"To clarify: this is the Farewell Tour of this line-up of Machine Head, not the Farewell Tour of Machine Head, as has been reported in the media"
Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn has clarified that the band will continue, despite the departure of two members of the band last week.
Flynn announced that guitarist Phil Demmel and drummer McClain had quit in an emotional Facebook Live video, saying their final tour together will be “a celebration”. Many had assumed this signalled the end of the band.
In a new statement, the band praised McClain and Demmel, describing the split as “amicable”. They also clarified that their upcoming Freaks and Zeroes tour is “a Farewell Tour of the line up of Machine Head” and not of Machine Head.
You can read the full statement below:
“After 23 years with Dave McClain pounding the skins at the drum throne, and 15 years with Phil Demmel shredding the guitar on stage right, both members have decided to move on from Machine Head and open a new chapter in their lives.⠀
“The upcoming Freaks and Zeroes tour of North America (that starts this Thursday in Sacramento, CA) is still happening, and will be a celebration of the music that the line-up have created throughout the years. The split is amicable, and the guys are looking forward to playing these very special shows for the Head Cases of North America and ending this era on a positive and classy note.⠀
To clarify: this is the Farewell Tour of this line-up of Machine Head, not the Farewell Tour of Machine Head, as has been reported in the media. ⠀
Machine Head wish to thank Phil and Dave for their significant contributions to the band, both musically and lyrically, as well for the spirit, genuine passion they infused into the music, and legendary live performances brought along the way.
Machine Head ask that you, the Head Cases, the Freaks & Zeroes, the Lion Hearts of America, come down and have a drink (or 5), a joint (or 3), rage at the shows, let your freak-flag-fly, and celebrate this unique moment in time with us.”
The Oakland metal band were formed in 1991 by Flynn and bassist Adam Duce. The current line-up features Flynn, guitarist Phil Demmel, bassist Jared MacEachern, and drummer Dave McClain.
In the original Facebook Live video, Flynn announced the departure of Demmel and McClain. “I’ll get right to it,” he said. “Wednesday night, Phil Demmel quit Machine Head. Yesterday afternoon, Dave McClain quit Machine Head. And Jared kinda quit but didn’t know if he was quitting for sure.”
The frontman confirmed the band’s planned North American tour would still take place in October. “We have all agreed to make this a celebration of our music and this era of the band,” he said.
Offering an explanation for why Demmel and McClain were leaving, Flynn blamed himself. “We have grown apart as people,” he began. “Musically, we have grown apart. I have held on too tight to the reins of this band and I have suffocated those guys.
“I’ve got some rough edges – I’m kind of a barnacle. Those rough edges have given us the success we have, but they’ve also hurt the people around me. I’ve got a lot of drive but I’ve got a lot of anger and rage. That drive of mine has alienated folks in the band.”
He continued to ask fans to respect Demmel and McClain’s decisions, and paid tribute to his former bandmates by listing their contributions to the band. “They made Machine Head a better band, having those guys as part of it,” he said.
Of the band’s future, Flynn said he wasn’t sure what would happen. “We’re all a little scared,” he said. “I’m scared. They’re scared.” Later, he added: “I’m gonna do a little bit of soul-searching in my life and take a long hard look at myself, as I’ve done in the past. I’ve done 20 years of therapy at this point and apparently it wasn’t enough cos I need to do about 20 more.”
He also reversed his earlier statement that MacEachern might no longer be part of the band, saying he spoke to the bassist “this morning and he says now that he’s going to stick around and he wants to continue on.”
“We’re gonna end it on a positive note,” he promised. “And we’re gonna end it on a classy note. So come out and have a drink with us. Maybe not too classy – like white trash classy, like hammered and stoned at a metal show classy. It’s the end of an era. I did a lot of crying yesterday. I felt like I got ran over by a truck.”
Fans have begun reacting to the news online, with many expressing their sadness. “This is a sad day for heavy music,” wrote one. Another added: “Gutted. Just gutted.”
“I don’t hate #MachineHead,” another wrote. “Quite the opposite. I don’t agree with Robb’s politics. But it’s his right to think what he wants and I respect that and love his music. BUT! When he made it all about politics and alienated a lot of people, I had a feeling the writing was on the wall.”
See more reactions below.