PHIL DEMMEL Says He Has Seen His Former Bandmate ROBB FLYNN Twice Since His Exit From MACHINE HEADJanuary 19, 2023
During an appearance on the latest episode of "The Jasta Show", former MACHINE HEAD guitarist Phil Demmel was asked if he has been in contact with the band's frontman, fellow San Francisco Bay Area resident Robb Flynn, since he left the group more than four years ago. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I've seen him twice. And one of the days [was] at [last year's] Bloodstock [Open Air festival in the U.K. where MACHINE HEAD played a surprise set and Demmel performed with both VIO-LENCE and LAMB OF GOD]. He was by our dressing room, talking to the dudes. I just kind of walked by. The first time I saw him, SYSTEM OF A DOWN and KORN played some West Coast shows, and I went to that show, popped my head in to say 'hey' to Shavo [Odadjian, SYSTEM OF A DOWN bassist] and 'Thanks for the tickets.' And I stick my head in, and Robb's kids are there, his wife's there. I went, 'Oh, no.' I saw Shavo and I just went, 'Hey. Have a good show.' And I went to front of house to watch. Juan Gonzalez, he works with DEFTONES forever, he was the front of the house. And so I'm hanging with him. And then I get a tap on my shoulder, and I went, 'Oh, shit.' And it's Dean Dell, the bass player from VIO-LENCE, who I haven't seen since he was let go from the band. So it's, like, 'Oh, hey, Dean.' I chatted with him for a minute, and as I'm talking to him, Robb came up and he was, 'Hello, Mr. Demmel,' and he stuck his hand out. And we bumped knucks. And that's been the extent of our contact in the past… it's been four years now."
Demmel went on to say that he has had a "civil-ish" relationship with Flynn since his exit from MACHINE HEAD. "There's no words exchanged," he explained. "I don't think that there's any need to have any words exchanged. In that sense, there's separate worlds, and they can thrive on their own, and they have been. They're killing it. I'm doing my thing. Everybody's okay with that happening. I don't think that they need to — the worlds don't need to collide at all. I would prefer if they didn't. I prefer things this way. I have friends in that camp. And I'm not too sure how welcome they are or welcome they feel to be able to say hello to me, which is weird. But him and I got a divorce, in a sense, and not everybody else, so there's no beef."
Demmel left MACHINE HEAD at the end of the band's fall 2018 North American tour. He was in MACHINE HEAD for nearly 16 years, during which time he played on five of the group's studio albums: "Through The Ashes Of Empires" (2003),"The Blackening" (2007),"Unto The Locust" (2011),"Bloodstone & Diamonds" (2014) and "Catharsis" (2018).
In 2019, 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 [Robb] 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 "Catharsis", an album he said he hated.
Demmel told SiriusXM's Liquid Metal that there were "a lot of things" that he couldn't do while he was a member of MACHINE HEAD, including speak to the press. "There was a point where we were taking liberties and still doing [interviews]," Phil said. "It got to be where the talks that came along with it, it was unbearable. It was just like, 'Man, I'm punching the clock here. I'm gonna show up. What songs do you wanna play? Okay. Cool. We're gonna play the songs. When are the dates? Okay. Cool.' For the last cycle, it was the paycheck. That was my living. I didn't like my job anymore."
Phil also revealed that he decided to quit MACHINE HEAD after spending "many stressed-out nights" talking with his wife and occasionally "losing sleep" over everything that was going on with the band. "And it just got to the point to where I [couldn't] do this anymore," he explained. "It's unhealthy for me physically, it's totally unhealthy for me mentally, and it's taking its toll on my family now, and there's where I've gotta draw the line," he said. "This isn't fun, and I've gotta quit my job. And there was a straw that broke the camel's back."
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 Robb 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.
Demmel spent most of the last three years playing sporadic shows with the reunited VIO-LENCE, which released a new EP, "Let The World Burn", last year via Metal Blade Records.
Although Flynn was part of VIO-LENCE's classic incarnation and played on the band's debut album, "Eternal Nightmare", he wasn't approached about taking part in any of VIO-LENCE's comeback shows.
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