Phil Demmel says that Robb Flynn was not approached to take part in the upcoming reunion shows by San Francisco Bay Area thrashers VIO-LENCE.
The VIO-LENCE lineup that will appear at the Metro in Oakland, California on April 13 and April 14 will consist of guitarists Demmel and Ray Vegas, vocalist Sean Killian, bassist Deen Dell and drummer Perry Strickland.
Although Flynn was part of VIO-LENCE's classic incarnation and played on the band's debut album, "Eternal Nightmare", he wasn't contacted about doing the comeback shows because "he's always really worked pretty hard to not talk about VIO-LENCE or include VIO-LENCE in the past," Demmel told Decibel magazine. "This is something we're doing without him.
"When we closed VIO-LENCE back in 2003 when I joined MACHINE HEAD, I was actually gonna write a VIO-LENCE record and shortly after I joined MACHINE HEAD, I was told that I couldn't do that," Phil added. "So Robb, he played in that last show and even his involvement in that last VIO-LENCE show back in 2003 was kinda… there are some memories from all of us about him being involved and playing the benefit with Sean that was something special and he got to sing. We will do like we have done before, move on, without him."
Flynn last played with VIO-LENCE in January 2018 at a benefit concert for Killian at The Midway in San Francisco, California. The event concluded with a performance of the VIO-LENCE classic "World In A World" featuring four-fifths of the band's classic lineup — Flynn, Demmel, Strickland and Dell, with Flynn handling lead vocals. (Killian could not perform with the other members due to his health condition).
Demmel landed in MACHINE HEAD in 2003, about a decade after original the breakup of VIO-LENCE. He left MACHINE HEAD at the end of the band's fall 2018 North American tour, explaining in a statement that it was "simply time" for him "to step away and do something else musically."
Asked about the possibility of more VIO-LENCE shows and new music after the performances in Oakland, Demmel told Decibel: "There's no tour involved. There's guys in the band that work and have families and need to be at home, so we'll assess all of that and see who can do what. Euro festivals and American festivals have no formal offers, but have inquired to see what we're doing. I think we just need to get through these first two shows and prove to ourselves that we can do it and also prove to everybody else, see if we have a product and if the quality is there and if we're able to pull it off. Not closing the door on anything."
He continued: "I really never thought that this would happen, you know? I've had some peers say, 'Hey, you should do some VIO-LENCE shows. We'll get some other dudes to sing.' And first of all, I never thought anybody really cared outside the Bay Area outside the band anyways. It's pretty awesome. The outpouring of support and everything, we'll see. People, if they wanna see it, then we'll see."
Demmel also had kind words for Killian, who underwent a successful liver transplant surgery in March 2018. The year before, Killian was diagnosed with stage four liver cirrhosis, which was caused in part by a genetic condition called hemochromatosis.
"We couldn't do VIO-LENCE without Sean," Demmel said. "There's no VIO-LENCE without Sean Killian. He's the one ingredient that needs to be there.
"I am very, very happy that my friend is healthy, first and foremost, and getting to jam with him again, that's just a plus," he added. "I am hoping that everybody will enjoy this gift of — he had a liver transplant, the dude was on death's door and here he is, wanting to play. It's not just, like, wanting to get up and sing 'Green Manalishi' with your high school buddies. This fucking VIO-LENCE set, man, is not easy to fucking get through, especially to sing it. I'm proud of him and I'm proud to be his friend and I'm proud to be in this band again."