MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn was interviewed on the latest episode of Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat below.
Speaking about what the touring circuit might look like post-pandemic, Flynn said: “A MACHINE HEAD show is like a religious experience. It’s so much of a community — the crowd singing along and thrashing along is such a big part of the show.
“I talk to people in the industry, and many of the venues are talking about opening up, and they’re only gonna be able to be 25 percent capacity. And I’m, like, 25 percent? That sucks. It’s the whole everybody mashed up against each other and arm-to-arm and sweating on each other and singing along, that connection of people, that makes it so much fun.
“I’ve been saying this for a while, and I said it back in March, and it didn’t get a very welcome response from the people at large, but I know a lot of people appreciate my honesty about it now,” he continued. “I think this thing’s gonna go on for two [to] probably four years. I don’t think it’s gonna be back to ‘normal,’ whatever that is, for at least four years. I think it’s gonna be very much like the Spanish flu of 1918, where it went on for a couple of years, and it’s gonna come in waves, and then it’s gonna die down, and another wave’s gonna come. By the time everybody’s done with it, we’re all gonna be so shell-shocked and probably financially devastated that it’s gonna take what happened in 1918, where it took another two years for people to just feel safe to go back out, to not feel, like, ‘Oh my God. Is it truly gone?’ And, ‘Do I have enough money to do this?’
“I think we’re in for a long haul. I know that that’s not what people wanna hear — people wanna hear that it’s gonna be back to normal by March of next year.
“If anything, for me, just the way that my mind works, knowing that touring is off the table for that long actually puts me more at ease — it puts my mind more at ease, like, ‘Okay, I’ve gotta really figure out something to navigate this as a band and as a bandleader.’ Me and my guys have got to figure out ways to get around this, because there’s just no way that people are gonna be able to coagulate in groups that makes sense for promoters to make money, for venues to make money, for bands to make money.
“It is expensive to tour,” Robb added. ‘Nobody realizes how expensive to tour it is. And tickets for metal shows have been relatively unchanged for almost 15 years.
“I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s certainly not gonna be raising the prices on what is traditionally a very blue-collar, working-class fanbase.
“So, I don’t know. I think there’s a lot to figure out still, and we’re just gonna have to get through it and see where we end up.”
Last month, MACHINE HEAD canceled its previously announced rescheduled 2020 tour dates for Europe and Australia due to the coronavirus crisis.
The second run of European dates was originally scheduled to kick off in Zaragoza, Spain on April 19, continuing across Portugal, Eastern Europe, Russia, Scandinavia, wrapping in the U.K. with a Birmingham show at the Academy on June 6. After being postponed once, the shows were slated to kick off on October 8 in Pamplona, Spain and conclude on November 23 in London, England.
On June 17, MACHINE HEAD released “Civil Unrest”, a two-song digital single featuring A-side “Stop The Bleeding” and B-side “Bulletproof”. This pair of fierce protest anthems were both written days after the back-to-back murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. “Stop The Bleeding” features a guest appearance from KILLSWITCH ENGAGE frontman Jesse Leach, with Flynn and Leach trading lyrical lines that spit anger and frustration at current events.
MACHINE HEAD is donating a significant portion of the streaming proceeds from “Stop The Bleeding” to Grassroots Law Project, the organization representing George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.