PHIL DEMMEL On Quitting MACHINE HEAD: 'There Was Never A Doubt That I Made The Right Choice'

April 4, 2020

Former MACHINE HEAD guitarist Phil Demmel has told the "Scandalous Podcast" that he has no misgivings about his 15-year stint with the band. "I will never regret being in MACHINE HEAD," he said. "It was an amazing time for me jumping into that band [in 2003], getting out of a failed marriage and going into having this new lease on musical life and doing some awesome things. Literally no label wanted to sign the band at the time, but, to me, it was just, like, 'Things are gonna be so great.' [I was] joining the band at its lowest point."

He continued: "Being a part of that whole ride and the whole 'Blackening' wave, getting back on and headlining festivals and Grammy nominations and touring with METALLICA and playing crazy places — playing in Dubai, playing in India, playing in Israel, playing in Moscow, playing all over the world, it was awesome. And being able to write some cool tunes with a bunch of dudes creating some rad music, it [led] me into this next chapter for me. That one was just over for everybody involved. And it was great."

Phil added: "It's a divorce, so there's always that… It's been about a year and a half since I quit — we did a tour together at the end — but it's been a year and a half since I have said 'I'm done,' and once I said I was done, there was never a doubt that I made the right choice — there was never a doubt that that choice was the correct one.

"I couldn't talk to the press for a good couple of years [at the end my MACHINE HEAD tenure] — two or three years — so I had a year of telling my side of the story [after I left the band]. And that year is up. And so that story is out there. And I feel that we're caught up and moving on."

Demmel announced his exit from MACHINE HEAD in October 2018, explaining at the time that he wanted "to step away and do something else musically." Phil, who first played with MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn in VIO-LENCE in the late 1980s and early 1990s, went on to complete MACHINE HEAD's "Freaks & Zeroes Tour" before officially leaving the band.

Last year, Demmel told the "In The Pitts Of Metal And Motor Chaos" podcast that MACHINE HEAD ended up becoming a Flynn solo project toward the end of his time with the group. "We weren't a band," he said. "That was Robb's trip, and we were basically just being told what was gonna happen… Everything had changed over time. Shit, we were together for 16 years and stuff changes after that. It's been the band that he started. So things shift, and as they weren't what we agreed to or what we wanted to be a part of, [drummer Dave McClain and I] just left. So we do our own thing, and he does his thing." Demmel also said that the musical side of MACHINE HEAD took a sharp turn for the worse during the writing stage for 2018's "Catharsis", an album that he said he hated.

Demmel has spent the past year playing sporadic shows with the reunited VIO-LENCE, which recently inked a deal with Metal Blade Records. The band's new EP is tentatively due to be recorded in the coming months.

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