Machine Head was founded in 1991 by former Vio-lence guitarist Robb Flynn.
At "Day On The Green #19" festival October 12, 1991, featuring Metallica, Queensr˙che, Faith No More, Soundgarden, I started Machine Head. After watching Metallica for the umpteenth time, I decided that I was going to start a side project, as I was unhappy in my then-current band Vio-Lence.
Later that night backstage (or maybe while Metallica was still playing and we were watching from the stage-right backstage bleachers?) I turned to my friend, partner-in-crime and long time Vio-Lence fan Adam Duce, and said I was going to start a then-unnamed side project and asked if he would like to play bass. He eagerly agreed.
I had two songs written by then, the heavily Godflesh-inspired "Death Church", and "Blood For Blood", both songs that I had already brought to Vio-Lence, but they were not interested in jamming either of them. Vio-Lence had gone through numerous label changes, were unsigned again, thrash was dead, and the vibe in the band at the time was that the new tunes were going to take a more heavy rock / grunge approach which seemed a bit crazy to me. Though I wasn't thrilled with our new direction, I said I would stay on, and though no one seemed happy about me doing it, starting a side project seemed fairly reasonable considering our circumstances.
4 months later following a (thoroughly documented) AM/PM gas station brawl after an Unjust / Deftones show (Deftones opening) at the Omni in Oakland, I quit Vio-Lence and focused on Machine Head full time. But that was still 4 months away, and for now, it was just a thought, an idea, a dream, that metal could be taken to a different, heavier place.
First Machine Head show ever was on August 15th, 1992, a kegger/house party at Mike (Scum) Rive's place on Woolsey Street in Oakland, Tony Costanza on drums and Phil Demmel was there as well.
MH's first public show was at The Huntridge Theater in Las Vegas with Tony Costanza on drums. I think Area 51 opened, and some punk band that had something to do with Tony's old band Papsmear. I want to say it was late Aug early Sept.
We also did the LA Metal Fest at Gazzari's in Hollywood with Tony on drums and either my amp or my guitar got stolen. We played twice, and convinced Biohazard to play at the last minute, where we then sweet talked the promoter to let play again for those guys, there was about 50 people there, but for our 2nd show Dino Cazares and Igor Cavalera also showed up. Chris Kontos did lights for us, and it would be Tony's last show as Chris effectively talked his way into the band, much to Tony's dismay, LOL.
Machine Head released their first album, Burn My Eyes, produced and mixed by Colin Richardson, in 1994. The first song on the album, "Davidian", features the lyric "Let freedom ring / with a shotgun blast". Subsequently the video was banned from MTV due to its release date being very soon after the Waco Siege which it was apparently describing.
"Burn My Eyes" launched Machine Head's career and the band toured with several veteran heavy metal bands including Slayer and Pantera. UK Metal magazine Kerrang gave the album their top rating, being 5 "K's".
After Chris Kontos left to work with Testament, the drumming services of Dave McClain formerly of Sacred Reich were acquired. They then released the follow up album, The More Things Change, once again produced and mixed by Colin Richardson, in 1997, after which guitarist Logan Mader unexpectedly left in the spring of 1998. He was then replaced by Ahrue Luster (Now of Ill Nino) who worked with the band on the third album The Burning Red (1999). This album was a sign of a change for Machine Head, the band deciding to experiment more rather than release another album that would be seen as just a shadow in the footsteps of Burn My Eyes.
Robb uses his rapping techniques in this album in addition to the growl he used on earlier releases. The song "Devil With The Kings Card" is based on Logan Mader's leaving of the band. The album did, however, receive some backlash from fans who weren't pleased with their change in style - some even accused the band of "selling out" and following musical trends (nu-metal and rap metal were becoming increasingly popular in 1999).
Machine Head released Supercharger in 2001, though the album failed to do well. The video for the song "Crashing Around You" was banned by MTV due to its images of collapsing buildings around the times of WTC strike. The album received more of the same criticism that met The Burning Red.
By 2002, Machine Head had sold over 1.3 million albums worldwide, and overall "Supercharger" (mixed by Colin Richardson) would go on to sell an impressive 250,000 copies worldwide, but it would be their lowest selling album to date. Once the tour for the album had been completed, Machine Head and Roadrunner Records mutually decided to sever ties with regards to distribution in North America and around the world, however to fill the ties, the band released "Hellalive" (also mixed by Colin Richardson) which was a recording of a Brixton Academy, London set.
In 2002 Ahrue Luster left the band and was tempoarily replaced by Phil Demmel, who played in thrash band Vio-lence alongside Flynn. Demmel played some festival shows with Machine Head (including a headlining slot at the With Full Force festival in Germany). Then with Phil not being able to commit to the band, he and Machine Head parted ways. The remainder of the band started writing songs for the next album (eventually titled Through the Ashes of Empires), and hoping to get signed to a record label. They recorded a short demo, including a radio-style song called "Left Unfinished" (a song later released with alternate lyrics and under the name "Pins and Needles" on the Roadrunner United album under the title "Army of the Sun"), and a Electronic Press Kit for the companies, also hoping they can get signed on the strength of their previous efforts. Nearly every record label in the music industry rejected the four track demo.
