Robb Flynn says MACHINE HEAD will continue to play its "Evening With" shows because fans never warmed to the opening acts he and his bandmates selected.
For the touring cycle behind 2014's "Bloodstone & Diamonds" album, the San Francisco Bay Area metal titans completed around two hundred and fifty shows with no support bands and performances often lasting two and a half to three hours.
In a recent interview with Poland's Interia.pl (see video below), the MACHINE HEAD guitarist/vocalist was asked how the band has managed its heavy touring schedule in support of "Bloodstone & Diamonds" before readying the follow-up effort, "Catharsis", which is due in January. "We toured about twenty months behind the last record," said Robb. "Two hundred and eighty-three shows, so when we were done with that tour cycle, we were like 'All right, let's take a break for a second.' Then we started writing and here we are, we're back. Twenty months is a long time. It was more about re-connecting with our families. We got kids and wives."
Flynn also described the writing process for at least two of the tracks from "Catharsis", which he confirmed as "Beyond The Pale" and "Kaleidoscope". "'Beyond The Pale' was the second song that we wrote for the record," he said. "It was just a simple four-minute song that we were like 'Fuck, cool!' It came together really fast. Lyrically, it took me a while to get how I wanted to shape it. That was the one song on the record where I couldn't get a theme for the song, like a lyrical theme. I went through seven different choruses, seven different subjects, seven completely different sets of lyrics. When it finally came to this last one, that's when I knew it was it. 'Kaleidoscope' was the opposite. We literally wrote that in the studio. Me and Dave [McClain, drums] were messing around. It just came super-fast. I ended up going in there and I freestyled a bunch of the lyrics and that whole intro section was the second time I ever sang the song. It just poured out of me. I was really excited."
He continued: "I think when you go to capture a record, you go into the studio and sometimes it can be a little bit of a sterile environment. You want to capture lightning in a bottle, but it's hard, it's the hardest thing to do. Many bands don't do it. With ['Kaleidoscope'], we just fucking captured it and it was crazy. You're literally hearing the first day we ever played that song as a band. We captured it. I think you feel that energy. I think there's an urgency there, there's an excitement there. I don't know if it would have been there if we worked on it for eight or nine months and then recorded it later."
Asked about MACHINE HEAD's tour plans in support of "Catharsis", and why the band is bucking industry trends by not taking part in package tours or offering support slots to younger acts, Flynn said: "We've been taking support acts now for twenty-three years. I tell you what, people just never liked the support acts that we take. We brought BRING ME THE HORIZON out and I thought they were going to be a winner and people were throwing garbage cans at them on stage. There came a time when just in general, metal has really gotten into packaged tours and festivals and a hundred sixty bands on a bill and, you know, you think about a Paul McCartney or Bruce Springsteen, when they come, they don't come with seven other bands. It's just Bruce Springsteen. It's just THE ROLLING STONES. You know what? That's the status that we want. We really, really enjoyed playing these 'Evening With' shows. We started doing it on the last album cycle. Two hundred and fifty of the two hundred and eighty-three shows were 'An Evening With', us playing two and a half or three hours every night and it was fucking awesome. It totally reinvigorated us as a band. It made us dust off a bunch of songs. It made us play better. It made the tour cycle more interesting. We loved it. We're going to keep on doing it."
"Catharsis" was recorded with Zack Ohren (FALLUJAH, ALL SHALL PERISH) at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, California.
MACHINE HEAD's latest release was a standalone track, "Is There Anybody Out There?", which cracked the Top 40 on the Active Rock chart in the United States in August 2016. It marked the first time any Nuclear Blast artist had entered what is widely considered to be the "official rock chart" for the United States.