October 7, 2022

In 2019, MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn reunited with drummer Chris Kontos and guitarist Logan Mader — along with longtime bassist Jared MacEachern — to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the band's classic debut album, "Burn My Eyes", on tours in Europe and the U.S. Flynn later confirmed that MacEachern would continue to be a member of MACHINE HEAD alongside new recruits, guitarist Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka (DECAPITATED) and British drummer Matt Alston (DEVILMENT, EASTERN FRONT),all of whom also performed on the "Burn My Eyes" 25th-anniversary tour. Flynn, MacEachern, Kiełtyka and Alston have since resumed touring in support of MACHINE HEAD's latest album, "Of Kingdom And Crown", which does not feature any guest appearances by Mader and Kontos.

Asked in a new interview with Sakis Fragos of Rock Hard Greece whether he thought about making a full album with Kontos and Mader after the well-received "Burn My Eyes" 25th-anniversary tour, Flynn said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I did. And we tried to do that. Logan actually has a co-write on [the song] 'My Hands Are Empty' [which appears on 'Of Kingdom And Crown']. And we tried. I sent everybody the demos [for the new album]. The stuff that I had till that point, I said, 'Hey, add some riffs to this' or 'Add some drum ideas.' I think the timing of it was just crazy. Once the pandemic hit, everybody was just trying to hustle and make money and live and stay afloat. Even Logan and I had a conversation at one point. He was, like, 'Dude, I'd love to do this, but I need to fucking find a way to pay my rent. I've gotta figure out some other shit to make money here.' 'Cause he lost a lot of… When the pandemic hit, many people lost their jobs. So it just, unfortunately, didn't pan out. Not to say that it won't in the future, but for this time it didn't. And so Jared and I just kept on plugging along."

Each show on MACHINE HEAD's "Burn My Eyes" 25th-anniversary tour consisted of two parts: part one saw Flynn and MacEachern performing alongside Kiełtyka and Alston; while part two featured "Burn My Eyes" played in its entirety for the first time ever, with Kontos and Mader stepping in.

In July 2020, MACHINE HEAD canceled its previously announced rescheduled "Burn My Eyes" 25th-anniversary tour dates for Europe and Australia due to the coronavirus crisis which was sweeping the globe. At the time, it was assumed that those shows would finally happen once the band was able to return to the road. But in June 2021, Flynn announced that the "Burn My Eyes" tour would not pick up at such a time as MACHINE HEAD was able to continue touring.

Kontos left MACHINE HEAD before the release of the band's second album, 1997's "The More Things Change", and was replaced by Dave McClain.

McClain and guitarist Phil Demmel exited MACHINE HEAD in the fall of 2018.

In a July 2021 interview with A&P Reacts, Kontos was asked what it was like to reunite with MACHINE HEAD for the "Burn My Eyes" 25th-anniversary tour. He responded: "It was incredible. First, what happened was when Dave and Phil had left the band [in October 2018], I knew I was gonna get a call. My phone absolutely blew up with friends and family, and my e-mails and all my social media was, like, 'Wow, dude. Those guys left. And this is the 25th-anniversary year of 'Burn My Eyes'; this is uncanny timing.' And I knew I was gonna get a call. And I wasn't gonna call myself, but I knew that I'd be getting the call. And Joey [Huston, MACHINE HEAD's longtime manager] called me and he asked if I'd be willing to have a sitdown and talk about it. 'Yeah, Joe, I'd be glad to do that.' And we had an amazing conversation.

"When you're 20-something years old and you have conflict and you have two leaders on top of a mountain, you're like a couple of mountain goats," he continued. "And that's kind of where me and Robb were. We had our own vision of life and our own vision of where the band should go. But it was clear that it was Robb's band. And I struggled with that. He struggled with that. The other guys were kind of cast into the middle of that.

"You don't realize how much stuff you push down in life — especially when you're younger and you've got that bravado and machismo and the ego and everything," Chris added. "To exorcise all of that and to just pull that black sludge out and throw it on the table and look at it together, it was… I tell people this: even if it wasn't an option to go on tour with them, that conversation was so meaningful and cathartic for both of us to tell each other how much we truly mean to each other, how hurt we were after it was over. Robb said things to me I never thought that he felt, and likewise. And we were able to squash that beef and squash that time. Then we moved on to, 'Wow, we have a real opportunity here to not only progress MACHINE HEAD through this kind of rough moment for them, but also put a stamp on the legacy of 'Burn My Eyes'' and really own it — that it is a bit of a chalice of blood for the band. It always has been a benchmark. They've put out phenomenal records over the years, but there's that 'Burn My Eyes' moment that seems to hold fast.

"So, yeah, it was one of the most cathartic and cleansing and life-affirming moments of my life, getting back to go do that and to chill with the fans."

A few years ago, Flynn was asked by Metal Hammer if it bothers him that some fans still regard "Burn My Eyes" as MACHINE HEAD's best album. He said: "No. The clincher for me, and this rarely happens, is when someone says, 'You should write 'Burn My Eyes' again,' but it'd be so phony! I'm not 24, fuckin' running around on the streets. It was real and that's why it came out the way it did. If I tried to do it now, it wouldn't be real. Those times made me who I am and affected me forever and I'm fearless because of them, but I'd like to think that I've aged gracefully and I hope to continue to do that. How dumb would it be for some [50]-something dude to be acting like some teenage gangster? It'd be ridiculous."

Adam Duce, who played bass on "Burn My Eyes", was fired from MACHINE HEAD in February 2013. He was replaced four months later by MacEachern. Adam later sued MACHINE HEAD, claiming that the other bandmembers "simply kicked him out of the band and presumed he would forget about over two decades of hard work, dedication, and effort" he put into the group. Duce also said his likeness was used on the band's web site and in promotions without his authorization. The lawsuit was settled out of court in July 2014.

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