However in March 2003, the band's spirits would rise when Phil decided to rejoin the group full time, and Roadrunner International (Europe and the rest of the world) came to the band with an offer. Then the band signed the international deal, and started recording "Through the Ashes". The band then decided to go back to Roadrunner USA hoping on being signed (which they eventually did), and "Through The Ashes of Empires" (Colin Richardson mixing once again) was finally released in Europe and around the world (except North America) on October 28 2003. The album overseas would be praised in most musical publications (a notable absentee from the 'good review list' was Britain's influential Kerrang! magazine though, it should be noted Kerrang is a mainstream rock publication), and then it created a buzz in America.
Roadrunner USA came back to Machine Head and made them an offer, and they signed with the label, and to make up for making the American fans wait so long for the new album, they recorded a track called "Seasons Wither" which had not appeared on the European release. Through the Ashes of Empires returned to a style closer to that of Burn My Eyes, and received significant publicity due to the success of the song "Imperium" and what was seen by fans as a massive return to form - both musically and lyrically. As part of this revival, Machine Head headlined the "True Metal" stage at 2005's Wacken Open Air festival in front of 40,000 fans - their biggest show to date (they made an appearance at the Dynamo Open Air festival in their early years but didn't headline). Through the Ashes of Empires debuted on the Billboard Charts in US at #88 -- an excellent showing for a band that was considered at one point dead-in-the-water.
On October 11, 2005, Machine Head released their first ever DVD: Elegies. The DVD contained concert footage from the Brixton Academy show in December of 2004, and various extras, including their most recent music videos (of 2004) and a documentary on the Making of "Through The Ashes". In the DVD's first week of release, "Elegies" reached the #13 spot in US and the #6 spot in UK music-related DVD sales.
As well on October 11, 2005, Roadrunner Records released an album to commemorate the 25 years of the label's storied history. Four of the songs on the album, Roadrunner United: The All-Star Sessions, were written by Robert Flynn of Machine Head. Both Phil Demmel and Dave McClain of Machine Head contributed to the album musically, and Logan Mader came on board as a producer,also providing the melodic harmonics on the track "The End". Roadrunner United was a project conceived by the label to showcase the talent of the dozens of bands signed to Roadrunner Records. There were 4 "Captains" assigned to write songs for the album: Robb Flynn of Machine Head, Dino Cazares ex-Fear Factory, Matt Heafy of Trivium, and Joey Jordison of Slipknot. Each "Captain" had to choose which artists were to participate in the recording of their songs, and they were to be primary producers. The album saw an all-star cast of artists from such bands as: The Misfits, Killswitch Engage, 36 Crazyfists, Sepultura, Soulfly, Slipknot, Cradle of Filth, Type O Negative, Fear Factory, Front Line Assembly, Coal Chamber, Ill Nino, Vision of Disorder, Trivium, Opeth, Stone Sour, King Diamond and Deicide, among others.
On October 31 2006, Roadrunner Records announced that as part of their 25th Anniversary, they will be re-releasing Burn My Eyes with a bonus CD, which includes previously unreleased tracks and rarities. It was said to be due out on January the 8th, 2007 but has been pushed back to September 2007 so it does not interfere with the release of 'The Blackening'. However now these plans have since been scrapped by the band and Roadrunner.
March 26th (Europe/Rest of the World) and 28th (USA), 2007 saw the release of the band's sixth studio album "The Blackening", which was produced by Robert Flynn and mixed by Colin Richardson. They have also contributed a studio recorded and produced cover of Metallica's "Battery" for Kerrang! Magazine's 'Remastered', a tribute to Metallica's seminal album Master of Puppets, which is included on the album as bonus content.
Machine Head toured North America with Lamb of God, Trivium and Gojira in early 2007 to promote The Blackening, and opened for Megadeth and Heaven and Hell in April 2007. A European tour saw the band make an appearance at the Download Festival in Donington Park. Shortly after, the band announced a co-headlining tour of Japan, Europe, and Australia titled The Black Crusade from October to December. Other bands on the bill included Trivium, Arch Enemy, DragonForce (Europe only) and Shadows Fall (Europe only). On June 12, 2007, at the Metal Hammer awards, the band won the award for "Best Album", and Flynn won the "Golden God" award. Machine Head also won "Album of the Year" at Kerrang's annual ceremony. The band replaced Bullet For My Valentine supporting Metallica's Wembley Stadium show on Sunday July 8, 2007, as Bullet For My Valentine's vocalist Matt Tuck required a tonsillectomy. Machine Head also toured North America with Hellyeah, Nonpoint and Bury Your Dead in early 2008. Machine Head recently completed a world tour where they hit even Bengaluru, India, Israel and Dubai, U.A.E. in March 2008 (photos available at reference).
