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Machine Head - A chit chat with Phil Demmel
So, you thought we could only have two Roadrunner Records bands interviewed at Fields of Rock 2005? Well, then you don’t know us that well! Because here’s another one. And this may be even the biggest of all three (Soulfly, Chimaira and Machine Head) RR bands we interviewed. Yes, dear readers, it’s time for another Machine Head interview. This time we had the opportunity to talk to guitarist Phil Demmel.
 
First of all, welcome back! Your album finally released in the States, DVD coming up, great day today. This has to be a great way of life?
Yeah definitely! No complaining here man! It’s a great day in Holland today! Yesterday we played a show in Germany in front of 120,000 people, that was some crazy shit man! But today? The line-up is brilliant! So, yeah, it sure is a great way of life at the moment.
 
Once again you used the Brixton Academy for your recordings, what is the special connection between Machine Head and this venue?
Well, it’s a huge venue in London, and it’s very easy: London is our biggest market. So we just wanted to give our fans the opportunity to be on the album as well, and especially with the live album it just turned out that way. And it’s just a great, great crowd there!
 
But don’t you think it’s kinda ‘unfair’ to fans from other countries to play at the same place again?
Well, no! Because we just do it there, and if they really wanna join us there, they just have to show up in London.
 
 

 
Can you tell us something about the aspects of the DVD, I have read something about a combination of live and backstage footage?
Well, it’s mostly live footage I believe. And I think it’s especially from the UK dates like Glasgow, Manchester and Cardiff. But it’s gonna be a good combination of those. But about the aspects; there are going to be four different sections. One is about us talking about the making of our videos. Then there’s one about the making of the album. And we’re talking about our fans as well. And besides that there’s a lot of tour and backstage stuff on it. It’s probably going to be like three songs – mini movie – three songs – mini movie.
 
But is it possible to watch the complete concert without the ‘mini movie’ and extra’s between the songs?
Well, I’m not sure about that. I think so.
 
You joined the band a couple of years ago, what happened in your life after you joined Machine Head?
Well, it was kinda weird for me. Because I went from not being in a touring band to be in a touring + recording band. It’s kind of a trade off. In the beginning it’s kinda hard, you have to balance what you really want and then you’ve got to realise everything for yourself. But it’s just amazing. I’ve always been a huge fan of the band and now I’m playing in it. Definitely something I always wanted.
 
You travelled around the world with these guys, recorded a new album which has been received with great quotes all over the world, and now you are almost ready to release a live DVD and play the Fields of Rock festival. What is the most memorable thing you have experienced in these years?
I think that was the Download festival last year. Download man, it was like, when I was growing up all the great bands played there. And now I’m walking there myself with the guys from Metallica, Slipknot, Slayer, Damageplan. Even Dimebag came up to me and he was like: ‘Hey man, what’s up?! You’re Phil right? The new guitar player? Dude you’re really an amazing player!’ And that was only a couple of months before he got shot, so that’s such a special moment for me! I think that whole day was just awesome, I’ve met Nikki Six and some other great persons. It was just the whole day!
 
You are pretty close with the fans and I have heard you are doing something special with the street teamers around the world, can you tell us something about this?
Ehm well, basically we just go out there and meet the streetteamers and our fans. I mean, they are the main reason we come here. And ehm, Rob designed a shirt for the streetteamers, just to say ‘thank you’. We just wanna thank all of our fans you know? We want to let them know that we are here thanks to them. Just to let them know that we appreciate what they’re doing.
 
 

 
But don’t you think it’s weird that only Machine Head does such things? I mean, a couple of years ago the entire streetteam (about 30 or 40 people) had a meet & greet with the band, that’s just amazing! But why only Machine Head?
I don’t know man! I can’t really answer that one. But it’s just the close connection between us and our fans. I mean, a while ago we were supposed to play in the US, then Rob got sick and we couldn’t play. And then there are fans coming up to me at the bar like: ‘Hey man, what’s up?! Why don’t you play tonight?’ And I explain the whole thing, tell them we’re sorry and buy them a beer. I just don’t really see them as fans, but more as friends.  
 
Ok cool! About the picture disc now. I think you released your first picture disc with ‘Days Turn Blue to Grey’ right? Why this choice?
It kind of fulfilled a couple of aspects. When you look at the disc you have to look at the song, the song length. And ‘Imperium’ was our first single. ‘Days...’ was not really a video single and the picture disc was an idea of the label and we wanted to release ‘Seasons Wither’ out here so we combined those two on a picture disc.
 
What are the plans for the future concerning new material? Have you got any new material yet? Or are there any recoding plans yet?
We got ideas for songs. And I definitely think the next album is going to be the most complete Machine Head album. We’re all writing stuff you know and Rob is kinda like the ‘puzzle-guy’. He’s putting songs together and makes it easier for us. And about the recording plans. After the Wacken Open Air 2005 show, we’re heading back to the US and start writing.
 
But (for Machine Head) it’s taking a bit longer then usual, is that because of the late release of ‘Through The Ashes Of Empires’ in the States?
Exactly!
 
So, why did you choose Roadrunner Records to release your new album again after so many problems with releasing your last albums through RR?
Well, when I joined the band we were signed to RR all over the world. And of course we had a lot of problems with them in the US. But we were looking everywhere and everybody was passing on us so we decided just to go into the studio and record the album. Then Roadrunner Records US heard the album, like it, and we released it on their label. And they’re doing great things for us after all.
 
 

 
This festival is pretty big for one day, what band(s) are you going to see today?
I wanna see Mastodon. I also want to catch a bit of Slayer. And I definitely wanna see Rammstein. I’ve never seen them before and I’ve heard they’re quite a band! And of course I wanna check out our friends from Chimaira. I love that band!
 
Ok, that was my final question, anything left to say to our readers?
Well, definitely thank you for supporting the band! And ehm, well, buy our DVD in August! Buy our album, whatever you can buy from us, buy it and of course, come and check us out on tour man, ‘cause we’re definitely going to put down a good show!
 
Thank you very much for your time!
Ok, no problem! Thank you too!