Upon releasing their ninth album ‘Catharsis’, Machine Head have embarked on a world-wide tour and next month Australia gets our turn! It’s been three years since Machine Head last visited for A Night With Machine Head and lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Robb Flynn kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to speak about the upcoming trip. Opening the interview, Flynn proclaims “we’re totally juiced and can’t wait to come back! Australian fans are always f*cking maniacs; raging, hammered and loud which makes the shows SUPER fun! Throw in the fact that we’re playing some new venues, I just can’t wait.”

Machine Head recently wrapped up the UK portion of their world tour and Flynn reflected back on those shows with great excitement. After quipping “that tour was just incredible and absolutely insane! Every night was sold out and not only was it the biggest attendance in a decade, but it was the largest merch numbers in history. The new songs went down like a storm and there were tons of girls!” Flynn delved into a story that made him sound like a kid on Christmas:

“In Birmingham, England I opened up the circle pit for Killers and Kings and this ridiculously hot black girl and this ridiculously hot white girl ran to the centre and started making out! Every dude in the vicinity was thinking ‘this is the greatest circle pit ever’ (laughs) We started the circle pit, kicked into the song and EVERY dude completely avoided them whilst staring at them so they could make out the entire time. It was one of the greatest things that I’ve ever seen and so f*cking hot…let’s see if you can top that Australia!”

After this interviewer commented it was great to hear things were going great from a live perspective when the album received mixed reviews, Flynn gives a respectful insight into how he perceives reviews professionally, before getting passionate with his personal opinions on the matter:

“I know I don’t read reviews anymore…I can’t remember the last time I read a review and it mattered (laughs) I tend to go by the chatter that I hear! I’d be more inclined now to listen to a band because my friend told me they were awesome, than because of a review. There were a handful of magazines that you trusted, whereas now there are a million opinions! Plus I think too much importance is put on the initial opinions of the few, right when a record drops. Especially now with social media being so connected and everyone gets a notification when someone comments; he who has the most sh*ttiest, pithiest, smarmiest comment wins! I don’t think that people should look at music like that, as it’s timeless. It means one thing when it’s released and can mean less/more in the future.”

Touching further on the live aspect of Flynn’s life, this interviewer was curious which song from ‘Catharsis’ Flynn enjoyed performing most. Flynn had an instant response of “I really love Triple Beam at the moment; it’s a banger and people go crazy for that song! It’s so easy, yet so hard at the same time as there’s so many details to do just right. Not only is it a weird tuning, but the bends are the opposite; it actually starts on the bend and you’ve got to descend down! It’s really neanderthal but it’s also one of the f*cking hardest songs to play and whenever we nail it, I always feel a sense of accomplishment.”

Machine Head have been well-known for over 25 years and when asked what keeps the flame alive, Flynn lets out a huge laugh and proclaims “we’re pathetically unqualified to do anything else; I graduated high school and have been in a band ever since” before giving an important lesson for upcoming bands:

“This is all I do and luckily enough, I’ve learnt to trust my gut and trust that is you do this for somewhat selfish reasons. You can’t write for the fans and you can’t write for the record company! Most of the time people love it but occasionally people hate it; regardless of which, you have to keep on going. Luckily we’ve made some good decisions along the way and written some fantastic songs that even if people didn’t appreciate at the moment, they realised that after time they were great songs. That’s the one thing I’m most proud of; all of our songs and records have stood the test of time! Most bands are hot in the moment, but when you go back and listen to that record ten years later you’re not sure; it’s killer to me when people come up and mention how well the songs have aged.”

Flynn further recalls “when we put out ‘Burning Red’ it caught some flack; probably more because of the visual change! We were doing loads of cocaine, going crazy and thought ‘let’s f*cking spike our hair!’ and do stupid sh*t like that. I look back on those days, have a sense of humour and laugh without caring. We’re in a rock n roll band; to me, you should go f*cking crazy and be stupid! But the music was very much real and coming from a deep place; there was a lot of real pain expressed on that record. When we play songs like Supercharger now, it is a highlight of the show and people lose their f*cking sh*t to those songs! End of the day someone is going to talk sh*t about them now, but those songs are straight up classics.”

Flynn delivered more wise words explaining “music is about a time and place, but it isn’t always the time and place you’re currently at. You’ll listen to something you hated ten years ago and hear it with different ears or a different headspace because you’ve grown. I’ve gone back and listened to albums I HATED as a kid, that have f*cking become some of my all-time favourites”, before taking us through yet another chapter of his early years:

“When I started listening to metal, I was very lucky as it was the golden era of thrash and I lived about 45 miles outside the Bay Area. Mind you, there was ALL this music coming out! Thrash, punk rock and hard-core, hip-hip and even this new gothic stuff; the girls we were hanging out with were listening to The Cure and Depeche Mode. At the time I was thinking ‘this sh*t’s fucking lame!’ and I was NOT into it. Ten years later I went back, listened to all those same songs and f*cking went crazy for them as I got them now. My life had gone in so many crazy directions and I was listening to it with new ears!”

Flynn kept it short but sweet as he drew the interview to a close with “we can’t wait to rage with you guys, as we always love it and have a blast out there! Rest In Peace Vinnie Paul!”