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Robb Flynn and Machine Head Have A Monster Show on Tap For Houston

A monstrous show lies ahead at Houston's House of Blues.
A monstrous show lies ahead at Houston's House of Blues. Detail from the poster

click to enlarge A monstrous show lies ahead at Houston's House of Blues. - DETAIL FROM THE POSTER
A monstrous show lies ahead at Houston's House of Blues.
Detail from the poster
The start of a new decade is a perfect time to revisit former interests, heal broken relationships, and ultimately look toward the future. And nobody knows this better than heavy metal band Machine Head. While band members release new material and add two new members, they are also taking time to reunite with former bandmates and revisit their first album, Burn My Eyes.

They’ll be stopping in Houston on January 22 during their Burn My Eyes 25th Anniversary Tour at House of Blues, and it is already expected to be a monstrous show including two different Machine Head performances.

Burn My Eyes is Machine Head's debut album, with an old-school sound resembling the likes of '80s thrash metal bands such as Slayer and Sepultura, mixed with the updated instrumental progressions of metal bands like Biohazard and Pantera, creating a signature, hard-hitting sound that would solidify the album and band as pioneers of '90s heavy metal. The groups’s continuous innovative sounds and lyrics seen in later albums would ultimately influence the wave of upcoming metal acts as well as spark the birth of nu-metal.

“It took a second for the fans to wrap their heads around what we were doing," explains Flynn, "but we’ve been doing this “evening with” [type of performance] for coming up on six years now and it’s great, but Burn My Eyes without the instrumental track is about 45 minutes long. We couldn’t even really headline with it, so we came up with the idea to have the two different bands playing with two different sets. It’s like Machine Head opening for Machine Head.”

click to enlarge Burn My Eyes 25th Anniversary Tour Flyer - COURTESY OF NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS
Burn My Eyes 25th Anniversary Tour Flyer
Courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records
In a prolonged set, consisting of no openers and a three-and-half-hour long performance, the band will begin by playing a headlining set consisting of their most popular hits and new material, then will have a line-up change, replacing new members, Waclaw "Vogg" Kieltyka (guitar) of Polish death metal band Decapitated and Matt Alston (drums) of British gothic metal group Devilment, to bring out founding member Logan Mader and Burn My Eyes drummer Chris Kontos, both of which have been absent of the band since leaving in the mid '90s. Kontos was let go in 1995 due to touring conflicts and Mader left the band following the completion of their second album The More Things Change… after a strife with other band-members.

It seems those disagreements are now forgotten or forgiven as Flynn posted to his online journal that “reconnecting with old band-mates was long overdue” as one of his top accomplishments for 2019. Flynn is one of the few high profile celebrities who goes past the social media posts and short captions, detailing intimate pinpoints in his life and career to keep the fans up to date.

“I started keeping a journal the day of our first show. I took notes like, the crowd was this-and-that, the songs we played, the date, and then I started doing that for every show, this was back in like 1992.”

Although it started as recreational, Flynn’s journal entries would eventually lead to him becoming a published writer and using his platform to cover and promote the band during their trying times.

“I started writing the journal because basically, no one would cover us, and this was my way of keeping in touch with the fans and keep them up to date with what we were doing. It helped spread the word quicker and more like directly to our fans and I was like ‘Fuck it! This is awesome!’ so we kept on with it. We started adding videos way early on, maybe 2001, 2002, put up live performances and rehearsals, and just kept that do-it-yourself mentality. Like, if magazines weren’t going to cover us, fine, we’ll cover ourselves and put the information out. We’re savvy enough that we can write up what we're doing, and it became a very powerful tool in the Machine Head arsenal.”

Flynn knows the significant importance of the band and himself and uses his lyrics to directly express his feelings towards the dismissal of the group and its feats. On their newest single “Do or Die” Flynn sings “I don't give a fuck about you haters and your hate // You assholes better duck, I'm coming swinging out the gate // There's not a metal band I ain't influenced // Now I'm calling out the Judas” and “I don't give a fuck about your stupid little scene // Reaction videos and all your pussy little memes // How many fucking bands I gotta bury? // Say a prayer to Mother Mary” conveying his distaste for the current state of metal and likely the critical distaste of their previous album Catharsis which was negatively received due to a drastic change in sound.

With their release of their latest single as well as a slew of videos on YouTube ranging from music videos, jam sessions, live studio recordings and even fan made videos that include a priceless, well crafted edit of the bands past Facebook Live streams to create the hilariously inappropriate “Cheesecake Eatin’ MotherFucker” song, the band prepares themselves for the future and whats to come.

"The future is what we're going to be doing as far as releases, I love Spotify, I tour 12 to 16 months at a time, and I'm not carrying around CDs or vinyl. We used to make and release a record about every three years, which to me is too long, but prior to the digital outlets, there wasn’t much you could do. So what we're going to start doing is a steady "drip" of new songs. Our goal is to have a new song ready to go maybe every thee months. I'm excited to try it, it keeps you creative and I like the idea of having to keep constantly writing."

Machine Head headlines the Burn My Eye 25th Anniversary Tour at 7 p.m. January 22 at House Of Blues 1204 Caroline. For more information, visit house or Tickets $35
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Houston Press contributor Cameron Martinez uses his extensive knowledge of headbanging and bumping into people to give readers an inside look at the city’s music scene. He often tag-teams shows with his camera-savvy wife Jennifer Lake.