin' out?
Sam: You guys knew eachother before so...
RF: "We known eachother for over half our fuckin' lives, ever since we were like young kids man."
Sam: You guys are doin' the tag-team harmony shit that was missing on the last album
RF: "Totally, I mean, he's a guitar player's guitar player. And having a guy like him in, is really, you know, it pushes me and it pushes him. Our styles already complemented each other, so there's just a chemistry there between us that was there back when we were in a band before, and you know, I donno why but, it's there so, feels good."
Sam: How did Dave even do the drum parts on this album?
RF: "Yeah, and write riffs"
Sam: He wrote riffs?
RF: "?He wrote, him and I co-wrote like, probably half the record. Him and I co-wrote "Imperium", Descend The Shades Of Night", "Days Turn Blue To Grey", "Elegy", "Vim", alot of those are Dave-riffs. He was a madman on this record.
Sam: I also wanted to know where you got the part, I'm so bad with song titles, where you say 'requiem' in the song
Sam: yeah, is that an actual quote from somewhere that you found? The chorus?
RF: "Oh yeah, it's like an Indian proverb, the earth does not belong to you, we belong to the earth. And I just think it's a really cool statement, you know?"