MACHINE HEAD has announced a rare festival performance — an appearance at this year's edition of the Blue Ridge Rock Festival, set to take place September 7-10, 2023 in Alton, Virginia.
So far, the following artists have been announced for the event:
AFTER THE BURIAL
ATTILA (performing "About That Life")
BORN OF OSIRIS
CATCH YOUR BREATH
COLD ("Year Of The Spider" 20th-anniversary show)
CROWN THE EMPIRE
ESCAPE THE FATE
EVA UNDER FIRE
FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY
FLYLEAF (feat. Lacey Sturm)
I SET MY FRIENDS ON FIRE
KUBLAI KHAN TX
LIKE MOTHS TO FLAMES
MOTIONLESS IN WHITE
RAIN CITY DRIVE
TAPROOT (reunion show)
THE AMITY AFFLICTION
THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER
THE GHOST INSIDE
UPON A BURNING BODY
WOE, IS ME (original lineup reunion)
Back in 2018, MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn told U.K.'s Independent that he "hated" playing festivals. "The last festival we ever did I just wanted to get offstage as soon as possible," he explained at the time. "It was pouring with rain, I was freezing my fucking ass off, there's water getting in all our gear, everybody's there in their parkas standing in a foot of fucking mud and I'm just thinking, 'When did metal become this?' It sucks for us and it sucks for the people standing out there watching us. Don't get me wrong, there are some great festivals out there that create their own culture and their own vibe and I love that. But there's a lot of festivals out there that are just thrown-together bullshit and you can't afford to not do those ones when you're out on the circuit; that's the shit that grinds you down."
According to Flynn, he "just didn't feel any connection with the people" MACHINE HEAD was playing to on the festival circuit. "We've done festivals for 23 years but we got to a point where we had to try something else," he told Independent four years ago. "Just because it worked for us 15 years ago or 10 years ago or even 5 years ago, it doesn't mean it's going to work for us now. Everything's changing at such a rapid pace; I've been in the music business for 32 years and I've never seen as much change as we've had in these last five years. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, I'm not saying it's a good thing but it is what it is and we've got to constantly re-evaluate and ask ourselves what's right for us. Believe me, we're making way less money and we're playing to way less people than we would be if we were playing a festival, but if that connection between us and our audience isn't there, then there's no point in us even being there. We might be playing to 3,000 people instead of 30,000 but those 3,000 people are losing their fucking minds and I feel this unbelievable bond when that happens. That's the sole reason why I do this, to feel that connection and that sense of release that unites us all."
MACHINE HEAD is continuing to tour in support of its latest album, "Of Kingdom And Crown", which came out last August. The follow-up to 2018's "Catharsis" includes the three songs that were featured on the 2021 "Arrows In Words From The Sky" single: "Become The Firestorm", "Rotten" and "Arrows In Words From The Sky". Much of the new MACHINE HEAD album was recorded at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, California with engineer/producer Zack Ohren.
As previously reported, MACHINE HEAD recruited HAVOK's Reece Alan Scruggs to play second guitar on the "Electric Happy Hour (Live)" fall 2022 tour. Scruggs filled in for Polish guitarist Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka (DECAPITATED),who was unable to make the trek due to his touring commitments with his longtime band DECAPITATED.
Reece made his live debut with MACHINE HEAD on November 3 at Strummer's in Fresno, California at the opening show of the "Electric Happy Hour (Live)" tour.
Vogg joined MACHINE HEAD's touring lineup prior to the launch of the band's "Burn My Eyes" 25th-anniversary tour in late 2019.
In November 2020, MACHINE HEAD released a single, "My Hands Are Empty", via Nuclear Blast. The song marked the first musical collaboration between Flynn and original "Burn My Eyes" guitarist Logan Mader in 24 years.
"My Hands Are Empty" was just one in a line of singles to be released by MACHINE HEAD, which issued "Do Or Die" in October 2019, "Circle The Drain" in February 2020, and the two-song digital single "Civil Unrest", consisting of "Stop The Bleeding" and "Bulletproof", in June 2020. "Stop The Bleeding" featured guest vocals from KILLSWITCH ENGAGE frontman Jesse Leach, and was written and recorded just days after the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.