Dave McClain says that "The Blackening" was "the last real fun" recording experience that he had with MACHINE HEAD.
The drummer, who was a member of the California metal band from 1995 to 2018, reflected on his time with MACHINE HEAD during an appearance on the latest installment of the "Crash Bang Boom Drumming Podcast!"
Asked if there was a particular performance on a MACHINE HEAD album that he was especially proud of, McClain said (hear audio below): "[2007's] 'The Blackening' was the last real fun record that I did with them. Each one of those before that had its own awesome thing. [1997's] 'The More Things Change…', we were in there with [producer] Colin [Richardson], and we were just firing through the songs. And it was awesome — just energy. And then [1999's] 'The Burning Red' we did with Ross Robinson, and even though he was my best friend, he was still jumping up on my bass drums when I was playing, yelling at me. You can hear it on the record: 'Fucking play!' [He was] going crazy and throwing things around the room… Then the next record, [2001's] 'Supercharger', we did with this guy Johnny K, and that was a little more of the traditional… We did the pre-production, and then we'd go into a recording studio with him — it was more of kind of building the songs and a little more of doing the production thing. And then getting into [2003's] 'Through The Ashes [Of Empires]' and 'The Blackening', we did it with this engineer in a place called Sharkbite in Oakland. This guy's name was Mark Keaton, and he was just awesome, man — he was a great dude to be around. We'd just sit around in the studio, listening to records and talking about the board. The console in there was used on 'Dark Side Of The Moon' or something. And it was just a great experience. And then doing 'The Blackening' with him again, it just went so quick. We did the drums in, like, two and a half days for that record. He had this little gold drum key, and he was, like, 'You killed it, man. You get the gold drum key.' So that was cool. For me, that was the last real… where it was, like, 'That was fucking great, man.'"
According to McClain, the MACHINE HEAD recording process "just became a different animal" after the making of "The Blackening". "We did it with different people, at different studios, and it just became a different thing," he said. "The process had changed, and it wasn't really fun for me."
McClain and guitarist Phil Demmel announced their exit 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."
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.