Phil Demmel Hates The Last Machine Head Record
When it was announced that longtime guitarist Phil Demmel would be leaving Machine Head, many fans worried that the band might break up. But the split eventually seemed to be an amicable one; Demmel was civil about his departure, and Machine Head’s final shows with him were a blast. No harm, no foul, right?
But in a recent interview on the podcast Talk Toomey, Demmel spoke out with a little more candor, revealing that he thinks Machine Head has become a “Robb Flynn solo project”, and that he deeply dislikes the band’s last album, Catharsis.
“I hate the last record,” says Demmel. “There’s moments of what I wrote that I like. I wrote most of the music to California Bleeding, but then [Robb] wrote the lyrics on top of it that I just wish that… Me and Dave talk about it, like, ‘Fuck! I wish I could take my riffs back! No, that isn’t what we want them used for.’
“So, I think, in that sense, it just became a Robb Flynn solo project, and that isn’t what I signed up for. And the last few years were basically collecting a paycheck. And I just couldn’t do that. The stress and all the talks and all the ‘can’t do this,’ ‘don’t do that,’ ‘don’t do this,’ ‘don’t stand there,’ ‘don’t say this,’ ‘don’t sing the words to the audience,’ don’t point.’”
Demmel went on to say that he thought Robb could see the end in sight:
“I think that—personally; I only speak for me—I think that Robb as just as done with me as I was with him. I think it was, like, ‘Maybe we can go to therapy,’ but it was kind of things that are just being said just to, like, ‘Hey, we both know this is over.’ I think I kind of did him a favor by not having him have to fire me. I think that he believed what he said. And he knows what’s happening, but it’s just the way that he’s running things now. And so, it just didn’t work anymore.”
That said, though Demmel has some negative feelings about how his relationship with Machine Head ended, he makes a points of noting that he remembers his tenure with Machine Head positively.
“I look back at my time in the band and I’m really proud of everything that we’ve done. I helped take this band from its lowest point to its highest point. We wrote some amazing records, played some amazing shows. So I’m trying to reflect on all the positive stuff. And just being free now of…So much was held back towards the end—in the past couple of years, three or four years—and just being stress-free is what I’m kind of focusing on now. Just focus on all the positive stuff that we’ve done and move forward with all the fun stuff that’s happening now.”