Dave McClain says that he stopped believing in MACHINE HEAD at the end of his time with the group.
The drummer, who was a member of the California metal band from 1995 to 2018, reflected on his MACHINE HEAD tenure during a May 25 interview with "Robb's MetalWorks".
Speaking about his decision to exit MACHINE HEAD last fall, McClain said (see video below): "I remember telling my wife, 'There's no love for this. I don't believe in what we're doing. I don't believe in the songs we're doing. I don't believe in the direction.' And it's hard, because I have my wife, I have our dog, I have them to think about — 'cause it's their life too — so me leaving what I'm doing, financially, it's a hard thing to get to, where you have to make that decision. What's better for you? And I knew the answer to that, and I knew being happy was the answer. It was a hard time getting to that point. It's a lot of things, and things were happening. Like, I was having anxiety, I was having all these things, and it's crazy going through all this stuff.
"We were in Japan — it was the last time we did Japan and Australia — and I was having anxiety about it so bad that, at one point, I felt like I was having a heart attack," he recalled. "I run, like, five, six, seven miles every other day, and I'm walking up these stairs in Shibuya, in Tokyo, and I can't breathe. I had to hold on to the rail. And it was all these emotions going through my body, like, 'I know it's over. I know my time in MACHINE HEAD is over, and it's scary. It's scary as fuck.' And everybody goes through [a similar situation], and that's one of the comforting things about going through something like that. A lot of times it seems like it's just you, but it's millions of people going through this thing. And it's hard."
McClain rejoined Arizona thrashers SACRED REICH in December. He recently spent time in the studio recording the band's first album in 23 years, "Awakening", which will be released this summer via Metal Blade Records.
"I'm happy," McClain told "Robb's MetalWorks". "I'm playing with SACRED REICH. A lot of people don't even… They might not have ever even heard of SACRED REICH. Sometimes we're playing shows to 50 people, but I'm so fucking happy. I love the music — I love everything about it. And that's the main thing. Everything will fall into place. And I'm sure a lot of people out there, their perception is, 'You left MACHINE HEAD for… What are you doing? You're playing for 20 people.' And I'm, like, 'I know. It's amazing. It's fucking amazing.' It was a long road to get to this happy. And that's what it's all about. And we're trying — we're trying to make this happen. We've got a great record that we believe in, and we're just four dudes that are having a great time out on the road and just enjoying being together again."
McClain and guitarist Phil Demmel announced their departure from MACHINE HEAD in October. Demmel later said that the band "became a Robb Flynn solo project" and he described his last few years with the group as "basically collecting a paycheck."