In October 2008 the band toured in Australia with Slipknot. The band then toured Europe with Slipknot and Children of Bodom in November and December. The band recorded a version of Iron Maiden's classic, "Hallowed Be Thy Name" for a Kerrang! tribute compilation album, entitled "Maiden Heaven: A Tribute to Iron Maiden"; this song was played live multiple times since its release and has become a permanent in their current touring setlists. Amongst other bands who appeared on the album were label mates, Dream Theater and Trivium.
It was announced on August 10, 2008 that Machine Head and Austin, Texas based band The Sword would be opening for Metallica at ten shows in January 2009. In a recent interview conducted with Phil Demmel, he revealed that with Machine Head's upcoming touring commitments, the band would not have chance to write a follow up album until at least 2010, for an expected 2011 release date. Machine Head toured with The Sword in Metallica's World Magnetic Tour for the Death Magnetic album from 2008 to 2009. Machine Head will also open for Megadeth and Slayer along with Suicide Silence on the Canadian Carnage tour in late June. Machine Head reportedly cancelled their appearance at Sonisphere Festival in the UK because they had disagreements with the staff over their slot. They thought they should play after Limp Bizkit. However, a week before the Sonisphere festival took place on August 1 and 2, Machine Head agreed to take back their slot below Limp Bizkit. Their appearance was kept secret until the day they played. In August 2009, they won the Inspiration Award at the 2009 Kerrang! Awards. It was announced on the August 31st that Machine Head would tour through Europe and UK in 2010 with Hatebreed, Bleeding Through, and All Shall Perish in what will be known as 'The Black Procession', as well as adding dates for an Australian and New Zealand tour cycle in March. This will be the last time the band tour in support of 'The Blackening' before writing the next album.
Machine Head began writing for the new album during the summer of 2010 and entered Green Day's Jingletown Studios in Oakland, CA on Saturday, April 16th, 2011 to begin recording. Working titles of 11 songs was revealed in the first YouTube-production video and was titled: This is the End, Who We Are, Pearls Before Swine, Under the August Moon, Wharrr Weee Weee We, Damage Inside, Trans Sibirian Thrasher, I am Hell, The Darkness Within, People of the World and Locust. Seven of the songs made it into the album.
On June 8th Machine Head announced that the first single, Locust would be released as a iTunes Rockstar Energy Mayhem digital sampler on June 14th.
On June 22nd the album title was reveald, "Unto the Locust" and it would be released on September 21st in Japan, 25th in Europe and on the 27th in the US.
Machine Head joined The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival 2011 in july and august. Then they kicked off The Eighth Plague Tour in South America with Sepultura in October and then moved over to Europe and contuned the tour in November and December with Bring Me The Horizon, DevilDriver and Darkest Hour.
Robb Flynn performs six acoustic show around the California area in January 2013.
Adam Duce parted ways with Machine Head in February 2013.
2-11-13. That is the date we fired Adam Duce. That is the day that I had to tell Adam that after 21 years of being in a band together, I just couldn't take it anymore. That is the day I said "My hope is that this can be amicable." The words sounded like someone else had spoken them. It was like being outside of my body watching someone else deliver these painful words.
But, it was me saying it. And we all said it. We had our say sitting in our jam room in Oakland. Dave said it. Joseph (our manager) said it. Phil said it. We all said that we couldn't take being in a band with him anymore. That if this didn't happen, we were going to break up the band.
It was hard. One of the hardest moments of my life.
- Robb Flynn - Feb 26, 2013
On June 24th, Jared MacEachern was announced as the new bassist in Machine Head.
Machine Head joined The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival 2013 during the summer.
In early October, Machine Head signs with Nuclear Blast Entertainment.
Machine Head had planned to enter the Jingeltown Studios in Oakland California to record their eighth studio album in late October but this was pushed back to February, 2014. The reason according to Robb: "we just didn't have the songs yet."
On Record store day 2014, April 19th, Machine Head released a 10 inch vinyl with the A-side containing the "demo" version of a new song, "Killers & Kings". The B-side will be a cover version of the songs "Our Darkest Days / Bleeding" from Ignite's 2006 album "Our Darkest Days". The vinyl was released in four different versions with four different covers.
On July 8th, Machine Head kicked off the Killers & Kings Tour in Fresno, CA. They decided to book the shows into extremely small, intimate venues where they could put on a really intense show.
On August 13th the new album title, "Bloodstone & Diamonds" and complete tracklisting was announced.
On August 25th, Robb Flynn puts down the finishing touches of "Bloodstone & Diamonds" in "Top Floor studios" in Gothenburg, Sweden a few days after the last show on the tour. The album is now officially done. Release date, November 7th.
In January 2015 Machine Head kicks off the "An Evening With Machine Head" World Tour, No support bands. No locals. Just a crushing 2,5-hour set of pure fucking MACHINE HEAD!!! The tour would take them through North- and South America, Eastern Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Thailand & Taiwan. The tour still continues with the 2nd North American leg just announced in July 2015.