MACHINE HEAD Frontman Is 'Very Stoked' That People Are Digging 'The Blackening'

Aaron Yoxheimer of The Morning Call recently conducted an interview with MACHINE HEAD frontman Robert Flynn. A few excerpts follow:

On being one of the many people who came to BLACK SABBATH through "Heaven and Hell":

"When I got into SABBATH, both Dio and Ozzy were [already recording] solo albums. The first SABBATH album I ever got was 'Heaven and Hell'. My friend Lori had a copy of it, and until that point I had never really heard BLACK SABBATH. I didn't even know there had been an Ozzy period. Later, I dug back, and the first Ozzy-era record I heard was 'We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll', the [1976] compilation record. I heard 'Paranoid' [from the 1971 album of the same name] and I thought the lyrics were just awesome. Then I heard 'Iron Man' [also from 'Paranoid'] and I was just … terrified! So I got totally into that era, too. But really, I love both eras."

On experiencing a resurgence thanks to MACHINE HEAD's five-week-old disc, "The Blackening":

"We definitely felt like we did something special here. For the album to get the accolades it's been getting is pretty overwhelming. I mean, I just had somebody ask me how it feels to have the album of the decade, and dude, I don't even know what that means. We're very stoked that people are digging it. When people tell us it's the 'Master of Puppets' [METALLICA's genre-defining 1986 album] of this generation, it's very flattering. Although, when the label heard that the opening song was going to be 10 minutes and 34 seconds long, it didn't get a very good response."

On the band's third album, 1999's "The Burning Red":

"I find that a lot of U.S. journalists who kind of missed out on 'Burn My Eyes' and [1997's] 'The More Things Change' and who just started hearing us around 'The Burning Red', started seeing us as rap metal, and that's just pure ignorance. So whenever they say we suddenly changed to play heavy music to suit the times, it's absurd to me. I just think we tried different things. We were kinda getting into this pattern of what we could and couldn't do, and we wanted to do different things. When a band does the same record over and over again, I lose interest. I'm not saying everyone's like this, but I have a short attention span, and when I hear a song that sounds like a song on the last record but only a crappier version of it, then it just doesn't do anything for me. But it's kind of a Catch-22 situation: If you bring in too many new elements, you're criticized for changing too much, but if you don't change, then you're accused of being predictable."

On "The More Things Change", the band's second album:

"We just wanted to write a bludgeoning album and we weren't really trying to break any new ground. In doing that, there were things that we wanted to try, but there was kind of a fear-based mentality [in regard to fans' expectations]. I mean, it took us five years to play 'I'm Your God Now' from 'Burn My Eyes' live because we didn't want people to think we were weak, even though that happened to be a song that our fans wanted to hear. So after 'Change', we told ourselves that we were going to try to bring in new elements to express how we feel at that moment. We're trying to make music here, and succeed or fail, if you try to limit what you do because of how someone else might react to it, then it's stifling. It's such a suffocating feeling. If we're gonna be accused of anything, it's that we dared to fail, not because we played it safe or stayed complacent because it might affect our fan base. We've thrown caution to the wind many times. Sometimes we won and sometimes we lost, but at least we tried something different to inject our sound with something new and fresh."

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